Monday, March 29, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 3 Episode 13 (That Hope Is You, Part 2)

There’s usually been a clear distinction between good and evil in Star Trek.  The Federation, such as it is, is good.  The Emerald Chain is bad.  Most of the people in the 32nd Century are doing their best, but that’s not always good enough.  Starfleet admits that it’s had to be reserved in the wake of The Burn, but it’s still a remnant of what it once was.

That Hope is You, Part II wraps things up for the third season.  Starfleet and The Emerald Chain are negotiating, but that’s not meant to be.  Saru is finally able to get Su'Kal off the ship and to a safe location.  We even get an epic battle between Osyraa’s crew and the Discovery crew.

I kind of feel like the season was a stretched-out episode.  We had a lot of stuff at the start of the season and a lot of stuff at the end of the season, but the episodes in the middle seemed to move the action along pretty slowly.  I feel like this would have been, at most, three episodes in another Star Trek series.  It’s something that might have played out while other stuff happened.  Yes, we get a nice neat bow and a nice lead-in for the fourth season, if COVID ever lets that happen.  It just seemed so prolonged.

Part of it is that the Emerald Chain seems like the bad guy that was invented just for the series, much like the Ferengi were for The Next Generation.  As I mentioned in the last review, another part is that we never get to see much of what’s going on with the other races.  The entire season is focused on The Burn, and the cause is a bit of a letdown.  After going through a dozen episodes, I expected something grandiose.

Making Burnham the captain at the end makes sense.  After all, this was supposed to be The Michael Burnham show.  This doesn’t mean that Saru won’t be made captain once he returns.  (It’s reported that Saru will come back, but it’s not clear in what capacity.)

I do hope for a fourth season.  This could serve as a series finale or a gateway into something grander.  What wasn’t pure action was maybe setting this up.  Osyraa might not get her day in court, but the Emerald Chain will have to ask itself some tough questions.  Former member worlds are rejoining The Federation.  Since Gray wasn’t a figment of Adira’s imagination, there’s a promise that they might return for next season.  I’m not sure how that will play out.

From the looks if it, COVID will delay the fourth season, rather than prevent it, which is good.  I would hope that the next season would return more to individual stories and maybe give us a better look at the 32nd Century.

 

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Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 3 Episode 12 (There Is a Tide…)

I’m still not sure what to make of Star Trek: Discovery.  I miss the good old days when most episodes had a distinct storyline.  Some contributed more to the overall story, but most could stand on their own.  Then, came CBS All Access.  Discovery and Picard seemed to go the route of a serialized narrative.  We progressed a little more each week, but there was usually little new stuff.

I think this episode typifies that.  The Emerald Chain has taken over Discovery and infiltrated Starfleet/Federation headquarters.  The assumption would be that they’re attacking, but Osyraa wants to negotiate.  She has an idea to fold The Emerald Chain back into The Federation.

They left Captain Saru, Doctor Culber and Adira back in the radiation-laden nebula to take care of Su’Kal.  We’ll have to wait to see what becomes of them.  The point is that she honestly wants peace.  She knows the game is up.  The Emerald Chain has scientific prowess and The Federation has the spore drive.  Put those together and they could go places.  The only real holdup is that Osyraa would have to answer for her crimes.  She’s not really keen on this, so it’s unclear of any such merger will actually happen.

Part of me feels like this was an unnecessary episode.  You could have cut it out and it would have had little effect on the overall storyline.  It occurs to me that it’s really the opposite problem.  Discovery has a 13-episode arc this season.  That’s half of what I was used to with The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

There were so many wasted opportunities.  We never really got a good look at what had become of Earth, Vulcan or Trill.  We know so little about The Emerald Chain.  In fact, I know that it’s made up of Andoria and Orion.  I think there are other planets, but I’m not sure.  I think Osyraa is the leader, but I’m not clear on that.  I think she mentioned something about others in positions of authority.  A little background information could have gone a long way.

For that matter, we know so little of what happened to The Federation at large.  At least three  founding members are no longer members.  How many more fragments are there?  How vast is the known galaxy?  There are so many questions.  It would have been nice for the series to take a break and explore the 32nd Century a little more.

