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STAR TREK: DISCOVERY - S1, E5: "Choose Your Pain"...

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#1 FarscapeOne

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 01:27 PM

While on a mission, Lorca unexpectedly finds himself in the company of prisoner of war, Starfleet Lieutenant Ash Tyler and notorious intergalactic criminal, Harry Mudd. Burnham voices her concerns about the repercussions of the spore drive jumps on "Ripper".

#2 RJDiogenes

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 03:58 PM

And here we have Discovery's version of Harry Mudd.  I wonder how well they'll pull this off.
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#3 FarscapeOne

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 05:07 PM

I am curious on seeing Rainn Wilson's take on Mudd.

#4 Christopher

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Posted 15 October 2017 - 08:46 PM

View PostFarscapeOne, on 15 October 2017 - 05:07 PM, said:

I am curious on seeing Rainn Wilson's take on Mudd.

He did a fairly good job -- capturing the showy style of Roger C. Carmel's performance without doing a straight imitation. And he seemed pretty much in character, though with a less misogynistic take on his history with Stella. I was surprised at how he ended up. But the previews we've seen make it look like he'll be back.

Well, they did deal with the ethical questions of torturing the tardigrade for the drive, but they dealt with them rather cursorily, more as a plot obstacle to rescuing Lorca and a science problem to technobabble out than as a subject for any real ethical debate or commentary. That's kind of disappointing.

Also, if there's a way to use the drive without torturing a non-consenting creature, that eliminates the most obvious theory for why Starfleet doesn't use the spore drive in the future. Based on that last shot, I guess maybe it induces some kind of mental issues/hallucinations in a human user.

And we have our first canonical mention of Robert April outside of "The Counter-Clock Incident." On a list of the most decorated captains that also included Jonathan Archer, Matt Decker (I think), Philippa Georgiou, and Christopher Pike. Shouldn't Garth of Izar have been on the list? We know his achievements were required reading at the Academy in the 2250s. And were there really no other highly decorated captains between the 2160s and the 2230s? Well, maybe there were, but their surnames were later in the alphabet than Pike and so they weren't on the first page. Hmm, that would allow for any of the three main captains in my Rise of the Federation novels -- T'Pol, Malcom Reed, and Bryce Shumar.
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#5 Cardie

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 12:10 AM

I suspect they didn't want to mention Garth, after the big Axanar brouhaha.

I did like seeing the tardigrade sail off in a bath of spores to places unknown. They did talk about it perhaps being sentient, which seems to be where this Federation is drawing the line at torture.

I may not have fully caught the dialogue, but Lorca's blowing up his ship to save his crew from Klingon torture, while somewhat justified, doesn't explain or justify why he skedaddled rather than die with them.

I was shipping L'Rell and Voq last week, but after she was sexually brutalizing Tyler, I'm not feeling romantic vibes any more! Tyler has been in the opening credits since the beginning but Kulber never has. I fear our first gay couple may not be here for the long haul.
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#6 Christopher

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 07:48 AM

View PostCardie, on 16 October 2017 - 12:10 AM, said:

I suspect they didn't want to mention Garth, after the big Axanar brouhaha.

Garth's military victory at Axanar was what made him a hero, the man Kirk admired when he was a cadet. As I said, Garth's achievements were required reading when Kirk was at the Academy, and Kirk graduated just two years before this episode. The "brouhaha" was years later at Antos IV, when he was badly injured and the Antosians' cellular metamorphosis therapy drove him mad.


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I did like seeing the tardigrade sail off in a bath of spores to places unknown. They did talk about it perhaps being sentient, which seems to be where this Federation is drawing the line at torture.

That's what bothered me. The Federation at this point should be beyond allowing any form of cruelty to animals. Even with the necessities of wartime, they seemed oddly cavalier about the idea.

Still, though Trek tends to misuse the term, "sentient" literally means capable of feeling, not of intelligent thought. Lots of non-sapient animals are sentient, able to experience pain and emotion. So maybe this was one case where they were actually using the term right.



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I may not have fully caught the dialogue, but Lorca's blowing up his ship to save his crew from Klingon torture, while somewhat justified, doesn't explain or justify why he skedaddled rather than die with them.

Yeah, that is troubling, perhaps intentionally. Although he said later that he dropped deliberate conversational cues to see which ones the Klingons repeated, so maybe not everything he said in the cell was truthful.



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I was shipping L'Rell and Voq last week, but after she was sexually brutalizing Tyler, I'm not feeling romantic vibes any more!

