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Monday, 19 February 2018

Star Trek: Discovery 1-15: Will You Take My Hand? (Quick Review)

Episode:15|Writer:Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts|Air Date:11-Feb-2018

Today on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm sharing my opinions on Star Trek: Discovery's first season finale: Will You Take My Hand?

There aren't actually all that many Star Trek episode titles with question marks in. I'm sure it's not something you've ever wondered or cared about, but out of 707 titles, this is only the 6th to have a question mark in the title, after the Original Series' What Are Little Girls Made Of? Who Mourns for Adonais? and Is There in Truth No Beauty? and Deep Space Nine's Doctor Bashir, I Presume? and Who Mourns for Morn? Hey, that Morn title is a play on the other one! I never realised that.

The episode's written by showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, and directed by Akiva Goldsman, so they've got the Context is for Kings team back together for this one, more or less. There's only one episode of Discovery so far I haven't been keen on, and it wasn't that one, so no warning signs there for me. Though whenever Akiva Goldsman's involved I can't help but be just a little concerned that Mr Freeze and the Riddler are going to pop up at some point and have a pun battle.

By the way, it says (Quick Review) up there, but that's basically a lie this time. I won't be going through the story scene by scene like I usually do, but you'll be getting a similarly epic mountain of text. Plus I'll be throwing out massive SPOILERS for the whole episode, so please factor that into your decision to read any further. I'm also going to be considering the whole rest of the franchise up to this point fair game, so don't be shocked if you find spoilers for things like Deep Space Nine, Star Trek IIIStar Trek IV and Star Trek Into Darkness underneath as well. But not Alice in Wonderland this time.



They didn't use a time travel reset button to fix the story! I don't know if I really expected them to anymore, but with Mudd's time crystal and the spore drive fully operational they certainly gave themselves the option, and we seemed to hit Yesterday's Enterprise levels of bleak last episode. But they found a different way to get out of the mess they made without evading the consequences and I respect that.

Will You Take My Hand? is a bit of a strange episode, as it feels like they took the epic feature-length finale the season was crying out for, and then edited it down to 40 minutes by cutting out everything but the character scenes. The first third of the story is Emperor Captain Georgiou preparing for a caper on the Klingon homeworld, then there's ten minutes of Burnham telling her tragic backstory and Tilly getting high. Then they quickly wrap up the war plot in five minutes so that they can spend the last ten minutes handing out medals and setting up the hook for next season's storyline. It's simultaneously incredibly rushed and fairly chilled out, without a sense of tension to match its incredible stakes. Even the Klingon fleet shown in the teaser seems content to just cruise around the solar system all episode instead of warping straight to Earth, moving so incredibly slowly that the Discovery crew are in Paris celebrating the end of the war before they get there.

On the plus side, they brought back the briefing room for the second episode in a row! I had no idea how much I'd miss scenes of the characters sitting (or standing) around and actually discussing things until Discovery took them away. Even if one of them is Space Hitler.

Though the idea of making Georgiou captain for the mission is no less insane than it seemed last episode, especially as she was far worse than Lorca at playing the role and blending in. She warned Burnham to stop trying to break her cover, but she was doing a fine job of breaking it all by herself by being mean to Detmer and Owosekun. Not that her disguise actually mattered beyond the teaser, as after she and Burnham left the bridge she ended up spilling her true identity to basically everyone they met.

Their first stop was L'Rell's cell, as Georgiou wanted to torture her for information on the most convenient dormant volcano on Qo'noS for a landing party to visit. But L'Rell stayed silent, maybe because giving the enemy intel is frowned upon, maybe because she has about as much clue about the volcanoes on her homeworld as I do, or maybe because she's secretly an amateur vulcanologist (who studies volcanoes, not Vulcans) and she noticed that all the targets on Georgiou's map were active. But like they say, any torture you can walk away from without the prisoner murdering you and then taking over your ship and empire is a good one. Though Burnham's plan to just ask Tyler was considerably more effective. Space Hitler 0: Starfleet 1.

But making Georgiou the captain was all worthwhile just for Tilly's reaction to finding out what was going on, with her little Terran salute and her panic. Plus the legend of the fearsome Captain Tilly takes a new twist if you're an old-school Trek fan, as it turns out she wiped out Mintaka III, a planet at 'bow and arrow' level technology from Next Gen's Who Watches the Watchers (no question mark), and subjugated Deanna Troi's homeworld of Betazed, which is the only Federation planet I can remember being occupied during the Dominion War. They're not exactly the most impressive worlds to have on your resume.

