Saturday, February 17, 2018

Guns, I Guess & Good Trek/Bad Trek #58 Discovery: Will You Take My Hand?

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave you’d probably know that there was another shooting this past week. A lot of people died. Kids. Seventeen of them. It’s pretty fucked. I don’t really know what to say about it, and obviously, a Star Trek blog isn’t really where you go for takes on mass shootings. What always gets me after any kind of event like this is just how quickly the crazies come of the woodwork. Soon as anything happens folks like Alex Jones will come up with some batshit theory as to what “really went down” Jones is saying that there was a second shooter. I guess implying that this is some kind of false flag. To what end? I have no idea. They imply that democrat agents are always behind these things so that people will get scared and call for more gun control. We don’t. If these were false flags all they’ve accomplished is in making the whole country numbed to this shit. I can’t really imagine that’s what would be their goal. People get angry, but even in their anger it just amounts to a whole bunch of bullshit. People call for gun control after something like this, but never in a “we demand it now” kind of way, but usually in an “I’m sure this won’t do shit just like all the other ones didn’t do shit but here goes nothing” kind of way. Least that’s how I feel. 

I read a lot of user comments. It’s what I do. The worst one that I came across read “The DNC is broke and now are orchestrating events to take the focus off the Left.” That’s pretty bananas. For starters, the focus wasn’t on the left. The news has been pretty focused on the shit show that’s living in the White House. Why would the DNC shoot up a bunch of kids to take the heat off Trump? I’m not buying it. Plus, dude just said that the DNC is broke. How is an organization in disarray going to orchestrate a false flag school shooting? That takes immense organizational skills. These things don’t just happen. You have to plan them and brother, they ain’t easy. If the DNC is as broken as this guy thinks then there's no way they're pulling this shit off. Honestly, I think the only entity capable of pulling off a false flag school shooting is Apple. I'm not saying they're responsible, but I wouldn't put it past them. 

I hate how that happens, but here we are. Some people think that we need to require folks to carry guns. Every able-bodied person should have to have a gun. An individual mandate of guns. That’s not a good idea because I’m ostensibly an able-bodied adult and I should most definitely not have a gun. And I know that I shouldn’t have a gun because I think guns are cool as shit. I think the cooler you think guns are the less you should be allowed to have them. 

That’s it. I don’t know. This shit is pretty awful. But know what wasn’t awful? The last episode of Discovery. 


Recap:

We got ourselves a whole bunch of resolution this week. Captain Emperor Georgiou is sent on the mission to end the Klingon war. To this end, they take a probe to the Klingon homeworld with Burnham, Tyler, and Tilly. A good portion of the way through the mission we learn that it’s not a probe, but a bomb! A bomb most foul. I have no Earthly (Qo'noSly???) idea how, but somehow this is a bomb that if detonated in the heart of Kronos will somehow make all the water turn to vapor and then the whole planet blows up shortly thereafter????? Okay. I guess that's a jump we're just taking. 
This is why presidents always look like shit by the time they leave office

I don’t really get it either, but Burnham and Tilly seem pretty convinced that this is the case. So Burnham goes against orders again in a nice little bookend of character development. She makes the leaders of the Federation realize that blowing up an entire goddamn planet is pretty messed up. The Federation brass let her talk to the Klingons and make peace which works out perfectly. For a little while at least. Evil Georgiou is free to roam and have sex with prostitutes and the Discovery stumbles upon a wounded Enterprise being captained by Pike. Fade to black. 

The Carbonite Maneuver is set about five years after this, so the next five years are really going to be something for Balok


Good Trek?

Yes. I’d say that this was pretty solid. It helps to stop looking at each of these as singular episodes and more to view the whole season as the pilot. We get a little arc for Burnham from the person who almost started a war despite Federation ideals to someone who stood up for Federation ideals and in doing so ends the war. When you look at the entirety of the arc I liked it a lot and think it definitely works. 
You have to fight for that right

Despite how I liked the chemistry between Tyler and Burnham I was beginning to tire of Tyler and the whole half Klingon thing. I’m sure they’re not done with him or with Georgiou for that matter. But I can tell you that I’m definitely done with both of them. They can show up in a few seasons, but I’m definitely ready to give both those storylines a rest. 
Racism is cool so long as it's true
A lot of folks didn’t care for the Enterprise showing up at the end, but of course it did. Why wouldn’t it? That’s the whole point of setting the show when it is. Something that I’m still not sold on the prequel timeline, but if you’re going to have it set at the same time as the Enterprise is running around then they have to put the Enterprise there. If you didn’t think that was going to happen at some point, then I don’t know what to tell you. 


Spaceties
I thought they were going to do some time travel bullshit and have the majority of the events of this season just erased. To the show’s credit, they didn’t do that. Which is good because even though I really thought they were going to do that it would have really pissed me off if they took that route. 
Maybe they're going too far out of their way to prove that this ain't your daddy's Trek, but Tilly cursing after doing space cocaine with an Orion is great. Just great. 

I’m also glad that the spore drive is offline. I’m hoping that we never hear about that again. Or if they do bring it back have it be something they discover has far-reaching negative effects on the fabric of space and time and that’s why it cant’ be used anymore. 

