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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A couple of days ago I postulated that Discovery takes place in the future of the Abrams-verse movies (in Universe-J, anyway), but "Unification III" makes that interpretation problematical as it features a viseo clip of Spock (Leonard Nimoy from TNG, not Zachary Quinto from the Abrams-verse). I still discount Discovery's first two seasons in any case, and regard DIS as a possible alternate future. 

THE SANCUARY: Book receives a message from his homeworld that the Emerald chain is threatening the planet with destruction. When brought to the attention of Admiral Vance, he authorizes an observer mission only. After Discovery arrives, Burnham and Book beam down and meet an old friend of his who maintains an uneasy alliance with the Emerald Chain. The leader of the emerald Chain learns that the Andorian, Ryn, is aboard and demands his extradition. Saru refufuses and the Emerald Chain attacks the Sancuary. In order to avoid a diplomatic incident, Tilly suggests that a "rogue agent" might use Book's ship to defend the Sancuary. this task falls to Detmer (whose sub-plot I alluded to in an earlier post may simply have been culture shock from their trip to the future, now cured by a meal and a Buster Keaton movie). Book and his friend waork together against the Emerald Chain and they are driven back.

Also in this episode, Georgiou undergoes a comprehensive exam which suggests she may be dying. Stamets and Adira combine Burnham's triangulation data with the SB-19 data obtained from Ni'Var and determine that The  Burn originated in the Verubin nebula. They also learn that the "music" known to multiple species since The Burn originates from there, but once they eliminate the distortion, what's left is an encrypted Federation distress signal. Curiouser and curiouser.

It is also in this episode that Adira confides to Stamets that "they" prefers plural pronouns to gender-specific personal pronouns. In "their" case this almost makes sense since "they" is a combined Trill symbiont, but it still sounds odd to my ear. (Perhaps "they" prefers plural verbs as well.) Honestly, this development smacks of 21st century anachronism. I find it hard to believe that the Federation hasn't moved beyond this by the 32nd (!) century, or that trans/non-binary people don't have their own set(s) of pronouns by then. 

TERRA FIRMA, PART 1: It is revealed that Georgiou is suffering not only from the jump in time, but from being someone from another universe who has jumped in time. It is known from the Temporal War that her condition is untreatable, but Dr. Culber consults Discovery's computer (repository of the sphere data) which posits a small chance of success on the planet Dannus V without providing details. Although Captain Saru initially disapproves of the mission on the grounds that discovery is a "rapid response" vehicle, Admiral Vance approves it. 

Meanwhile, Stamets and Adira have decoded the embedded message from the Verubin Nebula. It is from a Kelpian Starfleet vessel and dates from a time just prior to The Burn.

On Dannus V, Georgiou and Burnham reenact a scene from the first episode, except instead of walking across a desert, they walk across a snowfield. It makes for a nice "bookend" visual. Before too long, they encounter Jim Brass of the Las Vegas Crime Lab a being named "Carl" who is dressed like a Pertwee-era Time Lord and is carrying tomorrow's newspaper (!) with the story of Georgiou's death. Next to him is a door which may well be a TARDIS because it's way bigger on the inside. 

When Georgiou steps through, she finds herself in the 22nd century of the Mirror Universe, on the very day she would be betrayed by her Burham and Lorca. We meet the Michael Burnham of the MU and she is quite a piece of work. this episode takes us right up to the betrayal but, with foreknowledge of events, Georgiou is able to turn the tables and spare Burnham's life

To be continued...

TERRA FIRMA, PART II: So, the "Time Lord" sends Georgiou through the TARDIS where she emerges in her own universe, earlier in her own timeline. She makes different choices (such as saving Mirror-Saru and "only" torturing Mirror-Burnham rather than killing her), but her chopices still lead to her daughter's death as well as her own. She is returned to the present, where the the "Time  Lord" reveals itself to be (the physical manifestation of) The Guardian of Forever (yes, that Guardian of Forever). The Guardian felt itself misused during the Temporal Wars, so concocted this scenario as a "test" to determine whether or not Georgiou was "worthy" of being cured. Even though her efforts failed, the Guardian deemed her trip a success and sent her back to a time prior to when the the Mirror Universe split from the Prime one. This action cures her condition and, presumably, she will work to prevent the MU from coming into being in the first place.

