Episode Transcript: Brother (S02E01)

This is a transcript of our our first season two recap, available here.

Ensign Sylvia Tilly [from episode]: This is the power of math people! (Applause) Come on!

re:Discovery theme plays.

Carla: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery, the Star Trek recap podcast that won’t infer an entire series plot line through a fortune cookie message. I’m one of your hosts Carla Donnelly, and today I will be discussing the first episode of season two, “Brother”, with my brother from another mother, Ben McKenzie. Hey Ben!

Ben: Hi Carla! I think I’m entirely human though, so I think, I think we share the same species at least. (laughs) But that’s all right.

Carla: On to the episode at hand. “Brother” is a classic Discovery blockbuster episode and very much feels like a reboot of season one. Like the first episode of season one, “The Vulcan Hello”, “Brother” is setting the tone – the theme of mothers and fathers reappears prominently. However, in a post-war environment these relationships appear more constructive. In “Brother”, there is a fair bit of mirroring in the story line and action sequences with “The Vulcan Hello”, however this time the tension and intrigue generate from within, rather than without.

Carla: In season one, Burnham and the Discovery crew set out to vanquish the Klingons and the Terrans. Season two is shaping up to be an in-depth character study of the Discovery’s crew members and the familial politics of Michael and Spock. Our crew has been through hell and now the war is over, and the trauma is receding, they have the time and distance to reconnect and re-affirm who they are. Not only personally but also professionally – onto the task of what Federation vessels are for, space exploration!

Carla: This episode begins with a young Michael being adopted by Amanda and Sarek, something a volatile Spock passive aggressively takes umbrage with. Transitioning to the present day, the Enterprise is hamstrung and out of service so Captain Pike is assigned to the Discovery to continue the mission that the Enterprise could not complete – investigate the source of one of seven red bursts that have been displayed simultaneously 30,000 light years across the universe. The team arrives at the location of the nearest red burst and discover a Federation medical ship smashed into an asteroid. An away team is gathered with Burnham, Pike and two Enterprise crew members. Connolly, a Science Officer, is annihilated by space debris mid-mansplain, and Burnham risks her life to save Captain Pike.

Ben: Landing on the asteroid the crew explore the wreck of the USS Hiawatha and are led by some advanced probes, built from scavenged bits of the ship’s tech, to the medical bay, where Commander Denise “Jett” Reno has been keeping the casualties too injured to evacuate alive using her engineering know-how. They set up pattern enhancers and Burnham reroutes power to the ship’s transporter bay and they evacuate the casualties. But just as they are about to leave the power goes out and Burnham is left behind as the others escape. Burnham runs through the disintegrating ship but is knocked out by falling debris. When she comes to, she sees a blurry vision of a humanoid figure with wings. Pike returns and rescues her but the sample she grabbed for Tilly is left behind.

Ben: In the medical bay, Tilly and Burnham cook up a plan to study the asteroid as it clearly has unique properties worth investigating. Pike gives command back to Saru for the manoeuvre and they successfully collect a massive chunk of the asteroid. Discovery returns to the Enterprise, but it’s still disabled. Pike reveals to Burnham that he is staying aboard to share command with Saru. But when she asks to visit Enterprise, he tells her that Spock is not there: he went on personal leave a few months earlier to investigate a mystery he kept to himself. Burnham visits Spock’s quarters and listens to his personal log in which he says he is having nightmares as he did when a child, and recorded what he saw. To Burnham’s amazement, it’s the seven bursts across the galaxy – which Spock saw before they happened…

Carla: Dun dun dah!!

Ben: WHAT! Oh wow this was so good!!! I was so excited, this episode was so great Carla.

Carla: Oh my God! Thrilling!

Ben: There was so much cool stuff happening!!

Carla: How did you feel? That’s what I was going say. How did you feel about it? But that’s exactly how you felt about it.

Ben: That is how I felt about it, I couldn’t contain my feelings about it, and it was so cool. I loved everything. I loved everything, there was so many good things happening in this episode. I got some of my wishes Carla!

Carla: Yes, so much more of the bridge crew! Well and by more we mean like five lines.

Ben: Something like that. Some of them got to speak for the first time! Well not the first time but, you know, we got, we got their names again in a context where we might even remember them. It was so good.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: Deft little bit of exposition on that. (laughs)

Ben: Yeah. You know I was watching the recap and I’d forgotten how much they really teased that it was the Enterprise that was showing up. Like…

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Like, oh you know “the statics coming through, I’m getting their registration number” and it’s like “NCC-” and it’s coming in like one digit at a time: one…seven… (Carla chuckles) Come on guys!

Carla: Screaming! You know, waiting.

Ben: So good, so good. I mean because I had, I had mixed feelings about that.

Carla: I know, I did too. I didn’t want to see them, go away!

Ben: Yeah! All right? We’ve got our own crew. We don’t need you guys!

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: But then I was like, oh but you know, Kirk’s not there.