That's literally your solution to everything
There are complaints to have about the episode. How the hell does one bomb destroy a planet? Klingons are a pretty cantankerous people. If they, as a bunch of spacefaring warmongers are really that easy to completely wipe off the space map then I’m sure someone would have already. Yes, they’re at peace with the Federation right now, but they still acted like a bunch of bullies the whole time. They better hope that Romulans don’t figure out just how easy they are to take out. Not everyone has the scruples Burnham does. 

I'm Malcolm X!
Burnham gives that long speech about Federation ideals towards the end and yeah, It’s a little on the nose about all this stuff, but at the same time, I liked it. If you didn’t I can see why, but I was so happy to see her redeem herself and I was super pumped to see the Federation quit acting like their mirror jerk selves and start acting like a bunch of hippie do-gooders that I know and love. I don’t know if it was just me or if it a conscious decision, but after the war ended everything seemed brighter. I don’t mean that metaphorically. Not just the scene where they’re all accepting their awards for not blowing up a planet, but the bridge of Discovery seemed to have brighter colors. I don’t know if it was just me. I was so happy that after all the gloom and doom of the season we got to end with a smile. I don’t really have the same love for TOS that some viewers do, but I broke out into a big smile when we saw the Enterprise and heard the original theme music playing in the background. 
bout goddamn time

I’ve got my nerd quibbles, but I’m not going to stress about that shit. It’s Star Trek. It’s Star Trek with high production values and great acting and I hope now that the learning curves and I can’t wait to see what hijinks this crew gets into next year. 

Fuck yeah!


Better Trek?

Even though I generally liked this season there were definitely low points for me. Again, I think the whole of the first season works as one big pilot. Now having it all said and done I’d say it reminds me of how I feel about the TNG pilot, Encounter at Farpoint. Like this season of Discovery, It’s not a perfect pilot. There are parts that are pretty ridiculous. Some folks hate Q as a villain because it’s kind of silly to have Picard matching wits with a god, but at the same time, you got to see what the show might be capable of in the long run. The first couple of seasons of TNG had some real low points. Wesley Crusher sucks. It ran into some of the same problems with pacing and ridiculousness as TOS. Aliens either looked ridiculous or were just normal humans wearing weird outfits. But at the same time, if you don’t crack a huge smile when Picard says “let’s see what’s out there” at the end then I don’t know what to tell you. I can see someone watching that episode back when it first aired and giving the show the benefit of the doubt for the next couple years just because of the flashes of brilliance displayed in that episode. Just like Discovery. 

That’s it for this one. Since Discovery is over and done with, I guess it’s back to TOS episodes next week. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The DCEU Racist Alliance & Good Trek/Bad Trek #57 Discovery: The War Without, The War Within

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

I was talking about people who were angry that Wonder Woman didn’t get an Academy Award nomination last week. This week people were freaking out over a different superhero movie. This time Black Panther. And it doesn’t matter where you lie on the political spectrum, there’s a reason for you to be angry about Black Panther. I’ll admit I’ve got a little bit of superhero fatigue. It’s not that I think that they’re bad movies. They’re for the most part competently made (Dawn of Justice notwithstanding). The new one coming out, Black Panther looks fine. I’ve heard it’s a lot better than fine. I’ve heard it borders on super badass. I never had any attachment to Black Panther growing up, but those are the movies that I’ve enjoyed most among the most recent batch of superhero movies. I read a lot of Spiderman growing up. I liked the movies fine but didn’t go nuts for any of them really. I had never even heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy until the first movie came out and that one was probably my favorite of them all. 

A lot of people do have an attachment to the hero though because people are really excited for the movie. So much so that when the movie got its first negative review on Rotten Tomatoes people freaked the fuck out. That’s messed up. It wasn’t even that negative a review. It was a 3/5. Which is a positive review. He just didn’t like it as much as most other people who have seen it and now a bunch of people who haven’t seen it yet. It’s all very weird and anyone who is legitimately angry that a reviewer gave a positive, but not positive enough review to a movie that you haven’t even seen yet is a silly person who has too many opinions and hasn’t had enough bad things happen to them in life. 

Some folks are less than thrilled about this movie and what it represents. Fans of the DCEU for starters are decidedly not pumped about this. DC fans are trashing Black Panther before they’ve seen it. Which is almost as weird as heaping praise on it before seeing it, but at least that way there’s some optimism that goes along with it. This is just plain internet misanthropy. Which I guess does fit in pretty well with the DCEU aesthetic. DCEU fans are spending their time downvoting the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes which seems pretty nuts but I guess when it’s either that or watch Dawn of Justice again I’d also rather click that I didn’t like something while listening to podcasts. 

Racists are also spending their time downvoting Black Panther. Racists obviously weren’t going to be too pumped about a movie called Black Panther. I can't imagine that they were the target demographic. I think I mean, Jesus Christ. Why? You spend all this time on the internet downvoting a movie when you could just be watching many many movies full of white people. What do you care? Why does everything have to be for everybody? Even a racist has to know that non-racists have buying power and like to see movies sometimes. 


