FOUR OUT OF FIVE ASSESSORS RECOMMEND SPOILERS FOR THEIR PATIENTS CHEWING GUM
STAR TREK: The fifth episode of the season Die Trying DISCOVERY was pretty strong. Of course, there were some boring aspects of the absurd writings, such as a 1000 year old ship with seeds floating unprotected in space, and a crew of four (including two children) – why not build more than one ship with seeds, or place the seeds safely on the planet, or use a ship that is not a thousand years old – and Empress Georgio, who knows how to make holograms from the 32nd century. It would be like a 10th century Viking He can appear in the 21st century and know that he can clap his hands twice to turn off the light when he is not allowed to know what light is!
But no one’s perfect… …and the authors of Discovery are not the first to come up with unrealistic and absurd ideas… Spock’s brain, anyone? What about the King’s threshold or the threshold?
But what I really want to talk about in this blog is one aspect of this episode that has taken it to a much higher level, and that is working with different characters, old and new. The power of Die Trying was not an amazing story (because frankly the story itself was quite predictable): The return of the Discovery was not what they expected, the future Starfleet was suspicious and the crew had to prove themselves by accomplishing a mission that only they could do).
No, the success of this episode is due to the fact that the audience got to know fascinating new characters and also had the chance to see beautiful scenes with the characters we already know, to hold on to them. Let’s talk about…
TO GIVE A LITTLE LOVE TO THE STAFF IN PLACE…
For the first two seasons of Discovery, it seemed that if your name didn’t appear in the first credits, you’d have to forget the fact that your character does more than just press buttons, and occasionally say yes, sir.
This season, however, we see a little more Discovery Bridge team and even a few officers on the lower deck. This became especially clear in this episode with two scenes. The first was a teaser in which the crew members of Discovery travel back in time with big eyes and marvel at the wonders of the future. And thank the Great Bird that his reaction was not just a stupid look, as we saw in Star Trek: Like the Enterprise, the film travelled slower and slower in V’Ger.
No, this time they commented on what they saw, smiled and even laughed. Of course, some of the things they commented, added by writers, are just to make the future incredibly amazing… even if those pieces of information don’t make sense. Why, for example, is the hull of a ship made of holographic protective walls? He who loses power, loses, that’s it! What about the gondolas in bulk? Why is there even a pod if there’s no dilithium?
But it doesn’t matter. It was still cool to see the not-so-short look of the Voyager-J, and fans are already applauding the short look of the USS Nog and paying tribute to the figure of the very popular actor Aron Eisenberg, who died recently.
The best segment of the whole episode, however, were the review scenes with Culber, Reno, Stemes, Tilly and Nhan. Each actor was truly able to live in his own characters and show the scope of his personality to those who brought fragments of them – from Culber’s inner peace to Renaud, who simply didn’t care about Stams’ unpleasant insecurity, to Tilly’s manic story of a first season’s journey to the mirror universe, Nan’s instinctive distrust of the same people who don’t trust her. Let’s look at the whole segment, because it was so much fun…
THE KIRK AND THE SPOCK SWAPPED PLACES?
What I have not seen in other reports this week is the new dynamic that has developed between Captain Sarah and her First Officer Michael Burnham. Let’s compare this weird couple to other dynamic Star Trek duets…
- Picard and Riker – While Riker was certainly more of a couple’s adventurer (like Burnham), Picard wasn’t Sarah. Picards lacked experience and self-confidence, and frankly, Picardy itself was a bit adventurous. Sarah’s not here.
- Sisko and Kiera – While the first Sisko Sara could show serenity, Sisko also had a warm fire that burned quietly inside him. Sarah doesn’t have that fire in her belly, there’s algae. And Kira’s passion came from combining religious beliefs with deep anger and resentment in a war. Burnham’s passions come from elsewhere.
- Janeway and Chakotay – Besides, even Chakotay’s temperament was more like Sarah’s, and Janeway was more of an asshole like Burnham. So it doesn’t really work.