Maybe we’ll get that chance next season.  We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.  We could see the Federation return to normal.  Maybe not.  I’ll grant you that nine centuries is a lot of ground to cover.  What we’re given is a feeble attempt, though.  I really think Discovery can do so much better.

That’s part of the problem with doing a serialize season like this.  It’s too long of an episode and too short of a season.  It reminds me of a joke, wherein a guy goes to a restaurant.  After eating the meal, the waiter asks how the food was.  The man says, “I have two complaints:  First, the food was horrible.  Second, there wasn’t enough of it.”  I want more and I want better.  Is that too much to ask?

 

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Sunday, January 03, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery -- Season 3 Episode 11 (Su'Kal)

It occurred to me that Starfleet and The Federation had something like 125 years to figure out what caused The Burn.  For those that are just joining us, The Burn basically ended the use of warp drive as a major mode of transportation.  And yet, no one made any real headway on what caused it for over a century.

Then, along comes the U.S.S. Discovery.  Within a matter of months, they pinpoint where The Burn originated.  I’ll grant you that this location was remote, but you’d think someone would have thought to look at the black boxes on starships.  I’m just saying.

Anyway, Discovery goes off to the Verubin Nebula, where the find exactly one life sign, and tat one life sign happens to be a member of the same race as Captain Saru.  Sure, Saru is eager to get there and meet his Kelpian.  He even beams over to a radioactive ship to meet the guy.  To coin a phrase, you won’t believe what happens next.

We come to find out that the Kelpian, Su’Kal, has been alone for something like 125 years.  He’s had the ship’s computers and holodeck to basically raise him and keep him company for all that time.  Saru beams over with Michael Burnham and Dr. Culber.  They find that the Kelpian hasn’t developed much beyond the mentality of a child.  Getting him off the ship proves difficult.

Meanwhile, Ensign Tilly, as first officer, is left in command of Discovery.  This wouldn’t be a problem except that Dioscovery pissed off Osyraa and she promised revenge.  Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue.  It’s a big universe.  What are the odds that Osyraa would pick that moment to exact her revenge?

Well, Osyraa shows up and manages to capture the ship and jump to Federation/Starfleet headquarters.  Fortunately, Discovery has Booker to send over to pick up Burnham.  Unfortunately, Adira the human Trill stays behind in the nebula.

There are a few interesting things to consider here.  The first thing I noticed is that Saru is made to look human.  Su’Kal’s ship would seem to be one big holodeck, which allows the computer to change the appearance of the landing party.  It changes the one person who looks like Su’Kal to look human and the two humans to look slightly non-human.  Granted, the ship has suffered massive damage from radiation.  Still, it seems odd.

Grudge the Cat also pays a visit to sickbay.  It would appear that Grudge may actually be a cat.  No mention is made of her being anything else.  It’s not unheard of, even within the Star Trek universe, for a cat to be something more than a cat.  This cigar may be just a cigar, after all.

It seems that the writers for Star Trek like to take their time.  As mentioned, it took a long time for anyone to even realize that the ship existed.  (You’d think whoever sent the ship would have said something.)  Once on the ship, the landing party takes its sweet time trying to get Su’Kal off the ship.  Given that there’s dangerous radiation, you’d think someone would slap a homing beacon on him and be done with it.  They’re very aware that there’s a time limit, so why waste any?

This episode would seem to set up the last two episodes.  I’m a little late in reviewing this episode, so I’ve already seen one of those two episodes.  But I am left wondering how this season will end.  There is talk of a fourth season.  What will that look like?  I’m not sure.  It’s still not clear if The Burn can be fixed.  We now know the cause of it and there is a large stash of dilithium would could mitigate the problem, but it’s not clear to what extent.

A fourth season could see the Federation and Starfleet rebuilding with Discovery’s help.  It could also see Discovery jumping back in time or further ahead, although I doubt it.  I’m thinking that the narrative will jump ahead to a point where progress has been made, but there’s still work to do.  I guess we don’t have long to wait to see how this season ends.

 

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