Carla: No.

Ben: McCoy’s not there. Nobody’s there. Like Pike’s there and we don’t know Pike that much…

Carla: But I thought ultimately like Spock was going to get in there somewhere.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: So there was going to have to be a transition or a bridging of some kind, that Spock was going to be able to appear on the scene, or not appear as it seems!

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: So, I kind of I accepted it. But at first, I was just mad, I was like… I felt like it was a nod to kind of original – like to some kind of fan base, that I felt like, no, it can just be its own thing.

Ben: Yeah. And I mean that’s one of the things I loved so much about the first season is it is very much its own thing. It’s got those little you know like the biggest connection really to the rest of the Star Trek universe is Harry Mudd and that’s cool, and it’s nice. There’s lots of little you know easter eggs and stuff that you can find. But you know for the most part it really was telling its own story and it was about the characters who were there, and it didn’t need big connections to the other stuff, but…

Carla: It does feel good though.

Ben: It does feel good.

Carla: Like now that it’s happening, I’m like “this is exciting” and seeing the, like the linguistic transition of the uniforms, like it’s still the same cut and shape, but it’s just the different colour and… That’s beautiful to watch you know.

Ben: Yeah and I like I like how they build some of that exposition into the episode in very, very natural dialogue, like where you know the engineering officer from the Enterprise is like “wow I can see where Starfleet’s spending all their money” – although they don’t have any money. I don’t know, that was a weird, that did make me think. But then again, like, original series era there is still a fair bit of talk of money. So, there’s some sort of money going on, somewhere.

Carla: Well maybe just because it’s such a newer, fancier ship than the Enterprise.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: And also it’s a science vessel so I’m sure it has much more, different equipment and cool tech rather than….

Ben: Oh yeah totally.

Carla: Torpedos and cannons….

Ben: Oh yeah.

Carla: Kind of jazz.

Ben: I know that the ship’s absolutely more advanced, it was more for me that was just, it wasn’t weird when you say it, but then I guess it remains you know a euphemism in much the way we use a lot of euphemisms about things that don’t really make literal sense anymore.

Carla: Or that it was just exposition to talk about the uniforms.

Ben: Yeah. And I liked that, but I also like that acknowledgement that this ship is fancy. Yeah. That was cool.

Carla: As is their uniforms.

Ben: Oh yeah, they look great in those uniforms.

Carla: So shiny.

Ben: Yeah. Should we talk…should we start by talking about the Enterprise crew that we meet?

Carla: Mm hmm. I have two things I want to talk about first.

Ben: Okay. Go.

Carla: One was my feelings.

Ben: Oh, please tell me your feelings.

Carla: Thrilled! I was a bit of a I was a bit worried that I knew too much through the process of creating this podcast because the whole first season was like – I had no idea of anything and I purposefully was dark on all information.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: But it was – I had the same thrills and goose bumps. And it was so exciting, and the special effects are just out of control. Like we’ll talk about that later in the Short Chat section particularly about how the budget completely blew out which is quite evident, like how much money they spent on it.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: And then also like my favourite easter egg of the whole episode, that I wonder if you picked up on this – because it’s, I mean they’re ultimately like they’re writers, and all writers are nerds and they’re nerds for writing process.

Ben: (laughs) I can attest to that. Yes.

Carla: Yes. So, here’s what I picked up. So, the first, it was a very much a mirroring of the first season as I said in my introduction and just like in the first season the first two episodes and the last two episodes were an inversion inside and out of each other.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: Right. So, this was a mirroring of that first season episode where it’s called “The Vulcan Hello” and not doing what was called the “Vulcan Hello” was the catalyst for the entire season.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: So, in this episode with Michael offering her hand in a human hello to the Vulcan seems to be the catalyst for this…

Ben: Right.

Carla: …entire season.

Ben: Yeah yeah. And of course, it’s called “Brother” and the brother is not really…he’s not there…yet. (both laugh) Again you’ve got that reversal. I like that. That’s good. Yeah yeah. Oh cool.

Carla: So that’s my that’s my 2 little things. You want to talk about the. Just like the Enterprise crew?

Ben: Well you know, I because I don’t spend too much time on them. Quite interesting. I mean I liked you comment about “Yeah he he’s killed by his mansplaining”. That’s totally true. And he’s such a forgettable character, like this guy is named Connolly which by the way is the actor’s name. How weird is that. His name, his name, hang on I wrote down his actual name.

Carla: It’s also what I get called a lot by accident.

Ben: Oh Connolly, oh of course. But no, his last name is Connolly Affleck. I don’t know if he’s one of those Afflecks.

Carla: He was so sullen, so sullen the whole time. You’re real…

Ben: Well I don’t think you supposed to like him.

Carla: No.

Ben: But also, I kind of felt a bit like there’s three, only three people come across from the Enterprise. All three of them go on the first away mission available and one of them is dead. And then there’s no like funeral or anything.

Carla: Well I think someone had to be disposable, right?