So the Discovery jumped into a cave under Qo'noS to do nothing for the rest of the episode while Georgiou's crew beamed out dressed as space rogues with a bag full of Lorca's guns to sell, and ended up in one of the best planet sets I've ever seen in Star Trek. In fact, it's probably my favourite depiction of Qo'noS, even if it did have Orion pole dancers in Terran agony booths and Klingons double-pissing on the walls. The way the camera zoomed down from space was fantastic as well, both here and in Paris later.

Plus I love that we actually got to see an alien market on the Klingon homeworld. It seems to contradict the xenophobia from the first episode, but the Klingon Empire has always had aliens living in it, because it's an empire, and it was mostly T'Kuvma's house that was pushing the 'remain Klingon' philosophy if I recall. Plus Orions and Trills are probably the most perfect races the writers could've used, as they've been known to the Federation forever, they're both immediately recognisable to fans, they don't need complicated prosthetics, and they're not the Ferengi or the Borg. Also, they actually kept the makeup 100% authentic this time!

In fact, you'd figure that Georgiou's team might have thought to go in wearing green face and pretend to be Orions (or Trills at least), seeing as this is an Orion outpost and humans haven't visited the planet in a hundred years, but I guess the producers didn't want the dramatic end of the Klingon war to play out with everyone in green body paint (either that or no one volunteered to be the one to run the idea past Michelle Yeoh).

I also loved the scene where Burnham and Tyler ducked into an alien tattoo parlour, even if it was dangerously similar to the time they took a break from the away mission in Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum (which I didn't like). There's just something joyful to me about the two of them having a normal conversation about their past while a Klingon artist gives a Trill an awesome touch-activated tattoo that they're both pretty happy with. It showed that these are just people being people, while still keeping their culture reasonably alien to us. By the way, I think the timeline checks out for this to potentially be Emony Dax: the gymnast who met Dr McCoy before he was a doctor. I don't think that it is and I don't want it to be, I'm just saying!

Tyler hasn't always been my favourite character, but he really came into his own in this place, as he tapped into his James Bond side to go shove some people in a casino for information. He had the charm and confidence of his first couple of appearances, plus a complete ease around the Klingons, and he was fun to watch. In fact, he even made Voq more interesting by talking about his gambling! Burnham, on the other hand, wasn't doing so well, which is understandable really considering the trouble she has with parties, especially when everyone there looks and sounds like the people who killed her parents. We finally got the details on her backstory here and it's a strange contrast to Tyler's, as his mother was killed by a comet while taking her first holiday in twelve years, while her parents were killed by Klingons at home when she delayed their vacation. But she's been on an accelerated Kira Nerys arc this season and she's reached the point that despite her childhood trauma (and the fact they've been trying to kill her this past year) she can only see these Klingons as people living their lives. Which is cool.

While they were doing their thing, Georgiou was trying to get into character as a Starfleet captain by sleeping with a pair of green dancers, while simultaneously showing that she's from the Mirror Universe by being bisexual. The writers just couldn't resist bringing that weird 'evil = sexy bisexual' thing back from the DS9 mirror episodes, which honestly surprises me. I figured Discovery of all spin-offs would want to get away from that.

Meanwhile, Tilly was being 50% competent and awesome, and 50% comically in over her head, which is about what you'd expect for her first away mission. Plus she ended up getting high with a creepy Orion played by Clint Howard in green body paint! Clint's played a few characters in Trek over the years, like a human on DS9 and a Ferengi on Enterprise. Plus a guy called Balok who liked drinking 'tranya' in The Corbomite Maneuver: the first regular Star Trek episode to be filmed after the pilots. Which means he's likely the only actor from any Trek series to make an appearance in Discovery and with roles spanning 52 years he's just beaten Leonard Nimoy's 46 year record.

There are so many references to the original Star Trek in this episode, like the tranya-looking drink on his table, the Ceti Eels from Star Trek II, Georgiou title-dropping Bread and Circuses, and the camera move through the bridge dome taken straight from the opening of The Cage. Orion traders and green dancers are from The Cage as well... damn, now that I think about it that means the Orions have been around in Trek as long as the Vulcans and longer than the Klingons and Romulans.

The trouble I had with this Qo'noS plot though, is that first time around I had no clue what they were meant to be doing.

