I’m back in New York watching Star Trek this week which is nice. I’d been gone for three weeks and it feels good to be back. I was in Chicago the last week and I have to say I was pretty ready to not be anymore. Good to see some folks I haven't seen in a bit. Good to meet people I’d met online through writing for The Whisky Journal in person for the first time. Good to do comedy in places I hadn't before. Lots of fun stuff. All that being said, I was staying at a hostel. Which is probably the worst way to go. When you're performing comedy for almost no or no money you need to cut corners wherever you can and I cut my corners by living in squalor at a hostel. This is not the way adults should travel. No offense to Europeans, but this is no way for an American adult to travel. I understand that you might be British and not know any better, but I'm not and I do. Don't get me wrong I wasn’t thinking of pulling a "Brooks was here" while there. Not that my cheap bunk bed frame would’ve supported my weight anyhow, but still it was tough. I probably wouldn't recommend this as a way to stay places if you have any money. If you don't well then it's not like you have any options, so go ahead and stay at one. I don’t so this isn't my first time doing one of these. I spent a week in a hostel in San Fransisco a few years back and Toronto and in 2005 I spent 95 delightful minutes in Eli Roth's Hostel when that came out. But don't let the tales of murder and torture port fool you, hostels aren't all fun and games. They can be a really lonely and depressing affair.
I work from home so it's not like I'm used to all kinds of human interaction throughout the day, but this is different. there are people all around and the only thing I've said to anyone in three days here is "pardon me." that'll drive you a little batty. Plus it's all the cons about being alone all day without any of the pros. I'm wearing pants right now. I shouldn't be. There's a lot of shit that goes along with working from home and one of the best things about it is the very relaxed dress code. I put on pants when I goddamn well please. I don't have to listen to society's dictates about when a grown ass adult should put on pants. I put them on if and when I fell like it. Not a second before. So I spent days wearing pants and not talking to anyone. I spend all day alone normally and feel great. Here it was lonely as shit.
Know what wasn’t depressing and lonely as shit? The latest episode of Discovery, Lathe! It fucking ruled. Here it is.
The open is us getting to learn that Sarek is going on a crazy mission. We don’t know what. And Burnham is mentoring Tilly in the Starfleet art of moderately paced jogging. Before we even get tot he credits though Sarek’s ship is sabotaged by a Vulcan extremist who thinks that Vulcans have no business associating with the outside worlds and tries to blow the ship up.
The rest of the episode is a few different plots. We’ve got Burnham using her previous mind meld with Sarek to track Sareck down whose ship is floating dead in space while he’s unconscious. We’ve got Captain Lorca trying to convince his superior officer/friend/sometimes lover that he’s not nuts even though he’s really nuts. We also have Burhman wandering through Sarek’s mind and wondering why he’s revisiting the time she let him down and also trying to get him to his meeting with the Klingons so he can try to make sure peace happens.
None of those plots really sound they’re enough to carry an episode but it really works. The Burnham plot is the meat of the episode, which she does while also learning a lot about her relationship with Sarek and how they really feel about each other. Sarek isn’t saved in time enough to make it to his very important date, but Lorca convinces Admiral Cornwell to go in his stead where she is immediately kidnapped by the Klingons after watching her guards get their throat slit.
Yes. A thousand times yes. This was easily my favorite episode of Discovery. The recap sounds a little light. Like these plots wouldn’t really be enough to carry an hour of TV, but boy oh boy does it ever. I had some issues with it, but all in all, it was just great. Easily the Trekiest episode so far too which is probably why I liked it the best. It blends old Trek sensibilities and updates it much better than any of the episodes so far. I still have my issues, but while I was watching it I couldn’t really remember any of them.
|Watch this episode just for how sick this shot is|
We get a replacement chief of security. Ash Tyler the guy who was on the Klingon prison ship with Lorca in the previous episode. With Ash Tyler, we finally have another character I give a shit about. It’s still only like half of the characters but I’ll take it. Ash Tyler is a solid fourth person to give a shit about. I like him. We didn’t really get a chance to meet the last chief of security. I don’t remember her name so I’ll just call her Tasha Yar. But anyhow, new Tasha Yar, like old Tasha Yar was dispatched pretty quickly without any kind of warning. Which is a little silly considering that this was pretty heavily billed as the feminist Trek and now we’ve had multiple main female characters who’ve been dispatched and replaced with male ones. I like Ash Tyler. I can’t say more than new Tasha Yar because we didn’t really get a chance to meet her.