I didn't realize that was L'Rell; I thought it was another Klingon female, just a captain. It's hard to tell them apart under all that makeup, and this is the first time we've heard her speak English (with a Scottish accent, somehow). Anyway, I don't trust Tyler's account. This suspiciously healthy Starfleet officer turns up in the cell, wins Lorca's trust, then helps him escape? And he's the only survivor of an otherwise dead crew? And the Klingons chase them, but don't actually shoot their ship down until just after they beam out, despite having plenty of opportunity? How conveeeeenient...
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#7 G-man

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:07 AM

^^^ I think Cardie was referring to the fan-film AXANAR that provoked Paramount into listing the guidelines for acceptable fan-films.

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#8 Christopher

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:25 AM

View PostG-man, on 16 October 2017 - 08:07 AM, said:

^^^ I think Cardie was referring to the fan-film AXANAR that provoked Paramount into listing the guidelines for acceptable fan-films.

You mean CBS. Paramount Television changed their name to CBS Studios when Viacom split its TV and movie divisions 12 years ago (with the main corporation changing its name from Viacom to CBS Corporation and, confusingly, creating a new corporation called Viacom to handle the movie properties). The only company named Paramount that's still involved with Trek is the movie studio Paramount Pictures, which licenses the feature film rights from CBS and co-produces the Bad Robot film series.

Anyway, I'd be surprised if the actual owners of the franchise felt constrained in their freedom to refer to a character because of some uppity fan-film makers. I mean, that's the whole principle being enforced there, that it's CBS's right to decide what to do with its own intellectual property and not let someone else interfere with that. The fan-film people had no legal or moral claim on the name Axanar or the character of Garth. They were essentially pirating them, going beyond the usual hobbyist approach to fan films and attempting to profit off of intellectual property belonging to someone else. CBS stopped them, reaffirming the principle that it is their right to control those concepts and what's done with them.

Edited by Christopher, 16 October 2017 - 08:26 AM.

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#9 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:05 AM

View PostChristopher, on 15 October 2017 - 08:46 PM, said:

View PostFarscapeOne, on 15 October 2017 - 05:07 PM, said:

I am curious on seeing Rainn Wilson's take on Mudd.

He did a fairly good job -- capturing the showy style of Roger C. Carmel's performance without doing a straight imitation. And he seemed pretty much in character, though with a less misogynistic take on his history with Stella. I was surprised at how he ended up. But the previews we've seen make it look like he'll be back.

I liked his Mudd, because he was funny enough for this series - and in a suitably sinister way.  I also liked how he gives us a glimpse into the way Starfleet is affecting people - who aren't a part of it.  I hope we get MORE of him, because we've lost that outsider perspective that we had with Michael for a little while.

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Also, if there's a way to use the drive without torturing a non-consenting creature, that eliminates the most obvious theory for why Starfleet doesn't use the spore drive in the future. Based on that last shot, I guess maybe it induces some kind of mental issues/hallucinations in a human user.

I don't think that's what we signified there...from what we saw - Stamets had walked away, and a mirror image was still there.  SO - pretty sure that's the mirror universe making an appearance.


View PostCardie, on 16 October 2017 - 12:10 AM, said:

I did like seeing the tardigrade sail off in a bath of spores to places unknown. They did talk about it perhaps being sentient, which seems to be where this Federation is drawing the line at torture.

I thought it was particularly odd for it to be Saru making that call.  After all, we're told that his species are essentially evolved livestock animals bred specifically for their ability to feel and signal fear at threat of death.  I would expect that he would have some degree of concern/respect for animals with this kind of unique ability being utilized in service to others.

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I may not have fully caught the dialogue, but Lorca's blowing up his ship to save his crew from Klingon torture, while somewhat justified, doesn't explain or justify why he skedaddled rather than die with them.

My take, which can be later disproven, is that we should take "escape" with a grain of salt.  That Lorca escaped is a fact.  How he escaped is not discussed.  He may have already been away from his ship for some reason - and the rest of the away team died and his ship got captured.  Michael Burnham: Mutineer is a great Starfleet fable, but it doesn't fully capture all the nuance of who she is.  And in that context, no particular reason to expect that Lorca gave away his entire story to a guy like Mudd, and nothing in his character so far suggests that he would deign to feel the need.

Quote

I was shipping L'Rell and Voq last week, but after she was sexually brutalizing Tyler, I'm not feeling romantic vibes any more! Tyler has been in the opening credits since the beginning but Kulber never has. I fear our first gay couple may not be here for the long haul.

