Set your face to ugly cry (again) for Project Daedalus, where we inch so close to the mystery of the Red Angel we could mind meld with it. Discovery is on the run with an innocent Spock aboard. Admiral Cornwall secretly rendezvous with them and they join forces against a suspect Section 31. An away mission goes very, very bad. We lose a crew member we had only begun to know.
This is a transcript of our ninth season two recap, available here.
Admiral Cornwall [From episode]: You sat out the war because if we’d lost to the Klingons, we wanted the best of Starfleet to survive. And as this conversation makes clear, that was you and all you represent.
Carla: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery, the Star Trek recap podcast that won’t make a funny quip this episode because it’s all just so dang sad. I’m your host, Carla Donnelly, and I’m joined by my science officer, Ben McKenzie. Ben, I’m a little bit suss on your implant now.
Ben: No three cheers for cybernetics. Yay, yay, yaaay. Oh.
Carla: Project Daedalus kicks off with Admiral Cornwall boarding Discovery. She has travelled there secretly as something big is going on. Control, the computer that Starfleet Admiralty use for threat assessment has blocked her account and Section 31 had stopped taking her calls. She fears that Admiral Petard, who is a logic extremist, has turned Section 31 Admiralty against the Federation. But first, she must examine Spock and determine whether he is lying about all that has occurred. Administering a lie detector test, Spock comes up clean. He didn’t kill anyone. Nor did he leave the facility without permission. As a voluntary patient, he was free to go whenever he pleased. This is in direct opposition to the footage Cornwall shows Pike and Saru – that of Spock shooting and killing three medical officers. Pike offers assistance and Cornwell sets the mission, head to Section 31 to reset Control to accept her data, as if it’s only in the hands of extremists, the entire Federation is in danger.
Carla: Cut to Airiam scrolling through her memories, a process she must do each week to free up space in her hardware. We see that Airiam was just married before having her accident and confesses to Tilly that her partner died. RED ALERT! You generally know what it means when you get to know the emotional backstory of a minor character. Spock and Michael fight like children bitterly spatting, its mean and raw and strange. Michael is devastated by Spock’s clear and merciless assessment of her character, but not before it also affects him to the point that he yells and destroys the chess set they were playing. Spock is embracing his feelings, perhaps instinctively, knowing that it’s a journey through rather than the prison that Michael thinks hers are. This enrages Michael, both shaming and maintaining her blockage. Airiam is having many moments of cognitive breaks. She is understanding that something is happening to her but doesn’t know what. Fearful of the changes she asks Tilly to stay by her side as she tries to decode the messages that Tyler supposedly sent to Section 31. Their relationship is tender and warm whilst Nhan watches her like a hawk. She knows something’s up.
Ben: Engaging the spore drive Discovery arrives on the outskirts of a decommissioned prison star base. The secret headquarters of Section 31. It’s surrounded by mines, prompting a discussion between Pike and Cornwall about Federation ethics, in which she reveals the Enterprise was kept out of the Klingon war so that if they lost the best of the Federation, as exemplified by Pike and his crew, would be what survived. They take Discovery in closer, using Cornwell’s data on a safe path. But the ship is attacked by a variety of mines that slice into its hull and scramble navigation. Burnham realizes Control is predicting their behaviour and following Spock’s chess example suggests they use randomness. So, Pike has the bridge crew take turns to suggest evasive manoeuvre patterns. It works and the ship reaches the minefield, but not before Airiam again taken over, insists Tilly leave her and finishes uploading something. Discovery is hailed by Admiral Petar, who says the mine attack was ordered by Starfleet and labels Pike, his crew and Cornwall all traitor’s. Burnham, Nhan, and Airiam beam over to the base in shiny EV suits. Control has shut off power and life support to most of the station and find dead bodies, one of which turns out to be Admiral Petar! She and the rest of Section 31’s leadership have been dead for two weeks; and Saru, who already had suspicions, confirms that their recent communications were fakes holograms, as was the video evidence against Spock. They realize they’re not fighting Section 31 but Control itself and that it must want something from them to allow the away team to board. Tilly finds that Airiam downloaded all her personal memories before she left and uploaded something else. She must have what Control wants. Pike tries to warn Burnham and Nhan, but Airiam has already flipped into evil mode and started uploading her payload to Control – the sphere life forms vast collection of data on artificial intelligence, which Control will use to evolve itself to full sentience. She fights with the others, ripping Nhan’s respirator implant out and almost killing Michael before she turns things around and traps Airiam in an airlock. Tilly manages to reach Airiam by transmitting some of her memories across and briefly herself again Airiam begs Michael to flush her out of the airlock before she can unlock the door and kill her and complete the download. Michael resists following Pike’s order to do it, but has a final conversation with Airiam, who tells her everything is about her, Michael, and that she must find Project Daedalus. Before she can say more or escape and kill Michael, Airiam is ejected into space by a surprise Nhan. The crew watch in grief-stricken silence as Airiam floats into the void, her last moments spent watching her favourite memory sent to her by Tilly of herself and her husband on the beach. Carla, I felt like Michael and the whole crew at the end of this episode, when you see their faces. How did you feel about the death of Airiam?
Carla: A lot.
Carla: Yeah. Look, I found it really interesting like I’m also like a bit like “oh, really? Come on”. You know, but I feel like everybody it’s someone has someone key has to die.
Carla: Right. But the thing that struck me most, and it’s a mechanical thing, is like how effective they were able to make you fall in love with her, like so quickly. In such a short period of time, like, I found that really magical. And I don’t know if that’s Frake’s or the scripting or it was just so lovely. And all you needed was those little snippets of memories to really have that intimacy with the crew and, yeah, and so it was devastating. I can’t believe that this has happened.
Ben: Yeah. I think they were really cleverly had sort of inserted little more and more little bits of her throughout this season. And because she’d been with us from the very start and she’s got such a distinctive visual look that we have always been aware of her. And Discovery seems to have a fairly small crew as well. So, you’re always seeing the same background characters and you feel like you know them even when you’ve only seen them like a brief time. But I think they really capitalized on that so well, as you say, and this episode really brings her to the fore, gives us just enough information to really go “ah, yeah”, just before she snatched away from us. And it’s yeah, it’s kind of awful. I mean it’s beautiful and an awful but, yeah, yeah.
Carla: I have so many questions.
Ben: Okay. Let’s let’s hit them.
Carla: So, it actually like, I was very confused by the end of my first watching of this. So even at the end of the second I was like, okay, I think I kind of know what’s going on. So, are we assuming that Control evolves to become the octopus in the future? Is that the inference?
Carla: So then how does it desire now to become sentient? Like, how is that how does an A.I. desire that?
Ben: I think there’s a couple of things that could happen. First of all, could be a big paradox, because one of the first things Airiam does after she is taken over by the influence is, she makes those secret transmissions. And we know it was sent to Control at Section 31. And that’s around the time Control kills the leaders of Section 31. So, it’s been given this information from the future saying, “you need this”.
Carla: Oh, yeah. Okay, good.
Ben: That’s a bootstrap paradox. It’s like where does that start?
Carla: Of course. Yeah, but I missed that. So that’s a good explanation.
Ben: Yeah. So that could be it. I mean it also could be that it already wanted this stuff and was looking for how to get it. And Section 31, remember, has pretty much access to everything that Starfleet has. So, it might already know that it wants this data and set programs in motion means the way it gets it is by doing this time travel thing.
Carla: Yeah. And it’s obvious like now like AI is racist now you know, like, yeah, that AI is evil, you know, because it’s only learning what it’s being taught.
Carla: And so, you know, they say that, you know, after making the Spock video, it now learned that it could replicate, make hologram humans to utilize that for whatever it’s will was. So where is Georgiou? Where is Leland?
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. Well I mean I think it’s Georgiou obviously is not going to be on board with this because she has already in a previous episode expressed her disdain at how much faith they put in a computer telling them what to do. So, I think when she finds out, she’ll be like “kill it”.
Carla: Yeah but is she dead?
Ben: No, surely not.
Carla: Where is she?
Ben: Well, I mean, this episode has a few notable absences. I mean, Hugh’s not there. This has got a lot of implications for Tyler’s storyline. We don’t see him at all this episode either.
Carla: Well, because he is locked up.
Ben: Yeah. Oh, well, yeah, that is true. And Michael is expressly forbidden from going to see him at the start of the episode. So, it does kind of make sense there. But also, by the end of the episode, I mean, hopefully the first thing they do next episode, if it’s not having a proper funeral for Airiam, then it’s some, you know, letting Tyler out and saying, we’re sorry we doubted you, but it was very convincing evidence.
Carla: Sorry again. Sorry.
Ben: Sorry, buddy. At least it wasn’t you this time. You were framed. No. Yeah, pretty rough. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with Control either. Like we haven’t met Control. I mean, is there a backup Control? They had to go there to fiddle with Control. Does that mean this is the only place Control exists? They blow the station, that’s it? No more Control or. Or what?
Carla: Yeah. And if its only admirals feeding data into Control, then maybe that’s why all the Admirals are dead.
Carla: So, Georg… Yeah, I have lots of other questions. Who gets to decide whether they become a cybernetic human or not? Like obviously Airiam has been severely injured in an accident? Yeah, hopefully they just didn’t make her into that without getting her permission.
Ben: Well, I think I mean, it seems like cybernetic augmentation is pretty common. Like we’ve seen a lot of crew. We’ve commented before, you’ve seen a lot of crew members on Discovery have some sort of augmentation, including the guy looks a bit like Geordi in the transporter. So maybe they maybe it’s something that people ask you about, kind of like organ transplants.
Carla: That’s exactly what I thought. Like, you just kind of tick a box.
Ben: They have a box is like, if I’m injured, I don’t want to be cybernetically saves cause I…
Carla: That’s a significant augmentation.
Ben: It’s massive. Yeah.
Carla: Yeah. It’s not like having a visor because you’re born blind.
Ben: I mean they’ve clearly replaced parts of her brain and her entire face and head. But she also clearly has a human brain in there as well. Yeah. So that’s rough. Like that a lot. And she’s got I think she’s got robot hands as, well doesn’t she? So, it must have been pretty extensive, her injuries.
Carla: That’s what I mean.
Carla: It, it’s all unclear because we haven’t seen this before either. This type of…
Ben: We we sort of have. But we’ll come to that in Short Chats.
Carla: Oh yes, of course.
Carla: Lots of other things for me. Was Admiral Petar frozen midden nerve pinch?
Ben: Oh yeah. I didn’t notice that. But I think you’re right. Yeah.
Carla: Where does Nhan’s Barzan gases come from?
Ben: Well, that’s a good question, because those implant things are very small. Yeah, I think it’s not that the atmosphere is radically different. That’s why they can just wear this little thing. It’s just one extra gas that they need. So maybe she isn’t, she doesn’t need much of it. I don’t know. Or maybe it can convert other gases in the atmosphere.
Carla: That would be a better, that would be a more smart…
Ben: Yeah. Could be like a yeah like a “rebreather”, that kind of deal.
Ben: That scrubs the carbon dioxide out of the air.
Carla: And the one thing that I do hope from all of this is that she is now going to get more of a of a presence, of a storyline.
Carla: Because she’s awesome. I think she’s becoming my favourite character on Discovery.
Ben: She is pretty cool, and it was nice to see her get a real chance to shine because she sort of only been in a handful of episodes since she was introduced. And we all thought I think she was going to be a bit more of a bigger character and now maybe she gets a chance.
Carla: Yeah. Fantastic resting bitch face.
Carla: Which is my favourite of all time.
Ben: And just like very appropriately suspicious as well.
Carla: Yeah. Yeah.
Ben: Like Airiam was acting weird.
Carla: A good security chief.
Ben: Yeah. She was onto it before anyone else, although she didn’t tell anyone which I thought was an odd move. But maybe she thought maybe she was just second guessing herself like “I want to know that something’s up before I…” But then and then she does take her eyes off Airiam, like there was that great moment where, you know, she’s got to go and do something apart from Michael and Airiam and you can tell she’s like “oh, no, the whole reason I’m here is to keep an eye on Airiam because I’m suss”. But she’s like…
Carla: “I’ve got to do it”.
Ben: “I got to do it. You’ll be all right. Okay”. And she doesn’t question Pike’s orders or all on the needs of the mission or Michael’s capability. Exactly. So, I like that.
Carla: My biggest thing that I came to an understanding of this episode was that like 99 percent of the action fight scenes in this entire show has been with women.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah that’s true.
Carla: And I actually thought it was 100 percent. But then I remembered the Tyler…
Ben: Tyler, Culber…
Carla: Tyler Culber fight followed and that’s the only non-female fighting I can think of on the show.
Ben: Yeah. Cause I mean all was Spock in the medical guards.
Carla: That’s true.
Ben: But that’s more a flashback and a little bit Spock and Michael when they’re in the cockpit. But they weren’t major ones. They like backstory stuff.
Ben: Really. Yeah.
Carla: The fight scenes are incredible.
Ben: They’re really well choreographed.
Carla: So good.
Ben: Yeah. And I just like this one. You know, I the thing I love most about a good fight scene is when it really allows the actors to express the emotion through their style of fighting. And that’s why I’m never that concerned about too much technical accuracy. I just I just loved how, you know, Michael’s trying not to hurt her. And then you just see the point where she’s like, “you’re trying to kill me”. And she just let’s go and is like, “I’m just going to smash you because I’ve got to stop you. You’re going to kill me”.
Ben: And I love that moment. It was just. Yeah. It just it really conveys what’s going on with the character without any dialogue. I love it.
Carla: There’s such a complexity to the expression of violence and trauma in this show, like how people cope in those kinds of situations or don’t cope. And the bridge that they have to build in cognitive dissonance to actually really begin to understand what is happening to them. And usually it’s usually it’s too late. That’s the reason why so many people, women in particular, end up dead is because they just, it’s you know, it’s like their dog has started talking. You know what I mean? It’s like it’s a world that they can’t have ever imagined existing. So, it’s so fascinating to see that play out, be acted so finely. And such a responsible, I think, representation of how PTSD can work as well. Like, I’ve been so impressed with the work that they’ve really done in all of these characters. And obviously the actors are incredible.
Ben: Yeah. And you know what? That actually brings me to one thing I really wanted to talk about, which is the chess scene with Michael. Because I …
Carla: Hoo boy…
Ben: I mean, it was full on and I really enjoyed it. But I also find it really interesting the way that this episode really wants to paint Spock as the villain in that relationship and then kind it and then sort of tries to turn it around because it very much presents Michael as the calm one who’s like, “no, come on, we can sort this out”. And Spock is the one who’s very spikey, and I was watching that at that scene and all the way through, I’m going “he’s very emotional”, like he’s not voicing it too much. But the things he’s saying he’s clearly pissed off. And then, you know, he has this explosion at the end, and he gets one in at her is like absolutely right about her kind of saviour complex. I don’t know if that’s what it’s appropriate to call it, but that’s kind of how I was like. Yeah. Well it’s always yeah. It’s always about her but it’s not good. Like she hates it. And he’s revelations like “the logic extremists much more worried about me as like a half human half/half Vulcan”. And you’re like “whoa that’s like that’s quite a true burden to bear”. And he’s like “and you took it all on yourself”. I guess I found that a bit weird. I mean, we talked about last episode. It seemed like what she said to him wasn’t maybe as awful as we were expecting, given how it was built up. But at the same time, we’re expected to believe that it had that effect on him.
Ben: And now that it’s been turned around, it just felt weird to me that he was being painted as the main an evil, awful one.
Carla: Yeah. I didn’t see you like that at all, actually.
Ben: Yeah? Okay.
Carla: I saw. I saw his beef with her – once he articulated it, and probably the way he articulated is not rational. But the gist of where he was going, I thought was totally fine. Yeah, I was like, I understand that. I understand why you’re angry. You know, she’s always tried to take control and never it’s never been a conversation. And now again, she’s trying to take control. And he’s like “the only thing I can do with this situation is passively go along with everything that you demand of me, and you don’t want to hear anything that I have to say”.
Carla: Right. So, you know, chess. Ha, ha. You know what I mean? So, I thought it was. I thought I was actually very smart the way that it was depicted.
Ben: That makes a lot of sense when you put it like that. Yeah. Yeah, I can see. Yeah. That that kind of resolves some of the things I was wondering about that scene.
Carla: Cause she’s extremely pigheaded.
Carla: You know and that that goes beyond all realms of logic. You know what I mean. And that’s her running. That’s her on the run. And that’s what I said in my introduction. That’s why she was so gutted with what he said because it’s so true. It’s like she is constantly running towards the future to try to get away from her past and that if she keeps running fast enough, she’ll always be one step ahead of it when really, like, you know, she’s completely glued to that moment in time. And unless she evolves through it, which is what it seems like Spock is trying to do. He’s acknowledging that he has these human feelings and he’s comfortable in the discomfort.
Carla: And that’s a very evolved way of being, you know, and that’s threatening to someone like Michael.
Carla: Because you can’t control someone like that.
Ben: Yeah. Although she tries. I mean, I think…
Carla: She sure does.
Ben: Is very calculated and really mean of her to keep bringing up Sarek, for example, when she knows that there’s this massive rift between them, they haven’t spoken for years and won’t speak as we know for at least another decade. It’s like, yeah, that’s rough, you know. And also, I’m really enjoying that we’re finally getting back to Michael’s storyline because like I said that in the last episode, it’s felt very much like she’s been, you know, a protagonist, but she’s it’s not been about her like it was so much last season.
Ben: And now she’s coming back to the fore, not just because of what Airiam says to her at the end, but also now we’re finding out more about her backstory and we’re seeing more about that moment when, you know, the Klingon’s kill her family. And we know that Leland somehow is responsible for that, although we don’t know why or what the deal is with that yet. I mean, I’m really interested to know, was it really Klingon or was it like fake Klingon who actually Section 31 agents or something?
Carla: I mean, that is dark. Whatever is going to happen, there is fuckin dark.
Ben: It’s going be awful.
Carla: It’s going to be full circle like it’s going to be full circle for everything that’s happened and it’s going to drop the bottom out of everything.
Carla: And she’ll go deranged or something.
Ben: Yeah. Oh yeah. No, it’s going to happen. You know I also want to talk about there’s a really nice scene with Spock and Stamets and it was short, but I just I really liked how they both sort of gave each other that bit of insight and they both went, “well, maybe I’ve been a bit of a dick” like, and I was like, yeah.
Carla: From one to the other. (laughs)
Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Carla: I was just laughing because I was like, “oh, Stamets you are getting a dose of your own medicine” you know, like you’re really…
Ben: Someone just piercing you with like “Hey, this is what’s going on, buddy”.
Carla: Yeah “I’m the more anal prickish person in this room”. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Yeah. Yeah, I know. I really, I enjoyed that. I also really liked Saru getting another moment to shine this episode.
Carla: So textured. I mean ha-ha not a joke but so textured in performance.
Carla: I couldn’t. Yeah, I don’t. Yeah. I just find it miraculous what some of these actors do, you know what I mean? Like he’s just covered in latex. And he can just be so. But he was just like I’m loving it, I’m loving who he is becoming, or who he has become. He’s become so calm.
Ben: And he’s onto it you know.