I think that racists and DCUE have teamed up with a bunch of racist douche bags both says a lot about the DCEU enthusiasts and reinforces my longhand belief about the internet and that’s that the internet needs to calm the fuck down. Almost every viral thing almost every piece of outrage leads me to think that the internet needs to just take a deep breath and just relax. Does nobody do that anymore? Is that just a thing that doesn’t happen anymore. Can you just not take anything in stride anymore? You're a DCEU fan and you'd rather team up with self-admitted racists than just let other people enjoy their movie? That's messed up. 

Know what isn't messed up? This episode of Discovery, which was pretty solid. Here goes.

Recap:

I’ve said this before, but I’m gonna try to keep the recap portions as short as possible. Chances are if you're reading a Trek blog then you’re at least passingly familiar with the episode. We are in the prime universe. Admiral Cornwell finds Discovery and she is angry. Lorca did have sex with her then leave her for dead. So she has her reasons. She has Sarek do some mind melds and then they’re off to Starbase 1. But it’s been taken over by Klingons, who again are winning this war. 
Hell of an icebreaker

They get the hell out of Dodge and come up with a plan. Spore jump themselves into the Klingon homeward so they can see what’s what. First, they need to grow some new spores. Which they do. Pretty quickly. That’ll help them see what’s good for bombing when they take the fight to them. And Georgiou is going to be the captain of this mission for some terrible terrible plot contrivance reason. 

We also get some good meetings between Tyler and Stamets and Tyler and Burnham. 

Good Trek?

I’m gonna say yes. There are a lot of reasons to shit on DISC. I’ve found more than a few of them. But this show has some compelling characters. The episodes such as this one where they spend the majority of it just interacting with each other tend to be my favorites. We get to learn more about the war and it set up the finale, which looks like it will be a doozy. A lot of action. A lot of folks yelling at each other about what it means to be in the Federation. A lot of debates about Starfleet values. I’m looking forward to it. Sounds right up my alley. Can't wait until Monday morning when I plan on watching it. 
I'm glad Detmer has been given more to do. I've just learned her name and had been calling her "robot face" for most the run

Admiral Badass Corwell is here and she is angry. Turns out she not happy having Lorca fuck her and then leave her to the wolves. I like this character. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Lorca and I’m hoping they let her keep the captain’s seat warm until prime Lorca is back. I know that she’s an admiral and that being a lowly captain would be a bit of a demotion. But I don’t care. I like her. I think she’s a good character and I want to see more of her as a more permanent character. 
Is that a Kelpien ganglia in your neck or are you just scared shitless to see me?

I have a feeling that these events are going to be wiped out at some point due to some time travel bullshit. That’s going to piss me off, but I guess I’ll wait until it actually happens until I get all pissy about it.

Starbase 1? More like Starbase 86 because it done be took!


So Tyler is awake and acting more Tyler than Voq which leads to some of the episodes best drama. I know Tilly is nice. But Christ. Niceness has its limits. Give Tyler a couple days. Make sure that he’s not going to go berserker again before joining him for a nice lunch. He did kill a dude in cold blood by snapping his goddamn neck. I know the doctor wasn’t as major a character as Tyler is/was but it seems that a lot of folks are just letting those bygones be bygones really quickly. He snapped the doctor’s neck like two days ago? That’s not a lot of time to have everyone have forgiven him. We do get a good showdown between Stamets and Tyler. It’s short but intense. I guess he was feeling cocky from how quickly that Tilly and Detmer forgave him because I think it’s pretty ballsy that he pushes Burnham to forgive him a little too quickly. He did try to kill her. That is gonna take some time. I’m probably not the best person for love advice, but give her some goddamn time, buddy. At least a full week. 
Line of the week belongs to Sarek with this gem

Oh boy, does their run on the Klingon homeworld seem like a hairy plan. They’re gonna use the spore drive to jump into another planet? Yes, Stamets is very good at using this thing but seems to me like last time he used it they ended up nine months after where they wanted to be. Nine months. That’s a hell of an overshoot. You get to the inside of a planet and if you’re off a little bit on either time or space you’re going to end up embedded in the stupid rock. So be careful out there. 

I understand that they’re letting Georgiou help with this plan, but to let her pretend to captain the ship seems like a bad idea. I’m sure Admiral Badass is going to try to keep her on a short leash but at the same time, these folks just had a mirror imposter fuck so much shit up. You’d think that maybe they wouldn’t want to just hand the reins of Discovery to another one. This should definitely be considered a “fool me twice” situation. They're trying a reverse Lorca. Which is a bold move. I'm pretty sure it's going to bite them in the ass worse than Emperor Georgiou on Kelpien night. 

Better Trek?

I was going to say that if you want an episode about a ship that’s in a planet or large hunk of rock but shouldn’t then check out TNG’s Pegasus. But we don’t actually find ourselves in the actual planet yet so not that one. I’ll take a different approach. This episode at its heart is about recovering from the last series of events. Tyler is trying to recover after doing some stuff that he’s deeply ashamed of that was carried out against his will. 

So I’d go with the TNG episode Family. One of my favorite episodes that takes place in the wake of one of the Borg skirmishes. Picard after being forced, as Locutus, to kill a whole bunch of his colleagues and civilians goes back to Earth where he hangs out with his cantankerous brother. TNG didn’t deal a lot with the fallout of previous episodes. This is one of the few that actually did. You get to see the emotional toll that his time with the Borg had on him. We also get a visit from Worf’s family which is always a welcome dynamic. 