I am ambivalent about this two-parter. On the one hand, it shows Georgiou's growth as a character, but on the other it hearkens back to Discovery's abysmal first season. If I ever watch it again, I will likely skip over the parts set in the MU (much in the same way I always skip over the scenes set in the 20th century in Star Trek IV). And this "avatar" of The Guardian of Forever? I'm not a fan. I prefer to think of him as a Time Lord in the first, unofficial, on-screen crossover between Star Trek and Doctor Who. It's much more fun to watch that way. Besides, there is a "Black Guardian" and a "White Guardian" in Doctor Who, so maybe that idea is not as far-fetched as it sounds. 

The sub-plot regarding the embedded distress beacon doesn't progress much, either. Saru decides not to inform Admiral Vance of the signal's Kelpian origin, reasoning that there's nothing significant to report, but more likely he doesn't want Vance to halt the investigation. Vance finds out that Saru has withheld information and is not happy about it. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

It is also in this episode that Adira confides to Stamets that "they" prefers plural pronouns to gender-specific personal pronouns. In "their" case this almost makes sense since "they" is a combined Trill symbiont, but it still sounds odd to my ear. (Perhaps "they" prefers plural verbs as well.) Honestly, this development smacks of 21st century anachronism. I find it hard to believe that the Federation hasn't moved beyond this by the 32nd (!) century, or that trans/non-binary people don't have their own set(s) of pronouns by then. 

This.

It's why I have in other posts expressed my feeling that the show is pandering and virtue-signaling with Adira. I would expect that by the 23rd century non-binary or trans humans (and entire other species) would be totally unremarkable. But as Adira "comes out" there's a lot of reaction (smiling, nodding, oohing and ahing) that would be the reaction among liberals in the 21st century, but seems out of place in the 23rd. And they use 21st century terminology ("I am seeing you. Truly seeing you.") that would be simply pointing out the obvious in the 23rd.

(I use 23rd instead of 32nd, because the Discovery crew is from the former. Residents of the latter would even be less inclined, I would think, to notice non-binary beings.)

Also, as you note, those pronoun changes grate, especially to my copy editor ears. I am all for LGBTQ+ self-actualization, but I am dead set against changing our grammar! Subject-verb disagreement is already problem enough without people doing it deliberately!

And we have met Trills and their hosts before. The others haven't insisted on pronoun changes. Just this one, where "their" storyline has been a clumsy metaphor for coming out as something not hetero-normative.

And finally, the raw truth: Adira looks just like one of my ex-brothers-in-law. The hair, the eyebrows, the teeth ... "they" are a dead ringer for him. That's a reminder I don't need!

SU'KAL: Discovery jumps to the nebula from which the Kelpian distress signal originates. They arrive to find a lifesign originating from within the nebula. The woman who sent it was pregnant at the time, and they theorize that the survivor is her offspring (although if they explained how he could be alive after 125 years I missed it; maybe Kelpians are naturally long-lived). Saru, Burnham and Culber beam down, into a holographic training program as it turns out, to find themselves altered. Burnham is a Trill. Culber is a Bajoran and Saru is a human, an excuse to show what Doug Jones looks like out of make it. I don't like when Star Trek shows their alien cast members out of makeup; it yanks me right out of the story on a metatextual level.

The Kelpian survivor does indeed turn out to be the son, Su'Kal, of the woman who sent the distress call. He has no knowledge of the outside world and has lived his entire life in this holographic environment. the landing party splits, Saru and Culber to seek Su'Kal, and Burnham to guard against some sort of 'monster" representing Su'Kal's deepest fears. Burnham ends up finding Su'Kal first, and she pretends to be part of the holographic program. She tries to push him to accept the existence of world outside, but he reacts badly, sending a disturbance outside the nebula.