Carla: Onto it.
Carla: But not like. “Holy shit”. Frantic before. Just like. Hang on. Dot, dot, dot. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. I mean it’s. It is. I mean it’s one of those classic things of modern television that we really enjoy watching characters who are really competent and what they’re doing. And Saru now is becoming an extreme example of that where every time he goes, I’m just going to work something out. You like, oh, he’s going to crack this case. It’s going to be awesome. And he does. And I just. Yeah, I really love that.
Carla: Do you think he’s going to shoot his spines to kill Georgiou?
Carla: You sure?
Carla: Oh, I’d love that.
Ben: It would be amazing. But I mean, yeah…
Carla: Put that on my Wishlist.
Ben: I can’t I can’t quite disengage my brain from the knowledge of that she’s got a spin off.
Carla: She’s got another show.
Ben: She can’t die. I mean, unless there’s some massive time jump, and it all occurs in the gap or something. I don’t know. Yeah, I’m interested. That’ll be weird to find out.
Carla: What else about this episode? Any other scenes of note for you?
Ben: How Airiam’s memories and how her brain works, I thought was really interesting and a nice, quick way to kind of establish that she was human and now is part computer basically. But how, like the fact that she’s deleting memories I’m like “oh, okay”, does that mean they’re gone forever? Or is it more I mean, she’s backing up to the cloud and just deleting them off their local memory because she doesn’t need them right now. I mean, that’s how I prefer to think about it, because I think it’s pretty rough otherwise.
Carla: But we don’t remember everything that happens to us on a daily basis.
Ben: No. And I mean and you would know this better than me, although I’ve been reading about it recently, is that memories are kind of constructed when you try to recall things rather than written into your brain like a computer.
Ben: But the I still feel like it’s kind of rough. Like it’s all. Yeah. It’s not written in there like a book, but it’s kind of, you expect that. Well you think of your past as a continuum where if your memory is good enough, you will remember anything. It’s not like if there’s a gap that’s unusual, where she has to choose to have gaps every week and that just seems seems a rough way to live. And I like the way that she talks about it with Tilly as well. She’s not sugar-coating it.
Carla: Yeah, but they were joking around.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Carla: Also hang on. I just want to get in a hashtag first trap moment and here.
Ben: Yeah go on.
Carla: The fight scene that she has with Rhys, I’m like Rhys!
Ben: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Carla: That’s such a good way of showcasing all the other bridge people. And like all there, they must have a close relationship with each other because they’re all at the same level in the hierarchy much you know.
Carla: And in that high-, in that structure as well. I don’t know if it’s in this version of, this era but yeah. Like superior officers aren’t really allowed to and fraternize with more junior officers as well.
Ben: That seems to be less of a thing in the Federation than in Starfleet. I mean it does get referenced a few times I think in the Original Series, and certainly it’s a thing that comes up a few times in Next Gen.
Carla: Well, no, they’re definitely not allowed to have relationships, but it’s also like…
Ben: But they’ve got a real friend friendly relationship going on. They’re just all buddies. And I guess if you’re stuck on a starship, it’s not like you can go home. You can’t get out of the port an…
Carla: But there still is like thousands of people I guess as well. So…
Ben: Yeah, well, I don’t know. I was actually just thinking about this because I think the Discovery’s got a fairly small crew, only about 130/140 people.
Carla: Oh well then that’s a really small pool of potential friends and enemies.
Ben: Weirdly, that’s not that many more than the Enterprise NX-01, they’ve only got like 80 people on board.
Carla: Yeah, that’s true.
Ben: Yeah. So, it’s a pretty small crew so they would all know each other. And I think that goes back to what we’re saying at the start about how we’ve seen all these people all the time because there’s only so many people on board the ship and now there’s one fewer.
Carla: Yeah. Because you know how many people we generally know like, actually know?
Ben: What is it like? About 100 is that.
Carla: Yeah. It’s about 100-120.
Ben: Yeah. Wow.
Carla: These are all people that we can you know, say their full name and recall a memory of.
Ben: And understand their relationship to us and the other people that we know.
Carla: Yeah exactly.
Carla: What else? You always have more things to talk about Ben.
Ben: I want to say when Cornwell first shows up, Admiral Cornwall. I thought she was going to turn out to be evil because she turns up in this weirdly disguised shuttle. She’s acting real suss. She’s really like “Spock’s not innocent”. She believes the video footage, even though she’s just done a lie detector test on him. And I’m like, “surely the video footage could be doctored?” And her excuse for why it wasn’t was pretty flimsy. It was like, “no, it definitely came from the star base”, which seems to me to mean that Section 31, it wasn’t just Control that faked this it was Section 31 did it. And they did it by projecting holograms into the room so that it was actually recorded in the room where it happens.
Carla: Or either just fictionalized the entire thing, like.
Ben: Yeah, but I think I think this is why they use – I thought this is a clever use of holograms. But just by the by. Because, you know, if you give someone a fake image, you can detect that fairly easily. But what they’ve done is they’ve projected a hologram into the real space and recorded it using the actual recording equipment. So, it all seems legit, except when, you know, Saru does his thing and goes…
Carla: Does that mean the hologram killed the people?
Ben: No, I think Section 31 did. But they’ve and they’ve then recorded a hologram of it happening in the room and sent that as the legit.
Carla: That’s complicated.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, but that’s how I read it anyway. But who knows? I mean. Yeah. But yeah, I really thought maybe she was going to turn out to be a villain this episode and I was like I hope not, I kind of always liked her. Although her last appearance where she’s basically telling Pike that Section 31 is all right me should stop complaining about them. I was like, “oh I’m starting to like you”.
Carla: No, I was like “toe the party line”. You know, you can’t ever really tell what their true intentions are, particularly in a public environment around other offices. So I wasn’t. I don’t take a lot of things that they say with a grain of salt. Like even with the speeches she gives Pike, I’m like “you’re buttering him up” you know, like it has it has a ring of truth to it. But I’m like, you’re a fuckin player lady, like in all senses of the word. And that’s why I love her.
Ben: Yeah, maybe we can’t quite trust what she says here.
Carla: I don’t think you ever can. Because when you’re at that level, you’re playing a political game that a lot of people aren’t privy to. And, you know, you got to eat a shit sandwich every day, you know, to kind of get everything over the line. And so, it’s a fine balancing of your own morals and ethics. And you know what it is that you can do. But, you know, she put herself on the line to come and do this, and she. She was right.
Ben: Yeah. So, do you think do you think it’s true what she said about Pike and why they sidelong the Enterprise?
Carla: Well of course, I would believe that is true.
Ben: Yeah, I believe it’s true. I want to believe it’s true. Do you think maybe she’s lying about it for some other reason?
Carla: Well, no, it did. That is that is a standard military tactic.
Ben: Yeah. Okay.
Carla: You know, is to take best pieces off the board. Yeah. But also, like pack it with your best scientists and your best you know, your best peeps.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: Yeah. You know your best civilians, or the brains trust like when it’s really when the shit’s really going down and it’s like total annihilation kind of stuff. Yeah. Yeah. You put all of your historically important people that are still alive somewhere safe.
Ben: Yeah. And they’re like this is one of our best starships with our best crew off doing the important five-year mission stuff. Yeah. Let’s make sure they are still out there doing stuff.
Carla: And that’s also strategic as well, because if something does survive or partial survive or whatever, they can either come back and save or, you know, repopulate with all their mega brains. You know what I mean? Like eugenics as well. You know what I mean?
Ben: But they’re very down on eugenics and stuff.
Carla: I know.
Ben: They’ve already had bad experiences. I mean, although they don’t know that. They don’t know that Khan is still alive at this point. But they know what he did before he left Earth. Yeah. There’s two quick things I want to mention. We saw the return of the shiny suits.
Carla: Yes. Very cool.
Ben: Although I have a question.
Carla: Oh, no.
Ben: Because Airiam’s wearing blue and which makes sense. She’s science officer. Nhan is wearing red. Makes sense. She’s in operation slash security. But Michael’s wearing silver. Whereas previously she was wearing, was she wearing blue before? I can’t remember now.
Carla: I can’t remember.
Ben: Maybe she was wearing silver before. Maybe the Discovery one’s are silver.
Carla: Silver is science officer.
Ben: Well, the badge is silver.
Carla: She’s still a science officer?
Ben: She still is. I think. I’m not sure. Anyway, I just thought that was interesting. And I like that they brought those back because those suits are super cool.
Ben: I like a good, cool spacesuit. And I also really liked the couple of “what the fuck moments” that the crew shares like when Admiral Cornwell tells them that they have to have the shields down and all the crew just had to look at each other for a moment going “are you fucking kidding me? This was already bullshit”.
Ben: And then also when there’s another one later on when they realize what’s going on and just really good faces from everyone. Yeah, I just really enjoyed those two. All right. Shall we Short Chats?
Carla: Let’s do it.
Carla: Now it’s time for re:Discovery Short Chats where we talk, news, trivia and anything related to Discovery or Star Trek. We will also be taking questions during this segment from you the list. So please follow our socials to be in touch. Haven’t heard from you guys in a while. So, yeah, we haven’t reminded them lately.
Ben: That’s true.
Carla: It’s a give and take relationship.
Ben: Maybe. Maybe you’ve just been so struck by the awesomeness of the last few episodes
Carla: The last few episodes have been great.
Carla: So, what do you have for me today, Benjamin?
Ben: Well, I thought it took a little bit about silent credits.
Carla: Oh cool! They’re always so sad.
Ben: Yeah. And they’ve got a long history. They’ve been around for a long time. I couldn’t quite figure out what the first one is, but I know one of the early ones was in Coronation Street back in the 60s. I think when the first character on Coronation Street died.
Carla: You had to say (Geordie accent) “Coronation Street”.
Ben: Coronation Street? No, I think I did say it now. So anyway. But it’s got it. Yeah. And I my familiarity with them comes from Doctor Who in the 80s, they killed off one of the companions, Adric, who was famously unpopular with some of the audience. I think probably a smaller proportion of the audience than was expected. Like they were just very vocal, they didn’t like him. And he gets killed off. And at the end of the episode where he dies, they don’t show the normal like space credits with the theme song. It’s silent. And the only thing you see is under the credits is a picture of this badge that Adric where’s that got broken in the episode before he died. And they just show that smashed on the ground. And it’s really sad, huh? And yeah, it’s it was it was really affecting like I was like “oh no” and it’s been used in lots of shows.
Ben: The end of “Blackadder Goes Forth” doesn’t have credit music. It just sort of kind of has, you know, “To the Fallen” and fades to black. And also, it’s been in in Star Trek before. It was used in Star Voyager, oddly enough, not for a main character dying, but in the episode, “The Thaw”, which you might remember, has Michael McKean as a weird clown.
Carla: Oh yes, I hated that episode because I’m terrified of clowns.
Ben: Oh, yeah.
Carla: And I like Michael McKean, you know.
Ben: Yeah. Oh, no, it mashed up your favourite and your worst together. But when he says his last words, it just sorts of fades to black. And then there’s the credits rather than the usual Voyager stuff. And I thought that was weird use of it.
Carla: But I think because he was so creepy, it was so good.
Ben: Oh, yeah, yeah. I love that episode. But the saddest use of it that I found was in Blue Peter, which is this children’s show in the UK. And they always have like pets on the show. It’s usually a dog. Sometimes they had a cat. And if one of the pets died or if somebody who had been on the show a lot as a guest or associated with the show died in real life, they would have silent credits. But I’m like, that’s for real. So, yeah, it’s got a long and interesting history. And I just really liked that they did that this episode when, you know, they might have chosen not to because Airiam’s technically kind of a supporting recurring character. But, you know, they really sold her death and they really made us care about her effectively.
Carla: So, yeah, they milked it for all it’s worth putting in that beach scene right at the end and like, you know. Yeah,.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I liked it.
Carla: Tonally they got it right
Ben: They did. I’ve got some more things, but what have you got?
Carla: Oh, look I’m really, I love the whole, well I don’t love it, but I really find the whole A.I’s gone bad genre really fascinating.
Carla: Because obviously it’s like this existential interrogation of who we are because there are only them because of us. Right. But it’s had such a weird – mostly I tried to do a little bit of stats on it because I’m primarily remember it rightly or wrongly, it’s mostly women. Female A.I’s that go bad.
Ben: Yeah, I’m not sure about.
Carla: I think it’s a good half, half after doing my stats today, that it’s pretty equal along the gender divide. But the stories are very different when it’s a female A.I gone bad and a male A.I gone bad. So surely there’s some kind of screen studies essay out there that I can read on this or a doctorate or something like that. Which, I will go away to find.
Carla: But lots of questions made me think about Zora, mostly.
Ben: Zora. Tell me about Zora.
Carla: Zora’s “Calypso”.
Ben: Oh, yeah, of course.
Carla: So, I was thinking about Zora. A lot.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah.
Carla: And I’m like. Is she Airiam?
Ben: Oh, well, because. Yeah, because Discovery does have like all of Airiam’s memories downloaded into it.
Ben: I mean, presumably not her actual personality because she’s still at least partly human, but they could turn into a personality. Oh, wow. I hadn’t thought of that. That’s amazing.
Carla: Yeah. So, think about that.
Ben: She lives on.
Carla: What has been your favourite A.I go, goes bad movie.
Ben: I look I mean, I do. I do enjoy Terminator. And it’s interesting. I was thinking of it because, like Control. You never meet Skynet.
Carla: You only ever meet its minions. Like no one ever has a conversation with Skynet in any of the films, at least not that I know of. And I haven’t seen the most recent one because it looked rubbish. But yeah, I thought that was interesting. Yeah. But yeah, I really like – that’s probably my favourite one.
Carla: Anything else?
Ben: Yeah. A couple other things. I like that there are a couple of little links in this episode to the Star Trek movies. Probably not for the first time, but I noticed them this episode when they find the floating blood in the zero G, that reminded me a lot of Star Trek 6 when they assassinate Chancellor Gorkon and his blood like floats through the air and the little globules. I thought that was cool and also…
Carla: It’s a pretty good space trope anyway. And like. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. Anytime they remember about zero gravity, you’re just happy, aren’t you? But the other one was, and I had not noticed this before now and I found it on Reddit. Someone spotted that in Star Trek 3 “The Search for Spock” in a scene in a bar. There’s a character in the background who looks an awful lot like Airiam. Like it’s clearly not her. It looks like it looks like a male character, but he’s got like a full face, kind of, makeup on to make them look like a cyborg or robot. And they don’t have any lines. They’re just in the background. But it seems fairly clear that they’ve modelled Airiam after that character.
Carla: Of course, they would of.
Ben: And that’s set like 20 or 30 years after Discovery. I think closer to 30 or maybe even 35, because it’s like well after the five-year mission of the Enterprise with Kirk on it, it’s over. So that’s like 15 years in the future from where we are now in Discovery. But yeah, that’s. I just thought that was super cool. And we know that they they’ve looked at all of the material and everyone working on the show…
Carla: The style libraries for this would be fucking nuts, like seriously. I would love to get my mitts on that, particularly like set design, weapon design and costume design or even aliens.
Ben: Surely there would be a good book about that.
Carla: I did think of you. There was another fucked up alien on the bridge. This episode was that this episode was at last episode. The guy that looks like a crab.
Ben: Oh yeah. He was on this episode. He’s been in it a few times. Yeah. Yeah, but he was more prominently on standing around on the bridge.
Carla: Do you know, kind of alien that is?
Ben: I don’t think we’ve ever seen them before.
Carla: We’ll do that next Short Chats.
Ben: You know, maybe we have, but only in the background. I seem to think maybe there was something that looked a bit like him in one of the films, like maybe in the background in Star Trek IV or something.
Ben: But anyway. No, I don’t know what kind of alien they are. It is a cool makeup.
Ben: Yeah. Much, much less like a human with a bumpy forehead.
Carla: Yeah. It’s still two arms, two legs, but you know. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. The other thing is probably worth talking about is what Daedalus is all about.
Carla: Yeah. I don’t know anything about this. I know it’s got something to do with Icarus.
Ben: Yeah. So, Daedalus was Icarus’s dad. This is in the Greek myths and Daedalus was given the job of building the labyrinth for King of Mynos, who I believe actually was called Mynos, King Mynos. And so that’s where they put the Minotaur in there. And he also. Yeah, his son was Icarus and they got imprisoned so that he could never give up the secret of how the labyrinth works because Daedalus built it. So, he knew the way in and out and they got imprisoned in a tower on the island and Daedalus devised a way for them to escape, which is that he made these wings out of feathers and wax and sends Icarus out and “says, all right, let’s go, we’re going to escape”
Carla: An Icarus is the son.
Ben: Yeah, Icarus is his son. And he gives Icarus two instructions. And a lot of the time we only talk about one of them, which was don’t fly too close to the sun because it’ll melt the wax.
Carla: Yeah or you’ll fall down.
Ben: All feathers will fall out, but also don’t fly too close to the water or your wings will get wet and you’ll be too heavy, and you’ll drown. It’s often used as a kind of a metaphor for don’t get too proud of yourself, don’t try and overreach yourself or you’re going to fail. But also, it’s like but don’t aim too low either. Like aim in the middle. Right. Be reasonable. Don’t be, don’t go too high. Don’t go too low so that’s…
Carla: Be mediocre.
Carla: The Australian motto.
Carla: Yeah, yeah. But Project Daedalus is like, you know, he’s I assume it makes sense because the Red Angel has a suit with wings on it.
Ben: And so, Project Daedalus must be creating it.
Carla: Yeah. So that was going to be my question.
Ben: Yeah, I think that must be it. Although that is weird that the technology is so far advanced that they assume it must come from the future, Project Daedalus must be like really in its infancy at this stage of the timeline, surely?
Carla: What do you think? Like everyone thinks now, the Red Angel is Michael.
Ben: Why else would it all revolve around her? and why else would Airiam have that knowledge from the future that the evil from the future is targeting her? I mean, why bother?
Carla: You know, like she gives a shit about the Kelpians.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah.
Carla: But then the first mission doesn’t really make sense. Yeah.
Ben: Well, look, I think I think the motivations for the missions that aren’t directly to do with the robots is still really unclear. Even the Kelpian’s really, because it seems to me that the time rift was an accidental thing and possibly even caused by Discovery poking it with a stick essentially to find out what it was. So yeah, I’ll be really interested to see how that resolves because it could go a few ways.
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 @rediscoverypod.
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This is a transcript of our eighth season two recap, available here
Saru [From episode] : The Star Fleet manual offers no regulatory guidelines for interactions between humans with Klingon grafted to their bones and the ship’s doctor returned from the dead.
re:Discovery theme plays.
Ben: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery the Star Trek recap podcast with the record for the most time elapsed between an episode and the events in its “previously on segment”. I’m Ben McKenzie your faithful Science Officer, and as always, I’m joined on the bridge by Captain Carla Donnelly. Greetings Captain.
Carla: Hello Benjamin. How are you?
Ben: I’m very well. How are you feeling about this episode?
Ben: Me too.
Carla: Yeah, good.
Ben: Shall we talk about it?
Carla: Yes please.
