Trekabout Episode 268: Choose Your Pain Posted on October 16, 2017 by Eric Murphy http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/trekaboutshow.com/podcast-player/1484/trekabout-episode-268-choose-your-pain.mp3In “Choose Your Pain”, Star Trek: Discovery loses us a little bit, just as the USS Discovery loses Ensign Tardigrade. iTunes Google Play RSS Tags: "Choose Your Pain", Star Trek, Star Trek: Discovery 22 Comments
I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated your episodes on Discovery, especially this one. I’ve loved DSC up to this point, and felt increasingly confused and saddened as this episode clunked along. Then, I popped onto the AV club, which said that this episode was extremely promising. I started to feel like I was the one who got sent to the mirror universe. I don’t listen to Trekabout to be validated, but it I was happy to be validated this time.
I’m starting to wonder– is Lorca supposed to be a good captain in this show? Good as in good at managing a group of people? Was Saru supposed to be a good captain in this episode? I can kind of interpret what Saru’s subplot in this episode might have been about (he didn’t learn from Georgiou and now he’s picking up Lorca’s worst traits), but I had to think about that for a while. Seeing the “do what I tell you, and if you have another opinion, fuck you” approach to leadership come from a sympathetic character like Saru is kind of upsetting and I don’t trust the show to know what it’s doing.
And are we to understand that, when his old ship was being attacked, Lorca escaped– alone– and blew up his own ship? I know that’s literally what they said, but I can’t imagine a scenario where he does that and stays in ANY organization. (Lorca says “There’s space on this runabout for one… BYEEEEE” (pew pew pew))
This show has amazing production values. Shame about the writing.
But to answer your questions: I don’t know, and the show isn’t written in such a way to tell us anything, either. I would like to think it’s a deliberate decision, but as the show has progressed and each episode feels more like an outline of an episode than an actual episode… I think they’re just not working out the details enough. They’re trying to jam 150 pounds of plot into a 100 pound bag.
“Outline of an episode” sounds about right…. I’m wondering if the scripts were being rushed? This episode felt like a first draft, and I just don’t understand how it got this way. Thank you again for your coverage, I hope the show improves for all our sakes.
I’m seeing all these fucking ridiculous things of people saying “that moment at the end of the episode was so historic!” Yeah, that brotherly shoulder pat was a real fucking Plato’s Stepchildren moment. For fuck’s sake, DS9 did more for gay representation than this. I keep thinking of the Kids in the Hall episode where they go to see a gay-themed movie and the woman has all these shirtless scenes and yet the actual gay kiss is hidden behind a closing garage door. It’s 2017, for fuck’s sake. We don’t have to feast on scraps anymore.
I don’t know many brothers that caress the backs of each other’s heads.
Whoa, the episode where Trekabout goes full Trekker!
I can’t agree with this take at all. I suppose I get Eric’s point that in DS9 they built up to the point of questioning the Federation, and this show can’t do that (although I think that’s what the first two episodes attempted to do). But like I said at the AV Club, it’s entirely clear to me that the show holds the values of the Federation dear even if some of the characters do not, because the main character has had a scene where she says or demonstrates that literally every episode. In this ep, she disobeyed orders to try and protect the Tardigrade even though she knew it might mean the loss of her captain or even her ship. I don’t know where this plot is going, but I’m not worried that it is going to ignore the values of Star Trek at the conclusion.
Also, I liked Tilly’s f-bomb. It was fucking cool! And it humanized both her and Stametz (who especially needed it). I understand it was ad-libbed, which makes it seem less of a stunt, although as a rule I like to evaluate a work within its four corners.
It was ad-libbed? Where did you hear that? I find that extraordinary hard to believe.
I don’t know if it’s true. I read it somewhere (r/startrek maybe?). I liked it even if it was in the script, though.
Ad-libbed or not, I wonder if there needs to be a conversation about what CBS’s role is in this show, besides putting it “on the air” as it were. I remember when The Good Fight came out on all-access, the majority of the articles prior to the premiere airing were about the fact that the lead character says “fuck” in the show, going against character (or not) from the original CBS parent show. So I wonder if this is CBS emphasizing the “edginess” of All-Access.
I just have to say that hearing the character say it wasn’t fun for me. It was fucking exhausting, and that was on top of all the rest of the drudgery that this episode was. Gay relationship aside there really wasn’t much to love about this episode (and even that was grating–I’m not a fan of the acting choices that Mark from Rent is making), and I’m starting to really resent all the characters. I just hope the next episode picks up.
I’ve gotten a bit tired of torture sequences and I kept seeing wheels within wheels as certain aspects of the prison break were too easy. I can’t help thinking the writers gaves Lorca those damaged eyes purely for this torture sequence that didn’t involve, well, doing what we’d recognise as torture.
Show continues to feel not-really-Trek for me. Having come through years of TNG, I don’t really enjoy seeing a Klingon reset where they are fundamentally bad guys with few redeeming qualities. And the only “decent” Klingons we’ve seen are ones that devotees to xenophobic purity which ate a Federation captain. *shrug*
Also, when the Starfleet prisoner said “shit” I thought, oh, okay, I guess we’re definitely going to be that kind of show. I’m missing Star Trek as an anthology. One with episode titles that appear on screen. I don’t know if I wanted a full-blown serialied story. I guess it depends on the story?