In that same vein, I’d also check out DS9’s The Emissary. The first two DS9 episodes. While Picard was assimilated by the Borg he helped kill a whole mess of folk. One of those folks was Ben Sisko’s wife. Ben, at that point, is still a bit cranky about this. Sisko and Picard don’t spend a lot of time on screen together, but the time they do is well worth the watch. Plus it's the first episode of DS9, which might be the greatest show of all time. 

That’s it for this week. Next week is the finale. Should be something. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Awards Season & Good Trek/ Bad Trek #56 Discovery: What's Past Is Prologue

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.


It’s awards season, I guess. Awards season seems like it starts somewhere around March and ends somewhere around mid-February. I don’t really get invested in them. There’s a lot of dumb shit I do get involved in. Awards just aren't for me. I don't get the appeal and I never have. 

People were angry that Wonder Woman didn’t get an Academy Award nomination. Come on. You liked Wonder Woman that’s good. It did something better than deserve an Oscar. It was actually a good DCEU movie. What’s wrong with just having that as your legacy? I don’t care how much you liked Wonder Woman, but you can’t seriously be surprised that it didn't’ get a best picture nod. That can’t have caught you flat-footed. And if it did then why? I’m not an awards guy. I don’t get into them. I take in stuff. I like stuff. Sometimes other people take in the same stuff that I do and we can talk about it. I like that. Unless you're an awards season fan who's never actually seen an awards show. And also Wonder Woman was the only movie you saw last year. Then I can see how you'd be flummoxed by this snub. I'm pretty sure that Wonder Woman was one of the only new movies I saw last year. I didn't see any of the other best picture nominees. Had it been nominated I still would've thought it was an odd choice. Plus, it already won. Not an Oscar but it made a shit load of money and people loved it. Plus you can talk to someone about it without boring the shit out of them which what you're probably doing when you insist on talking about Phantom Thread, a movie I will never ever see. 

I’m not really an awards season guy. I don’t really get it all the crazy attention it seems to get. People get nuts over whether something wins an award or not. Just like the shit you like and be done with it. Why do you need to be validated so much based on your choices? Who gives a shit. People bitch about how wrong all these awards always are about everything and then  Will you actually feel smarter because you liked the "best picture" before it got the best picture?

Know what didn't win an Oscar? This episode of Discovery. Not because it didn't deserve it, but because it's a TV show and also aired in the wrong year. So, there's that. Here goes...

Recap:

To all the folks who rage quit after the last episode, you missed a doozy in this week. We are of course still in the dark mirror universe. Only this and one more after this one. Curious how they plan on ending this because there’s been a lot of build up. Wondering if there’s going to be any resolution before the end of the season. You’d think they’ll give us a little. Unless just the whole series is going to take place in the mirror universe. That’d be a bold move. But they don't do that so it doesn't matter.  


The second best scene of the series so far

Mirror Lorca is running around freeing the Lorca loyalist folks from their various agonizers booths. So they capture the Emperor’s ship. Which they do with surprising ease. This leads to a great cat and mouse where Landry, the original chief of security that we initially met on the Discovery, tries to track down Burnham. I liked her. Mirror Landry doesn't’ last very long either which is a shame. I like the actor and wanted a chance to like the character. Seems like either one of them would be a good fit for the show, but they're both gone now. Georgiou is all kinds of dejected but at least Burnham has a great plan that of course works out perfectly. With the aid of Discovery, they’re able to take out mirror Lorca and destroy the emperor's palace. And make it back to the prime universe. There’s a catch though because of course there is. They make it back to the mirror universe, but it looks like they’ve overshot the time. They’re nine months later than they thought and now it appears too late to help at all with the war effort. Because the Federation has lost the war. Klingons have taken a bunch of Federation territory. 

Good Trek?

I shit on last week’s episode a lot. I think mostly deserved. Some of it was hyperbolic nerd shit, but that’s gonna happen in a Trek blog. I liked this one a lot better. I liked this one a lot better even though it’s a direct result of the one before. I’ll give the writers of this show this much, they’re really good at taking a bold twist, sticking it, and moving right on. Lorca was a server villain thirteen episodes in the making. He’s a supervillain. Big reveal. Now he’s dead. That’s bold. That’s really really bold and good on them. There’s something to be said for boldness. Boldness and twists. This show definitely doesn't lack either. I still think the show is over-reliant on twists, but they are good at them. But I’ll give them this, they are keeping me guessing. I’m very rarely right in my predictions of what is about to go down. 


Boy, is it just me or security in the agonizer booth chamber pretty light? I know everyone is trapped in their various agonizers, but you’d think they’d have more than the one guy overseeing the whole agonizer operation. Something like this was just bound to happen. 


Believe me, this burn is a lot sicker than it looks

I think the thing I liked most about this episode is watching Saru step up and be one hell of a captain. Doug Jones is a treasure and Saru is such a great character. His speech to his crew is inspiring and he goes from a good second in command to a captain who gets shit done. He very much is deserving of a promotion. I don’t know if they’ll let him command Discovery, but he’s definitely got a medal or two coming his way. Saru’s "I do not sense the coming of death” speech is right up there with Worf’s perhaps today is a good day to die. God bless Doug Jones and his Saru. If something happens to him then I’ll be pretty upset. 