Ben: “If Memory Serves” shatters and rebuilds relationships and trusts; what should be mended is found still broken, as the consequences of past events catch up with the characters and all this happens through the catalyst of a planet and people rooted firmly in the past of our favourite Captain, Pike. We’re reminded of the Enterprise’s visit to Talos IV before joining Georgiou and Leland aboard their Section 31 ship where Georgia is already gaining favour with the Starfleet Admiralty. She orders Pike to stay put, analysing the debris of the destroyed squid probe and he complies but still has Saru calling Vulcan medical facilities to see if they can locate Burnham and Spock. Tyler urges caution. He’s loyal to Burnham and opens up to Pike about their past relationship but has found a home at Section 31. Later Saru confides to Pike that someone has been sending encrypted transmissions increasing the feeling that something isn’t right. Hugh also doesn’t feel right reacting with cold intensity to seeing Tyler and later lashing out at Stamets when he tries hard to make him feel at home. Things ultimately boil over when he confronts Tyler in the mess hall and despite Tyler’s attempts to placate him the two fight. Saru tells the crew to let it happen believing it is a necessary catharsis. Afterwards he tells Stamets the person he loved is dead and they both need to move on. Stamets sadly relents. Burnham shuttle emerges from warp around Talos IV only to find a black hole.
Ben: But Spock wakes enough to stop her from altering course and they fly right through it, finding it an illusion. On the planet’s surface, they meet Vina – a human woman encountered by Pike and Spock on their previous visit. She invites them below the surface where they meet the Talosians who tell her Spock’s mind is unstuck in time. Burnham realizes Spock brought them here because he knew the Talosian’s immense psychic abilities could heal him. But as payment they want to see the memory of how Michael hurt Spock as a child. Vina convinces her to agree, but she wants to see Spock’s mind first. She sees his memories of the Red Angel, how it helped him save her when she ran away from home and more recently called him to an icy world where he melded with her and saw a vision of the future in which countless planets were destroyed by powerful missiles. Afterwards Spock is conscious and reveals Michael was right. He brought them here, but more so needed her to come because only someone who knew his life well could sort his mind back into linear time. He has seen possible futures and knows that the Red Angel is human. He then shows her the memory of what happened at the psychiatric institution. He was about to leave when he was informed Section 31 was coming to take him into custody. So, he knocked out, but did not kill, the staff in order to escape.
Carla: Back on Discovery Pike has a visitor, his complicated love interest from Talos IV, Vina. She reveals to Pike that Michael and Spock are on Talos and need his help. Michael confirms that Spock is innocent, so Pike fires up the spore drive for the rescue mission however it won’t work. Someone has sabotaged the spore hub and been sending secret encrypted messages to unidentified recipients – authorized by Tyler’s command code. Tyler is prime suspect and is confined to quarters, Airiam’s eyes flash three red dots. On Talos IV Michael pays the Talosian’s for their assistance by sharing her full history with Spock. We learn, rather chastely, that in order to protect her family she crushes baby Spock’s half human feelings telling him she “doesn’t want a freak like him as her brother”. Section 31 catch up to Discovery and demand they stop. Pike complies and they drop into orbit outside of Talos IV, in a classic switcheroo the Talosians project a version of Michael and Spock onto Section 31, whilst the real pair fly Michael’s shuttle onto Discovery. In the most understandable, but shocking, move thus far the entire crew agreed to mutiny and go on the lamb until they clear Spock’s name. Georgiou is ecstatic, how will Leland explain this to Starfleet command? How will he Ben?
Ben: He won’t. He’s going to be out. Oh, he’s in so much trouble!
Carla: What’s going to happen to him?
Ben: He’s going to die. Surely, he’s going to die. Don’t you think?
Carla: Yeah. Medical experiments I’m hoping. I don’t know I just feel like…
Ben: They’ll destroy his mind with that memory thing.
Carla: I feel like they medically experiment quite heavily on/in Section 31.
Ben: Oh yeah. Well they’ve got that memory thing they’ve got. I didn’t realize this last episode.
Carla: They said it’s Terran technology.
Ben: It’s from the Terran universe.
Carla: How? Did she just like, remember how to do it?
Ben: Yeah well, she is a genius.
Carla: Yeah that’s true.
Ben: I guess she built it. It looks, I mean it looked sinister and Terran it had the like the distinctive orange glow instead the distinctive blue glow.
Carla: I love how Georgiou, like the first lady in the White House, I’m going to love what she does with the interior decoration to Section 31 when she’s the captain.
Ben: It’s just all going to go orange isn’t it? That’s going to go black and orange and everything is going to be dark. It’s going to be much darker.
Carla: Oh yeah. I mean what’s up with her eyesight? That’s something that we can talk about later.
Ben: Maybe she’s had it corrected.
Carla: Potentially. How did you feel about this?
Ben: I loved it.
Carla: Me too. Oh my god heaven, heaven!
Ben: Yeah. So good.
Carla: Although I did kind of like tap my I was going to say my TV, but I don’t have one a projector. Yeah because get this like I’m too impatient to wait for the 7 p.m. release on Netflix so I actually illegally downloaded at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Carla: I know and so I thought I had downloaded the wrong file when I was like “No I’ve downloaded Season 2 of original Star Trek or something about Season 2 Episode 8” and it took me a second to realize, but then it was thrilling.
Ben: It was so much fun. I really enjoyed that.
Carla: That was so unexpected.
Ben: Yeah, I didn’t see it coming and it was just fun to see them just reuse the old footage like…
Carla: And the way they chose to sort of the brief narrative that they chose to display.
Ben: Like they were showing little slides of it… Yeah that was nice I liked it a lot and they used the original music. Yeah and I saw some people online like sort of arguing about how they thought they should have re-filmed them with the new cast and the new look Talosian’s and stuff and I’m like “No we don’t need that”.
Carla: It did make me feel like “wouldn’t it be cool. Kind of like the American Office did it just reshot it the original season series”. I mean they could anyway. It made me fantasize about that probably just more Anson Mount time.
Ben: That would be great. I would love that. What if they just did like a news they just after this they do another spin off which is just the adventures of Pike. Yes, that would be great.
Ben: Pike and Spock forever. But I am and Number One I mean that would work. I think we’d all watch that but yeah early Enterprise adventures. But it is interesting, and I’ll talk more about this in Short Chats. But there’s a contrast with Dr Who here because both during the 50th anniversary and during the most recent regeneration story they opened with footage from an original first Doctor story and that’s like a similar gap. But the difference is that those shows are like a continuation of that story that just accepts the old episodes as what happened, and they’ve never sort of gone back and changed any of the old stuff. And whenever they feature the old stuff like the old Doctor Who stuff in the new series, they recreate it to look like the original case.
Ben: But that’s I think that makes more sense because the doctors like the TARDIS for example has a very different look in the old days and looks much more primitive but it’s the same time it’s not human technology it’s not meant to look human. And so if you recreate the original console it doesn’t feel like “that’s not from the future”, it still feels a bit weird and alien, whereas now I think you know obviously if you’re making a Star Trek show now even if it’s set at the same time you wouldn’t get away with shit like what the original Star Trek looks like.
Carla: Maybe that’s how they also cherry picked that tiny bit of narrative. Do you think that it was even worth putting that in or do you think I was just a sweet little cute little wink for everyone so that they could see you know…?
Ben: Oh, look I think I think they were having fun. You know I think they’ve been hinting at all this Talos stuff. You know what would the fortune cookie message in the first episode.
Ben: With a couple little references here and there with the reveal of the name of the place last episode and now you know they’re going to show it but they’re like “in case you missed it”. Because you know what some Star Trek I mean if you’re watching Star Trek on Netflix now The Cages is up there as Episode 1 as we discussed last time. Yeah but that’s not always the case, you know.
Carla: No and it did actually make me go and watch The Menagerie, but we’ll talk about that in Short Chats.
Ben: I think that’s right.
Carla: Yeah. We’ll park it for that.
Ben: But I enjoyed it and I think they’re having fun with it like that they’re just having that nod to the past, but not erasing it and I and I really appreciated that.
Carla: I did too, and I love the way that the storylines are melding. It makes me really curious as to what could potentially be in the next season as well, where these kinds of things can intersect and overlap.
Carla: But there’s a lot to talk about here. I mean everything sort of wrapping up. But first things first I didn’t think that you could do a mind meld on a helmet? Is that how it works? It’s just kind of… like kinesiology or something?
Ben: Well I think, well I think the – there’s a ritual that goes along with it which is the sort of placing of the fingers in the in the right points on someone’s face. But I don’t, I think it has happened in the show without that.
Carla: Well It clearly has now. So
Ben: Yeah well exactly. But I think a bit in the flashback he is doing that on the helmet.
Ben: It’s just not doing it on their face. So, so I guess. But he and he does say like there’s “a quantum field, he couldn’t get through” but he can still mind meld. So, I guess that means like in the Star Trek canon brainwaves are not affected by quantum field, I don’t know.
Carla: I’m sorry. That was a really dumb question to open with.
Ben: No, it was great. That’s fine. This weird. We’re doing a Star Trek podcast Carla if we can’t ask questions about the minutiae, who can?
Ben: When can we talk about it?
Carla: It’s just it feels like this episode is all over the place. So, I feel like I just have little snippets of things that I’m going to talk about.
Ben: The listeners have watched it though, they’ll keep up.
Carla: Obviously Pike is beautiful, he’s got this love – our Melissa. We haven’t even said anything about our Melissa George.
Ben: I was so good to see her.
Carla: As Vina.
Ben: She was great. I got like because I have to admit like I actually think, and I can’t reveal that I’m going to look up the actor’s name but the original actor who played Vina in The Cage is one of the most striking looking people.
Carla: Yeah, she’s stunning.
Ben: She’s amazing. And I think Melissa George does a great job of the part and I think they made the right choice by not trying to cast someone, kind of like with everybody else. Like not trying to cast someone who looks like the original actor but who has the same kind of vibe and the same kind of attitude. And I think yeah, I think she was great. I think she did such a good job.
Carla: I agree, very longing. And you got to really see that side of Pike which is so sad.
Ben: That conversation they have on Discovery in his like ready room. Yeah. Wow. Just. Yeah. And you could see how uncomfortable he was. But he was like “that was the right thing to do to leave you behind, but at the same time what could we have had?” and I think that’s kind of nice. Like I think it’s lots in very nice…
Carla: Parallels with Hugh.
Ben: Well yeah it does. But I think also it’s slots in really nicely into his storyline because we only have those two bits of his life in the canon. You know, like his mission to Talos, and then him going back there at the end of his life. It’s nice. I think these slots nicely in between, you know, I think these fits.
Carla: I agree because in the original story he’s quite brusque you know really like he’s very bark-y here and you can see how this experience could have turned him into the captain he is on Discovery.
Carla: So that’s a really sweet little disarming bridging moment for him.
Ben: And I think he, because it’s not that long ago, I think I think he…
Carla: It’s like three years.
Ben: Like two or three years. Yeah. So, it’s, that’s still a long time, like to have not seen someone that, you know, you made that kind of connection with. So yeah.
Carla: How did you feel about the updated Talosian heads?
Ben: I thought they were fine. I mean they weren’t as big, but I did think it was interesting that they had such a redesign when we saw the original ones in the intro sequence. And it’s always…
Carla: I thought the original ones were cool as… I wish they’d just recreated them.
Ben: Well they are but they’re very of their time Carla, I said this last time they’re very 1950s sci-fi. Like that was full of little men and flying saucers with these enormous, veiny, throbbing heads. The idea being like future humans they would be more cerebral and less physical, so they’d be quite physically frail but much smarter. Which is such an outdated kind of idea about aliens now, but it is kind of cool and it’s just such a, I don’t know it’s also feels like it’s very on the nose, obvious way to go “these people are hugely psychic. You’ve got massive heads and massive brains”. But yeah it works. I thought was fine. I liked their new duds. I thought their new outfits were cool. It’s a nice reinterpretation and it’s interesting.
Ben: You don’t often get to see such a direct you know like I think the other direct kind of redesign that we’ve seen that I that I think is comparable is the you know the Enterprise style Star Fleet uniforms that you know I really like the redesign of those as well. So, I have to I think the designers on this show are doing such a killer job.
Carla: Yeah absolutely.
Ben: Reinterpreting this old stuff. Yeah.
Carla: Yeah. This really sucker punched me in the sweet spot, this episode. I’m just thinking and gave me all the feels. I’m excited to see where it goes. Now that Discovery – if I didn’t know the third season was greenlit, I’d be fucking worried, to be perfectly honest, that was going to end of the at the end of this season.
Carla: With the whole crew going on mutiny and now gone on the on the run.
Ben: But like they’d all die or something?
Carla: Well or just you know, the Discovery is decommissioned, and everybody goes to prison.
Ben: Yeah yeah.
Carla: You know what I mean?
Ben: Yeah it’s I really liked how quickly all the crew I just like “no we’re on board Pike. No worries. Don’t worry about it. We’re here. We’re on to this”.
Ben: That was pretty great.
Carla: I think they’re all united. I think they’re all shady on the Federation. So, I think you know with everything that’s happened. Yeah and they’re just kind of like “Yeah we’re totally with you and we’re a united front”. Apart from like the terrifyingly cool vision of the robot octopus from the future coming to destroy the universe.
Carla: There’s not really much more that I have for this episode beyond Short Chats.
Ben: I want I want to talk more about some of the plot stuff I mean what about for how about Spock and Michael’s past? What did you think?
Carla: I thought it was very mild.
Ben: Well this is what I thought to like after the massive build up. You know. And he even says, “I know you were just like trying to push my emotional buttons”. And then she goes, “It was much more than that I needed to. I need the family to be safe”. And you’re like “no I wasn’t much better”. I think the other thing that I found shocking was that it was something she did as a child. Like I didn’t think that I thought it was going to be something she had done as an adult, because adults are rational that way and that they look at what they’ve done as children and you go you’re a kid you know any better you’re just trying to hurt me and you you’re a kid. You didn’t understand the implications of that. And there’s been a lot of time. And I just. Yeah. I just felt like that’s it? like…
Carla: Well and also children are incapable of incredible cruelty.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: You know, so I actually think that this was a change in the baton of writers because I think everyone – I get the overall feeling that everyone was incredibly sick of the really extreme soap opera stuff that the old writers were developing for the show. So, I think that that was just a popping of the balloon of this and just letting it fly under the radar.
Carla: I mean she was still pretty horrible to him and also a little darling baby Spock who is just the cutest child on the face of the earth.
Ben: Oh my God.
Carla: Liam Hughes.
Ben: I just wanted to give him a big hug.
Carla: I know. And so, you just see his little face crumble and it’s like he obviously adored her and worshipped her.
Carla: And she said, “I never, you know, you’re a loser I never want to speak to you again”. That’s pretty crushing for a little brother.
Ben: That is pretty awful. Yeah. Yeah, I mean I hope they get over it in the next few episodes.
Carla: Crushing enough to like to have this level of animosity then for the rest of their relationship?
Carla: And so, crushing that she couldn’t even tell Amanda what she’d said? I mean surely Amanda could have guessed what she’s saying.
Carla: There’s some continuity stuff here unless like that kind of stuff is just so heinous on Vulcan and because it’s so emotionally manipulative?
Ben: I guess the other thing is that they probably I mean you never get the idea that there’s much in the way of racism on Vulcan right. So also, I mean come on, the it was really hard to watch like a black actor calling another character a half breed and like using these really racial vilifying terms it was like ah. And you could see like Sonequa Martin-Green when she’s doing the lines as the adult versions you can just see her going – like when she has that expression just before she says it because she’s like being forced to remember it; just oh you can just see, I mean they sold it. They did sell it. I got to say they did a great job of the scene. But I still feel I was like that was awful but not as awful as I was expecting. But you know that’s good. That’s great. I mean like in this day and age of television how nice to see something awful that’s not as awful then it be the other way around.
Carla: But Spock is so salty now, like come on everyone.
Ben: He’s very, like he talks about how much he’s like rejected his emotions and embraced the Vulcan way of life. He’s got a lot of sass on him.
Carla: Super pissy for someone who has done some serious Vulcan work apparently.
Ben: Yeah yeah yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know about that. We got to talk about the Hugh situation.
Carla: Well I think it parallels what I was talking about previously about the fortune cookie.
Carla: So, I think his little storyline parallels that quite well.
Ben: Right. OK.
Carla: And he’s comeback. I don’t know. Like I find this pretty um the whole storyline is dead to me. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. It’s just a bunch of bullshit like and now they’re back together and now they’re breaking up. It’s like “Oh yeah. Couples can’t survive when something major happens to someone right”. Well unless Hugh goes on to do something fucking amazing. Right?
Ben: I hope so because he just sort of vanished for an episode
Carla: I hope so too. I did love that killer fight that him and Tyler had.
Ben: That was pretty great.
Carla: But it was also pretty amusing because Tyler is so much taller than him. So, it’s like those these really awkward camera angles trying to make it look like much more…
Ben: Well he’s also…
Carla: Competitive than it was.
Ben: Well also, like I thought that worked though because I think it sold to me that like its Tyler really doesn’t want to hurt him. And so, he’s in that position of someone who’s much stronger much much better fighter, you know.
Carla: And that’s a good point.
Ben: He’s a Klingon admittedly Klingon with bits of…
Carla: He is a Klingon Ben.
Ben: With bits of human grafted onto him – not the other way around as Saru says which might drive me nuts. I’m like you put a convoluted thing in there. Stick to it, like.
Carla: I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on.
Ben: It made me angry, anyway. It’s just that one line but the fight was great, and I thought yeah, he’s in that position where he knows that he could kill this guy. I mean he already did once. So, he’s trying not to hurt him, but he’s like bringing it. And I did get the impression they pitched that really well because he, I never felt like Tyler was in any danger.
Ben: He was just sort of like going to any and if necessary, would let Hugh beat the shit out of him.
Ben: But there was not really much danger of that. But I loved the way it ended too when he is like “I don’t even know who I am anymore” and Tyler just says, “Who do you think you’re talking to?!” Oh, shit dog yeah!
Carla: Oh snap!
Ben: That was great. And then look I know I know you don’t want to talk about.
Carla: It’s okay. I want to hear your feelings about.
Ben: Well I feel like it, it is, there is still that parallel to Buffy’s return where it’s just it just doesn’t feel right. I mean it’s different because he did go through hell and it’s kind of like what the other characters on Buffy thought Buffy had been through for those first couple of episodes. They’re like yeah “she’s been through hell like she’s not going to be the same when she comes back” and then eventually they find out, no she went to heaven and that’s why she’s not the same when she’s come back.
Ben: He has been through sort of through hell. I mean I don’t know and there’s all these references in this episode where he’s like eats the food and he’s like “,but it just doesn’t taste right, something’s not right and he’s been tetchy. He’s very angry and Stamets says “Why are you so angry with me?” and he’s like “That’s a good question”. I have a feeling it’s going to go somewhere satisfying. But I think I feel at the moment it’s very hard to be super sympathetic with Hugh. And I think that’s what’s making it difficult for me is that I feel like I get that he’s angry and weird but he’s not experiencing any relief coming home and it is a sharp contrast to how he was in the network when he was willing to die to let Paul go and to solve the problem that was happening because he didn’t want to hurt anybody. And now he’s been brought back to life and he’s just like “nothing’s quite right. I’m not having a bar of it. Get out of my life” you’re like “that’s a bit harsh”. I mean sure I get that you can’t just go back to life exactly as it was but yeah, I’ll be in it and see where it goes.
