Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 1 Episode 6 (Lethe)

I know that I seem to be getting used to Star Trek: Discovery.  Certain aspects are starting to make sense.  I still have questions and issues, but I’m learning how to deal with that.  Aside from which, I’m getting the DVDs from the library, so it’s not like I’m giving money to CBS.  Still, I have to take issue with any issue that starts with two main characters running laps in shirts that say DISCO in big, bold letters.

I can handle Spock having a foster sister we didn’t know about.  Star Trek V revealed that he had a half-brother and I took that in stride.  I’ve dealt with updated Klingons and easily abandoned technology, as I’ve mentioned before.  I can forgive a lot of things.  Please tell me that there’s no disco in the future.  If I find out that there is, the series is dead to me.

That being said, it looks like Discovery has holodecks, or something similar to it.  Captain Lorca and Ash Tyler are getting a little target practice in when we find out three things about Tyler.  One, he’s a better shot than Lorca.  Two, he’s modest about it.  Three, Lorca is making him the new chief of security.  I guess being in a jail cell together for an indeterminate, yet short, time makes for some good bonding.

In fact, Admiral Cornwell drops by to talk about just that.  She’s worried that Lorca isn’t ready to get back into the captain’s chair just yet.  In fact, she was apparently a psychiatrist, which would lend some credibility.  One thing leads to another, which leads to Cornwell and Lorca sleeping together and Lorca pulling a phaser on Cornwell.  So, yeah.

She wants to keep him off the bridge, but an issue has come up.  Ambassador Sarek was on his way to meet with the Klingons for diplomatic talks, but he was injured by a Vulcan extremist.  Yes, Vulcans have those, apparently.  There are those among the most logical race that would like to keep it that way.  Sarek’s taking a human wife and taking a human girl should be punishable by death.

The good news is that a rescue operation is successful.  The bad news is that Cornwell has to go in his place, as she’s the only qualified authority figure within range.  She and Lorca will talk about him taking a break when she gets back, which is the most obvious way of telling the audience that a major plot twist is coming.  She might as well just say, “I’m going to go put myself in a situation that requires the help of the one person who stands to lose if he’s successful.”

So, I guess Star Trek isn’t beyond a little cliché writing.  That’s ok.  You can’t be perfect all the time.  Aside from which, it does make for a good cliffhanger.  We already knew from the previous episode that maybe Lorca wasn’t the best captain.  Now we know that other people know it, too, and they’re in a position to do something about it.  This really is becoming a lot like a soap opera.

One thing I want to bring up: I don’t recall it ever explicitly being stated that The Original Series never had holodecks, although I could be wrong.  It would seem that holodecks came about during The Next Generation era, as the pilot of The Next Generation would have implied that it was relatively new technology.  I’ll grant that maybe the technology was in development.  Discovery is supposed to be this top-secret super ship, so it’s possible that everything is cutting edge.  I don’t know.

It is nice to see some subtle continuity, though.  Long-time viewers will remember that Sarek was at odds with Spock over Spock’s decision to enter Starfleet.  Now, we know why.  Come to find out that Burnham wanted in on the Vulcan Expeditionary Force, but those running the show wouldn’t hear of it.  Sarek is told in no uncertain terms, only one non-Vulcan at a time.  Either Spock is let in or Burnham, but not both.  It doesn’t matter that Burnham is good enough.  Apparently, Vulcans can be racist, too.

It sort of reminds me of Dark Page, in that the parent of a main character is hiding a dark secret about their child.  In Dark Page, Deanna Troi has to use her telepathic abilities help her mother resolve an issue as Lwaxana is close to death.  In Lethe, Burnham has to use her telepathic bond to help her foster father resolve an issue that’s been eating away at both of them while he’s close to death.  (Oh, and he has to hit the emergency beacon while he’s at it.)

So, Discovery isn’t all that I hoped it would be, but I am finding redeeming qualities and I am curious to see what happens next.  I’m just hoping that it’s not like Enterprise, where it turns out to be a holodeck fantasy or someone waking up from a dream or something.

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