The writers addressing fans' concerns
It’s also nice to see an actual well-choreographed fight scene in a Trek series. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching Riker take a huge swing and deliver a double-fisted punch to someone's back which knocks them out cold for some reason. But these fights are crazy good. 
Don't get too comfortable, Landry
Is it just me or does the more evil Lorca gets the more Southern his accent also gets? Also, Lorca's "make the Terran Empire great again" speech was a little too on the nose. Maybe that's just me, but come on. 

So we think that Lorca is gone or are we thinking that Prime Lorca might show up at some point. I like Jason Isaacs as an actor. Wouldn’t mind seeing him show back up. I have to say that I like prime Lorca showing back up than I do mirror Georgia running around the prime universe. I get that Burnham didn’t want to let her mentor die again, but maybe drop her off somewhere. She doesn’t belong here. Get her out of here. 
Sick

While we're on the subject, w
hy is Georgiou in the real universe? There is no reason to keep this storyline going that I can think of. I’ve been watching this show long enough to be pretty sure that the writers have a plan for her, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to think of what that might be. She can’t just step into the captain’s chair, can she? She was an emperor which is impressive on a resume but at the same time, I don’t really think she’s cut from Federation cloth. 

I do NOT envy Saru. He’s gonna be sitting there on the bridge and feel some eyes on him. His little ganglia is gonna go off and he’s going to turn around to see Captain Emperor Georgiou licking her lips and wearing a plastic bib. Do you think Burnham tells him about this? Kinda fucked up to have to look at one of your superior offices in the eye knowing full well what he tastes like. She did say he was delicious before she found out it was a Kelpien. Think she’s got the taste for it now?
Bleak

When Stamets asked Tilly to see where and WHEN they are it was pretty clear that they were not going to be in the time they should have been, because of course not. At least they’re only off by nine months and we're not going to have to watch Discovery fight dinosaurs. Though that would be pretty sick. 

Better Trek 
I wouldn't say any part of ENT is better than Discovery, but I kept on thinking about the ENT episode The Expanse. It’s hard to pin this down to one episode to pick because I think season one of Discovery has a lot in common with season three of ENT and that season's temporal cold war arc. There are a few good episodes in there. Star Trek Enterprise got a lot of shit. Most of it deserved. The first two seasons were pretty not good. It’s similar to Discovery in that they were prequels that were met with a lot of fan rage. Very cinematic first pilots. Seasons one and two were not very good. They’re more maligned than they should be, but they’re not the best. Season three was when Enterprise tried to be good and you know what, it’s not bad. There’s a season-wide arc about the temporal cold war. Which is going to have a pretty similar conclusion at some point to this whole thing. I think where at some point the events of season one of Discovery is going to be undone. I'm not crazy about that as a plot device, but I think it's coming at some point.
The episode I would go with is The Expanse. In it the Xindi, an alien race we don't hear a lot about before or after use a Death Star like device on Earth. But the whole surrounding arc is all pretty worthwhile. Though, I wouldn't necessarily recommend anyone just jump into the all of season three of Enterprise. It's not better. At all. But my brain kept on thinking about this episode. So there's that.
That's it for this week. Only two more of Discovery before more TOS. Good times. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

End of the Fucking World, Franchises & Good Trek/Bad Trek #55 Discovery: Vaulting Ambition

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

I watched Discovery this week. In addition to that, I watched a Netflix show called The End of the Fucking World. I liked that a lot. It was fun and dark and funny. You should watch it. Maybe you should watch it instead of this week’s Discovery because fuck this show. End of the Fucking World is a pretty straightforward show. It ends pretty definitively. I guess not definitively enough though because a bunch of folks are clamoring for a second season. It was a nice self-contained series and now it’s over. Good. But people are demanding more. Why does everything have to go on forever? Why can’t anyone just fondly remember something they liked. Maybe rewatch for as long as they enjoy it. Not everything has to be a franchise. You don’t have to keep on making something under a specific banner until everyone is super sick of it. There’s a lot of stuff out there. Most of it is garbage but some of it isn’t. You should be able to just like something and have it be over and then find something else you like. 


The worst part about prolonging a show and forcing it into be something that it isn’t that eventually if you have a long enough legacy and you’ve been going for as long as it has then you end up with an asshole like me to obsesses about it and whether or not the newest version lives up to the old ones. I really did not care for this episode. But who gives a shit. If I don’t like it then why am I watching? What more do I want? I have 28 seasons of Trek I could be watching instead. Why don’t I just watch one of those? There’s also a shit load of movies that I could be watching. Why aren’t I just watching one of those? Because I’m an asshole that's why. But still End of the Fucking World is pretty sick and everyone should watch it. Now onto this episode of Discovery that is really something else.

Here we go.

Recap:

We’re in still in the mirror universe. Lorca and Burnham are heading to Emperor Georgiou’s palace to get whatever fate may await him. Probably torture and death. Burnham gives him some numbing shot. She points out that he asked her to do it. I thought that was a weird piece of dialogue. Turns out it was just clumsy telegraphing the “twist” ending. And by twist I mean the writers screaming "fuck you" to us all. But later for that I, guess. 