Carla: Yeah me too. It’s just yeah. So, let’s say let’s put a big question mark on that. Yeah.
Ben: And look we didn’t see too many other characters, but we got to talk about Spock though.
Carla: What about him?
Ben: He’s back.
Carla: He is back.
Ben: I mean we don’t see much of him, but we see a bit of him.
Carla: He talks.
Ben: He does. He does some martial arts.
Carla: Talk about can I also get a continuity issue. I’m a very like I’m a hawk for continuity.
Ben: Okay. I love it.
Carla: And that’s something about. Okay. So, get this right. So, are we all onboard that Spock has a beard because he’s been so crazy, he can’t shave? Is that, is that what we’re thinking?
Ben: I guess so. Yeah.
Carla: Because he has like the top the cheek hairs. That makes it look all crazy and homeless but underneath he’s got a perfect straight line under his beard it’s been completely trimmed there’s no neck hairs, there’s no neck beards.
Ben: There’s maybe. Well I mean there is that line Michael says, “do you think that beard is working for you?” which was, that was great. I really liked that but at the same time yeah, he’s got to he’s got a TV beard.
Ben: Like they never let you have a proper scraggly like as a beard grower.
Carla: Ha ha! You are you’re your you’re on the beard visual linguistics.
Carla: For television. Okay.
Ben: Yeah. They never let you have a proper scraggly beard.
Carla: Sure, like you probably wouldn’t he probably wouldn’t have washed hair. You know what I mean. Yeah yeah. He’s got washed and blow-dried hair.
Ben: And you know that doesn’t really make that much sense because he goes on personal leave, he goes this icy planet. He meets the Red Angel and mind melds with them, goes a bit nuts and then goes to a psychiatric institution where he seems to be fairly compos mentis even though he’s drawing on the floor but he’s willing like he’s voluntarily admitted himself. And then hears Section 31 is coming from him so he like he’s like…
Carla: “See ya later”.
Ben: Fights his way out and then escapes in his shuttle somehow gets from the shuttle to Vulcan and hides out with his mum right where he gets worse. But I think it’s I think it makes kind of sense because the way the Talosians describe it is that he’s experiencing time in a non-linear way.
Carla: Yeah, he’s existing all at once. Yeah.
Ben: He’s a bit all over the place he’s like what’s his name, from Slaughterhouse Five you know. So, it’s yeah. So, I guess it makes sense that he has moments of lucidity and like he has that moment on the shuttle when Burnham’s trying to steer them away from the black hole and he like wakes up enough to like kung-fu her away from the controls which was great, like I love that sort of slapping hands.
Carla: It was like two siblings like wrestling for the remote.
Ben: Yeah but with Vulcan martial arts training, it was cool. So yeah, I was into that. But yeah.
Carla: For me I think because I watch that I only ever seen The Cage and then I watched The Menagerie after this which is essentially The Cage with another hour of stuff.
Carla: So, I kind of fast forwarded all through The Cage bits that they project. But this like also puts into context; because in The Menagerie Spock goes Spock as wild hog wild and kidnaps Pike and takes him back to Talos IV and commandeers the Enterprise and lies and says that Kirk has given him the bridge and you know that is just completely outrageous. So, it gives a lot of context now for how loyal he is to Pike. And you know how he is capable of doing something so out of control.
Ben: Yeah yeah. I wonder if he he’s seen all these weird visions of the future I wonder if that’s one of the visions he sees? That maybe he knows that has to happen.
Carla: So, what’s he going to do now? He’s on he’s going to be on the Discovery and they’re like trying to clear his name.
Carla: I wonder if he’s going to like to get on this and get on the uniform and participate.
Ben: Good question. I mean they’re mutineers now, so the uniform doesn’t seem that important. Do you think, do you think the squids are the ones who shoot the missiles? Like its kind looks like that in the in the preview of the future.
Carla: What missiles?
Ben: You know, the missiles that blow up all the planets.
Carla: Well that’s actually a good point. Like I assume that, but it might not be that.
Ben: Yeah. Because I thought that’s a bit obvious. But then who makes the squid robots and is it really just The Matrix but in space? Or something else?
Carla: I just feel like… yeah exactly I just feel like it’s sentient robots.
Carla: That are cephalopods for some reason.
Ben: Well if I look if I was a sentient robot and I can have any shaped body I want it would be giant squid.
Carla: Well there’s always the space/sea analogy as well. So, you know that’s logically I guess where it goes to.
Ben: Kind of works.
Ben: Yeah. Shall we, shall we do some Short Chats?
Carla: Yes please.
Ben: Now it’s time for re:Discovery Short Chats where we talk news trivia, and anything related to Discovery and also any questions you have for us follow our socials and get in touch with us. We always love to hear from you. But Captain you got one that you mentioned to me in our little…
Carla: Some late-night texting.
Ben: Yes, and I’m very excited. I want to hear about this. Tell me.
Carla: Okay. So on, for Americans like we have this other streaming platform here called Stan, and there’s a show in there called “Penis” but it’s “Pen15”.
Ben: I didn’t. You know why I’m such an innocent. I didn’t pick up that it was “Penis” when you texted it to me, I thought it was “Pen15” and I’m like “What is that about?”
Carla: “You’re like that sounds, intriguing”. Yeah. So anyway, did you ever watch “Strangers with Candy” back in the day?
Ben: A little bit.
Carla: It’s kind of in that vein. So, it’s like these two women recreating their teenage years… it’s a teen drama but they’re both 30 playing their 13-year-old selves with all these other 13-year-old actors. And it’s really wrong and it’s really hilarious.
Carla: Oh hence “Penis”. And it’s like I’ve never seen such an accurate depiction of the volatility and ridiculousness of teenage girls and also the tenderness of their relationships. Like my partner was like “do two girls really love each other like this?” and I’m like “yeah they’re like married”. And he was just like “whoa this is intense”.
Ben: This blows the mind. I mean this is you know when I talk to teenage boys about this stuff, they don’t know that.
Carla: No well I’m tell them to watch “Penis”/”Pen15”.
Ben: I will now. I can’t do that. It’s probably rated M.
Carla: So anyway, three or four episodes in, we’re watching it last night and Jack’s like “Don’t you recognize who that is? and I was like squinting and I’m just like “No” and he’s like “it’s TUVOK!”
Carla: He’s much older now. That’s the reason why I didn’t recognize him because he has almost like completely grey hair and a grey goatee. But yeah, he’s the music teacher.
Carla: On Penis.
Carla: So, there you go.
Ben: I got to watch it now.
Carla: Yeah. It’s awesome.
Ben: I loved Tim Russ so much.
Carla: Yeah me too.
Ben: He’s my Vulcan space Dad.
Carla: Yeah. Just you know I reckon Tuvok is my favourite character of all time.
Ben: He’s so good. I. You know what Tim Russ would absolutely come back for the Picard show if asked.
Carla: Oh, Tim Russ does fanfic films man.
Ben: He loves it.
Ben: Yeah. Loves it.
Carla: He’s such a fan.
Ben: What’s his character like in “Penis”?
Carla: Just your regular. It’s because it’s such a boiler plate “afterschool special” type show.
Carla: He’s just you know he’s your salty bandleader you know. Okay. He’s just completely beleaguered and downtrodden by life. But he makes the band play all of his own original compositions.
Ben: That’s amazing.
Carla: Yes, I know.
Ben: Are they good?
Carla: No, they’re terrible. I think they’re a total pastiche of terrible marching band music.
Ben: Yeah ok. Yeah of course. Of course.
Carla: And what do you have?
Ben: I got a couple of things. We mentioned that the woman playing Vina in this episode is Melissa George, best known to Australian viewers as well as Melissa George. She’s super famous here.
Carla: Well let me ask you Ben. What do you know Melissa George primarily from? As being a person of almost the exact same age as me.
Ben: Well see this is an interesting question because I grew up in a country town in Australia during a time when we didn’t have all these different channels right. We only had two channels. We had the ABC and we had our local channel and our local commercial channel would buy…
Carla: Was it “WIN”?
Ben: No, it was it was called NRTV – Northern Rivers television. It eventually got bought by Ten when they did the deregulation. So, we did get other things but like most of those regional stations it only bought one or other or the other of the two big Australian soap operas and my local station had Neighbours and did not have Home and Away.
Ben: So, I had never seen a Home and Away when I was younger. And by the time I was old enough to watch it I just didn’t watch it. So, as I have missed it, I missed it.
Carla: You’re blowing my mind.
Ben: I know I know.
Carla: I didn’t even know there was a class of Australian that had… it’s like “Sophie’s Choice” like “Neighbours’” or “Home and Away”.
Carla: That’s insane.
Ben: But I know that that was where she got famous playing Angel.
Carla: It is. Yes.
Ben: And she was in it for like how long was she in it for? like three or four years.
Carla: Yeah yeah. I wasn’t a big “Home and Away” fan Neighbours was my drug of choice but when Home and Away did begin I you know I was all over it.
Carla: So, you do what do you remember the first time you saw her then?
Ben: I mean I mostly know her from her Hollywood career, and she’s done some great stuff there.
Carla: Yeah, she went over and started working pretty much straight away like what she finished Home and Away in 96 and then she’s got her first credits here in Dark City in 98.
Ben: Oh, Dark City!
Carla: But Dark City was shot in Sydney wasn’t it?
Ben: Yeah. And look best that is the thing actually that I most know from because I love that film. I love a lot.
Carla: And her next credit is The Limey, but I do a Steven Soderbergh podcast and she’s just literally a photo. In The Limey she’s this daughter that’s died and oh maybe she has like a couple of scenes where she doesn’t speak it’s just a memory. Um yeah so. So, I just have a bit of trivia about Melissa George it’s the thing that I remember from reading in “TV Hits” or whatever back in the day.
Ben: Hit me.
Carla: That she was a professional roller skater before she became an actress. And that’s how she was discovered.
Ben: Holy moly. I didn’t even know that was a thing in Australia before roller derby.
Carla: The 90s was wild.
Ben: It was a wild time. That’s incredible.
Carla: Well you had one other thing about Dr Who was it?
Ben: Yeah yeah. So like I mentioned that Doctor Who has also done this thing where they use footage from like long ago episodes in the new series and I did some maths and I worked out that this episode does hold the record for the longest time between the episode being aired and when the previously on stuff was aired on TV except Well it depends how you count it. Right. Because if you count it from the year that it was made then it’s 53 years.
Ben: Between 2019 and 1966 when they made The Cage.
Ben: But they didn’t air The Cage because it was the unaired pilot.
Carla: So, when did they?
Ben: It didn’t get shown on television until 1980 was the first time it got shown on TV.
Carla: But the footage was shown in The Menagerie. So, you should count it from there.
Ben: Well I guess that’s true. So that would still be 53 years whereas the Doctor Who one’s, the most recent regeneration story with Peter Capaldi was only 51 years. So, this pips it at the post at 53.
Ben: Yeah unless you count…
Carla: Further cementing that Star Trek is the best show of all time. In all ways.
Ben: Okay look.
Ben: Let’s not fight, Carla we’ve been doing so well up until now.
Carla: I just want to finish by talking about Susan Oliver who plays the original Vina. It was her birthday recently and Trek Movie dot com did this great post about her to say that she was a pilot and she was the fourth woman to fly a single engine aircraft solo across the Atlantic.
Carla: So, she was extraordinarily beautiful and extraordinarily incredible.
Ben: And talented.
Carla: And talented.
Ben: And a great actor.
Carla: So, RIP Susan Oliver.
Ben: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. You’ll find links to all the creatives involved on our Web site www.rediscoverypodcast.com. We’d love to connect with you. Please find us on Twitter and Facebook @rediscoverypod.
Splendid Chaps: re:Discovery is brought to you by Splendid Chaps Productions. Find more entertainment for your ears at splendidchaps.com.
“If Memory Serves” makes television history by creating the longest arc between two aired television episodes, spanning 53 years. Three years after the events of the “The Cage”, Star Trek’s original pilot, Captain Pike is brought back to Talos IV and his love interest Vina, and casting a shadow over Pike’s future. Spock has brought Michael to Talos IV as he knows the Talosians – with her help – can bring his mind back into a linear experience of time. Team re:Discovery discuss memories of “our” Melissa George, parallels with Doctor Who and the new Hulu show PEN15. How’s this related to Star Trek? You’ll have to listen to find out!Show Notes…
This is a transcript of our seventh season two recap, available here
Michael [From episode]: Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly for she had plenty of time as she went down.
Computer [From episode]: Working. Working.
Michael [From episode]: To wonder what was going to happen next.
re:Discovery theme plays.
Carla: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery. The Star Trek recap podcast that will never turn you over to Section 31. I’m your host for today, Captain Carla Donnelly, and I’m joined as always by my Science Officer Ben McKenzie. Ben would you shoot a robot octopus off me if it were strangling me?
Ben: Even if I hadn’t seen a misleading glimpse of the future, Captain.
Carla: (laughs) We have made it to the mid-season! Woo!
Carla: Episode seven “Light and Shadows” delivers on so many goods promised and much much more. The episode opens with Discovery still in orbit around Kaminar. They are staying to investigate the tachyon particles the Red Angel left behind. Michael requests personally from Pike, she will return to Vulcan on the hunch that Amanda knows where Spock is. Michael believes that Spock is the key to the mystery and is determined to find him before Section 31 do. The analysis of the tachyon particles reveal they are the same measured by Section 31 at the site of the first Red Angel appearance way back at the crash site of USS Hiawatha. Discovery gets closer to investigate; a time rift appears and causes chaos with temporal disturbances. So, everyone’s favourite “will they or won’t they” couple, Pike and Tyler shoot off on a mission together to shoot a probe into it.
Carla: On Vulcan, Michael arrives at her familial home grilling Amanda about Spock a man who refuses to cooperate believing that Spock has been unfairly accused of murder. Michael begs Amanda to let her help him. Back in the time rift a shockwave consumes Pike and Tyler’s shuttle cutting them off from Discovery. Saru enlists Stamets help believing that his tardigrade DNA will make him immune to the effects of the rift enough to locate the shuttle. Cut to a sacred crypt on Vulcan and the search for Spock is finally over. He has had a total psychological breakdown and is pacing repeating the “First Doctrines of Logic” on loop completely disassociated. Michael begs Amanda to take him to a hospital. Amanda refuses as a wife of a diplomat she has immunity from extradition. World’s Greatest Dad Sarek turns up and objects.
Ben: On the shuttle Pike comes up with a risky plan to signal Discovery. Taylor accuses him of seeking danger because of his guilt at sitting out the war. After trying Pike’s manoeuvre, they encounter the probe they fired into the rift. It’s now 500 years older and equipped with tentacle upgrades which it uses to attack the shuttle. In the cavern, as Spock mutters seemingly nonsense numbers, Sarek accuses Amanda of abusing his diplomatic privilege to harbor Spock. But she refuses to back down. Sarek offers a compromise hand Spock over to Section 31, they want his information and have the resources to help him outside Federation protocols. No one likes the plan but agree it’s their best shot. On the shuttle the probe pierces the hull and grabs Tyler. Pike realizes his vision was really of him shooting its tentacle to save Tyler. The severed arm connects to the shuttle computer and starts hacking into Discovery’s databanks. Back on Discovery, Stamets enlists Tilly’s help to track the shuttle and beam aboard and he successfully pilots it out of the rift, but they can’t remove the probe. Michael delivers Spock to Leland who assures her that they have a device that can heal his mind. But Georgiou tips Michael off that they will only extract his memories; damaging or killing him in the process. She helps Michael escape with her brother hoping to use Leland’s failure to advance in Section 31. Stamets, Tyler and Pike can’t disable the probe, so they set the shuttle to self-destruct and beam back to Discovery just in time. But not before Airiam, trying to shut the probe out of Discovery’s computers, is secretly exposed to its seemingly malevolent signal. Tyler and Pike make amends and resolve to treat the Angel with caution. At Section 31, Georgiou firms up her hold over Leland by threatening to reveal to Michael that Leland was responsible for the death of her parents. As their ships pass by Spock quotes from Alice in Wonderland and Michael realizes his number is backwards and refers to the planet Talos IV – dum dum dum!!!
Ben: Holy moly Whoa Carla you know how I like to say, “so much going on in this episode”, I don’t think that phrase that even really cuts at this time.
Carla: No, it was a mile a minute or sorry per kilometre, as I’ve said I appreciate about the Star Trek universe.
Ben: It is metric. Yeah that’s true. There’s no way we’d take miles into outer space.
Carla: Holy crap why do we even start?
Ben: I don’t know, let’s start at the start. Well can we? How do you even start at the start – this is as time travel episode there is no start?
Carla: Oh my God I’m in heaven.
Ben: So good. Oh man. Old school temporal anomaly business. I love it.
Carla: This is the best of Star Trek. As I said on our introductory episode.
Ben: It’s so good it’s so good.
Carla: So, first of all I feel like it really is a shift in a different direction, tonally it was so different to most of the other episodes. What do you think?
Ben: Well I don’t think I noticed that as much as you. But now that you say it yeah, I see what you mean.
Carla: I feel like it had that old school kind of soap opera, Star Wars, screen swipe, pace and tone to the whole episode. And it really kept things up at a really fantastic pace. It was light on personal drama, even though there was a lot of personal issues happening. It was more a storyline for it was it was drawn together by everyone; the storyline was drawn together by everyone then having these sort of separate siloed situations.
Carla: And by sort of elevating it up to this more meta story line or teamwork I can’t I can’t describe it. It just felt more cohesive to me and really robust direction.
Ben: Yeah yeah. It felt like everybody was involved and I think you know this episode is something I’ve been waiting for a bit.
Carla: So long.
Ben: This was a Michael episode or at least well sort of. I mean because Michael’s storyline has been so in the shadow of Spock all through this season so far and every episode, it’s been like the background plot because we can’t get close to Spock yet. And there’s been nice character moments with her. I’ve really enjoyed her sort of growing friendship with Pike. And you know her reaffirmation of her friendship with Tilly and with Saru, but this feels like the first time she’s really front and centre even though again you know it’s all about Spock. But she’s the one who’s actively looking for him. She’s the catalyst for, you know, making a decision about what to do with him and finding him. So yeah, I really liked that about this episode, and it felt like there was that but even then, her storyline involved Amanda and Sarek and Leland and Georgiou; and then the Discovery storyline involved pretty much everybody. And it was another big one for the bridge crew, Carla.
Carla: There’s so many bombs that went off in this episode.
Ben: I know.
Carla: And like what, just in terms of what’s going to happen. Airiam! What is going to happen with that?
Ben: You know what excites me most about this is we will have to learn more about her, for this to make sense.
Carla: Of course! She’s going to have an episode.
Ben: it’s going to be so good. She’s going to have an episode and an episode.
Carla: (laughs) Before she takes down the Discovery or attempts to.
Ben: I liked how the representation of the virus or whatever it is like three little lights and it’s like the Predators type thing like, yeah, it’s pretty good.
