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STAR TREK: DISCOVERY - S1, E6: "Lethe"...

Star Trek: Discovery Star Trek: Discovery: Season 1

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#1 FarscapeOne

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 01:04 AM

The U.S.S. Discovery crew is intrigued by new addition, Lt. Ash Tyler. Sarek seeks Burnham's help, rekindling memories from her past. Admiral Cornwell questions Lorca's tactics.

#2 RJDiogenes

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 06:30 PM

How is it that a rescued prisoner of war becomes part of the crew?  Wouldn't Starfleet want to do some serious debriefing?  Wouldn't he need some extensive mental health care?
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#3 Christopher

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 08:49 PM

Wow. I'm still reeling. This is the first episode of DSC that's really staggered me. Why? Because an episode of Discovery about Michael Burnham and Sarek has given us a profound new insight into Spock's relationship with Sarek as established 50 years ago in "Journey to Babel." We finally know why Sarek was so betrayed that Spock went into Starfleet, and it's so simple and yet so incredibly potent. Things I've taken for granted for nearly my whole life are now revealed to me in an entirely new light, and it works, and it's amazing. This is the power of a prequel expressed in a way I don't think either ENT or DSC achieved before now.

Also, more than any previous DSC episode, this one (which was co-written by veteran TNG/VGR writer-producer Joe Menosky along with Ted Sullivan) really felt like a Star Trek episode. It focused mainly on a single science fiction story that was about exploring a character relationship and a theme rather than just advancing a serial plotline. It showed people having good intentions and trying to help and understand each other. It helped to flesh out the ensemble as characters and show us a slice of shipboard life. Even Lorca showed a willingness to work for peace, and we got to know and understand him better so that he came off more as a damaged person than just a bastard (although his apparent decision at the end there was pretty rotten). And it was fun, with lots of entertaining character interplay. The new, more... mellow Stamets is a lot funnier than the old one. I hope we get a lot more episodes like this.


View PostRJDiogenes, on 22 October 2017 - 06:30 PM, said:

How is it that a rescued prisoner of war becomes part of the crew?  Wouldn't Starfleet want to do some serious debriefing?  Wouldn't he need some extensive mental health care?

The fact that Lorca is making unorthodox decisions like that was specifically challenged by the admiral.
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#4 Cardie

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 11:01 PM

I have to watch it again because my CBS All Access App was glitching and buffering every couple of minutes, except for the commercials, that ran uninterrupted. Despite the two big character reveals at the end, that Sarek chose his biological son over his adopted daughter only to discover that his son made that agonizing decision moot, and that Lorca is hanging by such a slender thread that the manipulates Cornwell into Klingon hands to save his command (I think he rightly smelled a trap)--the episode seemed to me an exposition-laden snoozefest. Perhaps when I don't have three times more buffering than show it will seem better.
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#5 QueenTiye

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 12:02 AM

I'm agreeing with Christopher. This is my favorite episode so far. It felt truly like Trek, and there was an element of hope in the final exchange between Burnham and Tyler that makes me hope that the going speculation about Ash Tyler isn't true.

Did anyone get the significance of the focus on Lorca's phaser at the end?

I am hoping that Lorca didn't really just set the admiral up like that. It would be near irredeemable.

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#6 Christopher

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 07:31 AM

I should've added -- another reason the reveal about Sarek and Spock was so potent for me was that it also worked as a reveal about Sarek and Burnham. As a Trek fan, I was astounded by the unexpected answer to the 50-year-old question of why Sarek had such a bee in his bonnet about Spock joining Starfleet, and as a writer, I was delighted by the deft storytelling maneuver of revealing that insight in a story about a different relationship and having it be an important moment of discovery (interesting word there) for both relationships.


View PostQueenTiye, on 23 October 2017 - 12:02 AM, said:

It felt truly like Trek, and there was an element of hope in the final exchange between Burnham and Tyler that makes me hope that the going speculation about Ash Tyler isn't true.

