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Sparky Prime
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Re: Star Trek

Post by Sparky Prime »

Discovery season 5 episode 9
Spoiler
Discovery is still working on repairs, but running out of time, they prematurely jump to the coordinates of the Progenitor's technology. Because of the damage to their navigation systems (isn't that what Stamets does in the spore drive, act as a living navigational system?) they nearly end up jumping into a black hole. Turns out the technology is at the Lagrange Point between two black holes. Before Discovery can figure out how to get it on their ship however, the Breen arrive and tractor it into their shuttle bay. Burnham still knows something about getting into the container that the Breen don't. Discovery plans to steal it from the Breen by sending a small team, disguised as Breen, onto the dreadnought to bring down their shields and tag the container with a transporter lock.

Turns out the map to the Progenitor's technology is also the key to open the case, once opened, the Breen (and Moll) discover a transdimensional portal inside the case, the final security measure. A couple Breen soldiers attempt to enter but are sucked into the portal and vanish. Of course, Discovery's attempts to steal it doesn't go well with Book and Burnham getting caught the moment they put the transporter lock on it. Discovery rams their way into the shuttle bay to rescue the away team, but Moll enters the portal and Burnham follows her. The container is blown into space once Discovery is inside the Breen shuttle bay and breaks open (dunno why), fully revealing the transdimensional portal as it falls towards the black holes.

--

Kind of a filler episode.... The obligatory 'bad guys get the Macguffin and the good guys have to get it back' episode. Seemed a little silly Discovery got there first, just to have the Breen arrive and immediately tractor it onto their ship. The whole episode could have been avoided if Discovery had just scooped it up as soon as they detected it, rather than standing around talking about it. Rayner even pointed out the Breen could show up at any second, so once again, the Discovery crew comes off looking incompetent just for the plot to happen. Burnham handing over the map in the previous episode, only to find out it is also the key in this episode is also a problem that they just kinda gloss over.

Tilly describes the two black holes as "primordial black holes", and I think it was Burnham that claimed they formed the Milky Way... This is all sorts of incorrect science. If any black holes had a hand in forming the Milky Way, it'd be the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, Sagittarius A*. A primordial black hole is a black hole theoretically formed moments after the Big Bang, and likely have dissipated due to Hawking radiation over billions of years. If any still exist, they'd be relatively small. What they show in this episode likely are stellar black holes.

Apparently they got the science behind the Lagrange Point wrong as well. They had the Progenitor's technology floating between the two black holes, which is a Lagrange Point, but that point has an unstable equilibrium. So an object actually wouldn't stay there indefinitely, at least, not without making periodic adjustments, despite this episode suggesting otherwise.

They said that the casing around the Progenitors' technology is made out of duranium, which made it difficult for their sensors to pick up. A previous episode (the episode with the rain towers) said the tritanium was blocking their transporters. But both of these metals have been established to commonly be used in Starship construction. The hull, bulkheads, the walls of the corridors, literally all over the ships. If they caused the issues this episode suggests, they shouldn't be able to scan inside any starship or transport within them. It comes off like the writers just Googled 'metals in Star Trek' and used the first couple results for their technobabble without bothering to learn the context.

While planning to take the Projenitor's technology from the Breen, we got a nice scene planning it all out with Burnham, Rayner, Book, Tilly, Adira and Stamets. Reminded me of the conference rooms scenes we'd see throughout the rest of Star Trek with the senior staff. It doesn't happen often, if ever, in Discovery. Would have been nice if we had senior staff meetings in this show.

The Breen are disappointing in this episode. They've been reduced to little more than Stormtroopers with Moll bossing them around. They also just sit there once they've tractored the Progenitor's technology into their shuttle bay. Why didn't they go to warp the moment they had it secured knowing the other Breen and Starfleet are probably looking for them now?

Speaking of Star Wars... In order to get into the dreadnaught, they fly a shuttle though an exhaust port in order to get past the shields and beam into the ship. Even though the shields form a bubble around the ship, so they would have had to fly through the shields to even get to said exhaust port....