Carla: But what’s with sleeper agents, like really?
Ben: They’re very was it’s full of drama is it because if you’re a sleeper agent you might not even know yourself. I mean that was the whole thing with Tyler/Voq not knowing, you know, the Tyler personality did not know that they were implanted on… you know what the terminology around that got very confusing this season because they have to take this shorthand that “yeah I was… I’m Tyler. Voq’s gone”. Like no you’re still Voq, you’re like an you’re a fake version of Tyler. You know it’s…
Ben: Why did they make this so needlessly complicated?
Carla: I like that they called it the “Voq shadow”.
Ben: Yeah that was good. That was good.
Carla: That’s so euphemistic.
Ben: I’m guessing you loved the Pike Tyler business in this episode.
Carla: What a surly salty situation. You know the three S’s as they say in scriptwriting.
Ben: (laughs) Yeah.
Carla: Yeah. I thought this was fantastic. And look you know as a project manager there’s nothing better than getting a team to start working together than putting them in a crisis situation or getting them, we’re giving them a really difficult puzzle to solve.
Carla: So, I really appreciate that. I loved this back… getting more background on Pike being a test pilot, further solidifying in my mind that he was a wild cowboy back in the day. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah and nice sort of you know a really good excuse to explore his motivation for the way that he’s behaving, because what I have been thinking “wow” the captain really goes in a lot of dangerous missions in this season. You know Lorca I never did that. And in fact, most of the Star Trek captains do not do that. The big exception was Kirk right. He was always in the landing parties, but you know Picard did not do that. Sisco doesn’t do that, Janeway doesn’t do that they are all like “No I know I know I’m important. Like I’ll go down when it’s necessary. But I’m not going to put myself on the front line all the time.” Whereas Pike is definitely doing that. And now we have a reason why.
Ben: Yeah. Because he wasn’t in the war. Yeah, he feels…
Carla: But you can say for a man like that would have been very ego bruising particularly in terms of how, you know, married he is to Starfleet.
Ben: And he’s very, I think it’s also it’s part of his caring personality too. He feels like a lot of people died and maybe I could have saved them.
Carla: Yeah, he could have helped.
Ben: And so now I’m going to try my best to save people from this threat that I am here to deal with.
Carla: I mean it’s typical macho risky behaviour. It’s like what if you die? Captain Pike, what happens then?
Ben: Yeah. And you can’t help anybody. So, I’ll be interesting to see if he backs down a little bit now.
Carla: Well yeah. The two of them together, I feel like they’ve found a bit of a bond they kind of trust each other. They have a basic level of trust.
Ben: Also, they’ve touched fingers, now (both laugh) there’s that little moment with the controls. See someone and Reddit like post a close up of those controls. I’ll talk about that in Short Chats.
Carla: Okay great.
Ben: I really liked near the start when Saru sort of just takes command and it’s the new Saru. And I he’s just like…
Carla: I thought of you.
Ben: Let’s do it, let’s go. This is what we need to do. You just it’s just self-assured there’s no like worrying.
Carla: But very calm.
Ben: And he’s just like “Okay you need to do this you need to do that you need to do that. Hey, go talk to Stamets, he’s the one who’s got the solution to this because we know that his relation to time is different to ours now”.
Carla: He feels really recalibrated.
Ben: Yeah, I really loved that. I really enjoyed that little moment. He doesn’t it doesn’t have a big presence in this episode, but he really makes himself felt there at the start and then the bridge crew get on with their jobs and again you know everybody was on board.
Carla: Yeah. And Reese’s like, it’s really strange, like Reese isn’t getting a lot of actions but he’s getting his name said a lot. Would you think it’s you know almost as good, I guess? It’s maybe they’re kind of like setting that up that you know he’ll get an episode, but I can’t tell you how like I’m trying to just calm myself down how excited I am now for the rest of the season. Yeah there’s all of my favourite things coming, happening, and I’m just so excited to see where all of this stuff is going to go.
Carla: It really feels like a huge change has happened and also with the new announcement of the show runner. But we’ll talk about that in Short Chats.
Carla: So, it’s been a huge week for me Star Trek. I’m like freaking out.
Ben: I know it’s been a great week and we haven’t even mentioned the whole confirmation of renewal for a third season. I guess we can talk about that in Short Chats. So, getting back to the episode that that time rift whole plotline was awesome. It had a little bit of everything, like there was glimpses of the past and the future. There was a weird sort of Matrix/20,000 Leagues Under the Sea kind of monster moment with the probe turning into a giant squid. I love it!
Ben: I’m a big I don’t know if I have mentioned this on the podcast I wouldn’t had a reason to but I really love giant squids like I’m really into cephalopods like I just think they’re super cool and so yeah to see like one turn the probe into I didn’t see it coming that it was going to become a robot squid. I was like “this is awesome”.
Carla: So, you must really love that movie. You know the one?
Ben: Mega shark vs giant octopus?
Carla: No, the one where they’re alien octopi and they talk in symbols and smoke.
Ben: Oh! “The Arrival”
Carla: Yeah “The Arrival”
Ben: Or “Arrival” I think it’s just “Arrival”
Carla: Did you like it?
Ben: I did like it.
Carla: Didn’t Denis Villeneuve do it?
Ben: Denis Villeneuve… The guy who’s doing the new Dune right?
Ben: Yeah. And did the new Blade Runner.
Carla: Yeah yeah. Which apparently terrible.
Ben: I haven’t seen the Blade Runner.
Carla: I have to watch it for Screen Studies and I’m so disappointed.
Ben: Hope it’s okay.
Carla: Yeah. It’s alright.
Ben: But I’m excited about the Dune. Dune could be good.
Carla: Okay. Back to this.
Carla: So much other stuff so much other stuff was dropped in this Spock had dyslexia.
Ben: Is it dyslexia or is it something like dyslexia? It’s a learning difficulty.
Carla: No, I think it was the dyslexia.
Ben: But they used the Vulcan word.
Carla: Yeah. That’s right. It’s contextualized in a Vulcan way, which is strange. I don’t know where that is going in the plot line.
Ben: Actually, speaking of Dune I found his chanting in the cavern when he’s going over the logic. It reminded me a lot of the “Mentats” particular from the film version of Dune with it just like you know that “the juice sets my mind in motion, that logic is countering what the…” you know but you know what I mean. Yeah.
Ben: It was like that it was good. But yeah. So, he’s had some difficulties which is why she read him. I like that kind of contextualization of why they’ve – Alice in Wonderland is involved.
Ben: Was like to show that it’s okay if you can’t figure things out. You can still figure things out in a way.
Carla: Yeah. And the whole you know the whole upside down-ness of the whole of Discovery.
Carla: And mushrooms as well.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah.
Carla: That’s all linked.
Ben: It all comes in together.
Carla: I only had a few more notes for this. I think Spock’s eyebrows are really weird.
Carla: They sort of really, they look very drawn on to me. I can’t kind of get it out of my mind when I look at them. The other thing was that sick fight scene between Michelle Yeoh and Michael.
Ben: So good.
Ben: Well yeah that was cool. And she’s sees that doing Vulcan martial arts. Yeah. So, I thought that was. Yeah that was great.
Carla: Another moment a long time coming with a lot of satisfaction.
Carla: In resolution for both of them, especially for Michael.
Ben: Were you surprised when Georgiou sort of said “Hey I’m going to help you out”.
Carla: No because for a creature like Georgiou it’s just about what she can get out of a situation. So, she’s trying to become the leader of Section 31, which is terrifying. Yeah and a person like that is always just trying to rack up as many points with other people as possible to either blackmail them or you know use them as a resource. So, I wasn’t surprised. Yeah, it’s not altruistic.
Ben: No. Totally. Although she’s trying to present it as if it is.
Carla: Yeah. Because that’s what psychopaths do.
Ben: She wants Michael to like her. Yeah. Yeah. True. How did you feel about the way that the relationship between Amanda and Sarek was present in this episode? It’s the first time we’ve really seen them together.
Carla: Well it’s what one would assume. You know what I mean.
Ben: It’s felt a lot spikier than you see it in the Original Series when they’re older. Which I guess makes sense. Like they probably made their peace with it. But even in that episode because it’s, it’s the time when Sarek sees Spock for the first time after like 18 years of not speaking to him. Not counting this episode where he sees it, but he doesn’t speak to him. It was a nice way to get around that like he’s there but he can’t talk to Spock because he’s like “I hate Spock he’s still he’s still disappointed me but he needs help it’s okay” but in that later episode you know they’re from it from the original Star Trek series, she does like they do have a fight and they do this weird thing actually where they, they hold hands just with like two fingers.
Carla: Yeah. You’ve mentioned this before.
Ben: Yeah, I like it.
Carla: You like it.
Ben: But in this one I’m like wow you like you’ve got some real unresolved issues here. Like about how to raise your son, like talk it out. Surely that’s a logical thing to do as well?
Carla: No because it’s emotional.
Ben: but it’s also ideological like they have different approaches to how they think Spock can be helped. And she’s kept things from him like I sort of read the subtext as Spock’s learning difficulties both his parents know about it. He thinks they’ve been corrected in the learning centre like he’s been taught how to overcome them, or they’ve been treated in some way and she’s like “No I just read him this book until he managed to overcome it himself”. And this is a revelation to Sarek is like “what the? what? okay so” yeah it was a bit hard to get a read on what the deal is with that. It’s like, yeah, I feel like there’s more to be discovered about that, I don’t know.
Carla: To understand that they have a dysfunctional marriage it’s no surprise.
Ben: I guess not. Yeah.
Carla: Yeah but I did like her kind of Bolshie speech that she gave him. Yeah. She’s like “I’m not I’m not your employee” or whatever it was.
Carla: What did she say?
Ben: “We’re partners”.
Carla: Yeah. She said “I don’t live under your law. I’m your partner”.
Ben: Yeah. That was good that was badarse.
Ben: To use a phrase used way too often when women are just not doormats. But no, she was great. I like to you know a little bit of exploration of Vulcan lore there which I’m always.
Carla: Yes. I’ve got it written down. It’s “a sacred crypt filled with katra stones that blocks telepathic communication”. So Sarek would not be able to try and find him.
Ben: It’s very cunning. Yes. Yeah, I guess that so you can meditate in peace. If you if you’re a bit psychic and you don’t pick up on other people’s thoughts, makes sense.
Ben: And they were cool like glowing pyramid things it was awesome.
Carla: Yeah that was rad.
Ben: But then he’s scratching things into the wall. I’m like “This is a sacred crypt you jerk! But it seems like it’s a private crypt it’s not like a public one.
Carla: Yeah, it’s their own.
Ben: It’s on the estate somewhere. Because Sarek just shows up I think that her a little bit Draco Malfoy.
Carla: It shows them coming in on a shuttle.
Carla: And then two seconds later they turn around and it’s like he’s over there. It’s like moment of like “oh he’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?”
Ben: Yes, he just apparated. He did give me a yeah. Like I said Drake. I met Lucius Malfoy. He gave me this sort of elder Malfoy or even you know Alan Rickman as Snape.
Carla: As anything.
Ben: As anything, yeah, he just sort of sweeps in. He’s like… Yeah. It was great. I loved it.
Carla: I loved the old hiding in an asteroid trick that Michael did.
Ben: It’s a classic of the genre.
Carla: Classic of the genre. So sweet and um so they’re still in orbit around Kaminar.
Carla: What’s happening with Kelpians?
Ben: I had a big, actually this is the thing I wanted to ask because the “time tsunami” – not a very gentle choice of words there Tilly – goes off and I’m like it’s right, it’s just…
Carla: That’s exactly what I was thinking!
Ben: Is it going to fuck up the planet? What’s going to happen? I was worried and they were just like “Let’s get out of here” and I’m like “wait a minute what about this civilization you just massively disrupted who are trying to deal with their new status?”.
Ben: And you just have fucked off in your spaceships like “You, you’ll be fine. Temporal wash over you”. It’s a you know it may well they’ll come back and like the Kelpian civilization will have moved on 500 years so like what the hell’s happened here?
Carla: That I would be rad!
Ben: And then how angry would Saru be. He’d be like “Oh man I really screwed this up. I should not have let us leave”. Yeah. I don’t know. The other thing it just made me think of when we’re talking about classics of the genre – I really love the sort of time echoes in this episode that made me think of the Red Dwarf episode “Future Echoes” where they go through the light speed barrier and they start to see things before they happen. Yeah. They had like nice things about that and had the whole time rift thing.
Carla: There was a lot of classic classic stuff in there.
Ben: Yeah yeah there really was and just I don’t you know we saw this at the start but just a little something for nearly everybody to do.
Ben: I’m surprised that.
Carla: Except for Hugh.
Ben: Yeah. Hugh I was very surprised we didn’t see Hugh this episode yet. Where is he? I mean is it… is this a sign that he does need, I mean clearly needs a bit of recovery time so maybe he’s taking it easy. But then Stamets goes off on like possibly, you know death mission, and doesn’t even send him a little note to say, “bye Hugh love you”.
Carla: We don’t see that. But I what I loved about that the most was that Stamets seemed so cohesive. You know it is like “right no, I know what to do. Let’s do it plug me in. I’m going to you know this is what we do”. He seems so far less neurotic and so far, more together.
Ben: Do you think that’s going to be a thing? I I’m starting to suspect that’s a thing like there’s something that’s happened to him because of his…
Ben: And his experiences in the in the network and the return of Hugh. Because he did seem to really not be concerned about Hugh’s concerns, about his return. It’s almost like he’s gone into this sort of weird Zen state of overconfidence because he’s like “everything’s back to normal now. Everything is perfect, I can do anything” and he’s like…
Carla: Well he was arrogant before.
Ben: Oh yeah, I guess so.
Carla: But now he just seems more blissful and that may be the spores.
Ben: He’s happy again I reckon.
Carla: Yeah. What a what a way to be.
Carla: All right. Shall we Short Chats?
Ben: Yeah. Let’s.
Carla: Now it’s time for a Discovery Short Chats where we talk news, trivia, and anything related to Discovery. We will also be taking questions during this segment for you the listener. So please follow our socials to be in touch. Ben what have you got for me?
Ben: Well we’ve had a really nice review actually, when we talk about listener feedback.
Carla: Thank you.
Ben: Thank you for – I don’t know how to pronounce user name “require” I think who reviewed us on Apple podcasts who said particularly that they liked the little recaps at the end and our focus on thematic connections. So, thank you. Thank you for that feedback. And look if you if you want to give us some feedback that other people can read you can give us a review on Apple podcasts as well. We always like to know what people think and it is a nice way to support the podcast or any other podcast that you listen to because it does help make the podcast easier to find and get the word out a little bit easier. If you get a few ratings in there. So, thank you we really appreciate that.
Carla: Thank you. And to the future people who leave us review,
Carla: We had a really interesting email from Michelle Wood, who identifies as a non-binary parent. And Michelle talked a lot about how they felt that the L’Rell/Tyler storyline was something that they had really longed for in popular culture. So, I’ll just read a little bit of their message “I can count the media representation of strong women being mothers with agency who care about their children on very few fingers. Mothers in media that I’m actually interested in who represent that part of me in a way that feels real essentially don’t exist. So L’Rell having this experience even though it was an experience profound loss was a rare opportunity to see that part of my life through other eyes. Having a child is a huge deal. And I love so much seeing two people have that conversation and the joy and fear and hope that comes along with that.”
Carla: So, I thought that that was really fascinating. Michelle also went on to say that they had never heard any criticism anywhere about this new season mentioning parenthood and that’s something that’s a blind spot for us because we’re not parents.
Ben: Mm hmm. Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that either. I think maybe I had not considered that because it did feel like the baby ended up being a bit of a plot device because…
Carla: Here’s a baby same episode, baby’s gone. Mm hmm. But it really was a transformative experience both for L’Rell and for Tyler too. You know as has happens with some people in real life when they find out they’re going to be a parent they’re like “wow I’ve really got to get my shit together” and he sort of had seemed to have a bit of a moment where that was like I’m going to integrate the two halves of my personality and get my shit together for this baby. So yeah, I thought that was that was really interesting insight I hadn’t thought of.
Carla: And also, it really gives it a lot of context for Tyler’s “tetchiness” as I described it, you know we’re like “uh what about Pike? Blah blah blah” but really like this is the person who has found out that they’ve had a child and then given the child up for adoption and in an incredibly painful way. Been put on Section 31, then been put back on Discovery to the side of you know his pain and suffering. So, a lot more depth there.
Ben: Yeah yeah totally.
Carla: Do you have anything else Ben?
Ben: There was a great post on Reddit where someone had done a screenshot of the control panel in the shuttle and they zoomed into it and there’s like four controls that have labels on them, and they all have the abbreviations for the other four Star Trek shows. So, there’s one labelled TNG, there’s one labelled – actually I don’t think TOS is in there I think I don’t think the Original Series, but there’s TNG there’s a VOY there’s a DS9 and there’s an ENT. I thought that was that was great, and I can’t believe somebody spotted it. They’re so small.
Carla: That’s so cute.
Ben: Just in that one shot. But I guess you know you might be watching that bit closely because that is you know that’s the control panel where they’re flicking switches when they touch fingers.
Carla: Touch fingers.
Ben: Which is weird. I like that they looked at each other, they’re like “What”.
Carla: I hope that’s not some kind of DNA swapping situation either ha-ha. DNA is all over this place in this season.
Ben: It’s true.
Carla: I have one more or maybe two more. Okay so Michelle Paradise who has been an Executive Producer on the show and maybe just a Producer. She has now been elevated to Co-Show Runner with Alex Kurtzman. This is thrilling to me because she is a massive Star Trek nerd but also, she is a queer woman.
Ben: This is awesome. This is the first time this is surely…
Carla: I think so.
Ben: Well first time we know about it at least.
Carla: I think so. Well it’s definitely the first time for Star Trek. Yeah that’s for sure. Yeah. So, thrilled to see where that goes. Michelle has a couple of TV shows that I’ve never heard of which is crazy to me. So, I’m going to run off and watch them now one is called “X’s and O’s”. And she has the distinction of making that show, selling it and selling it to Logo without a manager or an agent.
Carla: She made it all of herself. So, seems like a powerhouse of a person.
Ben: She knows what she’s doing.
Carla: Yes. So that’s thrilling! Do we want to talk about Talos IV?
Ben: I think we probably need to.
Carla: I want to so bad.
Ben: Well let’s let’s talk about it. So, this is the planet that is revealed at the end of the episode that Spock’s number, now can I just, actually I do want to talk about this for just a second… There are a lot of planets in the galaxy.
Ben: The idea that a six-digit number could refer to just one of them and nothing else is kind of ridiculous. I think it should have been, I’m just saying, I think it should have been a longer number. Because also then it would have been a cool demonstration of how Vulcans have very good logical minds and they can remember long strings of numbers it’s no big deal.
Carla: Or it could have been several Google search results and they could have picked the top one.
Ben: Yeah but instead it’s like – well also firstly the first number has no matches at all. I’m like it’s a six-digit number. There’s going to be billions of matches in the entire galactic federation database. But then you reverse it and there’s just one. You get a what, what did they call it? You know we need to play that game. And the objective was to find a search term where if you Googled it you only got one result. I was really hard. I think these days it’s basically impossible. It was a game that you used to play if you were bored when Google was new. But yeah, I thought that was weird. But then the one place that it refers to is the planet Talos IV. And we’ve talked about, we’ve mentioned Talos IV briefly.
