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. 

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