Hmmm. Wonder if this clunky piece of dialogue will become important later?

Georgiou and Burnham are reunited. Turns out in this universe it's Georgiou, Not Sarek that adopted Michael after her family was killed. We get a lot of talking. Which I'm happy about. 

We get a little more into what happened to Tyler/Voq. Tyler’s personality was overlain with Voq’s personality. So they’re one person now, but they/he has two different personalities in there. I don’t really get it, but okay. I guess that’s what’s happening. Lady Klingon doesn’t like watching Tyler/Voq suffer so she takes out one of them. I think Voq’s, but I guess we’ll see how that develops. 
Tell me all your thoughts on Voq

We also get some talking between Stamets and dark mirror Stamets. They've both found some way into this weird nether region of consciousness. The idea of folks in the two universes sharing parallel fates. I guess that's supposed to explain why all these series that feature the mirror universe have all the same characters working similar jobs. Seems kinda bullshit, but they're trying and I like it. Stamets eventually meets up with Culbert. Who informs Stamets that he's dead now. It's very sad.  The scene is just brutal in all the right ways.

Saru-lent Green

Then we get to the ending. Seems like a very short recap and it is. This is a very talky episode. The end starts with Geogiou and Michael talking. Georgia doesn’t trust Burnham because in this universe she and Lorca were a bit of an item. She threatens to kill Burnham and then Michael spills all the beans about how she’s just visiting from another universe. Georgia still does not trust her, but now for different reasons, because all the crazy stuff about how the Federation is so idealistic and perfect that it threatens the core of this evil empire. There’s some bullshit about how Georgiou is sensitive to light. And that everyone in this universe is sensitive to light (Fuck you). Burnham realizes then and there that this means that Lorca is from the mirror universe (fuck you) and the numbing agent she gave him enabled him to escape which was his plan all along. (fuck you)

Good Trek?

Yes. And also HELL NO. 

The good is that Tyler is sticking around I think and that Stamets isn’t dead. I’m happy about both those things. I hope that Tyler gets to be Tyler again. His chemistry with Burnham is great. I look forward to him trying to regain her trust after this whole affair. They’ll probably kill him next episode, but I’m hopeful that they won’t. Or her. Or everyone and the ship will just be drifting in space. Who knows. 
I think there's a spore in my eye

We also get a great sendoff for Culbert. I’m not crazy about the way his death was handled. I thought he was a so-so character, but I didn’t like how easily he was dispatched. A lot of characters aren’t going to sit well with me. I wasn’t crazy about him. They expanded him and let him develop a little bit. I started to like him and then his neck up and gets snapped. It was bullshit. But at least he gets these scenes with Stamets. We learn more in these few bits about their relationship than we had the entirety of the rest of the season. 
Gross


The first fifty some odd minutes of this episode were great. I’d heard there was a twist coming towards the end so I was watching with some trepidation. I thought I was prepared. Then it came and I was not. Nothing can prepare anyone for just how fucking dumb this twist is. The only way this could have made me any angrier is that if the end of the episode had the crew of Discovery learned that they were actually living in that village from that awful movie The Village. I’m trying to love this show. It’s making it hard. These are good characters. Why don’t they let them be good? They keep on fucking everything up.

This seems like a show that has no faith in itself. It feels like this show is embarrassed to be a Star Trek so it’s using all these cheap tricks to get you to forget that you’re watching Star Trek. The thing is, Star Trek fucking rules! Why would anyone be watching if they didn’t want to watch Star Trek? I’m cool with the fact that this wasn’t my daddy’s Trek. I’m still on board, but I’m not gonna lie it's getting tough. Have some goddamn faith in yourself, Discovery. You're a Trek. Act like it. 

You're right. This is a crash. 

The thing is, I’ve talked about how much I don’t care for Lorca as a captain. He doesn't jive with what I know a Federation captain to be, but I was starting to accept him as a bad captain who was fun to watch. I was liking how the character was challenging the conventions. How sometimes you want a shady badass to be sitting in the captain's chair. He was starting to remind me of It was like Captain Jellico was in command. I hate Captain Jellico, but sometimes you need him to come in take care of business. So now everything that’s happened so far has been a lie. Do we think we’ll find the real universe’s version of Captain Lorca. Do I even care?

The worst part is, I’m not angry at the show. That’s not true. I’m very angry at the show. But I don’t know if I’ll care enough to see any of this resolved. Because of this stupid twist addicted show. Fuck it. 

That being said, I’m not done yet. I’m treating this whole season as a pilot. They have a long story to tell and they’re telling it. It’s taking twists and turns. A lot of them really really suck. I hope they learn from this constant twisting and turning and let the characters just hang out and breathe next season. The first two seasons of TNG were almost uniformly awful. I’m halfway through season 2 of TOS and I’ve only liked a handful of episodes. There’s more to like about Discovery than there is to hate. For now. 

Better Trek?