Carla: Well I don’t think we’ve mentioned it by name, but we talked about the episode.
Ben: Yeah. So, it’s yeah, it’s “The Cage” or “The Menagerie”. Yeah. Which I guess means that the events of “The Cage” and so therefore the past mission depicted in “The Menagerie” is either being set up or has already happened. And this is Spock going back to the planet because he already knows about it.
Carla: But how does that work with Pike storyline?
Ben: Well Pike’s moves so… there’s the mission that the Enterprise goes on to find Talos IV in the first place and then when they leave then no one can come back here. They must’ve already because Spock wouldn’t want to go there unless he knows, because I have a prediction for this, do you want to know what my prediction is?
Carla: Yeah of course.
Ben: I think the next episode, and I hope is the next one, but I think they’re going to go to Talos IV, they’re going to meet the Talosians, and the Talosians are going to do Spock a favour by putting him and Michael into a weird like mind-scape so that they can unravel whatever the hell’s going wrong with his mind. And I’m betting it’s like Alice in Wonderland.
Carla: Dude that is so cool.
Ben: And I hope that’s what happens because I think they’ll be awesome if it doesn’t happen, I want someone to write that as fanfiction because that’s be so cool.
Carla: Sounds like you’ve made yourself a job
Ben: But I think it’s, yeah, I just was when he was saying when they when it came out, I was like “Oh cool! This is going to be awesome”.
Carla: Look can I say like you know I’ve watched six episodes of the Original Series. And I hadn’t watched any before we started this podcast but the… guys if you’ve got Netflix just watched the first episode on Netflix it’s the pilot.
Ben: “The Cage”.
Carla: And basically like what happened with that episode was it was a pilot that got shelved and as Ben explained in a lot of detail in one of the first episodes that we did, they then created it into recycled material into a two-parter later on in the series which is like episode nine and eight and nine I think. But if you just watch this one episode, and it was a lost episode until the late 80s as far as I’m aware.
Ben: Well it was never available anyway. Yeah.
Carla: Yeah. So, it’s literally Episode 0 on Netflix if you open up the Original Series and it’s awesome. Like I’ve always put off watching the Original Series because I’m like “Oh, it’s going to be a bit crap. I’m not going to be able to suspend belief, it’s going to be a bit cheesy”.
Ben: And you know what a lot of that first season is kind of like that. I won’t lie. I tried and I got about three episodes in I’m like “no”.
Carla: I haven’t minded it at all, and like that first season “The Cage”, the first episode I thought it was awesome.
Ben: It is great.
Carla: I loved it in but in a kitschy kind of way and I think that’s kind of the only way that you can come at it.
Ben: It’s very of its time.
Carla: But it’s also to me like I’m a theatre critic and it’s like it’s very theatrical. It’s like soundstage stuff. It could be a play, you know.
Ben: And early television is very much like that. I mean you go back to the 50s when you see the very first sci-fi happening on the BBC and they did like an adaptation of “1984”. I don’t think any of it still exists but when you look at other stuff from around that time, it basically is a stage play. They just have some cameras points about it.
Ben: By, you know, the 66 when they’re doing Star Trek things have gotten a lot more sophisticated than that. They’ve brought a lot more film techniques into television but still it’s a lot more theatrical than modern television is.
Carla: It just looks so cool and it looks way cooler than I thought it would look. And the Talosian’s have these like giant alien heads would like pulsating…
Ben: It’s very “This Island Earth”
Carla: It’s so cool and I don’t know how they did the practical effects on the 60s show, but I like I’m watching it like a hawk trying to see how it’s beating. You know like the veins are beating in its head it’s rad. So, spend an hour of your life watching this episode because it’s going to ground you in so much and I just think it’s really cool.
Ben: Yeah. And I go further than I would say it’s worth cherry-picking other episodes from the series that are relevant. Other good ones – the one where Sarek turns up for the first time with his diplomatic mission, “The Trouble with Tribbles” is quite interesting to watch for the sort of attitude – that’s a good one for Klingon relations in the sort of Original Series era and there’s a few other ones as well.
Carla: Look there’s 60 there’s over 60 episodes or something, I can’t remember.
Ben: It’s about 60 you ran for three years kind of standard sort of long American season length.
Carla: but let me tell you the first episode the one that went to air is awful. It’s all about them being bro’s and romance.
Ben: And then bizarrely they decide to do basically the same episode as one of the very first episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation. And they even refer to it. It’s ridiculous.
Carla: It’s crazy.
Ben: But you do get shirtless Sulu in that episode which is which is worth the price of admission.
Carla: But after that it gets better. Look I’m making my way through it and I’m enjoying it. I’m not sitting down to watch it like I’m scrolling or sort of doing something else or whatever, but you know.
Ben: I’m still dipping in and out around my watch of Enterprise which I’m enjoying more and more as I get into it. Now I’ve just realised I do have a couple of just quick little things. One I really liked in the intro sequence to this episode we now get a really good look at the Red Angel whereas previously it was all shadowy and yeah and in silhouette. So now we see the detail of the suit that we now know that it wears. So, I thought that was really cool. I liked that, Burnham talks about how in her opening log.
Carla: Which is a lot shorter.
Ben: She talks about how Amanda like taught her that things come in threes. I’m like I so Amanda is a comedian. Is that the rule of threes? That was my…
Carla: That was sort of the most busted thing I’ve ever heard a Vulcan say.
Ben: Well she’s not a Vulcan so.
Carla: That’s true yeah.
Ben: But I did think like does that mean they have the rule of threes on Vulcan (both laugh) now and then I started to try and imagine what a Vulcan stand that would be like so I’m like “No”. Okay yeah. Oh, there’s one last thing. One last little tiny thing. This is just me nit picking, and I like to get these in because sometimes I’m like “why guys just this is the continuity fail”. They say, “yeah we’re going to full stop in the shuttle”, and then the next time we see a shot of the shuttle from space it’s like flying through space. You just said, “full stop guys”.
Carla: I didn’t notice that.
Ben: It was really weird. Anyway, it was fine.
Carla: It was just, it must be the “time full stop”.
Ben: I think so yeah. I mean look he turned the engines off he still moves around but that’s it for my money that’s not what full stop means, anyway.
Carla: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. All links to creatives are in our show notes and so on our website rediscoverypodcast.com. We’d love to connect with you. Please add us on Twitter and Facebook @rediscoverypod.
re:Discovery is brought to you by Splendid Chaps Productions. Find more entertainment for your ears at splendidchaps.com.
In “Light and Shadows”, the search for Spock is finally over as Michael has an emotional reunion with her brother. Meanwhile Discovery finds a time rift whilst investigating the tachyon particles left behind near Kaminar, with Pike and Tyler bonding through space, time, robot octopi and touching fingers. This was an action-packed episode with a forward thrust, temporally, through all versions of Star Trek – re:Discovery is living for this episode and the rest of the season!Show Notes…
This is a transcript of our sixth season two recap, available here
Saru [From episode] : Are you suggesting that I might be incapable of following Starfleet regulations or that I would disobey your orders?!
re:Discovery theme plays.
Ben: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery. The Star Trek recap podcast which won’t shoot spines out of its headphones at you. I’m joined on the bridge by my firm but fair Captain Carla Donnelly. Greetings Captain.
Carla: Hello Benjamin.
Ben: I’m sorry I was pointing at you when I was miming that you can’t see this listeners but that’s what was happening.
Carla: It’s okay.
Ben: I got a bit excited. We’re going to get excited, I can feel it, feel it in my bones. Now, “The Sound of Thunder” follows up episode four “An Obol for Charon” to forward the story of the Kelpians, and like that episode combines action and the kind of high concept moral quandary with a twist science fiction that Star Trek is famous for. Plus, it’s a time for Doug Jones as Saru to shine. This episode is all about our favourite first officer and how his life is changing forever. As Hugh Culber readjusts to his newly created, and super buff by the way, body and Saru wonders what changes are occurring within him? A new Red Burst is detected over a planet outside Federation space. Saru’s home world of Kaminar. When Discovery arrives in orbit, the predator Ba’ul species refuses their hails, and Pike orders Burnham to go down to the planet to make official first contact and ask if the Kelpian’s know anything about the Red Angel. Saru, displaying uncharacteristic aggression, argues with Pike that he should be the one to go and eventually after extracting a promise that he won’t share the truth about the “vahari” and start a war – Pike agrees suggesting the pair start with Saru whose own village. On the surface Michael and Saru meet Saru’s sister Siranna, now priest of their village since the death of their father. She is happy to see her brother who is presumed dead and accepts his story of his travels among the stars but grows angry when she thinks he has only returned because he wants to ask about the angels. The Ba’ul meanwhile, have noticed their arrival on the planet and set off alarms. Siranna angrily tells Saru to leave and never return and he and Michael beam back to the Discovery. In orbit the Ba’ul finally show themselves demanding that Discovery returned Saru to them and leave. Despite being ordered to stand down Saru reveals to the Ba’ul that he has survived the “vahari” and knows the truth about the so-called “balance” they maintain. The Ba’ul become even more insistent that he be turned over, sending multiple of their advanced ships to surround Discovery. Ordered off the bridge, Saru goes to the transporter room and turns himself over. He and Siranna are brought aboard one of the Ba’ul’s ships which promptly vanish from Discovery’s sensors.
Carla: On-board the frankly creepy “Alien-esque” ship Siranna and Saru face one of the Ba’ul – a really gross alien life form appearing to be constructed of tar like liquid. The Ba’ul reveals that Saru is the first Kelpian to have transcended the “vahari” in 2000 years and it must stay that way. As Michael, Airiam and Tilly unearth from the sphere’s history – once Kelpian wins transcend “vahari” they become the predatory species; and the Ba’ul were their prey for thousands of years. Saru and Siranna must now be put to death so the Kelpian’s never learn of their power. In the most boss move so far in this series, in place of his threat ganglia Saru has now grown extendable fins with spines that shoot from it and Saru attacks the Ba’ul with full force. The Ba’ul unleashes droids to kill both Kelpian’s but Saru harnesses his fearless psycho strength and breaks himself free to save Siranna. Saru rigs the Ba’ul’s technology to communicate with Discovery and together they decide to bring all Kelpian in through the “vahari” simultaneously by transmitting a modified version of the sphere lifeforms signal, across the Ba’ul infrastructure on Kaminar, in order to save the Kelpians from annihilation. The Ba’ul attack, powering up the same infrastructure ready to wipe out the Kelpians when something all powerful appears and disrupts the Ba’ul signal. It’s the Red Angel! And thanks to Saru’s enhanced vision we’ve finally learned that is a humanoid in a suit technology unknown to the Federation. The Red Angel is an entity from the future manipulating events. Ben, that was a very brief overview of what happened to these episodes. I couldn’t help but think of you when we first saw the Ba’ul. Did you love this non-humanoid entity?
Ben: Well for a start is it non-humanoid?
Carla: I don’t know!
Ben: I mean the thing it most reminds me of…
Carla: That’s why I said it!
Ben: It was kind of like it was kind of like a mix of like the girl from “The Ring” and the “Skin of Evil” that kills Tasha Yarr. It was like those two things that are mashed together and the guy who is in the suit is a. I think he’s Spanish, he’s worked with Doug Jones before and he’s…
Carla: Was very “Pan’s Labyrinth”.
Ben: Yeah well he’s worked on some of the same stuff with Doug Jones and he played the “Slender Man” in the Slender Man movie, that we just don’t want to go there. But anyway, so super creepy but I’ve got to tell you during that opening monologue when Saru’s is like learning that he’s he is getting superpowers I was right, he’s totally got superpowers! My first thought was oh “You know who the Ba’ul are? They are the Kelpians. Kelpian’s go through the “vahari” and they become the Ba’ul. They’re not a separate species at all. They don’t get killed. They just go to the spaceship.” That’s what I thought was going happen. And that isn’t what happened. But I have to say they look pretty similar, like they’d all be tall and lanky and they’re very skinny and they’ve got long limbs.
Carla: Well they come from the same planet.
Ben: So that does make sense, but it is so creepy like how could those guys be prey species like they’re so gross? And what’s with that tar? I want to know more about them.
Carla: That’s why I say non-humanoid, because is it all just one blob?
Ben: Yeah I was going to say do you think they’re made out of the tar? do you think they just live inside it?
Carla: I think, who knows? We don’t know.
Ben: I mean there’s a pretty good defence mechanism. How the fuck do the Kelpians hunt them down and eat them if they’re like hiding within this weird goop?
Carla: Is it like Odo? Like if their shape shifters or whatever, like why are they choosing to be that shape? So, they’re either non-humanoid tar goo that pop out in gross figures.
Carla: Or they’re gross figures that live in tar goo?
Carla: I mean look I think they make these decisions on purpose so that we can just like make up our own answers and have endless hours of discussion trying to figure it out.
Carla: I mean yes still two arms two legs even though it was dripping in good.
Carla: But I did appreciate that… my big question was it’s such a dumb thing to think about straight away but I’m like “How did they build that spaceship? They’re made out of goo.”
Ben: Well, well they seem to be solid like they move around and stuff. Like they’ve got fingers and glowing red eyes. But is that even really what they look like? Or maybe did they take on a form appropriate like..
Carla: Well that’s what I’m saying. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. I don’t.
Carla: It’s like Odo.
Ben: But whatever they really are. They really seem to have been at the mercy of the Kelpians once upon a time because the Kelpians kind of get to a point in their lives where they go through adolescence and just like all adolescence they get real angry. But, but also they have, like, fuckin spikes and super strength.
Carla: Well is it super strength or is it just so…
Ben: I guess this is a good question.
Carla: I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I’m studying psychology and so what happens when you have damage to your amygdala, you have a under under performing they say or undeveloped amygdala, is this kind of stuff. Like when you don’t have, when you’re not afraid when you don’t have appropriate fear responses, you have the potential to be able to put yourself into situations – really dangerous risky situations and either not conceptualize it or if you have some sort of psychopathic tendencies or sociopathic tendencies you can really push it to the limit.
Carla: So I think it’s also like hooked in with what’s called “executive function” which is like the frontal lobe, being able to moderate one’s thoughts in one’s actions. But yeah. That’s what it does feel like it feels teenage.
Carla: Like he’s kind of got this power that he can’t mod… he hasn’t learned how to moderate it yet.
Ben: I was really worried where that was going to go because I didn’t want us to lose Saru because that composure and that thoughtfulness and the empathy, which is what we’re talking about two episodes ago, in “An Obol for Charon”, is so much a part of what I love about him as a character. He’s so different from a lot of first officers that we’ve seen before.
Ben: He’s very staid and he’s very, not well he is reserved as well, but he’s also just very “let’s do the right thing, let’s not rush in”. And that is partly out of fear in his case. But I just, yeah, I was really worried that they were going to change him into like Angry Hulk McAngressen or something. And I really that by the end of the episode he already turned it around.
Carla: Sure. And if there’s anything that he was going to be angry about it was it was this.
Carla: You know, like, his whole life has been a lie.
Ben: I’ve got to tell you that there’s still something that doesn’t quite make sense to me about this whole set up.
Carla: What is it?
Ben: So, when Saru is on Discovery we know that for most of the time he’s been in Starfleet he has had this feeling that the Ba’ul are oppressing his people and that they kill them. And we learned through the Short Trek and the couple of episodes you’ve had this season that most Kelpians they believe in this thing called “The Balance” which means they go through the “vahari” and they think they’re going to go insane and die horribly or they can be mercy killed by the Ba’ul. But that’s not really a predator relationship like they’re not eating them all right. And it seems like…
Carla: But I think, I kind of felt like they were. They thought they were. Because Saru mentioned, somewhere, that they’re more like a cattle kind of species.
Ben: Yeah but I, but they’re not though. I mean when you see them like they’re this sort of I mean it is a weird sci-fi kind of concept.
Carla: But I don’t know what happens to them when they go, when they…
Ben: So, this is this is my point. They don’t know right? They told one thing they told that they sort of given this mercy killing. Well we think that’s what they told us it’s not 100% clear what they’re actually told but they believe that they have to submit themselves and they get taken up to wherever the Ba’ul will take them. And then you never see them again. So, you don’t know if they’re dead or what happens to them which is why I thought it was possible that the Ba’ul was like this species of evolved Kelpians but for some reason they keep their unevolved folk like in this primitive, like no technology state, on the planet because they think it’s important for some reason.
Carla: Sort of like reverse Soylent Green.
Ben: Yeah well it is you know.
Carla: We didn’t see what we didn’t but still we don’t know like do they just kill them?
Ben: Yeah we don’t know. We don’t know. I mean that those robot things did seem to be pretty – surely they don’t just stick knives in their face like that robot thing was going to do? I don’t know. So, I thought that was pretty intense. And then there’s the whole question of “Is it really okay to force an entire species to go through this evolution thing?”.
Carla: I’ve got “what the fuck General Order One” written down here.
Ben: Well I mean they kind of get around that a little bit at the start at least in terms of talking to them.
Carla: Yeah but also General Order One is about interfering in a species natural development. That’s the cornerstone of what it is. Right.
Ben: Yeah. And Saru basically has that one line where he says, “Well I think this is what the Red Burst brought us here to do.” and Pike goes “Okay well we’ll do it then”. I think well like hang on a minute, “Do you take your orders from Starfleet or do you take your orders from the mysterious Red Angel?” Like when they did it in New Eden when they interfered they were saving these people without otherwise interfering in their culture, right? They just stopped them from being wiped out by you know fixing the problem with the radioactive rocks falling from space. But in this episode they’re completely changing the evolutionary course of two species.
Carla: But I think they thought that it was either that or that they’d become extinct. So
Ben: I think their justification is good
Ben: You know and about all the other thing is the Ba’ul are a post-warp civilization and they’re kind of keeping the Kelpians in this you know sort of pre-warp state but they’re clearly smart enough to understand post-warp technology because you know well because Saru worked it out for himself from bits that fell off and they’ve seen post-warp technology it’s not like they haven’t been exposed to it. So, and this is what I was saying before like it felt really kind of flimsy that the Federation shouldn’t be interfering with the Ba’ul at least and saying, “this is not okay.” And now we find out that they did try that and the Ba’ul’s said “No fuck off we’re not interested”.
Carla: You what you wish, you were you were side-eyeing this the whole time.
Ben: I was and now it’s still side-eye little bit. I still I still think there’s like a I don’t know it makes sense. I’m being a bit picky but it’s because I love Saru and I want his story to be the best possible and it is great. I really loved it.
Carla: This was an awesome episode for Saru.
Ben: I’m just picking a little bit that’s all, but I really loved it. I had such a good time. I had such good time in this episode it was wonderful, and it was really it was interesting to see it like the “b” plot was almost non-existent.
Ben: Because the “b” plot was Hugh Culber going “Oh look I’m all buff now and I don’t have my scar and I’m conflicted because I’ve come back from the dead.”
Carla: Well the “b” plot really if you want to loosely tie it all together is transformation.