On my second watch I caught the line that explained that they needed to take their drone out from the cave they'd jumped Discovery into and put it into an entirely different network of caves via a volcano, because it can apparently scan every military target around the entire planet from down there, or at least that's what Georgiou wanted them to believe. But that still didn't quite explain what they were doing.

My brain just couldn't quite accept the fact that the writers had assembled a crack team consisting of the former Terran Emperor, Starfleet's most notorious criminal, a Klingon sleeper agent who thinks he's human, and a cadet who loves being creative with her threats, given them the slow walk down a hallway in their 'look how badass we are' outfits, and then sent them to an expensive planet set with the purpose of asking for directions. It'd be fine if this was just part one of an elaborate caper, but this is all they came down for (besides dropping the drone down a hole). The episode's whole plot is basically a remake of the scene in Star Trek IV where Chekov and Uhura asked bemused bypassers where the nuclear vessels were, except here they were roleplaying as secret agents the whole time for no good reason.

Both Tyler and Georgiou succeeded simultaneously with their opposing methods, so that's Space Hitler 1: Starfleet 2 so far. But Georgiou then used her powers of immorality to knock Tilly out (for the second time this episode), steal a tiny bomb out of her drone box, and blow up Qo'noS.

Except not really, it was only a simulation! Uh, simultation I mean.

It turns out that when Cornwell and Sarek decided to take Emperor Georgiou's advice last episode, the secret plan they'd agreed upon was to blow up Qo'noS instead of sending the fleet there to attack military targets. So that means that the Federation fleet must have been protecting Earth instead then, right? I mean there's no reason to have the ships in position to warp to Qo'noS if they're not going to be needed. Funny how this never came up in conversation when Burnham called Cornwell on the holophone to discuss the matter.

With the way the season has been mirroring events it seemed pretty inevitable that Burnham was going to be put in a position where she'd have to mutiny against someone for the right reasons in the end, but I was assuming it was going to be Lorca. I definitely didn't expect that person was going to be Cornwell.

Though Burnham didn't mutiny exactly, she just pulled a Burnham and made a nuisance of herself by trying to convince a superior officer that she's right. The difference this time is that she was working with the bridge officers instead of against them, and she didn't knock anyone out. That detour through the Mirror Universe really seems to have brought these folks together with a clearer understanding of who they want to be, as they sat with Tyler last episode and they stood for Burnham here. Those two at the consoles either side of the captain's chair don't count though as they were already standing (and spoiler: they don't get medals afterwards).

It's just a shame that there wasn't a proper discussion here, as Cornwell barely argues her case and the best the Discovery crew can counter with is 'We are Starfleet!' With a military strike off the table it seems like their only choices at this point were to let Georgiou carry out a devastating Hiroshima-style strike at the heart of the Klingon Empire, or just pack it all in and let humanity die, so it would've been nice to get some clarification on what they were arguing for here.

This isn't the first time in Trek history that Starfleet has had to seriously contemplate genocide before (Next Gen's I, Borg jumps to mind), and in defence of Georgiou's plan, the stakes were so ridiculously high at this point that blowing up billions of Klingons wasn't necessarily an entirely unethical move if it saved billions of humans, Vulcans, Andorians etc. Saru didn't even hesitate to order the destruction of the ISS Charon and all the innocent slaves on board a few episodes back, and he was equally 'We are Starfleet!' about that back then as well. I'm not saying that blowing up the Charon was wrong and blowing up Qo'noS was right, I just would've prefered a better argument than 'our principles!' We can only guess at what would've happened if Burnham had been allowed to shoot first back in The Vulcan Hello, but we know that destroying Qo'noS here would've led to a state of constant war against unified Klingon rebels, so she could've at least mentioned that. This scene is the heart of the episode, where the characters all stood together and voted to turn this into a Star Trek series, so it needed a little more meat to it in my opinion.

Of course, Burnham had come up with a third option, one that required a little extra understanding and faith, so it wasn't really an argument about survival vs. principles after all!

Also, it turns out that utter bastards may be able to cross inconvenient moral boundaries for you, but they can't actually be trusted. Lorca was the one who pushed them into getting the displacement-activated spore hub drive working and use it to beat the Klingon's cloak, but he had zero guilt about running off with it to get back home, and Georgiou was all set to use the bomb under Qo'noS to put the Klingons and Federation at her mercy. Though to be fair, Burnham actually had the same idea.