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: To ramp up the danger. Like someone was going to die. You don’t want it to be from the bridge ’cause we’re going to get to know them.

Ben: And I guess it’s only fair that it’s not always the one wearing red.

Carla: Yes!!! I was going to talk about that!!!

Ben: (laughs) It was the wearing blue this time around.

Carla: Yes. So Red Shirts are usually the ones who die. So, this is very much against canon which is also putting everybody’s knickers in a twist on the Internet. So, it’s thrilling.

Ben: I love that.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah. Well I was relieved though to because I was like don’t kill off the new female character. That’d be a bit rough. She only just got here! I mean this guy only just got here too, but he’s a…he’s a dick! So I don’t mind…

Carla: Sure. Sure, and I can actually understand now. Because the first season is like “yeah you know feminists, feminism has gone too far” or whatever blah. I just thought, okay great. No, it’s a good example of how you can measure in equality into the back story. But now like watching this episode it’s kind of like, no, this is pretty out there in terms of feminist, as a feminist text. It’s being inflammatory in a way that is, I think designed to drive certain kinds of fans away, and to embrace a new kind of fan that they want to bring in or keep on the show.

Ben: I think, I mean, I think a lot most of those fans are already on board although you know as we discussed in our previous episodes that the whole killing off of Hugh was a bit of a red flag to some people, I think, that yeah, maybe this show’s not as different as we thought. And the fact that you know he’s still in the credits, the actor, and…

Carla: And exists.

Ben: He’s been visible in the first episode although you know only as a recording which leads us to wonder you know how much is he going to be in the rest of it. What is that for? What form will his participation take? Like it’s quite unknown. So, it’s yeah, I think, I think, they’re definitely taking some good steps.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah. I mean look I’m hooked. I’m not going anywhere.

Carla: No, of course, I’m like “bring it on!” And I feel I actually, I don’t know it’s some kind of internalisation process, but I feel guilty loving stuff like that so much. I feel it’s so entirely, I mean I feel, I feel so entirely catered for by this whole show including of course as a queer woman by Tig Notaro. There were lots of question marks on the Internet over who this person is.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: We obviously knew who Tig was before.

Ben: Yeah. Yeah, I mean I’ve not watched lots of her stand-up, but I did buy her, like, the famous set where she talks about the cancer diagnosis, and just like the most amazing deadpan…

Carla: Oh my God!

Ben: Like just perfectly pitched. So, I got, I love, I love her work and yeah, she’s just so great she really brings that to this role.

Carla: I think she brings like. Well let’s talk about. We can talk about Enterprise sort of feels because Pike really has that kind of cowboy Kirk’s swagger.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: Right. And that sort of feels like the deal of the Enterprise. And I feel like Tig sort of has that McCoy kind of acerbic-ness.

Ben: Oh yeah.

Carla: And I think, and it feels like she’s being set up to be kind of like the McCoy of the Discovery.

Ben: And she’s got that, she’s got that sass.

Carla: Yes! SASS that’s exactly it!

Ben: What I love is that, that whole idea that you know she’s an engineer, but she’s been forced to do all this medical work and she’s just like well the body’s just another machine. That’s so awesome! I really dug that. And like they all felt like she piggybacked that guy’s heart onto another heart because there was no suitable donor. What?! This is amazing! Yeah. I thought that was really cool. So I love her character. I think yeah Pike’s interesting cause he has got that cowboy swagger but he’s like a really, really friendly affable cowboy.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: You know he’s not…

Carla: He’s not leery. (laughs)

Ben: He’s not out to just shoot people he’s just like well “c’mon let’s have a good time”. You know I think he’s yeah, he’s got that charm which I really liked.

Carla: He’s like loose but you feel safe with him at the same time. (laughs)

Ben: And I wonder how much we’ll see of his engineer, like if she’s sticking around? Or returned to the Enterprise, you’re not really sure if she’s gone back or not. And weirdly like this is just a little detail but again I love when they bring stuff in from the other series like her species is a species that was featured in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Carla: Okay.

Ben: And when I first saw I didn’t realize that when I first saw I sort of you know it was like she looks a bit familiar.

Carla: I was trusting you to tell me about the alien stuff, so… because I didn’t know this one.

Ben: Yeah well, I didn’t know either I had to look it up, but I bought it because my first thought was another cyborg because there’s so many, we see so many of them like the transporter officer that beams them in to the ship from the Enterprise is also a cyborg, he’s got cybernetic bits.

Carla: Or is it the prototype Geordi La Forge VISOR?

Ben: Oh well it could be, it could be.

Carla: That’s what I was thinking.

Ben: And you know the engineer I thought she was also a cyborg but no she’s this species I think they’re called the Barzan, and they need that, it’s a little respirator because they have this weird, they can breathe oxygen but they also need some other gases that are quite toxic to other creatures so they have this little thing that sort of injects it into their face so they can breathe. And that’s what she’s wearing so yeah. And I thought she was kind of cool. I didn’t see much of her but she’s, I liked how no nonsense she was. And she had a little bit sass as well when she’s like looking around the Discovery going “wow this is great”. And Pike had that great line, like “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s starship,” which I thought that was cool.