Ben: Yeah that’s right.
Carla: You know. So, you’ve got Saru’s transformation. Interestingly as well Saru finds himself in a similar situation to Michael at the beginning of Discovery. Which is going against all her cultural training, so Michael had that moment to back Saru down off the bridge and Saru was ejected from the bridge and disobeyed orders exactly like Michael and went and did this cataclysmic thing for a whole race of people too.
Ben: Yeah I do, I mean I can see that the differences in the situation and so I can understand why Saru’s is probably not going to get court martial. But still it’s interesting I hadn’t thought about that. That’s a great sort of parallel for them as you know like almost siblings themselves to have gone through now very similar situation.
Carla: And Hugh looks perfect.
Ben: He does, he’s super buff.
Carla: He is, he looks perfect like they’ve got his hair just right and I feel like they just powdered him all over. And they made him just look the best version of Hugh.
Ben: Because they like when, when he came back, like last episode, I really quite enjoyed that the, they made it immediately apparent that this was a weird process because in the network had clearly been like dishevelled and unkempt and he’s like hairs growing out he’s got a beard and he’s all grubby. And then when they remake him he goes he’s he looks exactly like he did when he died he’s got the shaved hair he’s got you know he’s all clean and I’m like “What the.” This also actually this this episode raises questions about that process again for me because the thing I’d forgotten last episode is they made a big deal about DNA, when they were talking to it and they didn’t have his DNA like when he was created in the mycelial network his energy was transferred through but not any kind of…
Carla: Oh no the tear. Did you see it was the tear?
Ben: Well it was you know that was metaphorical tear.
Carla: No wasn’t it real?
Ben: His tear didn’t get transferred into a network.
Carla: I feel like that was what was the bridge.
Ben: Oh well.
Carla: That was what was brought through the network.
Ben: I thought it was an emotional bridge.
Ben: Because it because it’s his energy that gets transferred not anything physical.
Carla: But I think that that was what…
Ben: You think it was his tear.
Ben: That is kind of beautiful in a way.
Carla: Yeah. But that’s a really cheesy…
Ben: But tears don’t have any DNA in them.
Carla: Yes, they do that they everything has DNA in them, off your body.
Ben: No not everything. Just cells there’s no tears aren’t made of cells.
Carla: But they would have cells in them they’re coming out of your eyes.
Ben: I think well yeah they would have like bits of skin cells and stuff in them I guess, it’s just liquid you know just it’s just liquid that is stored in a reservoir in your body.
Carla: Well have to get an anatomist.
Ben: I’ll ask Liz is on Prat Chat. She studied medicine she’ll know she’ll know what tears are. But anyway, we all know what tears are.
Carla: (laughs) What are tears?
Ben: We’ve been watching Discovery. We’ve cried a few but yeah it, they mentioned in this episode the importance of DNA and that the reason that he doesn’t have his scar is that they had a sample of his DNA, some I don’t know where that came from. I can’t remember where that came from. Oh no. Hugh, Stamets had like a hair or something I forget what the deal was.
Carla: They would have it all on file.
Ben: He had some weird DNA thing in the last episode. I forget what it was and so they needed that to properly recreate him using the Transport Pod which doesn’t really make sense given how it’s supposed to work. But anyway, so the idea is he’s been recreated in that moment but also from his DNA which means it’s kind of like in Red Dwarf when Dave Lister like gets his DNA altered and then he gets put back together again and that’s that happens in one episode.
Ben: But there’s an episode previous to that where he mentions he’s had his appendix out and there’s an episode after that where he gets his appendix out again. And the fan explanation is very simply well “when you get your body changed into one thing and then you’ve got rewritten according to your DNA back we DNA says you should have an appendix, so you had another one. And just like the previous one it was likely to get inflamed” so you could be like that. That was the most serious use of a Red Dwarf reference I have ever made. (laughs)
Carla: (laughs) Well I think possible.
Ben: Wow. Anyway I’ve talked about DNA too much but it’s so I thought that was that was curious and I think there’s still a lot to explore there about what the hell is going on and I don’t think as it goes on for me the parallel now with Hugh’s character, I think he’s going to go through, I’m going to be interested to sort of compare it to Buffy’s journey after she dies and comes back from the dead. And how similar it is and what he feels about it and I mean you know he hasn’t been in an afterlife he’s been in a weird kind of another thing but I’m. But yeah. So, it’s hard to know.
Carla: It’s an afterlife of sorts I guess.
Ben: Well it is. Well this is a question actually did he, is he, was he ever actually dead? Or was he like somehow transferred. Because they’re treating it like he was alive and I think… but his body was dead. And how do you know it’s not a copy of him and which doesn’t make him any less real or less Hugh but that means that there is a Hugh who did die, you know, so there’s – it’s one of those weird sci-fi situations where it’s like “wow this is not a thing we’ll ever or probably never have to figure out in real life but it’s such a weird situation that it’s fun to think about”. I say fun. It’s also very sad.
Ben: It’s interesting. Yeah. So yeah I don’t know. I’m really interested to see where that goes.
Carla: I really liked this episodes.
Ben: Me too I had it I really loved it.
Carla: It felt really eventful, but I don’t have much more to say about it actually. Beyond what happens to the Kelpian ends now that they’re all predators?
Ben: And now they’ve all got superpowers. But the Ba’ul’s still have this huge amount of technology but they don’t have the network of the watchful eye.
Carla: So, what’s going to happen to all of them together as predators? I don’t know. Hopefully there’ll still be peaceful.
Ben: I think the implication is that they were predators but they’re talking like thousands of years previous and.
Carla: They’re only predators to that’s species rather than everyone. Yeah there was a Ba’ul/Predator joke in there somewhere, but I couldn’t make it work. (both laugh)
Ben: Ok well I mean I my feeling is that you know they’ve had this and it’s more than 2000 years was like 2400 years or something, I think when they’re looking through the sphere data. But I liked the implication that you know they’ve had this period of peaceful existence now. And even though, they now have this sort of suppression of their fear response and they have this like arguably heightened strength or maybe you know it was just a stressful situation and they’re always as strong as a human being I mean they’re bigger than human beings taller at least.
Ben: But now they have these super powers of like shooting spines and who knows what else. Like I really hope that there’s more than that although that’s that would be enough. That’s pretty cool. But, that they’ve had this experience and that’s changed them culturally. You know because it’s kind of and you know they have evolved in a sense that they’ve evolved in the Pokémon sense rather than in the actual natural selection sense.
Ben: But that’s kind of cool and who knows what they’ll be as people now. But there’s, their culture is still the same and they all happened for them very quickly as well.
Carla: No but their whole ideological structure and framework has been, well destroy it.
Ben: That’s true “The Balance” has gone but they talk about creating a new balance. But the Ba’ul never agrees to that in this episode.
Carla: When they said that made me think of shoes every time “new balance”.
Ben: No. No product placement here. But yes, so I’m, I’m curious to find out what will happen with them. And I don’t know if you will…
Carla: Hopefully we’ll get to check in on them again.
Ben: Well I hope so. I mean I think I think what happens to Saru will be what we mostly get to see, and he’s sort of at the start of that journey too because for him he’s sort of going through it. I don’t know. You get the impression that his process of “vahari” was kind of closer to what the natural one is. It was just triggered early by the spheres signal, but the, everyone on the planet they all had theirs like accelerated so that it happened immediately. And I wonder if there’s something else there that means like they recover from it more quickly as well. I don’t know. There’s a lot of questions there but certainly Siranna doesn’t seem at all different afterwards. Like she’s not angry. She’s quiet, fine. She seems very friendly and nice and she likes looking at her planet from space. How could she by the way?
Carla: So Amazing.
Ben: Yeah. What a great, what a great…
Carla: And they’re all so softly spoken. And it was beautiful.
Ben: I mean now they can just kill you with spikes that fly out of their face.
Carla: That’s right.
Ben: That was pretty awesome. I did not see that coming. It was pretty good. But the Ba’ul have got like force shields and lasers and spaceships and they live in tubs of goo. So, who knows?
Carla: And they may be made of tubs of goo.
Ben: Might be. So, I think that’s going to be interesting. Yeah. The main other thing I want to talk about this episode was it was also a nice episode for Airium.
Carla: Yes indeed. We also get some kind of knowledge that she’s, well we know that she’s mechanoid/AI.
Ben: Part robotic some way.
Carla: But yeah there’s that quote at the beginning where Tilly says “without Airiam it could have taken months.” So, she’s instrumental to crunching the data.
Ben: And we don’t know if that means like she can plug herself in or if she’s just really good at understanding data structures.
Carla: Well she the spore drive operator so we can only assume that she is integrated somehow.
Ben: Yeah. Although whenever we see them activate the spore drive it really consists of pressing one button. So, I don’t know.
Carla: Is that just the dimmer that says, “black alert”? (laughs).
Ben: Yeah I don’t know. But that’s usually Dettmer who gets to press that button.
Carla: Is it?
Ben: Yeah. And Airium’s doing something else.
Carla: I was just making a joke.
Ben: Yeah. No, I know but I’m…
Carla: Shall we Short Chats? I think I think we should
Ben: Now it’s time for re:Discovery Short Chats, where we talk news, trivia and anything related to Discovery and also answer any questions you have for us follow our socials and get in touch.
Ben: Now captain we have a few things to follow up this week.
Carla: Hooly dooly as they say in the Star Fleet. (laughs)
Ben: Do they? (laughs) Yeah I mean I believe Pike says that.
Carla: It’s secret Captain language. We got a tonne of feedback about the last episode and also our reactions to it, more specifically mine. I just want to briefly, we can’t read it all because honestly there was so much we love you. Thank you so much for reaching out to us. There were some heartfelt, beautiful, very long detailed messages and it really made me think about things differently. How about you?
Ben: Oh yeah absolutely.
Ben: And it’s just you know when you do a podcast there’s often no feedback just silently. You just don’t hear. You don’t know how many people are listening because the stats are weird, and you just don’t. And so, hearing from you listeners has been wonderful. And particularly on this subject as you say Carla.
Carla: The gist of it is, is that after Hugh died last year apparently there was a press conference and there was you know a lot of promises made on Twitter and Wilson Cruz saying that “he’s not dead he will be back” and there’s been a lot of kind of interviews and stuff and then now we get and then we had him in the posters. So, there’s been a lot of fans that have been like “but we’ve been known this has been happening for so long” and that’s great that you knew that. But for me I didn’t know any of that back history. I also don’t think it’s necessary to know that kind of level of stuff like I should just have to know what’s presented to me on TV. So, I sort of just take them at their word which is what they present on television. So, I still think it was unnecessary. Yes, everybody on Discovery has had an absolutely shit time of it, like no one has escaped. But I think that this is an area that they could have just left alone, and it would have been fine.
Ben: Mm hmm yeah. And I felt like when he died originally like we didn’t get a funeral.
Ben: There wasn’t a big mourning episode. I mean Stamets went through some stuff but mostly when he was in the network meeting what we all, well I certainly I assumed was like a weird construct of the network in his mind to help guide him through it. I didn’t ever think for a second this is really Hugh.
Ben: Or some version of him that could come back. The strong message from the show now is this is Hugh, he is back. He may have been changed by his experience but it’s the same person. And I agree with you. Like when there’s all this commentary around it outside of the show I shouldn’t need to watch that and read that you know it’s like it’s like when J.K. Rowling says Dumbledore is gay. And then none of the actual on screen or in text stuff in the book ever says that. And so, you like does that count? I don’t think that counts J.K.
Carla: And that what you have to take their word for it? Like and for this it’s like if you do something which is like your most shocking moment of your show you’ve set it up to be you know the pivot of the most shocking moment of the show but then you have to immediately turn around and say that it’s not real and that he isn’t dead and that he is coming back. It just feels very messy and ham fisted to me and that they didn’t really understand like how big the backlash was going to be. And honestly if you have to do that much work in the background you’re doing it wrong.
Ben: Yeah yeah. I mean like I said you know I feel like there’s going to be some sort of Buffy-esque journey and I think really the problem was that he died and then it felt like apart from seeing him in the network. It wasn’t that big a deal.
Ben: I don’t know. And that’s just it never felt like a big deal for anyone except Stamets. I also feel like in a related way they’ve revealed that they were actually married but they’ve done it with two lines of dialogue. Very off hand or even maybe just one line.
Ben: He gets referred to in last episode and I missed it the first time I watched it. He gets referred to as a widower. And I thought that was possibly metaphorical but no apparently now they’re really married and then there’s another line. But he never they never referred to each other as you know “that’s my husband” or you know. I mean and look maybe in the Star Trek future it’s just not really a big deal we don’t hear that much about people who are, I mean what we sometimes do when they’re like Betazoids for example – a big hullabaloo about marriage there. But it’s, and you know Riker and Troi get married, so marriage is still a thing in the future. But I think once you’re married it’s not that nobody really feels like that.
Carla: I think it’s more about couples serving on the same ship.
Ben: Yeah so they keep it low key.
Ben: Yeah that makes sense I guess.
Carla: So, I think let’s just put that to bed. I’m happy he’s back. I’ve still got a bit side-eye. He’s looking beautiful which is you know a good thing. So, let’s see where this goes.
Ben: Yeah I’m excited to see where it goes.
Carla: Yeah me too. I’m happy. I feel like this episode was a real pivot in some kind of other different direction. So, we’ll see what happens.
Carla: Do you have anything that you want to talk about?
Ben: Yeah. Look we heard from Adam Ford, listener of the show. Thank you Adam. Who wants to tell us that while there’s nothing else really on TV that, nothing canon, that is more backstory for Pike and more adventures of him in the Enterprise Pre-Captain Kirk. There is a whole comic book series from back in the day which explores that whole thing and its apparently it’s out of print a bit hard to find but he says it’s really good and I trust his opinion on that so if you’re interested in more adventures of Captain Pike go and search out those comic books. It sounds like they’re really cool. So yeah I’d like to read.
Carla: That sounds awesome. Yeah yeah.
Ben: Yeah. I mean remember there’s written way before Discovery so completely different take on what Captain Pike is like so that could be awesome.
Carla: Yeah I’m keen to read those. Right I have two things I always say this. This was shot at the same time as the Short Trek.
Ben: Oh yeah I did hear that. Yeah.
Carla: Yeah. So that makes sense. So, everything that you’re saying is true. You get a tick this week Ben.
Ben: I did all right didn’t I.
Ben: Thanks Carla.
Carla: And then we need to talk about the nude butts. We had a lot of feedback about #startreknudebutts. Hashtag as well.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: We have to T’Pol and Trip when they sleep together for the first time, slight spoiler for me because I wasn’t up to that but sounds good and verified by a screen caption. We also have apparently Picard when he was tortured. But Ben and I don’t really remember that, so we’ve got to go back and watch it.
Ben: Well I remember it, but I don’t remember seeing the butt. Because I knew he was naked. He’s like strung up, nude and you just see him from behind, but I don’t remember if he sees his arse or if you just see him from like the torso upwards and like that’s not that’s not a fun time to see somebody’s butt that’s not okay.
Carla: Not for you. (laughs).
Ben: That was not consensual torture. Carla, that was not okay.
Carla: Okay. Yes, sorry, excuse me.
Ben: So, I mean look you know we have to say that we don’t want to necessarily objectify our friendly neighbourhood Discovery doctor because it was not he was not having necessarily a great time when he arrived nude either. He was sort of in the foetal position on the floor going “I’ve just been recreated through weird alien technology”.
Carla: No, we’re not objectifying we were just quantifying.
Carla: In actually in Discovery. Oh, really in the first season when they’re all on Klingon and Georgiou’s goes and has a threesome with those two sex workers, he shows his butt.
Ben: That’s right. And he’s like an Orion is he Green.
Ben: Yeah that’s right. Yeah. I’d forgotten about that.
Carla: Yeah. There you go.
Ben: Oh wow.
Carla: And there’s one butt, but it’s only half a butt it’s a cheek.
Ben: Butt cheek. Okay.
Carla: And that was when Q is banished from that continuum and they sent him nude to the Enterprise.
Ben: Oh wow.
Carla: Yeah but we really only see a cheek okay.
Ben: Yeah. Well chronologically it’s nearly the first naked butt. Because you know Trip and T’Pol is earlier and certainly you see them in their underwear all the time.
Carla: I know! It’s just whoa that’s another conversation for another time.
Carla: I just have one more thing. Michael is in a different outfit this episode which was really weird. I don’t know why. Maybe they just like pulled her out off duty, but she in this like white top and grey slacks.
Ben: I noticed that too she does like to get out of the official uniform. It was kind of like I think there’s a white undershirt for the Discovery Star Trek uniform and she’s just sort of got the jacket off because she was kind of like not on official bridge duty. But it still seems a bit weird because everybody else is wearing the full uniform the whole time they’re doing other stuff. So yeah I don’t know. I did notice that too that was that was a bit unusual.
Carla: And also, that Tyler has a beard on Discovery. Beads are not Starfleet regulation?
Ben: I don’t know that they’re not like anti Starfleet regulation.
Carla: I mean feel like everyone is clean shaven.
Ben: Well not well certainly not by the Next Gen Era. Because Riker grows a beard. Nobody’s worried about that. And but you’d be right most people are. I think this is because you know Americans are distrustful of beards. Actually, that reminds me I did want to say something about Ash because he’s super paranoid in this episode. Like he’s really I don’t want to say he’s drunk Section 31 Kool-Aid because I was listening to that scene and thinking he’s much more cynical than I remember but then by the end of that scene he kind of says you know the war is like screwed us up.
Carla: You know I’ve written that down because it was such a cheesy terrible line Ben.
Carla: And it was “some of us are still torn apart.” (cracks up laughing)
Ben: Yeah I was a bit over the top wasn’t it. But. It does seem I mean how do you feel about that? Is that being that do you buy that change in his character because he was such a kind of…
Carla: I was like is he I just think everybody’s sexy for everyone I’m like why does he hate Pike so much but because of the relationship he’s developed with Michael?
Ben: Or Pike doesn’t like him remember because Pike doesn’t like Section 31.
Carla: That’s right. And he’s kind of like commandeered him with no choice so he’s right to be tetchy.
Carla: I just think he’s tetchy because of that.
Ben: Yeah fair.
Carla: I only have one more thing. You know that’s probably like my fifth thing.
Ben: What do you got?
Carla: I hated the direction of this episode.
Ben: Oh really? Tell me.
Carla: The camera direction was like being on a roller coaster.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: It was spinning and around it was wobbly, it was action cam. It was like going back, it was going forward. It was just always moving, and I had serious motion sickness after watching this episode. Yeah it was crap.
Ben: No, I was I’m down with that. And also, they did your hated thing. They splashed water on the lens of the camera.
Carla: Oh, What I did see it, oh that’s good I was probably cause us to nauseous.
Ben: It wasn’t blood. There was water got splashed it was one of the scenes on shit on Kaminar. And the other thing the other thing that I did I noticed this episode is they’ve done this a few times. They had this really long like voiceover monologues.
Carla: Hate it.
Ben: And the first episode one was fine because it’s like let’s set up the whole series and it was that cool story about the girl like throwing the stuff and causing the Milky Way. That’s a worst retelling of that story ever. But it was it was cool right. It was interesting. And now we have these really long heartfelt emotional monologues aren’t they just a bit too long.