Couple inappropriately timed discussions during the episode... Tilly asks Rayner to sit in the captain's chair while he's in command because she thinks his pacing is making the crew nervous. As I pointed out with an earlier episode, this is a military style command structure. Who cares if he's pacing rather than sitting in the chair? It isn't any of the crew's place to be questioning him on it. Burnham and Book also take the time to discuss their relationship while undercover on the Breen ship... Really the whole away team seems to be bumbling their way through the mission. It comes off very unprofessionally. Not that it seems to matter with how dumb they made the Breen in this episode.

The transporter lock thing was huge. They had much smaller transporter tags in the 24th century. Seemed like they should have had some 32nd century technology they could have hidden on the case that wouldn't have been so obvious, or could cloak, or something... Once again shows that the creators of this series don't seem to get how advanced they should be.

Speaking of faulty future technology... Book and Burnham disable a Breen guard by pulling out a tube from his helmet. Something the Breen in the 24th century didn't have on their suits. You'd think the Breen of the 32nd century wouldn't have such an obvious weakness.

It was kinda cool to see Discovery's nacelles pulled up over the engineering hull for them to fit the ship into the Breen shuttle bay. An actual practical reason for them to be able to detach. Apparently Discovery has at least 7 torpedo bays, as at one point someone said it had taken damage. For a science vessel, Discovery is extremely well armed....

How exactly did the scientists of the 24th century create this case around a transdimensional portal that they apparently put the Progenitor's technology inside? That seemed a little too advanced for their era.

I didn't get why Discovery let the Progenitor's technology just float away like they did. I mean, it was sorta the plan. But they were supposed to beam it aboard along with the away team. Yet, they beamed the away team up and left the case to keep floating off towards the black holes.

There was also a subplot with Saru in this episode discussing smoothing things over with the other Breen so that Discovery wouldn't have two Breen dreadnaughts to deal with. Good to see the character again but unfortunately it didn't really add anything to the episode.
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Sparky Prime
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Re: Star Trek

Post by Sparky Prime »

Discovery season 5 episode 10 - The Finale
Spoiler
Burnham wakes up inside the portal to find what appears to be a hallway with 'windows' to various environments. Getting knocked into one, she's attacked by a Breen soldier. She manages to escape where another(?) Breen attacks her, but he's killed by Moll. And then they fight until Burnham gives her word she'll personally help Moll (even though Burnham started the fight in the first place). Outside, Discovery is under attack by Breen fighters. Book and Culber take a shuttle to grab the portal before it falls into a black hole. Burnham figures out how to get into the room with the Progenitor's tech, but before figuring out the final clue, Moll knocks her out, and incorrectly activates the technology, causing it to begin syphoning matter(?) from the black hole. Discovery destroys the Breen fighters but the dreadnaught is back online and headed to the shuttle with the portal.

Burnham wakes up and removes Moll from the console. Inputting the correct answer, Burnham is greeted by a living Progenitor in an area outside of normal time left behind to teach the next person how to use the technology. Timey whimy stuff I guess. She also tells Burnham this isn't their technology either, but that they'd discovered it, they suspect in what is a long cycle, and that it cannot be used to resurrect the dead (it can essentially make a genetic copy of a person, but it'd be a blank slate without the original's memories). Discovery separates the saucer and using the two parts of the ship in tandem, spore jump the Breen dreadnaught somewhere else (the dreadnaught doesn't shoot at them for some reason). Burnham and Moll return to Discovery, where Burnham decides they're going to destroy the Progenitor's technology, since they already have infinite diversity in infinite combinations, and it's too powerful for one person or culture. So they throw it into one of the black holes, reasoning if they ever need it whoever originally built it can just built another one. If they still exist. Yeah, that's solid logic.

Jumping ahead many years... Burnham and Book have married and have a son who was just promoted to Captain. He picks her up for a ceremony. Discovery is being downgraded, back to it's 23rd century configuration. Burnham explains to the computer that the ship is being ordered to go somewhere and wait... for something called "Craft".

--

Turns out Dr. Kovich is actually Temporal Agent Daniels from Enterprise. He claims to be from the USS Enterprise. I assume he meant a 31st century Enterprise. He couldn't have meant the NX-01, it never had USS in the name. Any who, I figured time travel must have factored in with this character, but... Why the code name? And how is he still alive in the 32nd century when he was from the 31st? I'm sure it'd boil down to time travel shenanigans, despite time travel technology having been outlawed after the temporal war, but I think they could have given a better explanation for this reveal.

