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[personal profile] selenak
Wherein we mee the crew and the Discovery, and I have an idea about just how Bryan Fuller channelled his Voyager issues when conceiving this show before he withdrew.



Because Fuller wrote quite a lot of Star Trek: Voyager episodes back in the day, all those years ago. And two or three things immediately came to mind when I was watching:

1.) One of the primary complaints voiced re: Voyager back in the day and since was that it squandered the inherent drama in its premise by letting the Starfleet and Maquis crews integrate too quickly, something which some of the writing staff also seem to have thought, given that when Seven of Nine joined the crew in s4, she remained an outsider far longer, and what she'd done as a Borg intermittendly was brought up. Now we'll see how qickly Michael Burnham is universally accepted on board Discovery, but this episode went out of its way to establish the obstacles, so I'm assuming not as quickly.

2.) Starfleet vs Maquis was one set up in the Voy pilot that got resolved faster rather than slower, but another outsider to both parties was one Tom Paris, with a powerful Starfleet figure for a parent, who started out as a brilliant young promising Starfleet officer, then had a fall from grace ending up in a penal colony, then was recruited by a Captain for her mission. Oh, and he also befriended a talkative and endearing young cadet.

3.) Michael/Silvia = femslash version of Tom Paris/Harry Kim is what I thought, and also: now we know what kind of Voyager AU Bryan Fuller would have written, and whom he shipped. :)


Anyway, in addition to these conclusions, and the warm glow of nostalgia Burnham crawling through Jeffries tubes evoked in me - I'm not kidding, I hadn't thought I missed Our Heroes crawling through horribly uncomfortable Jeffries tubes, BUT I DID - , I really liked this episode, with none of the caveats the pilot invoked. As far as the characterisation of our central character was concerned, it gave us more than her horrendous sense of guilt, it highlighted her knowledge and quick thinking in a show, not tell manner, furthered the one relationship carrying on from the pilot, the one with Saru, who as I suspected is now on Discovery, which now comes with shared grief and regret, the affection and respect as real as the new diistrust on Saru's part, and introduced several new relationships. The one with female Harry Kim Cadet Silvia who is just the kind of endearing optimist a Byronic brooder like Burnham needs but also not too good to be true, as that mini arc of her distancing herself from Michael out of a need to be liked by the others, then realising what she was doing and apologizing for it shows. The antagonistic one with the Chief Scientist which I suspect will resolve through the course of the season, but again, not too soon. The wary one with Captain Lorca, who by virtue of being played by Jason Isaacs (he of the mainy villain roles; he's also played good guys, of course, but villains and shady people more) and getting a final scene setting up a "What is Lorca really up to?" arc is marked as morally ambigous and thus an implicit challenge to Burnham to prove her ethics, as in their last scene when she assumes he's developing biological weapons and wants no part in it, signalling to both the audience and himself her red lines. (And hopefully the shows's.) (BTW, I also like that while her assumption in this particular case is wrong, it was a logical one for her to make.)

Fellow Trekkers: do we assume Lorca is Section 31? Whether this show takes place in Star Trek Prime continuity or Reboot Movieverse continuity, this could be the case, given that the new movies did use Section 31 (not well, but they used it, thus introducing the concept to a new audience) in Star Trek: Into Darkness.

(Speaking of continuity, Lorca having a Tribble on his desk is the breach of one, given that Kirk never heard of the species before, but hey, the first Reboot movie already had a Tribble cameo as well, and I didn't mind there. Then, in the last scene, I saw that Lorca's desk was now grazed by a Cardassian vole (never seen outside of DS9, so, awwww), proving he has a thing for quickly reproducing pests. So him secretly having transferred the slaughtering beast into Discovery wasn't a big surprise. :) )

More seriously, that beastie is clearly the result of whatever went wrong, experiment wise, on board the lost vessel. Considering the spores-as-transport idea can't work out in the long term without wrecking continuity altogether (and making things too easy for Our Heroes), I assume it'll all tie together.