Well - as the ship's doctor he seems to be more of a recurring character, which seems fine.  I'm not sure we need too much of him and Stamets.  I wasn't that impressed with their chemistry - the scene felt forced to me, but I think that will improve over time - if it's not forced but just gently evolves.  Which means he doesn't need to be around a lot.

QT

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#10 Christopher

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 12:12 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on 16 October 2017 - 11:05 AM, said:

I don't think that's what we signified there...from what we saw - Stamets had walked away, and a mirror image was still there.  SO - pretty sure that's the mirror universe making an appearance.

It's not literally a "mirror" universe. It's only called that because it was introduced in an episode called "Mirror, Mirror." In-universe, it's never been called that in dialogue, only "the alternate universe." And it's never been a universe of direct opposites. As we saw in DS9, the Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans, etc. are all pretty much the same, and a lot of the characters are the same people at heart, as was Spock in the original episode. It's just an alternate history where humanity went down a darker path and founded an empire instead of a federation. Indeed, that's actually part of the theme of "Mirror, Mirror" -- not that the duplicates are diametric opposites of our heroes, but that they're only a slight variation, that that same potential for evil is within all of us and humanity could've gone down that path just as easily in different circumstances.

(Indeed, in Jerome Bixby's original pitch for "Mirror, Mirror," the alternate universe was only slightly different from the regular one, in that the Federation was losing a war because phasers hadn't been invented yet, plus Kirk was married. The "Mirror" part was never meant to be more than a poetic allusion.)

And I'm going to be annoyed if that final shot with the mirror turns out to be anything other than just a hallucination or maybe a time distortion or something. The idea of a mirror image as something physically distinct from the thing it reflects is ridiculous. When you look at someone's mirror image, you're looking at them, just with the light following an indirect path between their body and your eyes rather than a direct one.



View PostCardie, on 16 October 2017 - 12:10 AM, said:

I thought it was particularly odd for it to be Saru making that call.  After all, we're told that his species are essentially evolved livestock animals bred specifically for their ability to feel and signal fear at threat of death.  I would expect that he would have some degree of concern/respect for animals with this kind of unique ability being utilized in service to others.

On the other hand, fear for oneself doesn't necessarily translate to empathy for others. Just look at how Mudd answered the "choose your pain" challenge.



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Well - as the ship's doctor he seems to be more of a recurring character, which seems fine.  I'm not sure we need too much of him and Stamets.  I wasn't that impressed with their chemistry - the scene felt forced to me, but I think that will improve over time - if it's not forced but just gently evolves.  Which means he doesn't need to be around a lot.

I'm afraid I think the actor playing the doctor/boyfriend is very unimpressive.
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#11 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 12:27 PM

So - the quote about Saru was me.

And yes, of course I know the mirror universe isn't exactly a mirror!  It just seems to me that there is a real entity there, because we, the audience are seeing it, and Stamets and Culber did NOT see it.  And it acted independently, AFTER it was alone in the room. I can't figure out why they would put the entity literally in a mirror and looking exactly like Stamets, unless they intend to signal the mirror universe.  Could be wrong, of course.

As to the actor playing the doctor - I found him to be fine, as the doctor, and less than stellar as the boyfriend.  But again, my thinking here is that they are trying to force something instead of letting the characters look like and act like a couple that's been together for a while.

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#12 Orpheus

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 02:19 PM

A little off-topic, but I am reminded of a quote from "Dr. Jekyll and My Hyde", which has stuck with me for ...er... since I was a kid.

Robert Lewis Stevenson said:

"This glass have seen some strange things, sir," whispered Poole.

"And surely none stranger than itself," echoed the lawyer in the same tones.



#13 RJDiogenes

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 04:49 PM

Not a lot to say about this one.  Lorca was captured by Klingons and got away.  He rescued another Starfleet prisoner, but left Harry Mudd to the tender mercies of the Klingons. Those good old Starfleet ethics at work.

And it turns out Lorca has a dark secret in his past-- somehow he managed to escape a Klingon attack and killed his own crew to save them from becoming prisoners. How intriguing.  Wake me when it's over. But I guess this explains his affinity for Burnham.

They did a pretty good job with Mudd's portrayal, considering he's ten years younger and a prisoner of the Klingons. He was portrayed as a populist dork resentful of Starfleet elites, which is certainly not inconsistent with what we know of him.  It was kind of amusing that it was his true love for Stella that got him into this pickle, when less than ten years later she will become his tormentor.  Having is not so fine a thing as wanting, indeed.  :lol:

In the last episode, Stamets seemed to be loosening up a bit, but in this one he's a bigger *a$$h*le than ever.  "What are you doing with your face?"  Although I suppose it was impressive that he injected himself with the Tardigrade DNA to get the Magic Mushroom Drive to work.  But everything just seems to fall flat on this show. Same with Saru's moment with Burnham, and Georgiou's last will and testament last week.  They just seem incapable of creating a touching moment.