I'm pretty convinced it's true -- there was a lot here that reinforced the idea of Tyler being a Klingon spy. He conveniently has no living family, a fact they made a point of establishing up front. He's strongly focused on combat and war. He did offer some worthwhile emotional insight for Burnham, but it was based on his experience with fighting and nearly dying.

Still, it's possible that Tyler is a new personality and he doesn't consciously know he's a spy; it's asking a bit much to think that Voq could've learned to speak flawless English and master human behavior and Tyler's character in just three weeks of training. Or it could be that living among humans and getting to know them gives him a change of heart.


Quote

Did anyone get the significance of the focus on Lorca's phaser at the end?

I took it as just a callback to the earlier beat that he sleeps with a phaser. It's underlining what was established in that scene, that Lorca is broken and defensive and is never without his weapon. And calling back that earlier scene also reminds the viewer of the fact that Admiral Cornwell was going to take Discovery away from him, so that we understand why he'd have a reason for not wanting to rescue her.



Quote

I am hoping that Lorca didn't really just set the admiral up like that. It would be near irredeemable.

He couldn't have known in advance that any of this would happen. I don't think he planned it, I just think he was handed an opportunity to keep Cornwell from taking his ship and is damaged and desperate enough ("It's all I've got") that he's exploiting the windfall. Although I suspect he's conflicted about it. This episode did a lot to define and explain him, to establish that he's not evil (or a Section 31 agent or a refugee from the Mirror Universe or whatever inane fan theory is circulating this week), but broken, suffering from the trauma of war and losing his way because of it. He's putting up a brave front rather than getting help, and it's destroying him. Which is a more sympathetic way of painting him, and it offers hope that he can be redeemed and potentially continue as a series regular in future seasons. It wouldn't be the first time a show Alex Kurtzman has worked on has featured a lead character seeking redemption for past villainy (Xena, Fringe).
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#7 Cybersnark

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 09:33 AM

If nothing else, Lorca is a textbook example of why Starfleet ships need to have counselors aboard.

And Happy Stamets manages to be hilariously unsettling.
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#8 Jorgasnarova

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 02:42 PM

Magnificent episode all the way around.

The Michael and Sarek stuff was brilliant.

In fact, all the character development stuff was brilliant.

Loved the holodeck battle simulations.  Holodecks were introduced in an episode of the animated series so it is not achronistic to have them here.  In "Encounter at Farpoint" Riker praises the holodeck saying he'd never seen a simulation so completely convincing, which can be taken to mean the TNG holodeck was a perfection of a technology that had been developing for some time.

Am wondering what the arc with Stamets will be.  Is exposure to the tardigrade DNA and the spore drive slowly driving him mad?

Hoorah!  The official Star Trek web page has announced DSC will be renewed for a second season, to likely stream in 2019.

#9 RJDiogenes

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 05:20 PM

The new groovy Stamets was funny, and a lot more likeable. I wonder how his partner will react.

Other than that, I remain unimpressed.  Tilly is still annoying, New Guy needs a shave, and Lorca actually left his good friend at the tender mercies of the Klingons so that he could keep a command that he is not qualified for. The Burnham-Sarek plot just emphasizes how unlikely it is that we never heard of her before (and everyone thought that Sybok was a stretch) and the super-civilized, IDIC-loving Vulcans demonstrate their hypocrisy by excluding Burnham on the basis of her race, and by referring to her and Spock as "experiments."

And they still seem incapable of taking advantage of their venue. The episode was only 44 minutes long, and included a sex scene between two fully clothed people.

One more episode in October. Unless there's an order-of-magnitude improvement or Game of Thrones-level nudity next week, that will be the end of my All Access subscription.
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#10 Cardie

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:14 PM

Quote

Still, it's possible that Tyler is a new personality and he doesn't consciously know he's a spy; it's asking a bit much to think that Voq could've learned to speak flawless English and master human behavior and Tyler's character in just three weeks of training. Or it could be that living among humans and getting to know them gives him a change of heart.