Carla: He’s great. I immediately I love him also. Anson Mount like he was born to play that role – they could have just called him Anson Mount, like, that is a Star Trek captain name.

Ben: Yeah. You know I hadn’t thought of that. That was great. It’s weirdly like I feel like I know Captain Pike fairly well because one of the few things that I have watched more than once of the original Star Trek is the Captain Pike episode, the two parter “The Menagerie”. And you know I like that they had the little, a little reference to that in the fortune cookie message which I don’t know see I’m not trying to read too much into it as you suggested intro but.

Carla: Well give me that back history because I don’t know that.

Ben: Sure.

Carla: And then I can explain what I think it means.

Ben: For it was so the original pilot for the original Star Trek was called “The Cage” and it was about visiting these aliens who had these incredible like illusory mind powers, and they were trying to capture people because their civilisation had been devastated, and put them in a sort of, you know, a state where they had these illusory lives of luxury and wonder. And they capture the Enterprise crew – which includes Captain Pike because Kirk was not the captain in the original pilot – and they try to persuade him basically to stay on the planet and mate with this human woman, who’s like from a crashed expedition ship that they’d come to find, so that they could like breed a race of humans that they could use effectively as slaves. It’s not…it’s, it’s a pretty awful story line in terms of what they’re doing.

Carla: Wow.

Ben: But then what happened was during the first season, this might dovetail into your discussions about the budget on Discovery, but they found because it was a, quite a new ground-breaking show in terms of special effects back in the ’60s, they were running behind in production, and they had to figure out some way to write episodes they could make real quick. So, they turned in a two-part episode, the only one that they made, called “The Menagerie”, which reused a whole heap of footage from the unaired pilot. And so the story became that long before – and this is why Pike was introduced as a previous captain of the Enterprise, like you know a decade before he was…the episode happened – Spock was serving on the Enterprise as science officer for Captain Pike, they’d had this adventure, and now in the future Pike’s like retired from being a captain, he’s been sort of kicked upstairs so to speak, he’s now a fleet commander I think. And he is involved in a mission where he gets horribly burned and ends up in a wheelchair which is a bit weird, like it’s the future.

Carla: Well there was a wheelchair user on Discovery. And maybe that was a reference to that as well?

Ben: Well it could well be. I mean I guess more weirdly is that they give him this sort of – and again the disability politics of this is not great – but he is… effectively he can’t speak anymore, he’s got facial burns that means he can’t speak, and he can’t move very much. And so he’s in this sort of remote-control wheelchair that’s controlled by his thoughts because he’s still perfectly cognizant in mind. And he can only communicate by beeping like once or twice and I’m like… (laughs) I feel like in Star Trek future they would have more sophisticated ways of doing that, but anyway, he can’t do that. And so Spock basically kidnaps him, and he mutinies, effectively, to kidnap Pike and take him back to this planet so he can live in this illusory world.

Carla: Wow.

Ben: And like be happy for the rest of his life instead of being kind of miserable because the idea is he’s, you know, he’s like Captain Kirk, he’s a man of action, like not being able to go out and have adventures would be torture for him, which again, as I say, the disability politics of that is not great, but that’s the sort of back story of Captain Pike.

Carla: So that’s what you thought – what was the fortune cookie again? “Not every cage is a prison…”

Ben: “Not every cage is a prison, nor every loss eternal.” So I think that “not every cage is a prison”, it seems to me fairly clearly like an in-jokey reference to the fact that his original episode was called “The Cage” and he goes back voluntarily into this cage to live out his life.

Carla: Could be like a Rorschach as well, like… See to me, I think it means a thousand percent Lorca’s coming back.

Ben: Oh yeah well…

Carla: This is “good Lorca”.

Ben: …there’s more than a few people I’ve heard have said that.

Carla: But then hearing that again, I’m like, is that a Hugh thing too?

Ben: Mmmm. Yeah, could be.

Carla: Can he be, become like, embodied in a robot body or something?

Ben: Yeah, or you know…

Carla: Like Black Mirror style, you know… (both laugh) Like, all of, all of… (laughs)

Ben: (laughs) Oh God no! No no no, oh, that’s horrifying!

Carla: I don’t know. It’s Star Trek.

Ben: Yeah. Well it would be less horrifying in Star Trek I assume, but still…yeah.

Carla: I loved this episode also that it was fun. Obviously, they’ve kind of been through a lot and I think that that was kind of necessary as well to tell those tales about the Star Trek universe that we’ve known about but we’ve never seen properly. And now that we just had that, fantastic, space fun, super cool…

Ben: And it was like a real, it was a real rollicking adventure you know? I mean, yeah, we had, you know, science officer mansplain, ah, destroyed, but…

Carla: Which he will forever be known as.