There's no real fights or villain this episode, even though Emperor Georgiou changed into a black leather outfit in time for a final confrontation just like Lorca did. In fact, she changed her personality too, going from cold evil to sexy fun evil, like she's able to cut loose and enjoy herself now she's playing the recurring frenemy rival character instead of a ruler. She's a bit of a disappointment to Burnham, but we're supposed to feel she regrets saving her life though; this Georgiou didn't come to the Klingons in peace, but she ended up causing it anyway.

It wasn't a homogenous group of enlightened humans who set the stage for a peaceful victory, it was an unrepentant Space Hitler, a rehabilitated mutineer, a desperate admiral, a religious fanatic, and a defective sleeper agent, each with their own perspectives and ultimately the ability to compromise in order for them all to get what they wanted. Without Georgiou's bomb, L'Rell's respect for Cornwell, Burnham's understanding of the need for Klingon unity etc. there was no hope of peaceful victory. Diversity, wisdom, compassion and logic won the day here, and not a single shot was fired; it's not how Star Trek stories often go down, but it's as Starfleet as you get.

Final score Space Hitler 1: Starfleet 3. Hey, I guess Starfleet methods do make sense after all!

Not that it wasn't absolutely insane to give L'Rell the trigger for a planet-killing super-bomb! Sure it was a safe bet she'd choose to unify the houses over pushing Starfleet into taking an even more drastic action, and she's enough of a fanatic for her threat to press the button to be taken seriously, but her two main traits are being deceptive and failing at absolutely everything she attempts to achieve, and it's hard to be optimistic about a government founded on the threat of mutually assured destruction. I'm fine with how it went down, but I really feel like the characters should've actually commented on how ridiculous, risky and immoral the choice was, instead of just patting themselves on the back for being awesome.

Also, it feels like they forgot to do something to explore the awkward Burnham-Tyler-Voq-L'Rell situation before she and Tyler left the ship. I'm glad they didn't turn it into some kind of love rectangle, but neither Burnham nor the de-Manchurian'd Tyler had even one conversation with the woman the whole time she was in custody! Burnham handed that detonator, and control of the Klingon Empire, over to a complete stranger.

Letting Georgiou go loose has the potential to bite them in the ass as well, but it's not very Starfleet to stun someone in the back and lock them in prison forever for breaking laws that didn't even exist in her universe, so I can't really complain there either. And they do need a new Harry Mudd for season two, now that the actual Harry Mudd is stuck with his beloved Stella.

With the war abruptly cancelled, the remaining characters were called back to the Federation HQ in Paris, which seems to be full of skyscrapers now. I guess they must have ended the ban on buildings more than seven stories tall in the city centre by this point, though they're mostly all gone again by the 24th century.

The whole bridge crew showed up for the ceremony, the ones who got names and screentime at least, and it seems like they each got the same medal that was promised to Lorca in Into the Forest I Go. Even Culber! No medals for Doctor Pollard though, or the chief engineer, chief medical officer or transporter chief.

There are a few things I really liked about these scenes, like Burnham's mother finally coming back, Cornwall's Original Series uniform triangles, and Tilly getting her promotion to ensign. Also, Burnham got a pardon and her rank back, which wasn't a huge surprise to me as Starfleet is big on forgiveness (see: The Menagerie, Star Trek IV, Lower Decks etc.), but it clearly came as a surprise to her and her reaction was great. She finally earned enough Star Trek points to make up for her mistake and now she can proudly wear her badge and smug expression again. But most of all I like the possibility that there are a couple of people dressed like Spock in The Cage back there, with the blue turtleneck and black trousers! They're too fuzzy to really see properly though.

I'm less keen on the weird editing choices that started to creep in here though, like the jump from Burnham's conversation with Amanda to her talking with Sarek, or the way she kept interrupting Cornwell by saying 'Yes, that is Starfleet' while she the admiral was trying to honour the other crewmembers. I see what they were going for, but it didn't quite work for me.

It's very Star Wars to end with an awards ceremony like this, but I feel like the producers had another film in mind while putting this scene together...

Star Trek (2009)
This is Starfleet Academy in San Francisco, not a Federation building in Paris, but there's no way the resemblance can be accidental. Hey, I just had a thought: Star Trek '09 ends sometime in 2258, and Discovery must be at the tail end of 2257 now, so Prime Universe Burnham and Kelvin Universe Kirk's 'thanks for saving the Earth' medal ceremonies are only months apart. She could cross over with the spore drive and go watch.