I guess the thing with Lorca is more of a twist than it is a retcon. But it feels like a retcon. So I’ll go with one of my favorite retcons and that’s what DS9 did to Dr. Bashir in the episode Dr. Bashir, I Presume. Early Dr. Bashir was kind of irritating. So the writers of DS9 decided to make him better. That’s writing I can get behind. Take a character that sucks and make him better. You don’t have to off him or irrevocably change the nature of the character. Just tweak him a little and make him better. In this episode, we learn that Bashir is smug and annoying because he was genetically altered as a small child. This was a great retcon because it deepened Trek lore. We got to hear more about the Eugenics Wars and how it became illegal following the reign of Khan. It also played well with what people didn’t like about Bashir. It’s an episode with very little action. Just a lot of talking and character development. And it’s great. Plus, we get a cameo from the amazing Robert Picardo.

That’s it for this week. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Wrongest Take, Alex Jones, & Good Trek #54 Good Trek Discovery: Despite Myself & The Wolf Inside

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

My job is to read comments on the internet all day. It’s a pretty good job. It’s a weird job. The thing about internet comments is that most of the people who feel the need to get their comments out there are dumb and wrong. Not their fault. Not everyone can be right. Someone has to be wrong. It's certainly not going to be me so why not them?

My favorite wrong comment this week was about how people protesting the flag have ruined professional sports. His comment was “I won’t miss the NFL or NBA. Two elite sports in the tank! They became too politicized. I have witnessed the manipulation and indoctrination of both elite sports. I’m done with the propaganda. So long suckers!! I don’t want to be one! If it wasn’t for a plethora of Libs, the NBA would be as popular as little black bumps that won’t wash off in the shower!”

That’s a dumb thing to say. That's a dumb thing to say that was said in an even dumber way. This dude’s point is that if it weren’t for the half the country that watches the NBA then they wouldn’t be nearly as popular as they are. I guess he’s right, but in a way that only a dumb person can be. You think that people aren’t watching basketball or football anymore because they’ve become too political. That’s fine. I’m pretty sure that sports continue to do fine. Regardless of whether people are angry about football players kneeling during The National Anthem or basketball players telling bums that they’re bums. 

My favorite revelation of these flag protests has got to be that Alex Jones, noted piece of shit, was vehemently against the flag protests. That’s a ballsy stand for a guy like that to take. This is a guy who both thinks that Sandy Hook was a false flag and that people shouldn’t criticize the government. That’s an odd Venn Diagram of a person. You think that the government did Sandy Hook, and you also think that there’s no reason one should ever take it to task. That leads me to believe that he’s of the position that the government routinely orchestrates false flags to control us and that they’re doing a bang-up job. 

You, Mr. Jones, can’t think of one way in which the government can improve? Because if all your crazy horse shit is correct then I can think of at least one. I’m thinking that maybe they could improve, at the very least, in a way in which they don’t pretend that dozens of children have died in attacks as a means of taking away firearms? Right? That’s a definite area of improvement that we could all reach consensus on. I hope for a world where the government can just lead us into shitty wars without lying about 9-11. I hope for a world where people and frogs alike can live out whatever sexual orientation they’re born with without the government using water fluoridation to make us one way or the other. But that’s just me. Maybe I’m a dreamer. 

In addition to that, I watched two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery. One was great. One, less so. 

Recap:

The Discovery finds itself…somewhere. It doesn’t know where exactly, but it looks like a battle has just taken place. Lots of blown up Klingon ships. Nothing looks familiar. it’s all pretty screwy. Where could they possibly be?

They could save time figuring out where they were if they just watched old episodes of Star Trek


Turns out that they didn’t just jump in space but through dimensions. They are in what we Trek people know as the dark mirror universe. Where a lot is the same, but everyone is evil. Since Stamets’ brain is fried they’re going to need to figure a way to get home that doesn't involve a spore drive. They learn that another Federation ship has made the trip before. The Defiant. If they figure out what happened there they can maybe find a way back to the proper universe. 

A more believable evil universe would have everyone rocking a soul patch

They try to get Burnham back to the Shinzou where she’s the captain in this universe. She brings Lorca with her because he’s a wanted criminal and Tilly is the captain of Discovery here. Also, Tyler is evil now I guess. He’s a secret Klingon and snaps the doc’s neck before going to the Shinzou with Burnham. Not cool, bro. 

Great character development, Culbert. Really looking forward to watching your character going forward!

While trying to get the info on the Defiant back to Saru, Burnham has an idea. That if she has a chance to talk with the Klingon leader she’ll be able to figure out how he’s able to keep a coalition together of a disparate group of races. Seems like a stupid plan, but here we are. 

So there's a Starfleet test for being brainwashed but not one for having literally all your organs and bones replaced with a different species?

She meets mirror Sarek who, of course, has a stupid goatee. Because that’s what evil is I guess. Goatees. Talks to the Klingon leader who is the mirror Tyler, but is a Klingon, because I guess our Tyler switched brains I guess. I don’t know. I’m getting a little lost to be perfectly honest. Tyler remembers who he is and freaks out. Putting the whole operation at risk. But Burnham is still able to strike a deal with mirror Voq/Tyler but the dark mirror emperor comes and blows up the rebels anyhow. Also, the emperor is the mirror version of  Captain Georgiou. Because of course it is. That’s where we left off. They go to put Tyler to death for attacking Burnham and she slyly puts the information on the Defiant in his pocket before beaming him into space where Discovery beams him back. So he’s not dead and now Saru & Co. have the information they need. 