Ben: Yeah that’s his name now. I’m sorry Connolly Affleck guy, but anyway. Yes. That aside it wasn’t a very dark episode because they have this adventure. It’s thrilling. It’s exciting. You know yes, they get injured there’s some…that feels like the people at risk, but they succeed in their mission, they rescue, um…Tig Notaro. I’m never going to call her by her actual character name…no.

Carla: Jett.

Ben: They rescue Jett Reno. (laughing) And what a great name that is too, by the way! And they rescue all of the medical passengers as well on this medical ship. And they capture this massive asteroid that has weird properties that somehow interact with the mycelial network.

Carla: Or that it’s dark matter or…we don’t know…

Ben: It’s non-baryonic matter.

Carla: Yes, that’s right.

Ben: I might have something to say about that later.

Carla: Okay. But there is, there is a shadow.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: And this shadow has a beard.

Ben: (laughs) Yeah, we do know that it has a beard. That’s true.

Carla: Okay. So now we know that Spock has been on…well, you know, he goes on two back-to-back five year missions.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: Right? But he’s kind of having some, obviously some sort of breakdown. I’m just going to lay it on the table: do you think they are setting up some freaky-deaky incest situation here?

Ben: It does feel that way.

Carla: NOOOOOOO!!

Ben: And you know what? Like, I’ve been through this with another TV show, so, The Flash TV show, the DC one. This is creepy guys!

Carla: So creepy.

Ben: Like, I know you want to think of it as romantic. But first of all, they grew up together as like, sure, not blood relatives, but basically brother and sister, and that’s like…that’s like all those stories of like people marrying their childhood sweethearts. I’m like “That’s not how life works, it doesn’t work out that way”.

Carla: But there’s further implications for this as well considering that Spock then later ends up with Uhura.

Ben: Mmmmmm, oh yeah. That’s a good point.

Carla: I hope there’s no kind of like…

Ben: I kind of hope it does go somewhere else.

Carla: Me too.

Ben: I mean Michael, Michael’s really stressing that she feels it’s her fault that she and Spock don’t talk, that they don’t have a relationship anymore.

Carla: But he doesn’t speak to Sarek either and Sarek is like “I never thought I would hear from him again”, so obviously…

Ben: We know why that is though, that’s addressed in the original series.

Carla: Okay.

Ben: Because he gets… Because remember, there’s that episode, I think it’s “Lethe” – I always get the names confused – but where Sarek’s having, replaying that day where he had to pick who was going to go to the Vulcan Science Academy.

Carla: Oh yes yes yes.

Ben: And he picks Spock.

Carla: Yes.

Ben: But Spock decides not to go to the Vulcan Science Academy, gives up his space there and goes to Starfleet instead. And that’s, that’s the reason why they don’t talk to each other for something like eighteen years. And in fact, they still, when they meet…

Carla: I didn’t realize it was so cataclysmic.

Ben: Well when they meet in um, in Star Trek the original series, I think – I think – that’s the first time they speak. So I think Sarek, even if Spock’s in this, I don’t think Sarek’s going to meet him and speak to him during this period.

Carla: Hopefully it’s just you know identity politics sort of swapping over because it’s quite clear that Spock has a very extreme reaction to her being full human. And Amanda is full human. And them having that connection and he has that child, you know… It seems to me like a cataclysmic version of the child “oh no this person is a competitor for food rather than an ally”. But it seems to be even worse because she’s also human. I don’t know. Hopefully big question mark over this.

Ben: Yeah. No that’s fair enough. And I, yeah, I hope it goes somewhere else, I hope it’s not that. But wherever it goes it seems like it’s going to be complicated and that I’m up for.

Carla: And dark.

Ben: And dark.

Carla: Dark and broody.

Ben: Real dark, because like when they, when they realise what the ship is, that look that Sarek and Michael share is like – oooh, neither of you are ready for this. And Sarek doesn’t know what happened between the two of them either. Like there’s that great exchange in Michael’s quarters where it’s quite clear that he doesn’t know what it is that’s going on between the two of them.

Carla: And that’s where it feels creepy because he’s like basically “my door is always open to you if you ever want to talk about it” but it’s kind of like “I don’t really want to know either”. (laughs)

Ben: (laughing) Yeah, like: “I’m a bit concerned about this.”

Carla: I will, before we wrap up, I will say one thing, I really, I thought it was very sweet Saru trying to grill Michael about her relationship. He’s like, about… Obviously she’s, you know, become distressed.

Ben: I did like that.

Carla: That was sweet.