Alice in Wonderland: it's about time Starfleet characters quoted something other than Moby Dick and Shakespeare, I say. Also, a delightful addendum to backstories all around to know Amanda read it to young Michael (and Spock!) back on Vulcan. I imagine Amanda felt like Alice more than once after settling down there, and of course it's a great way to provide something uniquely human to the kids without making it feel patronising.

Gender ratio among characters who look like they're regulars or recurring: in addition to Cadet Silvia, we get the security chief who felt familiar at once though it took me a while before I realized she was a Cylon, one of the Final Five, no less. I.e. she'd played Tory on BSG, a thankless role due to the writing, and I hope she'll fare better with the scripts here. Though her initial dialogue towards the prisoners sounded a bit too muich like that of a prison guard in a 20th century movie/tv show for my taste. Given she's okay with Lorca wanting the beastie on board in the end, I suspect this might be intentional to signal her shadiness? Anyway, due to her, there's potential for foe yay for Burnham as well as friends-to-lovers with Silvia. Anyway, these are three female characters (Burnham included), just as there seem to be three male recurring ones (the chief scientist, Captain Lorca and Saru), and the episode managed to give us an idea of all their personalities with a deliberate question mark over Lorca's since he's meant to be performing to some degree for Burnham.

Lastly: the Discovery herself was also introduced, in the teaser with a classic shot. Again, nostalgia time for the camera carressing those ships (before the Slow Motion Picture overdid it). I do love my starships.

ETA: almost forgot: it's very reassuring to know there are still Beatles coverbands around in Star Trek times. Though holodeck technology later might kill them off? Nah, the joys of live performance, etc. Anyway: I approve of our chief scientist knowing his Beatles.

Date: 2017-10-02 11:50 am (UTC)
4thofeleven: (Default)
From: [personal profile] 4thofeleven
Since Kirk - and thus presumably Starfleet and the Federation - are ignorant of tribbles - we can safely assume they're one of Lorca's shady plans.

Burnham was on the right track, she just missed the real biological weapon - he's going to unleash tribbles on the Klingon homeworld!

Date: 2017-10-03 02:42 pm (UTC)
grimorie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grimorie
Yes, I think its Section 31! ALSO: I knew Fuller had issues, and I kept it in mind but its only after I read your review that I went: OH. Yeah! Except I thought more of Chakotay than Tom Paris but it also makes sense!

Date: 2017-10-08 04:55 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I liked the two-part pilot a lot more than most people I know apparently did, but I agree the third ep is a gem, and the real start of the show. It's just too bad a lot of people won't see it because they're put off by the streaming service or can't afford it. (I'm so pissed at CBS for doing that to such a diverse show. Argh.)

Alice was mentioned in Voyage Home -- "Hello, Alice. Welcome to Wonderland" -- so I loved seeing it quoted here. McCoy sees Alice and the White Rabbit in the OST "Shore Leave," too. I LOVED the image of Amanda reading it to Spock and Michael.

Date: 2017-10-08 05:49 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
I had some complaints about the two part pilot, but that didn't keep me from being compelled enough to tune in again. And you know, pilots are traditionally a mixed affair.

Yeah, and this one was good! Although I think CBS fluffed it by ending the first free episode on a cliffhanger (that's just going to piss people off), and the intro to the show was a whole setup -- ship, crew, environment -- we're not going to see again. I read that Fuller wanted it that way to avoid lengthy flashbacks as the show went on, and it does create a whole vital shorthand the characters can refer to with just a few words, but it was not the best starting point. Then again, the Voyager and TNG plots were awful. So it was really nice to sit there and realize "Hey, I'm enjoying this!"

Is Amanda teaching English Literature (both before and after her marriage) fanon, or does it hail from the early books, because belatedly, I seem to recall it mentioned somewhere?

I had to look it up, but in The Animated Series Spock mentions her reading Alice in Wonderland to him. I thiiiink he says she's a teacher in Naked Time, but I don't remember.

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