A shit ton more happened, but I’m trying to keep this as brief as possible. 

Good Trek?

Yes and no. I loved the first episode, Despite Yourself. Probably my second favorite episode so far. The Wolf Inside I liked a lot less. 

Captain Killy making me go through feelings I haven't since T'Pol went through Pon farr

I figured out that this was in the Dark Mirror universe pretty early on. Soon as that Vulcan ship fired on Discovery it was pretty obvious to anyone who’d been paying attention. I’m not a huge fan of the dark mirror universe as a plot device. It’s not as bad the holodeck, but I don’t usually care for it. The first episode was great. I like mirror Tilly learning about her alternate badass self. I loved Burnham struggling with her brutal alternate self and what she’d have to do to fit in within her new surroundings. Not a huge fan of Lorca so far, but it fits in with his character just how far he’ll go for his mission. Willingly subjecting himself to a device called the agonizer because he knows he has to. I loved watching the character stretch out and get used to their new, less than ideal surroundings. It was great. Unfortunately, the plots of these episodes really fucked things up for me. 
:(

Jesus Christ. The end of the first episode. Just watching Lorca writhe in pain in the agonizer both. This is the first series I can remember where the dark mirror universe is treated with some gravity. It was a good enough scene to get me to forget what a silly plot device the dark mirror universe is. 

Dr. Culber is dead. I guess so is Stamets but not really. And Tyler is Voq. A lot of twists. Maybe too many. I didn’t think too much of fan theories. Don’t get me wrong, I like yelling about Trek in a bar setting as much as anyone. But when it comes to sitting on the internet and endlessly about what may happen seems a little weird to me. There’s just gonna tell you in a week or so. Calm down and just watch them, folks. I’d heard rumblings of the “Tyler is Voq” fan theory and thought it was dumb. Now that I’ve seen it play out I know that I was right. It’s dumb. I’m glad that they didn’t kill him off, but I still don’t like it. I was liking Tyler and I was liking the relationship between Tyler and Burnham. And now they've completely thrown it out the window. 

I’ve shit on the doctor for being a nothing character before. I changed my mind. Then they killed him. What the hell? I think that Despite Myself was the first episode that they gave the character anything to do aside from spew exposition and be Stamets’ significant other. Finally, we get to see the doctor do some doctoring and I think it was pretty good. He shows the signs of stress of having to worry about Stamets. There’s some real tension between him and Lorca. Both of whom make good points about whether he can do his job. So here I am just getting to really like the guy and he’s immediately fucking killed. Come on. This is a great show, but it really needs to pump the breaks with dispatching characters just as I’m really starting to get to know and like them. The got rid of Captain Georgiou just as I was getting invested in her and Burnham. The original chief of security was someone I was looking forward to getting to know before she was unceremoniously dispatched. I don’t even think I got her name. Now, the doctor. Tyler isn’t dead, but his previous character is.
I love how they made Tilly the captain of Mirror Discovery. It’s just another funny ay that Discovery is good at fucking with traditional conventions. The mirror universe is so goddamn silly. It always seems a little dumb that not only does everyone still exist in an opposite universe but they all pretty much have the same jobs. Of course Tilly would be the captain in the opposite universe. I’ve heard she’s a pretty divisive character, but I just love her. Sarek has a goatee in the mirror universe. Because of course he does. 

All in all, I liked both these episodes but they’re still very frustrating. This is very cinematic Trek. I mean that as both a compliment and my biggest gripe. Trek does best when it has a chance to breathe. We don’t get a whole lot of chances to breathe with this show. It goes from twist to turn to universe to new ship so quickly. I still don’t really feel like I know a lot of the characters. I want to see more scenes of Tilly and Burnham jogging. I want to see Stamets and Culbert having dinner and fighting about how the spore drive has changed Stamets. My favorite episodes have been the ones that haven’t really been advancing the larger narrative, but just letting us get to know everyone a little bit better. Maybe take a break from the war. Little shore leave maybe. Is Risa a thing yet? Let’s all go to Risa for an episode or two and relax. 

Better Trek? 

The ENT two-parter In a Mirror, Darkly is one of the better ENT episodes. It’s nowhere near as good as Despite Myself but it’s probably better than Wolf In The Fold. Also, I just watched it again recently and even though it wasn’t nearly as good as I remember, it was still pretty solid. I watched it with my wife and she most certainly did not think it was good Trek. But she’s wrong. It’s solid. Give it a watch.

That being said, the opening credits of ENT’s Mirror, Darkly is really fun. Plus, since it’s a two-parter and we get a chance to get to know the mirror counterparts which is cool. Mirror counterparts are usually just shown to contrast the normal universe with. It's nice to get to know them as the characters we've gotten to know reacting to an entirely different universe. It also tells the story of the Defiant. The ship that the Discovery folks are doing whatever they can to find out all they can about. 

Worse Trek?

The TNG novel Dark Mirror. I read it because my friend thought I’d enjoy reading a really garbage Trek book. I read it. I did not enjoy it. It was garbage. I read dozens of those Trek novels when I was a kid. Most of them are really bad.