At least they released the giant tardigrade, although how he rehydrated himself in the vacuum of space I cannot guess.

And we finally got to hear someone say "f*ck" on Star Trek, even if it was just the annoying Millennial kid.  :lol:
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#14 RJDiogenes

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 04:50 PM

Hmm. I guess we can say "f*ck" on Star Trek, but we can't say "f*ck" on Ex Isle.  :lol:
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#15 Christopher

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 05:52 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 16 October 2017 - 04:49 PM, said:

Not a lot to say about this one.  Lorca was captured by Klingons and got away.  He rescued another Starfleet prisoner, but left Harry Mudd to the tender mercies of the Klingons. Those good old Starfleet ethics at work.

I think it was meant to underline how not ethical Lorca is -- and to be one more clue that Tyler isn't the Starfleet officer he appears to be.


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They did a pretty good job with Mudd's portrayal, considering he's ten years younger

The irony, of course, being that Rainn Wilson is now 17 years older than Roger C. Carmel was when he first played Mudd. So there's a discrepancy of 27 years there. Of course, Carmel seemed older than he really was. It's surprising to realize he was actually 18 months younger than William Shatner.



Quote

At least they released the giant tardigrade, although how he rehydrated himself in the vacuum of space I cannot guess.

Maybe by drawing in water through the mycelial network?
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#16 Cardie

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 06:10 PM

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The "brouhaha" was years later at Antos IV, when he was badly injured and the Antosians' cellular metamorphosis therapy drove him mad.

I was referring to the controversy over the Axanar fan film, in which Garth was a major player. The legalistic argument you made for their right to refer to it would run up against the PR department wanting to let sleeping dogs lie. And, although Garth may have been a brilliant tactician, perhaps, with his career cut short by his madness, he wasn't one of the most decorated captains even if widely admired and studied.

Quote

And it turns out Lorca has a dark secret in his past-- somehow he managed to escape a Klingon attack and killed his own crew to save them from becoming prisoners. How intriguing.  Wake me when it's over. But I guess this explains his affinity for Burnham.

One of the recaps I read pointed out that whatever the fine points of Lorca surviving the destruction of his ship, if it happened at all, he'd be the last one Starfleet should entrust with a shiny new scientific vessel and give him carte blanche in its efforts to win the war. A normal man would be in about the shape Matt Decker was when he beamed his crew down to the planet the doomsday machine "ate." I guess a psychopath might not suffer survivor guilt, but psychopaths shouldn't have the power entrusted to Lorca.
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#17 Orpheus

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 06:31 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 16 October 2017 - 04:50 PM, said:

Hmm. I guess we can say "f*ck" on Star Trek, but we can't say "f*ck" on Ex Isle.  :lol:

Hide: To avoid derailing the thread

Edited by Orpheus, 16 October 2017 - 06:42 PM.
: typos


#18 Christopher

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 06:47 PM

View PostCardie, on 16 October 2017 - 06:10 PM, said:

I was referring to the controversy over the Axanar fan film, in which Garth was a major player. The legalistic argument you made for their right to refer to it would run up against the PR department wanting to let sleeping dogs lie.

Well, that would be unfortunate. The whole Axanar thing was entirely the fault of the fan film's makers. For decades, the studio and fan film makers were able to coexist because the latter followed the rules and just made their films for fun. Then one group went too far and tried to treat it as a professional, for-profit production. And they were rightfully put in their place, and that should be the end of it. Legitimate Trek productions shouldn't have to be affected by it.


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And, although Garth may have been a brilliant tactician, perhaps, with his career cut short by his madness, he wasn't one of the most decorated captains even if widely admired and studied.

My point is, the madness hasn't happened yet. "Whom Gods Destroy," set in 2268, established that Garth was a new inmate of Elba II. Kirk reacted to Garth's fall as if it were a recent thing, and Garth's vengeful feelings toward the crew that refused to obey his insane orders seem fresh. Also, the reason Garth is able to take over Elba II is because nobody knew about his shapeshifting powers -- the very powers that drove him mad. So he can't have had them for very long. All indications are that Garth's madness is something that happened within the past few months before the episode. So at the time of Discovery in 2256, Garth should still be a successful, respected captain and will continue to be for another decade or so.

Edited by Christopher, 16 October 2017 - 06:48 PM.

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