A couple things about Sarek. I thought it was kinda dumb that he was a character. I had no problem with a Vulcan having Burnham as a ward who joined Starfleet. I just thought that having Spock’s father be a character was a little dumb. Like it was too up in TOS’s ass about itself. This episode changed my mind on that. It gives backstory to Sarek and Spock’s relationship and why it was strained. It’s the kind of fan service that works perfectly. Kudos, writers.
|Something something DRUMPF! something|
I like Spock. Don’t get me wrong I like Spock. I mean he’s the first of the Vulcans so really he set the bar for how they should be, but he played Vulcans as emotionless. Which was wrong I think. Vulcans aren’t emotionless, they suppress them. Sometimes it’s tough. I think Tim Russ did that really well. Zachary Quinto did it well once and then fucked it up two other times. James Frain seems like he’s going to do it really well. At least if this episode is any indication.
|Live until five seconds from now and languish|
I feel like I shouldn’t like Cadet Tilly, but I really really do. I haven’t read any of the fan takes on that character yet because who gives a fuck what a bunch of nerds thinks about her. Except for this one, of course. It’s a character that could go either way. She’s too smart and too young. She could easily drift into Wesley Crusher territory and she’s too perky where she could also drift into Ezri Dax territory, but she doesn’t. It’s a testament to the actor, Mary Wiseman for pulling that tightrope act off. Her relationship with Michael Burnham is almost as enjoyable as watching Saru with Burnham.
|In space, no one can hear you quote Atlas Shrugged|
I hate Captain Lorca. I hate Lorca and I hate that I have to hate him. I don't hate him in a he’s creepy and I love to think he’s creepy kind of way. I think he’s a bad character and I wish we had Captain Georgiou back because she was so much better. She leaned a little too heavily into saying number one, but I liked her relationship with Michael Burnham. She was a solid Starfleet captain who understood that firing first went against Starfleet stood for even if that meant her and her ship might be destroyed. Lorca is a fucking monster. Admiral Cornwell wanted to take away his command despite their previous relationship and she is right to do so. Then he goes and tricks her into going on a mission he’s pretty sure is a trap so he doesn’t get his precious command taken away. That’s fucked. I’ve seen captains do some crazy stuff for their command, but this is WAY over the line. I will not be cool with this show if at a certain point he’s not dead or at some Federation prison colony spending the remainder of his life mining Dilithium.
Little prediction. I think at a certain point Michael Burnham, the first Federation mutineer, is going to realize that despite what she thought in the first two episodes is going to realize that Federation ideals are worth fighting for no matter the cost. And despite everything Captain Lorca has done to help her rehabilitate herself she will turn on him and either kill him or turn him into the authorities with proof of his incompetence. Here’s hoping at least. He needs something to come to his way because he’s a real piece of shit.
This is an absolutely great episode. I wouldn’t really tell you to watch a better one because you should watch this one. It’s solid and the crew is really starting to mesh. At least the four ones that aren’t forgettable or don’t suck are starting to mesh. If you want to watch another episode where a character is drifting in an area of space that’s impossible to scan so a character with a personal connection has to rescue him then check out Penumbra. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen this one. I don’t remember it as being amazing so it’s probably not as good as this one. It’s not too bad. In it, Ezri Dax saves Worf from the Badlands. I’m not a huge Ezri fan. I felt if they were going to kill of Dax they should’ve kept her dead. But I love Worf and it’s part of the final arc of the final season of DS9 most of which are solid.
If you want to watch an episode where two characters have their minds connected and have to share secrets with each other against their will then go with TNG’s Attached. Picard and Dr. Crusher have their minds connected while trying to escape some bad hombres. They learn a lot about each other. Some of which they’d have preferred the other not know. It gives real depth to the characters and meaning to their relationship.
If Lorca’s arc was more your style and you want to see a captain who will go to any lengths to keep his ship then I’d say leave the Trek universe and watch the Firefly episode Out of Gas. There’s only a handful of Firefly episodes so I guess watch them all. In this one Serenity’s engines go bust leaving them adrift in space. They’re far from anyone who might hear their cries for help so everything looks pretty bleak. This is the episode where we get to learn how everyone came to be aboard Serenity and what the ship means to Mal and what he’ll do to keep it. It’s a sweet look at a captain’s fanatical relationship with his ship, but in this one, he doesn’t try to murder his friend, superior officer, and fuck buddy. Which is nice.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully we’ll get to know the doctor a bit more in the coming episodes so he doesn’t suck so much.