Incidentally, it's interesting to compare the audience of the two scenes. They're both flooded with humans, with the occasional Vulcan, but Discovery has a lot more Andorians and Tellarites around. In fact, I'm starting to worry that the writers believe that there are only those four races in the Federation. Also, the only obvious family members I noticed were Sarek and Amanda, so I hope the crew remembered to tell their loved ones that they didn't actually die 9 months ago.

The room might be very Star Trek '09, but the speech Burnham gives is right out of the ending of Into Darkness. Not word for word, but it serves the same purpose of spelling out the themes of the story, of fighting our worst instincts to be who we want to be (and then go discover new worlds and new civilizations and stuff). Plus it's delivered by someone who personally fell victim to those instincts and learned from it. Burnham even uses the phrase 'odyssey out of darkness'.

Then both stories cut to the hero ship leaving Earth, but the Discovery doesn't get far before running into the hook for season two.

It's... the Enterprise?

I've noticed a lot of really positive reactions around the internet to the redesigned Enterprise and I'm genuinely happy for all the people who are genuinely happy with it. Personally though, my reaction wasn't quite so positive. I mean she's a fine looking ship overall, even if the model seems a little rough in places, and she's a hundred times prettier than the mutilated wireframe of the Defiant we saw a few episodes back, but my brain's telling me that it didn't look like this in The Cage, and it didn't look like this in the Original Series, and that's where we're at in the timeline, so clearly someone's made a mistake here!

What they've done here is like making a World War II movie and updating the Spitfires to give viewers 'something they hadn't seen before'. It's like reimagining the New York skyline and replacing the Empire State Building with the Burj Khalifa because it suits the modern aesthetic better and audiences wouldn't be able to take a skyscraper from 1930 seriously. They had sense enough to leave the Eiffel Tower alone, so why change the most iconic thing from the original Star Trek, besides red shirts, green women and Spock's ears? The first movie got away with it because the redesign was part of the plot (and it didn't hurt that the movie design was incredible) but this isn't an update, this is them blatantly rewriting history.

I know they're not going to take our Original Series DVDs away, or replace the recently refurbished Enterprise model on display in the National Air and Space Museum gift shop, but it gets harder to believe that these stories all take place in the same continuity when spaceships change shape dramatically between episodes. Plus I can't speak for other fans, but my emotional connection to the original ship doesn't automatically transfer over to this one just because it looks similar and has the same number on the side. Ain't how my brain works.

Though saying that, I do realise that they couldn't put the original Matt Jefferies Enterprise design on screen without some changes, because it would look ridiculous nose to nose with the Discovery. It's just too clean and primitive.

There, I've scribbled two lines onto the rim of the saucer. I think that's done the job.

I also tried to add some spotlights, engine glow, and chromatic aberration, then played with the contrast. It's very scruffy, low res image, as I was working with a screencap from an original 1960s effects shot and my art skills are limited, but I think it shows that the basic shapes and proportions of the ship are still fine. I mean did the producers think that it ended up on all those 'best spaceships of all time' lists ironically? Star Trek: Discovery is the only sci-fi series that has the right and opportunity to put the USS Enterprise on screen as much as they want and it turns out that they're ashamed of it!

The technology at the time could only produce grainy composites for fuzzy low res TVs, so the Discovery folks had so much scope to add extra detail to the ship and we could've accepted that it was there all along. Subtle things like RCS thrusters, airlocks, the intricate shiny hull panels from the movies etc. But they were so keen to avoid putting the audience off with 60s cheesiness that they gave it a short blocky neck and big sloping pylons with holes in them...

...and then went straight into playing the laughably dated Star Trek theme over the end credits! I guess it's okay to keep that exactly the same then, even if it's incredibly jarring and unearned. Even the Smallville producers knew that you save the iconic theme until the last episode.

At least the famous Space Dock looks more or less the same as it always did, even if it's a bit Death Star II at the moment with the construction still going on. Of course Discovery would show proper respect to the mushroom space station.

Speaking of visual retcons, it seems they've also visually retconned our solar system so that Earth is clearly visible from Jupiter and all of the planets are lined up in a row. The scale is so broken you can see Space Dock from Mars! There's no way this is a mistake though; they must have done this deliberately because they wanted a more dramatic shot. I'm all for cheating reality a little for the sake of prettier visuals, having ships fly around nebulas and dense asteroid fields and suchlike, but this was just ridiculous. I don't like it, nope.