Daniels has Geordi's visor, a bottle of Chateau Picard, and Sisko's baseball on display behind his desk, implying his involvement with other Trek series we never saw. There were multiple other items on display as well but those were the only ones they did a close up on. Missed opportunity that they didn't show something from Enterprise.

Culber's spiritual awakening gets an anticlimactic ending, with him feeling he has to go with Book to save the portal. He comes up with the subspace frequency to use a tractor beam on it, and realizes not everything needs an answer. For something that was touched on in multiple episodes, it was overall unnecessary.

We see the Pathweay drive with a shuttle Saru takes to talk to the Breen. Unfortunately, all we really see is that there is a distorted bubble around the shuttle as it drops to normal warp. The writers never define anything about it.

So the Progenitor's get retconned yet again. It's not even their technology that seeded the DNA for humanoid life on various planets, but some other unknown species that existed before them that apparently probably created them as well. Feels like the writers backpedaling, but in doing so only making it worst.

Dunno why Moll is fighting against the Breen inside the portal. Aren't they on the same side trying to get the technology to resurrect L'ak?

The windows to various environments (other planets?) and the final test/control panel involving triangles reminds me of Iconians gateways and control panels.

They also changed the look of the Progenitor's somewhat, despite having shown the one in TNG multiple times throughout this season. Not that I'm surprised with most aliens in Discovery getting alterations... But it's more annoying when they show how an alien looked originally, literally pulling a screen shot from the original episode, and then ignore it to do their own interpretation. I feel like they also totally ignored the message left behind in TNG. They said they found themselves alone, the only humanoids in the part of the galaxy they explored, and hoped their progeny seeded from their own DNA would come together in cooperation to discover their message. Here, they say they just wanted diversity using magic technology that they didn't even invent.

Having had this entire season looking for this technology, just to throw it into a black hole was anticlimactic. I feel like they should have considered keeping it at something like we saw in season 3 of Picard at the Daystrom Institute or something, but I kind of I expected them to destroy it in the end, but not without doing something good with it first. I They didn't resurrect L'ak with it. If they could transfer Gray to a new android body, couldn't they transfer L'ak's memories from his dead body to a new body created by the Progenitor's technology? They didn't rebuild Book's planet with it (although he did plant the roots on another planet, which we see him and Burnham live on). Literally, it's pointless at the end. I know they made changes when they found out the series was being canceled this season. They added the epilogue no doubt, but I have to wonder if the ending with the Progenitor's technology was changed.

It feels like the writers completely forgot about Adira having a Trill symbiote. Stamets asks when they got so wise near the end of the episode and it's like... Don't they have the experience of like half a dozen lifetimes?

Book attempting to form a relationship with Moll gets an anticlimactic ending. He extends an open invitation for her to get to know him, if she chooses.

Obviously they only downgraded Discovery to its original 23rd century configuration to keep it in-line with the short-Trek episode "Calypso", which was written before they decided to move the series to the 32nd century. So in universe... what's the point of downgrading Discovery and leaving it adrift for nearly a thousand years? How do they know about Craft? What's the point of having the ship wait for him and help him out? Burnham suggests it's a Red Directive mission, so basically, the writers take a lazy way out to not explain anything by calling it all classified. If this mission is so classified though, why does Starfleet give Discovery a big sendoff as it leaves? Nothing about this made sense because they're trying to make something fit that they'd obviously forgotten about and moved away from. It's almost as bad as Enterprise ending with a holodeck episode.
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Re: Star Trek

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Discovery post-mortem

So now that Discovery is done, I wanted to post some thoughts on the series as a whole...

To be frank, this series was a mess from the beginning. Personally, I think it was a mistake for them to make this yet another prequel to TOS in the beginning, and for its creators to claim it was in the same timeline as the original continuity. I get that for a modern day series set in that era, some updates were required, but they didn't even try to maintain any semblance of continuity. Their technology was on par with the 24th century (holo-communications, holo-projectors in every part of the ship, LED touch control panels, replicators and so on), even the ship designs looked too advanced for the 23rd century. The Klingons... While I appreciate that they did try to get back to the "disastrous first contact" Picard described which Enterprise dropped the ball on, every other decision they made with them was terrible. Ignoring that Enterprise gave us an explanation for the Klingon's appearance in TOS, completely changing how they looked in general, the look of their technology... They might as well have been a brand new species. The spore drive is essentially a magic teleporter without any real science behind it. And yeah, Star Trek isn't exactly hard science fiction, but at least they'd base their technology off of real world principals, unlike this series.