Meanwhile, First Officer Tilly has been left in charge of the ship while Saru is part of the landing party. A ship from the Emerald Chain they encountered before arrives in pursuit of the spore drive. The inexperienced Tilly does a good job of standing up to the pirate (better than Picard did when first put in command of Enterprise), and orders Discovery cloaked. It is at this point the "disturbance" hits, decloaking both ships. They are able to determine that this disturbance is almost the cause of a second Burn. Book takes his ship to rescue the landing party, and Adira sneaks aboard with medicine to treat them for radiation poisoning.

While Saru and Culber stay with Su'Kal, Burnham beams aboard Book's ship. Meanwhile, the Emerald Chain has beamed aboard Discovery and taken over. They use some kind of mind-control device on stamets to force him to use the spore drive, and Book, Burnham and Adira arrive just in time to see Discovery jump to destroy Federation HQ. Tracy asked, "How are they going to get out of that?" 

Oh. The planet in the nebula is composed almost entirely of dilithium. (That's seems like an important detail for me to have left out.) 

Things pick up considerably in the third season, don't they?

THERE IS A TIDE...: Allow me to back up for a moment and identify some of the players. An Orion female named Osyraa is leader of the Emerald Chain. Her second-in-command is Zareh, a human male who bears a grudge against Discovery for a previous encounter. their ship is the Viridian. Discovery approached Starfleet HQ pursued by Viridian in mock battle, with Book and Burham in hot pursuit. They crash Book's ship into Discovery's shuttle bay just before Starfleet drops shields just enough to let Discovery through. Book has a device which masks lifesigns, which he gives to Burnham, allowing himself to be captured.

Osyraa contacts Starfleet and demands negotiations. Surprisingly, she sincerely wants to form an alliance with Starfleet for the good of everyone. Admiral Vance demands many concessions, culminating with Osyraa standing trial for the crimes she has committed as leader of the Emerald Chain. 

Meanwhile, Osyraa's chief scientist, Aurellio, examines the spore drive in an attempt to learn how to operate it without Stamets. Aurellio is brilliant, but confined to a wheelchair. He has been raised and nurtured his entire life by the Emerald Chain (for their own purposes), and he is completely loyal to their cause, but he is not aware of the depth of Osyraa's depravations. 

Osyraa learns of Burnham's presence aboard the ship and sends a squad of "regulators" to deal with her. They catch up to her in a Jeffries tube, but she sets a fire which causes the ship's fire suppression system to explosively decompress and blow the regulators into space. Meanwhile, the bridge crew has escaped and Ryn, the Andorian formerly liberated from the Emerald Chain, undoes the reprogramming of the ship's computer by Osyraa's people. By this time, Burnham has made her way to engineering and is arguing about whether to flee the ship (making it useless to Osyraa) or to return to the nebula to rescue Saru, Culber and Adira who are in danger of dying from radiation poisoning. Burnham gives Stamets a Vulcan neck pinch, encases him in a force field and ejects him toward Starfleet HQ. 

Osyraa has returned to Discovery after failing to reach and agreement with Vance. Book and Ryn have been captured, and Osyraa kills Ryn in front of Aurellio, who is beginning to believe what Stamets told him about her. while Tilly prepares the crew to retake the ship, Book offers to show Osyraa the dilithium planet.

Up until this point I have purposefully neglected to mention the DOT-23 repair bots (because I promised I'd stop obsessing over the tech differences between this show and established canon), but now I have to. The DOT-23s are little "R2-D2-like" robots from the 23rd century (not the 32nd) which scamper about the hull of the ship effecting repairs when damaged in battle. Why we never saw these on the Enterprise, either Kirk's or Picard's, is anyone's guess, but at this point it is revealed that the Sphere data has now transferred itself to the repair bots. 