Voq could already have known English, as L'Rell does. Perhaps being without a house, "son of none," led him to acquire extra skills in order to make his way. (I liked that "fights like a Klingon" Tyler also never knew his father and his mother said that was no big loss.) I think he would have to be conscious of who he is and what he's doing. The most impressive part of his impersonation is his acting friendly and supportive with Michael, who killed his venerated T'Kuvma.
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#11 Christopher

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 06:17 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 23 October 2017 - 05:20 PM, said:

The Burnham-Sarek plot just emphasizes how unlikely it is that we never heard of her before

Oh, just the opposite. It just gives Spock more reason to want to avoid talking about his baggage with her. I mean, first Sarek had to choose which of his kids got to join the Vulcan service, and he chose Spock and recommended Michael to Starfleet. Then Spock rejects the Vulcan service anyway, which makes Sarek feel betrayed, so he objects to Spock joining Starfleet. Which must've felt to Spock like an arbitrary double standard -- why object to me joining when you encouraged my big sister to join? Since, of course, Sarek never told him about the deal he made, so Spock never understood Sarek's reasoning. (And it doesn't seem he and Michael talk much.)


Quote

(and everyone thought that Sybok was a stretch)

Which they really shouldn't have, since Spock never told his best friends about his fiancee until he was forced to reveal it, and he never told them his father was the Vulcan ambassador until the dude was standing right there. As Keith DeCandido said in his Tor.com review today, "An open book, Spock ain't."


Quote

and the super-civilized, IDIC-loving Vulcans demonstrate their hypocrisy by excluding Burnham on the basis of her race, and by referring to her and Spock as "experiments."

"The super-civilized, IDIC-loving Vulcans" have always had their share of racist jerks. T'Pau didn't want "outworlders" at Spock's wedding. Sarek insulted the Tellarites as a race. Young Spock's classmates in "Yesteryear" called him a "barbarian" and said his father brought shame to Vulcan by marrying an Earther (ideas they probably picked up from their parents). Solok in DS9: "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" spent his whole career trying to prove human inferiority as a scientific fact. Fans have an unrealistically rosy view of Vulcans because of their fondness for Spock. But even Spock was constantly casting racial aspersions at humans, even if it was generally played as a joke.
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#12 FarscapeOne

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 12:55 PM

I have to say this was the best episode so far.

I actually have to agree with Christopher on much of what he said, particularly about Vulcans and how this answers so many things about the Sarek/Spock relationship.

The one thing I don't agree with is Tyler... too obvious he is a Klingon spy, or is Voq in disguise.  I think Tyler is another damaged, broken person from war like Lorca, only taking a different path of dealing with it.

#13 Cardie

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 06:54 PM

Quote

The one thing I don't agree with is Tyler... too obvious he is a Klingon spy, or is Voq in disguise.  I think Tyler is another damaged, broken person from war like Lorca, only taking a different path of dealing with it.  

The clinching evidence for me that Tyler is Voq comes not as much from within the narrative--although hints are there--but from the facts surrounding Shazad Latif's original casting. Three Klingon characters and their portrayers were announced in December 2016: Kol, L'Rell and T'Kuvma. Latif was cast as Kol. Then comes news that Latif will play Ash Tyler instead. Voq, though obviously central to the plot, never becomes part of the con and PR appearances and he is credited as Javid Iqbal, an actor with no other credits, whose pictures only show him in Voq makeup, and whose surname is the one Latif was born with. Of course, this could all be the show pranking us, I suppose. The war has broken Voq, too, so that doesn't make your read of Tyler any less true.

If Tyler is Voq, this plot twist apparently came later in the development process. The full head prosthetics the Klingons now wear make the deception possible. I wonder if they came up with the idea of a Klingon infiltrator after seeing how fully the makeup disguised the actors.
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#14 Virgil Vox

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 09:01 PM

I just realized that I haven't watched the last two DSC episodes and I feel no burning desire to watch them anytime soon. My guess is I won't be keeping my subscription for long.
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#15 Christopher

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 09:03 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 24 October 2017 - 09:01 PM, said:

I just realized that I haven't watched the last two DSC episodes and I feel no burning desire to watch them anytime soon. My guess is I won't be keeping my subscription for long.