Season 2 saw some improvements, with the creators listening to some criticisms of the first season and made some adjustments. The Klingons got their hair back, although the explanation that they 'shave for war' was dumb. They got the classic D-7 battle cruiser. Starfleet (or the Enterprise at least) ditched the holo-comms. And we got Captain Pike, Spock, Number One and the Enterprise. Kinda says something that fans loved Pike so much that they ended up spinning that off into its own series. Course, they redesigned the Enterprise. Supposedly they made it 25% different for licensing rights. Something the shows creators denied, saying they could use the original design, but then never explained why they didn't. I never liked the story premise of this season... Section 31 NOT being a secret organization that everyone knows about, with their own headquarters and fleet of ships completely contradicted everything about them, and they follow the instructions of what turns out to be an evil AI. Control wanting the Sphere data from Discovery never made sense given they explain Control wanted it to become self aware... But the fact that it wants that data and is acting on its own to get it inherently makes it self aware. I was afraid when they introduced nano-tech that they'd turn it into the origin of the Borg. I'm convinced the creators were planning to do just that, but thankfully changed their minds. The entire Red Angel/escape to the future plot was pointless. With Control dead when they killed Leland, there was no reason for them to go to the 32nd century anymore, but they still do it anyway. Not to mention, they use a "time crystal" to make it possible, once again introducing a completely magical element to the series with no real science behind it. To top it all off, the writers just hand wave off some of the continuity issues they'd created in this series thus far by lazily explaining Starfleet just classified everything. Despite Michael Burnham being infamous throughout Starfleet for being the only officer to commit mutiny. Oh, and at one point, they visit the magic mushroom realm, where the creatures that live there tell them using the Spore Drive damages their realm. Something the creators immediately ignore as it's never brought up again, as they continue to use it.

So they soft reboot the show by sending it to the 32nd century in the 3rd season. A fresh slate where they don't have to worry (as much) about continuity. Unfortunately, I think it was once again a mistake to set the show in this era... The creators took it too far into the future. Because we'd seen a few bits of future technology, thanks to Enterprise and Voyager in-particular, Discovery never felt sufficiently set in this century. Sure they introduced some new things we hadn't seen before, like programmable matter, but then we never saw the future technology we'd seen in the other series. It seemed like the writers mostly just gave us somewhat better versions of 24th century technology (except holograms that can be destabilized by... blinking at them). I did like the updated Discovery, although the detached nacelles thing makes no sense, and they never explained why they added an A to the registry number. The Burn, while a terrible name, was at least an interesting concept. But the fact it was caused by a single individual who was essentially a mutant with a superpower over subspace, causing The Burn because he was simply upset and screamed, was dumb. Not to mention, if they were desperate to come up with FTL without dilithium, they already had that in Star Trek. And I have to say I never bought that Earth would become a xenophobic isolated society that'd leave the Federation. At this point in the series, we also started getting a lot more references from other Star Trek series. Which can be a good thing, but the way these writers utilized it made this universe feel a lot smaller. There was no sense of scale to make the Milky Way feel like a big place like the previous Trek series had.

Season 4 gave us another galactic crisis with "species 10-C" mining the galaxy. I didn't feel like the writers had enough story to cover 13 episodes with this plot. Much of the season was Starfleet spinning its wheels trying to figure out how to deal with the situation and going on a pure assumption that this race was so far beyond them that they wouldn't have any means of communication. Only for it to be a non-issue by the time they actually meet 10-C with a viable means of communicating. I don't really buy that no one has researched trying to get past the Great Barrier in 900 years. crossing the galaxy is no longer much of an issue between transwarp drive and quantum slipstream being common place, and time travel at least had been a thing for a while, I would have thought they would have begun leaving the galaxy by this point in the future. And they ignore continuity by not acknowledging two Enterprise's had made it past. I was disappointed that 10-C is from a solar system just outside the galaxy... So they aren't really from outside the Milky Way, they're just on the outer edge, which is outside the barrier for some reason. It was nice that the writers finally took something real in terms of science and the idea of communicating with a truly alien species, but they didn't really do it justice and made this season entirely forgettable.