- Archer and T’Paul – Archer may look a bit like Sarah (hardly), but despite the volcanic education they both share, Burnham is not T’Paul, and vice versa!
Then Kirk and Spock, prototypes, couples that set the standard for all the following. It is clear that Sarah is not Kirk, but Burnham (although she is Spock’s adopted sister) is not Spock. But what about the opposite?
In this episode we saw the first real proof of what this team relationship would look like. Sarah’s right, and she always plays by the rules. And so is Spock. Kirk has a book – somewhere in there – he’s read it several times and he knows what’s in it. But he treats it as a suggestion and not as a set of rules and instructions… usually relying on his intuition (and damn good luck!). Doesn’t that sound like Commander Michael Burnham’s modus operandi?
Oddly enough, I think the newest Star Trek couple is the Kirk/Spock Reverse Team… which, all of a sudden, I find quite fascinating. Usually for dramatic reasons it is good to have a captain and a co-pilot who do not always agree with each other. This allows the authors to present different sides of the argument and examine the possible consequences of challenging the team’s decisions. Star Trek has always benefited from these intellectual and emotional conflicts between a responsible person and their trusted advisor. And while we know exactly how the speaker with Kirk and Spock works when a passionate and guided seeker of intuition changes – what happens when a calm and rational sage has the last word? Will a cold-blooded vagrant listen and follow orders like a book, logically?
We never had a real captain / first officer who was in conflict with Discovery because Lorca had her own board and Pike Number One was on a completely different spaceship.
TO MEET THE NEW BOSS…
Now let’s talk about the three new characters that have been introduced. The first was the future commander-in-chief of Starfleet, Admiral Charles Vance (played by the Israeli actor ODED FEHR). As I said, it was 100% predictable that the future Starfleet would not welcome Discovery’s crew with open arms. This show hardly ever uses the Disney method (yes, nowadays even Disney doesn’t usually use the Disney method anymore!) But Admiral Vance risked taking a mean, vicious and suspicious attitude towards strangers and doing his best to protect what was left of the Federation.
And in a way, that’s what he does. But it’s also clear that Vance wants to trust the Discovery team. He fights because he’s a good man in a bad situation… …and it manifested itself both in the letter and in Fehr’s subtle performance… Of course, he also had to play a difficult game and have the crew disbanded, otherwise there wouldn’t be any dramatic tension and Discovery would have to complete its research. But in the end, Vance becomes an ally and even a person who will decide what Discovery does and where it goes next.
But if that really happened, Vance couldn’t have let the ship or the crew go! It is a millennium technology, which can be analysed and copied by future technologies in at least a few days. Weeks or months at most. You fight for every ship (or build a new one) and suddenly the Federation becomes one thing again! Of course, there is only one Stamets to calculate jumps, but computers from thousands of years ago were not as powerful as today’s PCs and Macs (because they didn’t exist yet!). The computers of 40 years ago were the Apple II Plus and the TRS 80! So I guess the computers and AI’s of the 32. …won’t sweat on their journey to Midzelian space… and probably won’t even tear them apart.
Oh, that last thing about Vance… Is it me, or does it seem that the relationship between him and Admiral Senna Tal can be more than just a friendship? It’s a pity that Adira Tal left this episode so soon, but I suspect that her former relationship will get some attention soon.
THE BEST CHARACTER SO FAR?
So far I must say that the best character portrayed in all three seasons of Discovery was Christopher Pike… …thanks to the incredible performance of ANSON MOUNT. Then it must be Sarah again because of actor Doug Jones. And if you really want to take third place, I’ll tell you it’s the engineer Jett Reno (brilliantly played by TIG NOTARO).
But now I’m completely fascinated by Covich’s mysterious new character. In fact, the character’s name wasn’t even revealed during the episode (as in The Man Who Smokes Cigarettes in Act X), although he appears on the IMDb website for actor DAVID CRONENBERG as Kovich.