I'd suggest giving "Lethe" a try. I've been pretty lukewarm on the show up to now, but this one was terrific.
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#16 RJDiogenes

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:46 PM

View PostCardie, on 24 October 2017 - 06:54 PM, said:

The clinching evidence for me that Tyler is Voq comes not as much from within the narrative--although hints are there--but from the facts surrounding Shazad Latif's original casting. Three Klingon characters and their portrayers were announced in December 2016: Kol, L'Rell and T'Kuvma. Latif was cast as Kol. Then comes news that Latif will play Ash Tyler instead. Voq, though obviously central to the plot, never becomes part of the con and PR appearances and he is credited as Javid Iqbal, an actor with no other credits, whose pictures only show him in Voq makeup, and whose surname is the one Latif was born with.  
Fascinating.  A Klingon modified to look like a human is kind of far fetched, though. It was one thing in TOS when the Klingons were practically human to begin with, but I don't see them modifying one of these inexplicably bizarre creatures. Besides, McCoy was easily able to confirm that the guy in "Trouble With Tribbles" was Klingon with just his medical scanner-- I imagine a former POW would have undergone a much more extensive exam.
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#17 Cardie

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 06:24 PM

Maybe these masters of deception in L'Rell's mother's house have some tricks that fool scanners or make people perceive Voq as human when he isn't really physically transformed. If DSC can have spore drives, it can take "surgically altered to look like a human" and run with it, I suppose.
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#18 Christopher

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 06:58 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 25 October 2017 - 04:46 PM, said:

A Klingon modified to look like a human is kind of far fetched, though.

No worse than the makeup changes Worf went through to pass as a native of the planet in "Homeward," which would've required removing a massive amount of his cranial structure. One of the most ridiculous things about that awful episode is that he gets the surgical alteration to go down to the planet, then comes back up to the ship and is converted back to his normal Klingon appearance long enough to have a staff meeting, and then gets the surgery all over again to go back to the planet.

There's an issue of IDW's Klingons: Blood Will Tell comic that presents the backstory of the Klingon who became Arne Darvin in "The Trouble With Tribbles," and it surprisingly portrays him as a ridged Klingon who gets surgically altered, rather than a Quch'Ha (the Klingon Language Institute's term for a TOS-style smooth-headed Klingon -- the ridged ones are HemQuch). So that sort of thing has been proposed before.
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#19 Sci-Fi Girl

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 05:35 PM

Catching up with this episode shortly after watching ep 704 of OUAT, I noticed something weird!

Mild spoilers for OUAT will follow in my whole analysis, so here is spoiler space instead of tags:

~

~

In OUAT season 7, there is an "Alice", either from *Wonderland* or more likely the *looking glass*.  Her cursed alter ego is named Tilly, which we learn in 704.

Then I watched this episode of DSC, and suddenly realized that Michael's friend is also named Tilly ... and they keep reminding us that Michael reads Alice in Wonderland!

Now, I did a little inquiry, and found that there is a vague and obscure connection between "Alice in Wonderland" and the name Tilly:  It is the name of one of the characters in a story that the Dormouse tells to Alice.

So, after confirming that there is such a connection, I wondered why Star Trek is making a point of repeatedly mentioning that the main character reads "Alice in Wonderland"?!  That must mean something.  At the very least, it is probably a reminder that not all things are what they seem.  This may be yet another clue about Tyler / Voq.  Or someone.

Oh, and there is something weird going on in a Looking Glass!!  :oh: :freakoutnonny:

THEN, I had a sillier thought: Stamets is *The Cheshire Cat*!  :lol:  No, really!  He suddenly grins a lot, and he appears and disappears in strange ways!  (Kinda ;))  :howling:

SFG
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#20 RJDiogenes

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 07:49 PM

So maybe they're implying that the show exists in an alternate universe after all.
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