Using the newly named "Progenitors" from TNG episode "The Chase" I think was an excellent idea. Unfortunately, the writers had to go and invent some super technology the Progenitor's supposedly used to create life in the galaxy, rather than (relatively) simply seeding the necessary DNA for humanoid life to evolve on various worlds that could support life. So the season became a MacGuffin hunt, which wasn't all that interesting as far as relic hunt plots go. It was kinda cool to get the Breen as sort of the villains of the season, but unfortunately they were under-utilized in favor of Moll, which was a little too one note of a character to be all that interesting. This season was a lot of wasted potential. And then to end the series by downgrading Discovery back to it's original 23rd century version, just to align it to the short-Trek episode "Calypso" with zero explanations...

Characters... I thought it was a mistake for these writers to put so much of the focus on just one character: Michael Burnham. I remember when they first announced this series would be different because the Captain wouldn't be the main focus character. It always struck me as odd because Star Trek has always been an ensemble. Not every episode of Star Trek focused on the captain. As a result, we really didn't get to know most of these characters at all. Honestly, I don't even know the names of most of the bridge crew in Discovery. And being a human raised by Vulcans (for which, you'd expect she'd be less emotional)... Spock's adopted sister no less... Burnham was written very much as a Mary Sue. She always knew the answer and always saved the day, not really giving any other characters a chance to shine. I hated Stamets. As the first openly gay character in Star Trek, that was something they had hyped before the series began, it was disappointing that they made him such an unlikable jerk of a character. And as the series progressed, it seemed like they had less and less for him to do as the spore drive became less important. I never got how he was married to the ship's doctor, Culber. I know they say opposites attract, but common... Culber I did like. Unfortunately, they killed him off in the first season. I think the creators realized fans liked him more than Stamets, because they brought him back in the second season. It didn't make sense how they brought him back but whatever. Saru was another character I really liked. Really, the first season he was the only character I liked. But I hated his back story. His species are pray that are actually meant to be predators if they're allowed to get old enough? And all it took was him figuring out a piece of technology for him to be invited into Starfleet? That's a clear violation of the Prime Directive. Season 3 introduced Book, who was alright as a character, but most of the time I felt like he wasn't necessary. I mean, he's a non-Starfleet officer who was always on Discovery, and I think really was only there because the writers wanted a love interest for Burnham. We also got Adira and Gray, the first non-binary and trans characters in Star Trek. I actually really liked them when they were first introduced. A human with a Trill symbiote doesn't make much sense, but given they can see their past host/partner who died? That was interesting to me. Unfortunately the writers had no clue what to do with these characters once they downloaded Gray into an android body. Gray was written out of the show to stir mud on Trill because there was no role for him on Discovery as a non-Starfleet officer (not that it ever stopped Book), and Adira became the shadow of either Tilly or Stamets, making them a redundant character. They also didn't seemed to forget about the Trill symbiote, because Adira never expressed the knowledge or confidence of the other 5 previous hosts. Oh, I forgot about Tilly... Honestly, I don't even have much to say about her as a character, other than that she was kind of annoying. They kept having her criticize how others treat people, completely forgetting that a starship is run with a military command structure.

TL;DR
This show was a mess. Bad plots, bad continuity - both internally as well as with Star Trek as a whole, poor characters. I remember they'd said they hired writers specifically to keep with continuity but... I doubt it was true considering what we got. Or they quit, considering there was reports of a lot of turmoil in the writers room in the first two seasons. Alex Kurtzman also claimed that he thinks it's impossible to keep track and adhere to all the continuity, but frankly, I don't think he ever actually tried. It's surprising how amateurish the writing was at times. There were some good ideas here and there, but they were largely just wasted potential, or overly drawn out. We did get Strange New Worlds as a spin off. It's a better Star Trek series than Discovery ever was, albeit it still has problems. Anyway, overall I think the writers of Discovery really dropped the ball with the series and basically made every mistake they could possible have done with it.
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Re: Star Trek

Post by Sparky Prime »

The official trailer for Star Trek Prodigy season 2 is online. The entire season will premier on Netflix July 1st.
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