Ben: I did, last thing I want to pop in to before we go on to other matters, I really loved Tilly and Stamets’ relationship in this episode. I mean also Tilly was just great throughout this like she’s very awkward with Pike which was just delightful. But also just that really heartfelt, like when Stamets tells her that he’s leaving the ship because he can’t deal with how much Hugh was around which also was… Like what a moment, like…oh. But she’s like you know, she tells Michael “You’ve got to come back from this, I can’t lose more than one person today.” But then towards the end of the episode when Stamets is like “Well I’ve got to stay on board until we finish this mission, like I can’t just leave now.” There was just that really lovely moment where he asked to be invited on her science mission and she said, “Well of course you’re invited,” and they did the high five over the power of maths! I was just like this is great. Like this is what I love Star Trek for, like nerds doing nerdy stuff in space together.

Carla: Loving it.

Ben: And when Saru says “pump the brakes”. (both laugh) Oh my God I love that so much. There’s just so much to like about this episode.

Carla: Yeah. All right. One more final thing that actually that scene really summed up as well: because I’m like everybody’s lost people on this ship, they’ve… Everybody! But it just really shows like even though of course Hugh was a casualty of war in the way that, you know, it was a sleeper cell agent that killed him, it’s still such a personal loss. You know, it wasn’t in war so to speak, it wasn’t in battle. It was, you know, while he was in the room, and that really, that really hit home how raw… And also that he finally had some time and space to start processing it.

Ben: Yeah. Because he wasn’t really, because he was kind of like not properly aware of it at the time either because he was like zonked out on like being connected to the network and I…

Carla: Zonked out on spores. (laughs)

Ben: There’s that scene… Like I watched the recap of this episode, and it has that scene where he’s just holding Hugh’s body and he’s…and he doesn’t…he clearly isn’t fully cognizant of what’s going on. And it’s just so awful. So, I really, I really like that he’s – it’s nice to see him in a calm place, like he’s still very clearly sad, he’s still in mourning, but he’s not distressed by it anymore. He’s processing it. Which I think is a version of grief that you so rarely see on screen. You know there’s this very much this idea in fiction – and it comes from our culture, that’s a very harmful idea – that you have this one relationship and its everything, and when that is over, if somebody dies, that’s it. You can’t be happy for the rest of your life. You know, you can’t have new lovers, you can’t move on. And I think what we’re seeing Stamets go through is much healthier, still no less sad, but much healthier than that.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Which I am liking.

Carla: Yeah, I think it’s great because it was concerning in season one. But now it’s understandable. All right, shall we move on?

Ben: I think we shall.

Carla: All right. Now it’s time for re:Discovery “Short Chats” where we talk news, trivia and anything related to Discovery. We will also be taking questions during this segment from you, the listener. So please follow all of our socials to be in touch. What do you have for me today Ben?

Ben: Well I kind of I wanted to talk a bit about the bridge crew, because as we mentioned we see more of them this episode which is great. But in particular I want to talk a bit about aliens on Discovery.

Carla: I love it.

Ben: And non-humans because we see a lot more of them on Discovery than we see on most of the other Star Trek shows, which I think is a function of them having a budget to sort of put them in.

Carla: Sure.

Ben: But there’s such a weird variety of them which I kind of really like.

Carla: Ones that we have never seen before.

Ben: I know they’re really cool.

Carla: What about that sneezy snot alien?

Ben: I love him! (giggles) He’s one of my favourites.

Carla: Although I do have to say, someone once told me – shout out to Jay if you’re listening, because you ruined my life over this – he couldn’t watch The Walking Dead anymore because he was like “I can’t stand when things splatter on the screen.” And I’d never noticed it until that point.

Ben: Right.

Carla: And now it’s all I can see. And when that aliens sneezed, it splattered snot on the camera and I was like NO. NO.

Ben: Oh no! Carla it’s been ruined for you. (both laugh) You’re like “There are no cameras on the starship Discovery!”

Carla: We’re not doing this!

Ben: Well hopefully they don’t do it anymore.

Carla: So, on notice Discovery!

Ben: Yeah, I just really liked that. And one of the things I like is there’s the character Airiam, I think I’m pronouncing that right. Her name’s not said that often… And she’s the one who looks like a cy… like an android basically on the bridge. And I think we have to assume she’s not actually a full android, because there’s so much guff about Data being unique and the only, like, fully sentient robot effectively.

Carla: So, this has kind of gone around in circles, and at first they said that she was an augmented alien.

Ben: Yes.

Carla: Which caused some confusion. And now they say that she a heavily augmented human.

Ben: Yeah. Which is also weird. I hope there’s an episode about augmentation at some point where it becomes a plot point, just to give us some context of what is the deal…like, does it become less popular in ten years’ time?

Carla: Apparently, she can swap parts of her, thing out.

Ben: Oh yeah.

Carla: For specific missions. And I’m like “What is that tech?!”

Ben: They said…where, it was on one of the After Trek episodes wasn’t it, where they talked about that. Is that right? Or on one of the websites.

Carla: Yes.

Ben: Or something.

Carla: Yes.

Ben: Yeah. So…

Carla: The link’s on our Twitter if anyone wants to find it.

