Well, it’s finally here: the premiere episodes of the first new Star Trek series since 2001, Star Trek: Discovery. “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars” are less a pilot for a new series and more a prologue, as it sets up the events of the series but doesn’t directly deal with our setting or most of our characters. Does it work? Listen and find out!
“I wish they’d hold the camera fucking steady for a minute.” Haha
It didn’t bother as much except for the hand-to-hand combat at the end of the second episode. That scene was shot badly. It worries me that TNG/DS9/VOY had better fight scenes.
Ultimately I enjoyed the two episodes, but I don’t really buy that the death of Captain Georgiou was Michael’s fault (unless I missed something). Sure she broke the law, but it’s not the same. So if the rest of the series is indeed about Michael’s redemption, then I don’t think it’s earned.
Yeah, it’s true that it’s really T’kuvma’s fault (I keep wanting to call him Tuvix…) that Georgiou died, but I can also see Michael taking on a little more guilt than she might have earned. She was the one who came up with the plan, and I can imagine she sees it as a failure on her part that she didn’t protect her. Michael was dealing with her own part of the fight, and we as the audience can agree that there was nothing she could have done, but protecting the Captain is one of her major goals–she says several times, I think in this exact order, that she’s trying to protect the Captain, protect the crew, and prevent a war, and she’s failed to do all of that. All the officers court-martialing her at the end know is that Bernam and Georgiou entered the Klingon vessel and that only Bernam left. I’m sure in her own report she gave more of the blame than might be her fair share–“The Captain died and I failed to protect her” kind of a thing. Maybe she’s even worried that the aftereffects of the nerve pinch meant Georgiou wasn’t operating at her peak physical performance.
Of course, going this deep into speculation about motivations is one of my bad habits, but I think it makes sense here. Earned or not, Michael believes that she fucked up, and there really aren’t that many people left to be a scapegoat for the war.
She was convicted mainly for mutiny and attacking a superior officer, and that makes sense. Even her guilt for not protecting the captain is somewhat justified. Not enough, however, for the entire season to be about that (in my opinion).
The idea that StarFleet is trying to find a scapegoat to blame the war on also bothers me a bit. I don’t know that they really need to go there (whether or not that’s what they’re doing, I’m not sure). Including the way they shot that court scene: all dark and the faces of the judges hidden, like it’s some sort of dictatorship.
On the one hand, life in prison maybe seems a bit harsh. On the other, Burnham did attack her superior officer in order to gain control of the weapons to fire at a hostile species the Federation has had no official contact with in a hundred years, breaking all kinds of Starfleet regs including peaceful contact, so…
Yeah. Georgiou’s embrace of Burnam’s plan (and the way Yeoh played it) in the last act seemed exactly the same sort of response to audacious risk-taking, even up to mutiny, that we’ve seen many times before. But unlike those episodes, this time the plan didn’t work. They didn’t bust Kirk for stealing the Enterprise because he’d just saved the planet. And if the punishment was harsh, it’s because Georgiou wasn’t there to moderate it.
I think for the reasons Eric gave, I found Burnham’s plan “let’s shoot them before they do anything” just unbelievable, taking me right out of the moment. Her Vulcan training and exposure to Federation practices for seven years fly out the window and she convinces herself in a heartbeat that, yep, we gotta blow them up! And it does not sound like a plan that you could get a peaceful Federation vessel to buy into.
The show implies it to be the correct action – T’Kvuma was a nobody and his death before the beacon goes off would have been meaningless. But that feels like it’s complete happenstance. If it had been an official Klingon vessel from one of the many houses, I can’t imagine this plan would have worked. My entire Star Trek experience says firing on a ship in a virtual first contact scenario is batshit insane.
It seems to me Burnham joins the many ranks of TV show characters who are supposed to be badass yet end up acting like a child. (Iron Fist, Marvel Agents of SHIELD, many others…)
Writer shortcut – all the Klingon houses, apparently independent, would all turn up at precisely the same moment.
T’kvuma also seems to rely heavily on some heavy coincedences: that he invented the cloaking device, that it’s not that difficult to fire up one of these beacons (what, just anyone can do this?), and one trite speech is enough to unite the houses.
I can see that opinion of Burnham’s actions, completely, but for me it comes down to the fact that I interpret her actions as coming from a place of a) untreated PTSD from her parents being murdered by Klingons (I can’t imagine Vulcan has the best mental health system), b) thus a deep, almost pathological, respect for Sarek, c) not having gone to Starfleet Academy.
I don’t think Burnham is supposed to be “badass”–quite the opposite, in fact. Her logic was wrong, her actions were wrong, and she’s punished both by the death of her mentor and life imprisonment.
In effect this opener was the season 5 cliffhanger of a more traditional Star Trek show. It’s a pretty bold move, and I don’t think it can be properly contextualized without the further background the show will (I assume) give us, via flashbacks.
As for the Klingons… eh. I don’t like Klingons, but again, we don’t know anything about T’Kuvma. It did seem like they knew him, so maybe they have this conversation with him all the time, and it only worked this time because Starfleet showed up and gave them a glorious battle. But I will agree, the Klingon stuff was the weakest parts of the episodes for me.
Yeah, the Klingon houses seems to go from bored twitch T’Kumva to rabid awfully quickly. But, you know Klingons.
Badass was definitely the wrong word here, I retract that word unreservedly. Strike it from the record.
I don’t think there’s much value in arguing my points any further, because I’d end up having to invent the context around what we’ve seen and the fictional context is pretty thin at the moment. I guess we’ll see if they do a better job of justifying everything as things move forwared.
(Still, I can’t see Sarek thinking the recommendation “just blow up the ship” is a good one due to the near-impossibility of getting anyone to agree to it, unless Sarek was intentionally giving her a Kobayashi Maru but that explanation is a too wheels-within-wheels for me.)
The ship-to-ship battle scenes were pretty brutal though, this is definitely not your granny’s Star Trek. I don’t know exactly how I feel about that.
Still got those exploding consoles tho <3
Also as an aside, goddamn did I love that "Burnham outlogics the computer" scene. Star Trek lives.
I’m glad my desktop PC uses safer tech than Federation standard.