At last, Empress Georgio faced a formidable opponent… and then another! Not only does Kovitch remain completely calm with his arrogant contempt and detached sarcasm, but he also seems to be able to dazzle Phillip himself! This stranger seems to know more about the mirror universe and the earthly realm than Georgiu himself, and that of course worries him. Awesome!
Later we see Georgie in an episode, looking into the distance, with no reaction. What does her treatment of Kovich, the former empress/surgery officer of the 31st century, have to do with the fact that she was a member of the Kovich family? District? She’s worried about the fall of the Earth Empire… …or that there hasn’t been an intersection for 500 years and that it’s probably locked up here forever because the distance between the mirror universe and this universe is getting longer and longer? Did Kovich ever tell her the truth?
I don’t know if I can trust him, but who cares? He is probably one of the most attractive characters in the series so far. Put him in a room with Michael Burnham, and my eyes and ears will never leave Covich, because he is so fascinating by nature. His looks, his performance, even this useless show… Everything is still perfect. I want to know a lot more about him! What’s his role in Starfleet? Is he even in Starfleet? Does it belong in Article 31? Is he from the alternate universe? Did he put vomit in George’s head? Is she a good witch or a bad witch? Is he human? No more Kovicha! Not to be confused with Morrie Povich.
Well, the only thing that really pissed me off in that episode was the sudden Nexit of the series Barzan, Nan’s security commander. In fact, I was wondering if actress Rachal Hancheryl had asked me to leave the show for any reason. I don’t think so. According to the interview, she knew from the beginning of the third season that her time on the show would end in a few episodes. She decided that Nan, as the first Discovery figure ever seen in a red shirt (in season two), would probably be killed. But instead she goes to Barzan alone in a slow boat… probably to make up for lost time reading and counting the seeds. Have a good trip, Nan.
Now it is clear (at least to me) what happened. The show runners should push someone from the future Starfleet into an important position for the crew. Of course, you can’t get rid of Sarah or Michael, so the new transplant won’t be CO or XO. Culber’s a doctor. I can’t leave him. Jet Reno is a chief engineer, and his character is too precious. We have to keep it. Shemets does mushroom maneuvers and Detmer steers the ship (and he goes higher and higher, so don’t leave him alone!) Ovosekun is related to Detmer, not to her. Tilly’s Tilly, she’s safe. You could probably get rid of Ries, Bryce or Nilsson, but nobody really knows what they’re doing on deck, and a new transplant needs a role and an important position.
Nan has left because the Chief Security Officer is a recognized and important function, and the ship cannot have two equally strong Chief Security Officers. Come on in: Lieutenant Audrey Willa, played by VANESSA Jackson, the future head of security at Starfleet, who starts out as a bad girl for Michael and the company, but is ultimately impressed by the crew and their ability to act despite her failure. (In fact, one of the best rules in that episode – if you know what was clear in that series in episode three, the next rule is from Jett Reno: Dysfunction is a team).
In fact, this bow of characters (from the unpleasant quarrel to the sweet tooth) seemed to be Willa’s only function in this episode. Michael and the team had to appear arrogant and confident in their positions, knowing there was nothing they could do wrong. And Willa must have looked mean and shady until she finally warmed up.
But I feel that the series has gone from Nhan to Will, despite the love for the introduction of the other two new characters. I really liked Nan. Apart from Sarah and Linus (and the man with the giant head that looks like a deformed pumpkin), she is the only non-human in a repetitive cast. Moreover, apart from Michael and George (who should have the title of captain, damn it!), she is the only other full captain in the crew. Nan would have been an excellent second officer and even a possible first officer. Willa is too young and inexperienced. After all, Rachel Ancheryl has 11 years more experience as an actress than Vanessa Jackson, and you can see that. I’m not impressed with Willa… So far…
But all in all, another great episode of Discovery during the season, which contributes more to impressing the fans than suppressing them. And now that most of the decorations and exhibits have been removed and most of the pieces are on the chessboard, we can finally take this exhibition into space and see what it really has.
Please don’t ruin this.