Ben: Yeah. So, I think that’s quite interesting. That was from quite thing… The other interesting thing about her though, is that the actor who played her in the first season…is no longer playing her. She’s now playing…

Carla: She’s now playing someone else, isn’t she?

Ben: Someone else. Yes, she’s playing one of the other crew members who’s fully human. So, they’ve been like, we’re gonna, we’re gonna give you a promotion so people can see your face. (Carla laughs) And we’re gonna cast someone else in your role, just as it becomes more prominent.

Carla: That’s very exo-genically racist. (laughs)

Ben: Yeah, it’s a bit weird isn’t it. Yeah. So, I don’t know but I thought that was very interesting. But yeah, I love that there’s so many non-humans on the crew, and I hope… I hope that a couple more of them get a bit more of a prominent role, ’cause, like…like with all the other Star Trek shows, most of the bridge crew and most of the important characters are human beings – or very close to human beings – and yeah, I’d love to see a couple more of the aliens… Like I love Saru so much, but I’d love to see a few more of them get a bit more of a look-in.

Carla: All right, I want to talk about the first six episodes. Well something for everyone to watch. So, Bryan Fuller left the show. Bryan Fuller designed the entire universe which was like three or four shows which we are now seeing becoming. But I don’t think he designed them in that way. Anyway, he imagined a whole timeline with multiple shows. The writers took over as the show runners and the writers, so they wrote most of season one. They wrote the first six episodes of this season before they were fired.

Ben: Yes.

Carla: And Alex Kurtzman has now taken over as show runner. He was a writer and a director on the show. He’s taken over as show runner and his episodes are from episode seven onwards and he has indicated that, you know, his show will be very much more aligned. So, I don’t know whether there’s going to be quite a clear demarcation, or I don’t know but it’s something for everybody to have it back their minds.

Ben: Yeah, it’s interesting isn’t it. I mean because we talk about it being, he’s had this whole timeline of multiple shows. It’s important remember I think it was always intended to be fitting in with the timeline of, like the canon timeline of the original series, and everything else that’s already been made.

Carla: Sure.

Ben: But yeah, I think there’s been a lot of questions about how much liberty has been taken in terms of where, where, like, what weird stuff is going on? Like, you know… I mean ’cause like Geordi needs a VISOR to be able to see when he’s blind, and it’s not until like towards the end of the Next Gen movies that he actually gets full-on artificial eyes. And yet, you know, Detmer on the bridge has got this big cranial implant with like either an…and I’m assuming probably it’s an enhanced eye… And look a lot of these details are not really important to the plot of the show. But when you’re putting them in you do have to consider that you know what Star Trek is and who watches it, so people are going to have questions about this stuff. So I’m hoping that what we see is that they have thought about some of these things.

Carla: Well that seems to me like it’s the visual version of the Cochlear implant.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: So, it’s not actually kind of…

Ben: It’s not replacing the eye, it’s kind of…

Carla: Oh no she – it doesn’t look like that she has a glass eye it, doesn’t it. It does, it looks like an artificial eye.

Ben: The one on that side.

Carla: Whereas with Geordi it’s like it totally commandeers his visual network and makes his real eyes see.

Ben: Because he’s real eyes just didn’t work. Yeah. So, when he gets the new ones, they replace them. Except when he’s on, you know in Insurrection when his eyes grow back. And I’m like “What do you mean they grow back?!?!” Like, you… But yeah, he has to take his implants out or something, it’s a bit full-on.

Carla: Oh my God, I’ve got to go and watch all the movies again.

Ben: Insurrection is my secret favourite. It’s my secret favourite.

Carla: Okay. I’ll have you’re going to watch all the Next Gen ones, I think, because Tom Hardy’s in it…

Ben: It got a lot of flak.

Carla: As young Picard which is so absurd and hot.

Ben: Look that, he’s the best thing about that film. It’s really not very good. But Insurrection, yeah, is my secret favourite of the films. I really love it.

Carla: Do you have any other news?

Ben: I don’t have any news, I don’t think… I wanted to, can I talk a bit about science very briefly?

Carla: Of course!

Ben: I just I feel like I need a science corner because…

Carla: Ben’s science corner.

Ben: When Tilly and Burnham are talking about the asteroid and the fact that it interacts with the mycelial network in some way they describe it as non-baryonic matter and I love it when they use like interesting real science terms in Star Trek and often you know so often it’s just techno babble that makes no sense and doesn’t really interact with the real world at all. But non-baryonic matter is a thing because baryons, basically they’re class of subatomic particle the most famous baryons are ones that you would have heard of they’re protons and neutrons so pretty much all normal matter that we interact with is made up of at least in part baryons and so non-baryonic matter is it is a real thing and it’s weird and in our universe in what we know in the real world the kind of things that might be non-baryonic matter includes the matter in black holes or dark matter or neutrinos that sort of thing. So, it is it is a real consideration that this is weird, and I think the implication is this is non-baryonic matter we haven’t seen before. So, I just, I just was quite excited to see a science term used in a way that kind of made sense.