Still, I just watched Charlie X with my son today and I can’t say I enjoyed that much more. Spock *smiled*. Jesus, we need to get out of these early episodes…
It’s not a reset though, since this is pre-TOS.
I know what you *mean* but these aren’t even the moustache-twirling TOS Klingons. I mean it feels like a reset after everything we apparently learnt about Klingon society. There’s no bridge between any of the Klingons we have known and these Klingons.
I don’t see inconsistencies, but then again I don’t like Klingons so I haven’t paid that much attention. It seems that like most everything about Discovery, YMMV.
So I will defend the show’s depictions of the admirals by saying that in TOS and TNG they (and ambassadors, for story purposes they were largely interchangeable) were often portrayed as arrogant idiots who only cared about “the mission” and rarely occupied the moral high ground that Picard/Kirk would have to take. DS9 and Voyager offered a more balanced overall portrayal of the brass, which is the one I prefer. But come on, Admiral Nechayev commanded Picard to genocide the Borg. And that was from the show that Most Represented Gene’s Vision, according to The Fans.
That said, I generally agree with the takes you offered in the review, though I don’t think I’m quite at the breaking point yet with the show. In spite of the huge amount of activity going on you are correct, it is a wheel-spinner, the plague of serialized television, and the Fuller speculation is on point. Bryan Fuller makes cultishly-adored shows that last for a few seasons and then get cancelled over low ratings. I’ve liked all his work. But it is all cult stuff. My random-ass speculation is that the executives hired him figuring he’d be great, he has a history with Star Trek but also has some auteur credibility, and then freaked when they saw he wanted to take things in a not-broadly accessible direction (as he does) and remembered what Bryan Fuller ratings mean and suddenly there’s no more Bryan Fuller. Just a theory. But this episode really made me think I was onto something as it was just an action episode with a few random character moments that mostly fell flat for me, in large part because they sort of seemed shoved in. It’s like how superhero movies expect me to connect with the emotional moments in them when they don’t bother to build the connective tissue to get me there. I’m at a loss as they’re putting these out behind a paywall so the people paying for them are going to be hardcore fans, and if they actually think that Star Trek fans want largely generic action then this is not going to turn out well. [Insert crawl of Star Trek films by box office results not adjusted for inflation, with Nemesis in last place.]
Again, I’m not yet at the breaking point and I remind myself that TNG became a classic show with infinitely worse beginnings. If this is what we have to look forward to, ugh. But as you say, we’ll have to see where it goes.
I was thinking about this, too. TNG took over two seasons to become watchable. But in an age worth more good television than we know what to do with, can STD survive that far?
Absolutely not. Those days are over, over, over.
The question that haunts me: if this wasn’t a Star Trek show, would I still be watching? The scary answer: I don’t know.
I think it’ll depend on how CBS treats its All-Access shows and what metrics they’re using to measure the show’s popularity. If they’re essentially tracking them like CBS shows, Discovery is over and done in one. If they’re going to Netflix them, then I think it’s possible the show gets at least a second or third season. The subscription numbers jump has probably been enough to justify another season.
That said, people have argued that All-Access is a ploy for CBS to get the upper hand in distribution negotiations, so who knows…
I am really starting to think that most all problems with DIS are due to it not being the showrunners’ story. They’ve said as much–that they’re following Fuller’s outline. The problem seems to be that they may not be very good at filling in the details.
I have a sneaking suspicion that DIS would even look a lot different if Fuller were still showrunning.
These Klingons are awful and bring the show to a grinding hault everytime they have any kind of dialogue. And you guys brought up a point that I’ve been thinking myself since STD started…..why do these even have to be Klingons?? Why not have this be a new alien race?? They’ve essentially RUINED the Klingons! I don’t know what’s worse, the Klingons or the awful awful awful weapons fire. What were they thinking? Enterprise had normal Star Trek style weapons fire, so why did it regress to “pew pew” lasers in this show?? For me something as simple as the sound of the weapons takes all the steam out of any of the battle scenes.
I’ve really enjoyed your podcasts btw, been listening to the DS9 ones as I binge-watch that series for the first time. Been a TNG fan for a long long time, but for one reason or another I never got into DS9….unitl now. Great great great show. I’m towards the end of season 4. Watching DS9 for the first time while also watching the new STD episodes really brings stuff into perspective. Even 20 years later, DS9 is the FAR better show.
I wasn’t ready for the F-bomb in this episode. I know this isn’t a valid criticism, and it may very well be just me. It’s obviously not a big deal but for whatever reason it colored the way I viewed the rest of the episode in a much more negative way that than if that hadn’t happened. When Stamets looked over her, for a half-second I thought he’d say “Watch yourself young lady, this is Star Trek.”
Past that, I was disappointed by the episode overall. As both of you pointed out, nothing of substance happened. Good storytelling shows us instead of telling us. In this show, however, anything important is told to us. We know the war is bad, or the sporing technology is important only because the characters keep telling us that. Even in terms of character development the show is stagnant – none of the characters have really changed or evolved.
Lastly, I’d like to defend The Orville. Not because I love the show, or because it’s doing anything particularly original or groundbreaking (in fact the pilot was terrible), but because I think it’s in an upward trajectory. The episodes are getting better, and even though there’s still a lot of room for improvement, there’s also a lot of promise. And because it’s not heavily serialized, just like TNG, it is more likely to emerge successful from these early growing pains.