You know what was a mistake though? When Detmer turned around to tell Saru they'd cleared the Sol System while Neptune was right there outside the window in front of them. I don't even know why they had to clear the Sol System at impulse speed as ships warp around next to planets all the time, such as in the episode that came right before this one!

I was going to write about which crewmembers from The Cage I'm hoping to see next season (Pike, Number One!) and who I think the new captain is or isn't going to be (Garth of Izar!) but I've gotten distracted with all this crap now. Though I will mention how I think they messed up the Enterprise reveal a bit, by putting more focus on teasing the audience about the ship itself instead of reminding us that Sarek and Burnham have family on board and they seem to be in trouble.

And what was up with Sarek smiling? The dude didn't even crack a grin when Kirk brought his son back from the dead.

Actually ignore all of that; I'm being way too negative considering that I actually liked the episode overall. It's not my favourite of the season, mostly because it starts with a ridiculous premise, ends with a ridiculous solution, and the plot in between involves the characters asking random people for directions in the most dramatic ways they can think of, but it had some great scenes in there as well I reckon. I appreciated that they actually went on a proper away mission in an interesting place filled with people we haven't ran into five times already this season; it reminded me of that Star Trek series I used to watch. Or The Orville. Sure the episode's a bit of an anti-climax, considering that resolves a season-long war with the fate of Earth at stake by having Burnham hand over an iPad, but I got my epic action spectacular two episodes back and I'm fine with this being more about the characters. Plus it was nice to see the crew finally reach the light at the end of the tunnel, even though we'd spent so long in the dark it was blinding when we got there.

But how does Will You Take My Hand? compare to the other Trek series' first season finales?
  • Operation: Annihilate: This is the one with the flying fake-vomit monsters right? I think Discovery likely has this one beat.
  • The Neutral Zone: I vaguely remember this one. It has Captain Picard being grumpy because his crew want to save lives and he finds it all very tedious. Discovery wins this round.
  • In the Hands of the Prophets: This wasn't the best episode of DS9's first year but it was close. Discovery's no match for the schemes of Vedek Winn.
  • Learning Curve: Tuvok trains some problem officers and learns the value of being flexible. I've got to give this to Discovery again.
  • Shockwave, Part 1: I have a feeling I liked this episode. Maybe Enterprise actually wins this one?
Anyway, that's Discovery's first season finished with now, so look forward to my season review, coming soon.

SHUTTLE CRISIS OF THE WEEK:
Guess what happens to a shuttlebay full of large metal shuttles when the ship teleports into a cave and lurches due to the sudden influence of gravity? Absolutely nothing it turns out, as the inertial dampeners made sure the crew barely felt it. But if this was a Kelvin Universe movie they'd have been toppling everywhere I bet.



COMING SOON
Discovery will return one last time with my season one review. But next on Sci-Fi Adventures, I'm writing about Babylon 5's And Now for a Word. I realise it's not that Deep Space Nine review I promised, but I've got my reasons (it's B5's birthday soon).

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment if you've made it this far.

9 comments:

  1. I loved the Clint Howard cameo! It helps that there's something likeable about Clint Howard, but it's also a nice nod to the series' history without wheeling Shatner or Nichele Nichols out to mug at the camera.

    I am wary of the Enterprise turning up. Discovery has done well by keeping its links to the other series to a few nods and winks here and there and as a result has stood on its own. It doesn't need the Enterprise as a crutch, certainly not after a successful first series. Not that the iconic original starship popping up is a crutch; I just worry that we're going to be getting episodes about the Enterprise crew rather than the one that's in the title of the series.

    (My concern is that Spock's in trouble and we're going to have half a series of chasing after him.)

    All that said, I am looking forward to seeing what's going on. Why is it in trouble? Will they be wearing the original uniforms?

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    1. I'm a bit torn about it myself.

      On the one hand, I hate the 'small universe' problem where we keep seeing the same people over and over, and I think the series would do just fine without guest stars dropping by from other stories.