Carla: Well and now that the spore drive is decommissioned, I feel like I must have missed the memo on that, but are we going to have black hole? Are we going to have the ability to make black holes?

Ben: Oh yeah. Well they’re going to do something aren’t they. I mean it’s a science vessel! I just hope they don’t end up like the Glenn! (Carla laughs) So when, like the Enterprise has to come and save them because they’ve done something dumb. Actually, look you know, this is a question, is that I was a bit confused about the Enterprise being shut down.

Carla: Yeah that’s something that I don’t understand it was very much swept under the rug.

Ben: Yeah yeah. Like they…

Carla: So, I’m like sure whatever I’m going with it.

Ben: And they did mention it and I think basically the idea was that they had a lot they copped a lot of interference when they were trying to plot these seven you know red bursts.

Carla: Fried their network.

Ben: And it yeah. And then when they tried to get there something collapsed it. And I’m wondering – can I make a prediction?

Carla: Sure.

Ben: I’m wondering if Spock sabotaged them so they couldn’t go after him if they tried to go where the bursts were because he knew where they were going to be. And I also felt, if I can say one other thing that made it a bit confusing for me, is the way they talked about how the bursts worked because the whole point of them being interesting is the seven of them happen identically at the same time. But then they all disappear too quickly for them to get a fix on where they are except for one which they can track. And I’m like, but hang on you know where the others are, you’ve got them plotted on a map of the galaxy, and then you go to this one and it’s not there anymore, like his famous line, (laughs) “Where’s my red thing? I was expecting a big red thing!” Anyway. But…

Carla: The thing that we know is that the Milky Way, it’s a Milky Way universe thing so…solar system thing.

Ben: Galaxy, yeah.

Carla: So presumably it’s going to impact Earth, that’s going to be probably the thing they focus on the most.

Ben: Look this is reminding me that one thing I want to look up before the next episode is how the quadrants, you know the Alpha Quadrant, Beta Quadrant, Gamma Quadrant…

Carla: Sure.

Ben: How they align with the Milky Way. I have a feeling that it’s all in the one galaxy…noooo…well I’m not sure, because I can’t remember if the Delta Quadrant is like another galaxy, which explains why it’s so far away? But, our, the Milky Way is about 30,000 light years from one end to the other, if I remember rightly, so…yeah, that fits.

Carla: So, and then also there was the Milky Way story that Michael told right at the beginning. So there’s, there’s a lot of stuff, “spider senses” there.

Ben: There’s a lot of stuff going on.

Carla: One other thing I want to let everyone know if you don’t know already is that there’s been a new Star Trek show announced.

Ben: Oh yeah!

Carla: Starring Michelle Yeoh as evil Emperor, the Emperor, slash now good Philippa Georgiou, working for Black Ops. The whole show is going to star her working in black ops. There’re question marks over whether it will start production at the end of Discovery or overlap. Which sort of creates a lot of question marks about, you know, the future of Discovery and what it is intended to be. They’re saying four seasons, but we’ll see what happens there. But that is thrilling. And then there’s also – that compliments the Picard show, which is the new Picard show which is coming out in September. And then there’s also the cartoon as well that CBS have. So there’s four new Star Trek shows coming out, or in process.

Ben: That’s Lower Decks?

Carla: Lower Decks, that’s right.

Ben: That’s amazing. I’m really intrigued by the fact that you know they’ve got Discovery. They’ve got the Section 31 show, which will have to be set at the same time as Discovery because it’s Michelle Yeoh’s character and that’s where she lives. I don’t know about Lower Decks but then you got the Picard show which is this outlier, which has to be set further in the future…

Carla: So far into the future…

Ben: …than any other Star Trek show because it’s got to be –

Carla: Screaming!

Ben: – a reasonable amount of time after The Next Generation. So, I’m like… “What the hell?”

Carla: But that’s before Voyager though isn’t it? Or will it be…

Ben: No, it would be set after Voyager.

Carla: It’ll crossover with Voyager’s timeline.

Ben: The last Next Gen movie is set after Voyager gets home.

Carla: Okay.

Ben: Yeah. Star Trek: Nemesis because Admiral Janeway talks to Captain Picard.

Carla: That is thrilling.

Ben: So yeah, I’m excited about that. And also, I just, I just want to see him. I just want to see him.

Carla: He looks so babin’. Have you seen the preproduction photos?

Ben: No, I’ve got to find those!

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: I’m looking it up.

Carla: You need a little a little sit down after that. (laughs)

Ben: (laughs) I bet I will. I hope he’s wearing the velvet open jacket.

Carla: No no.

Ben: Never mind.

Carla: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. All links to creatives are in the show notes or on our website rediscoverypodcast.com. We’d love to connect with you; please add us on Twitter and Facebook at @rediscoverypod.

Petra: re:Discovery is brought to you by Splendid Chaps productions. Find more entertainment for your ears at splendidchaps.com.

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