THAT HOPE IS YOU, PART 2: Where to begin? On the dilithium planet, Adira appears as a member of a race I don't recognize, and for whatever reason, Gray appears, too, as a Vulcan. Saru tries to get Su'Kal to confront his fears without causing another Burn. How was Su'Kal able to cause The Burn in the first place? He is a "polyploid " (whatever the hell that is) who formed a genetic connection to the dilithium. Now, aren't you glad you asked? If they can get him off the planet safely, the danger will be over.

The Ni'Var fleet arrives to assist, just as Osyraa cuts off life support to the deck where Tilly is leading her effort to retake the ship. Burnham convinces Osyraa to let her negotiate a peaceful withdrawal for Discovery if Osyraa will restore life support to the lower decks. Burnham successfully holds up her end of the bargain, but Osyraa refuses to save the bridge crew. In sick bay, Book has changed his mind about revealing the whereabouts of the dilithium planet. Aurellio's truth serum fails, so Zareh begins to torture him. Burnham asks to speak with Book to end his torture, but erects a forcefield around his bed and escapes with him as soon as she gets close enough.

Using a coded message, Burnham suggests to Tilly that she and her team sabotage the detached warp nacelles (I never thought that was a good idea) which would through the ship out of warp. I haven't mentioned Owosekun yet, but she's another member of the bridge crew who's been there all along but hasn't really been given a lot to do. I always assumed she was human, but she says something to Tilly about being able to hold her breath for 10 minutes at a time. Tilly assigns her the (suicide) mission of sabotaging the nacelles. There's really no other choice as Tilly and the rest of the bridge crew fall unconscious shortly thereafter. If they don't stop the ship, they're all going to die anyway, so it's really a no-brainer. 

The plan works and the ship drops out of warp. Meanwhile, Burnham has made her way to the computer core where she succeeds in rebooting the systems, locking out Osyraa's control. Burnham also kills Osyraa herself, but Discovery is inside the Emerald Chain's ship by now. Burnham guesses that Book might be able to pilot the ship through the spore drive in Stamets' absence and comes up with a plan based on that hope. she ejects the warp core which causes a HUGE explosion, destroying the Emerald Chain's ship. Luckily Book can navigate the mycelial network, and navigates the ship to safety the split second before the ship blows.

On the dilitium planet, Saru plays the recording of Su'Kal's mother's death which frightened him so much and caused The Burn in the first place. After that, Su'Kall ends the holographic simulation and Gray disappears. As Gray vanishes, Culber promises to find a way to restore him. A final recorded message from Su'Kal's mother plays. Back aboard Discovery, the survivors make their way to the bridge. Owosekun has survived, saved by one of the DOR-23 'bots. (Honestly, when it was revealed the Sphere data transferred itself to them, I thought they would play a bigger role, or at least a role, in liberating the ship.)

The Emerald Chaim disbands, multiple worlds begin to join/rejoin the Federation, and mining operations have begun on the dilitium planet. Saru takes a leave of absence to stay on Kaminar with Su'Kal for a time, Discovery is assigned to ferry dilithium to alligned and non-alligned worlds, and Vance promotes Burnham to captain. Earlier in the season, Saru experimented with certain catch-phrases. Burnham's becomes, "Let's fly." 

And that's the end of the third season, a good place for a break while I await season four to be released on DVD.

Follow THIS LINK to "Discovering Discovery," JD DeLuzio's overview of Discovery's first three seasons (beginning on p13). He makes some good points. (Bet you thought I'd forget, didn't you?) 

UP NEXTSTAR TREK: PICARD

Why not? I almost had! ;)



Jeff of Earth-J said:

Follow THIS LINK to "Discovering Discovery," JD DeLuzio's overview of Discovery's first three seasons (beginning on p13). He makes some good points. (Bet you thought I'd forget, didn't you?) 

UP NEXTSTAR TREK: PICARD

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