      On the other hand, Captain Pike, Captain Pike, Captain Pike, Captain Pike, Captain Pike, Captain Pike, Captain Pike, Captain Pike, it's Captain Pike! The dude was meant to be the lead of his own show, but he's only really been in four stories at this point and I think he deserves more screen time. For everything I said about my emotional attachment not transferring to ships that look a bit like the Enterprise and have the same number, if they get an actor who's in the ballpark of Jeffrey Hunter and Bruce Greenwood, and is clearly meant to be the same guy, I will accept this new Pike as being legit no problem. Like I have done with Sarek, to be honest.

      Plus we've never seen the rest of The Cage-era Enterprise crew show up again outside of The Menagerie, so I think it'd be nice to have Tilly hanging out with Yeoman Colt for an episode or two, and Burnham having to deal with another lieutenant called Tyler. It's not as if the series is over-packed with main characters at this point; with only Burnham, Tilly, Saru and Stamets left on the ship it'll be hard to lose focus on them. Unless they're planning to finally upgrade the bridge crew next season and make them actual people.

      So yeah I'm pretty much okay with Discovery II: The Search for Spock, as long as they try their very best to get the uniforms right (they won't).

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    2. I'm also on board -- ho ho -- for Pike, but I don't want Discovery to get caught up in someone else's story. Fingers crossed they resist.

      I assume Spock has to appear at some point, and I wonder how they'll cast him. I doubt it'll be Quinto and I'd sort of prefer it if it wasn't him, but it's a tricky bit of casting. That's why I sort of assume he'll be missing and that's why Pike sent out the distress call.

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  2. The first movie got away with it because the redesign was part of the plot (and it didn't hurt that the movie design was incredible)

    Agreed, but even then, the TMP-era bridge set will never give me the warm fuzzies the TOS bridge did, being so monotone and dark.

    my emotional connection to the original ship doesn't automatically transfer over to this one just because it looks similar and has the same number on the side

    Exactly! And just wait until we see the shiny, hologram-heavy Constitution sets next season (I'm guessing).

    I dunno. I my mind, Discovery is and always has been set in an alternate continuity, regardless of what Word of God says, so I can't say I'm disappointed with this decision. A classic TOS-style Enterprise just wouldn't make sense in the context of this series. A proper Constitution-class ship (even one tweaked with RCS thrusters, shield grid, and blue-glowing warp engines) would have simply looked out of place next to Discovery and Shenzhou, so I'm fine with it, not because I dislike the classic designs, but because the showrunners are actually reinforcing my headcanon.

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    1. To be honest I'd have no trouble with the Enterprise looking out of place, because personally I think that the Discovery already looks out of place compared to the Shenzhou, and that works fine for me. It looks like they were designed in different eras, with the Discovery formed from simple shapes held together by a spine, and the Shenzhou being a complicated mess of intersecting boxes built around a disc, with fins on top (those eras being mid 70s and mid 2000s respectively).

      The 60s Enterprise definitely looks of a time, but I'd consider that to be a feature not a flaw when you've got ships that have been in service for decades. It's not a rocket ship, it has all the same components as the current designs (deflector dish, warp nacelles, shuttlebay, bridge dome, windows, registry number etc.), and the awkward neck and thin pylons are supposed to look weird and structurally unsound so I don't see a problem.

      I kind of see the problem they've got with the sets though. Those are going to need some real up-budgeting and de-sixtiesing before they're suitable for modern prestige television. Would be nice if they're actually recognisable by the end of it though.

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  3. I'd assume a simultation is a simulation that happens at exactly the same time as the events being simulated, but apparently not.

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    1. Simultation is the technology that makes lag-free holographic communication work. The holographic image is actually a AI simulation of the other person, which predicts what the other person would likely say while their side of the conversation is still buffering, updating the content of their responses as new data comes in. On the other end the other person is talking to a similar simulation running simultaneously, and the process is totally seamless because Starfleet characters tend to have really predictable writing. Plus mushrooms are involved at some point.

      I wonder if they'll go back and fix the error for a later Blu-ray release or just leave it there until the controversial HD++ 4000K VR remastering in 2057, which will also replace the laughably archaic USS Discovery ship design with something that modern future audiences can accept.

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  4. No medals for Doctor Pollard though, or the chief engineer, chief medical officer or transporter chief.

    I'm beginning to think Discovery has a bunch of Wookiees for department heads.

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    1. If they end every other season with a medal ceremony like this, where the unseen department heads are left out, and end the finale with the reveal that they've been Wookies all along, then at that point Discovery will ascend to become the greatest Star Trek series. And also the greatest Star Wars series I guess.

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