Ben: You know what I mean.
Carla: A bit too much.
Ben: I like I like the idea of them, but I feel they’ve outstayed their welcome now and I hope they don’t keep doing those. This one at least was punctuated like they stopped it and then had a bit of a scene like when Saru’s in med bay and he talks to Culber and then he goes and talks to the doctor who very helpfully was like “How do you pronounce that thing that happened to you?” and he’s like ““vahari””. He’s like “Oh thank you for reminding the audience.”
Carla: Yes. Yeah I thought it was so unprofessional.
Ben: Yeah. She’s like I’m like “You’re a Starfleet officer. It’s like learn how to pronounce someone’s culturally important words” like if I can learn to do it.
Carla: That’s exactly what I felt I was like “Jesus, ship shape lady. Come on.”.
Ben: But I agree with you like that. That first scene where it’s like circling around them that just went on forever. I was like “Why are you doing this?” And they’ve done that once or twice this season already, but it was much shorter in the other episodes where they did it. And this one just kept going. Oh man.
Ben: Yeah I did just want to talk about the title of the episode because we haven’t talked about that much before and probably I’ll talk about the episode titles in general when we get towards the end of the season. But I did, I don’t normally look at what the episode title is going to be but I was looking at a list of episodes just to remind myself of the previous episode titles and oddly had two or three of them in advance. And this was one of them and I really thought this was going to be an episode about time travel because one of the really famous influential stories about time travel is called “The Sound of Thunder”.
Carla: Oh, that’s interesting.
Ben: And it’s a story where it’s about a time travel company that sends people back in time to hunt dinosaurs and a guy, it’s where the famous like “treading on a butterfly” thing comes from because this guy goes back and you have to stay on this specially built path that built so that you don’t disrupt any of the lifeforms. And he gets off the path and he treads on a butterfly and completely changes history and then it comes back to the future and everything’s fucked up. So, I thought “Ah so they called it the sounds of thunder it’s going to be a reference to that there’s going to be time travel stuff”.
Carla: Well it was.
Ben: And there was right at the end like they confirmed that the Red Angel is some sort of time traveller.
Ben: Nice work Carla. That’s a tick for you.
Carla: Thank you. Yeah.
Ben: And I had a couple of moments in this episode where I thought things and then almost immediately the show confirmed that my thoughts were correct and I felt so good about myself. And I was like “oh no you knew I was going to think that like that’s not me being clever. That’s you doing their job.”.
Carla: That’s them being very clever.
Ben: “You’re being clever.” And it was when you know Saru looks at the Red Angel and you see the suit and I’m like I’m like” I’m like a suit of armour it’s like. It’s like Iron Man in there. What’s going on there.” And then they go. “Yeah it was a humanoid wearing some sort of armour” and was like “Oh yeah. I wasn’t being clever. They were deliberately showing us that.” But I still felt like validated. Yeah it was good.
Carla: Yeah. Yeah. It’s exciting.
Ben: I got to say I did just do a cheeky Google while we were talking and I found a picture of Picard during that scene. Like during the five lines and I don’t think you see his butt but he is nude and they’re positioned like a little thing on the Cardassian’s desk in such a way that I can’t see you know Patrick Stewart’s actual bits but you can see as one of my friends famously described it to me “the line suggesting penis”. (both laugh) And I got to say I didn’t remember how ripped Patrick Stewart is in this scene.
Carla: Are you sure it’s not a body double?
Ben: No, it’s he can see his face. It’s him. You kind of do see a bit of side butt. In the side of his torso. Sorry I just I just I was just like I’m pretty sure you don’t see his butt I just “I’ll have a quick look”.
Carla: We should just get screenshots and put them on the website.
Ben: We can.
Carla: Butt content.
Ben: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. You’ll find links to all the creatives involved on our website rediscoverypodcast.com and we’d love to connect with you find us on Twitter and Facebook @rediscoverypod.
Splendid Chaps: re:Discovery is brought to you by Splendid Chaps Productions. Find more entertainment for your ears at splendid chaps dotcom.
This week’s episode “The Sounds of Thunder” returns Saru to his homeworld Kaminar. The Red Angel has directed Discovery there – but why? We finally meet the Ba’ul – the mysterious oppressors of the Kelpiens – and ponder what level of action is ethical to stop genocide (you know, just regular Star Trek stuff). Team re:Discovery return to “that episode” to discuss the huge amount of listener feedback we received, and cheekily deliver our audit of #startreknudebutts. Thanks for listening!Show Notes…
This is a transcript of our fifth season two recap, available here
Leland [From episode] : There are always lives at stake. That’s what keeps us employed. See we do what we do, so you can do what you.
re:Discovery theme plays.
Carla: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery. The Star Trek recap podcast that knows burying your gays and bringing them back to life is a trick reserved for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And even then, they never did it.
Carla: I’m joined by my Science Officer Ben. You’ll have a lot of work to do this episode. Ben are you prepared?
Ben: Aye captain as much as possible.
Carla: You better be. In “Saints of Imperfection” Discovery comes full circle with closing most open-ended story lines from Season 1 and Season 2. We immediately pick up where we left off from the previous episode – rescuing Tilly from the mycelial network and chasing Spock’s stolen shuttle. The shuttle is finally locked onto but in another cliff-hanger it is not Spock inside but Phillipa Georgiou. She has recovered the craft without Spock in it, it seems everyone is looking for Michael’s brother. This gives Captain Pike his first run in with Section 31 and it’s mononymous Captain, Leland. They appear to be old friends or are they? But the tension is high immediately. Who is this organization and why are they hunting Spock? With Georgiou’s arrival on Discovery, and the reaction this creates, Pike is suspicious to the extreme. When escorting Michael to speak with the “Section 31 liaison”, arrived to free Georgiou, Pike sees Michael’s face fall into shock and agony when she realizes it’s Tyler. This is enough for Pike to demand answers, fearing for the safety of his crew and presumably being very unbalanced by the existence of these black ops. Cut to the mission to recover Tilly, Airiam and Stamets manoeuvre Discovery to be half inside the mycelium network and half in the plane of reality. May has finally managed to spit out exactly what is happening. There is some kind of toxin overtaking the network that she believes is a malevolent force. This toxin was weaponized when Discovery started jumping through the network, so May believes they are responsible for it and responsible for killing it.
Ben: Stamets and Michael cross into the mycelial plane and find Tilly and May who have tracked May’s monster into Discovery. Following its trail, they find a dishevelled bearded Doctor Hugh Culber. May screams at the others to kill it as Hugh runs off with Stamets in pursuit. Burnham fills Pike in on this complication as the ship starts to be torn apart. Tyler uses his Section 31 comm badge to call for help and Leland ship de-cloaks and holds Discovery steady with a tractor beam. Pike is not impressed at this subterfuge. Stamets reconnects with Hugh just as the others arrive. May takes Tilly’s phaser rifle but till he talks her down from using it as Burnham explains Hugh wasn’t attacking them just using the deadly toxin from the mycelial plane as armour to protect himself from the spores. Stamets works out that his energy was transferred to the network through him when he held Hugh’s dying body and he was reconstituted by the JahSepp microbes. But when they returned to the interface between planes Culber’s mycelium matter can’t pass through. He’s willing to let himself be reclaimed by the JahSepp spores so Stamets will return to safety, but Tilly asks May to try transporting him back with the pods used to kidnap her. May doesn’t know if it will work but promises to try. The Emperor blackmails Leland to buy Discovery just enough extra time for Michael and the others to return and the ship jumps back into normal space. In engineering Hughes naked body appears as the mycelial pod disintegrates. He’s back, but the last link to the mycelial plane is gone. Pike visits Leland ship to find Vice Admiral Cornwell who informs both captains that analysis of the Red Bursts has detected tachyons and forces them to make up so they can work together to find Spock. The only proper lead they have.
Ben: Carla. You know normally I said there was so much going on in this episode, but I actually feel like this one had a pretty straightforward plot and spent a lot of time on it. How did you feel about this episode?
Carla: What do you think the straightforward plot was. I’m curious to hear that?
Ben: Well it was it was pretty much entirely a rescue mission to get Tilly back from the mycelial plane and we got a couple of surprises there. But it wasn’t – like a couple of the other episodes so far this season I feel like have had three or four things going on maybe, with the exception of the Q’onoS episode which was mostly about the Q’onoS plotline. But I felt like this one sort of had one main thing going on and really focused on it which I liked you know. I mean it had the subplot of “oh here’s Pike’s old mate who’s running Section 31” but you know that not much happened with that apart from that were dicks.
Carla: I don’t know I feel like that there was a lot of subterfuge with everything but I agree with you in the way that – look I think that I mean this is a third of the way through this season and we’re just on the precipice of where the story line that Harbert’s and Gretchen Miller designs is about to end. And I think it did wrap up so many things that we already knew about.
Carla: So, there wasn’t a lot to kind of learn or keep track of.
Ben: Yeah it didn’t introduce a lot of new stuff. Yeah.
Ben: Well except for one big new thing.
Ben: Well it introduced Hugh back into the show.
Carla: Oh yes. But here’s an old thing to.
Ben: Well he is, he’s been recycled quite literally. Which is which was weird. (laughs)
Carla: Yes. (laughs)
Ben: So weird.
Carla: How did you feel about this episode?
Ben: Look I I really loved about the first half of it. I was really into it. I was on the edge of my seat during the intro sequence I thought it was one of the best intros we’ve had so far. I mean they’ve all been really good. Second episode was also amazing but just the action-packed sequence of chasing the shuttle and like you know doing this the Star Wars trick of like stopping so that the ship goes past. It was just cool it was a lot of fun and you know there’s lots of involvement from the bridge crew which is you know I always love. And then the great reveal where Spock is not on board. It’s bloody Emperor Georgiou which I was not expecting.
Carla: I love her theme song as well.
Ben: Oh yeah. Yeah she’s the best.
Carla: It’s Darth Vader she is Darth Vader.
Carla: Yeah well she’s the evil overlord totally. She even wears all black like she’s, she’s got it going on.
Ben: So yeah I really love…
Carla: Has problematic issues with her adopted daughter. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Yeah totally.
Carla: The analogy could go very far.
Ben: It could. It just means she just needs to have superpowers and she kind of does I guess.
Ben: And then also the first half of like the whole plan to go into the mycelial plane and rescue Tilly and the development of May revealing why she’s brought Tilly there, I thought was kind of awesome and interesting. But then I felt like the plot slowed right down and it was one of those episodes where “we’re trying to tell you it’s urgent it’s urgent like we’re all going to die it’s urgent it’s urgent” but then they take quite a lot of time to have these long dramatic moments, which kind of I felt took away a bit from the urgency of what was happening. But I mean you know I still enjoyed the second half. I have very mixed feelings about Hugh’s return.
Carla: It’s so problematic.
Ben: And I want to hear what you think about it because I know I know you’re not happy.
Carla: The first time I watched this episode I was just in shock, like I couldn’t actually believe what I was watching, and I couldn’t process it. And then the second time I watched all I did was cry like it’s such, I feel like actually, like it sounds so dramatic, but I feel betrayed by this franchise of what they have done. As a queer person all I have ever seen up until very recently is queer people die, be murdered, be abused, die of AIDS, be you know a point of journey for a straight person. Queer people and queer bodies have been used as a plot device to amp up drama right? And have been completely disposable.
Carla: Right. Once their use has gone, for the straight people or the white people, they are disposed of and that’s why the “bury your gays” trope is so potent and so for that to happen, it was disappointing but something that we’re used to. But now to use this gay man’s body as a plot device for this re-emergence, this emotional re-emergence is so awful. It’s like why would you put a queer character/couple on there in the first place to do that to them first of all? Then I have to understand that both of them have been tortured during this period of time of waiting or in between being reunited they’ve – one’s been dead and tortured by the network the other one’s been tortured because he’s lost his partner. It’s just so unnecessary and so manipulative and it just made me so upset you know especially we’ll talk about it in Short Chats, but you know these actors are iconic for the queer community. They’re – it’s so meaningful to have them together on this show. And it just, it feels really fucking cheap to me to be perfectly honest and I don’t understand what their thinking was behind it.
Ben: Do you think maybe they feel like they made a mistake in buying into the bury your gays trope and killing off Culber in the first place and now they in some way they kind of want to undo it feeling that that will undo that mistake.
Carla: I have no idea. It feels impregnated into the storyline like you know and there’s also as I said most of it feels wrapped up like you know the band’s back together again. Tyler’s been requested to be a liaison, ordered to be a liaison now, on the Discovery so everyone who is still alive from the first season is back on the Discovery in whatever capacity. But everything feels wrapped up and everything feels like it’s in its place. I do feel like it was purposeful but perhaps not to the point that he was going to come back. But I add, to this extent but I do feel like it was… and it’s just so offensive because sci-fi is so populated by queer people you know and it just it feels like such a disservice to the community and now I’m sure they’re probably going to try to cover it up by it being this romance story or even worse, it’s going to be like Hugh’s all messed up from what he’s gone through. I don’t know but I have massive stink face over this whole situation.
Ben: I think it would be so unsatisfying for it just to go back to the way it was because even though we might want that, you can’t imagine that possibly happening. Really.
Ben: Whatever he’s been through even if he is back to being normal Hugh and you know he’s psychologically he’s been through hell.
Carla: They both have.
Ben: Yeah. I mean because the Stamets also has been not just you know grieving the loss of his lover but also he was tortured by the network too. Like what Lorca put him through to get to the mirror universe nearly killed him and the state that he was in, which is referenced in this episode when Hugh died was not he was not okay you know he was linked into the network in a way that sort of fundamentally altered him and which is the catalyst for what happens in this episode.
Ben: So yeah I just I don’t know it’s I felt really weird about it. I mean also it’s not something – Star Trek does not have a long history of killing people and bringing them back, like usually when people die in Star Trek they stay dead.
Carla: Do you know literally the only one I can think of is Spock.
Ben: Yes, Spock the only one but you know and that’s like a full on – that’s like two films worth, well three films really.
Carla: Cried so much in that movie with that. Yeah.
Ben: But then when he comes back you know he’s not quite the same and he takes some time to readjust and he kind of, I don’t know I feel like they set that up really well. I mean the whole plot of the film in which he dies is about rebirth and genesis like the device is called “The Genesis Device”. So, it feels like they earned that. Whereas this does not feel like they planned to do this from the start. I think maybe they planned…
Carla: I think they wanted to be contrite there could have just been so many other ways to do it. You develop a lesbian relationship. Have other gay people on Discovery. Yeah you know it’s like, yes.
Ben: As always the problem of these things is not that you choose a particular storyline for a particular character, it’s that the same storyline keeps coming up for the only characters who are representative of certain sectors of the community on these shows. Like you always killing off one of the gay couple. That’s why it’s shit like it’s not because one gay person dies in one show. And yeah. And it’s yeah it is gross. I agree. And I think yeah. And look at also it’s just a weird thing. It was just a really weird thing to do.
Carla: So weird.
Ben: Just weird you know.
Carla: So weird.
Ben: And that like you know I also feel like from a techno babble perspective they really twisted themselves into knots to justify it and they didn’t set it up terribly well.
Carla: That’s why I said at the beginning like you better be ready to explain all of this shit.
Ben: I’m ready. I’m across what they said happened. And I’ll tell you why it’s nonsense. No, it’s actually I actually, it actually makes a surprising amount of sense, but it relies almost entirely on things that are explained or introduced in this episode. That’s what makes it feel kind of cheap to me and rushed and even though I suspect probably they were planning this the whole time they could have seeded it a bit more. Maybe it could have come in an episode or two later. They could have had a couple more things happen with the mycelial network that set it up a bit more clearly. I also look I also want to say like the mycelial plane itself I found quite disappointing.
Carla: What do you mean?
Ben: it just looks a lot like the mycelial spore garden on Discovery except under a black light. Like its trees and fronds that are in glowing blue and pink colours but otherwise seems to be a pretty normal just place. But also, like it’s a whole other plane of existence and they’re just standing on a plane, like a literal plane like full of like weird plants. I’m like guys “c’mon” like I know you’ve gone with a mycelial theme but also all of your representations of mycelium look like other kinds of plant life, they look like plant life for starters and fungus is not plants. It’s just weird and I was so hoping that seeing the actual mycelial network, because we never really seen it before was in the spores we’ve seen kind of glimpses of it but now we’re visiting it and it just seemed a bit odd when I was a little bit disappointed.
Carla: This may be where you and I differ in our life experience Ben, but the mycelial network very much that looks like what life looks like when you’re on mushrooms. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Oh okay. Oh well that’s completely changes my opinion. That’s genius.
Carla: So, I actually had that written down as a note in my notes I was like I really love that room I see the mycelial network looks like when you’re on hallucinogen and it really has that. Yeah. I mean I understand your point.
Carla: And I always kind of wrap that up into the kind of “Q continuum” kind of stuff of like they can’t show us our true selves, their true selves because we can’t actually conceptualize it and if we’re within that plane they can only show us things that we can relate to in order to be able to move within that environment. So, I always kind of position it in that way but I do hear what you say and like I think they had so much more license to do it, but I don’t know much about, I mean Paul Stamets has written a book called “Mycelium Running”.
Ben: That’s the real Paul Stamets, just to get anyone is confused about time travel being involved.
Carla: The real mycologist.
Carla: I’m wondering it’d be something interesting to look into because I’m wondering whether he did any concept design with them about this kind of stuff and I hazard a guess that it would be based on mushroom hallucinations.
Ben: Quite possibly, quite possibly. I mean look you know it’s my innocence showing that I had no idea that was the case, it’s a boring existence in some ways. It’s been very exciting in an imaginative way. Maybe not so exciting you know in a seeing things that aren’t there kind of way.
Carla: Well speaking of being provincial, I do love Pikes, I do love Pike’s reaction to everything, and I say that because he says “call me provincial” in questioning everything that is quite obviously like a fart. There’s serious energy in those rooms and he’s picking it up.
Ben: Yeah. And again, you know there’s that issue of trust. And I was so worried Michael was just going to not tell him about you know Georgiou being from the Mirror Universe and she doesn’t but she does let on that “Yeah there is something I’m not telling you but I can’t tell you right now, I’ll tell you later” and he’s like he’s can you…
Carla: Yeah he’s “like don’t let me chase you”.
Ben: Yeah but I also like that when she asks him for that time he’s just like “done” you know he’s like “yes I’m trusting you” but you know come through for me.
Carla: I have such a leadership burner for this man, seriously.
Ben: Oh god it’s the best.
Carla: It’s that fine line of hard and soft you know I like that little sweet spot.
Carla: But also, I’ve written a note here that says he leads by instinct which I think is quite a common thread to all of the great captains that we see and also leaders I think. They have their protocol, they have their training but really they’re very led by instinct by what they feel is right and wrong and what is going on and that is quite apparent in this episode with him.
Ben: Yeah there is that juxtaposition of Section 31 and traditional Starfleet and Pike very much represents all the things very best.
Ben: You know he has that speech with his Starfleet is a promise, oh god I love that so much. Like probably some people thought it was hokey, but I was just like “No this is, he really means it” and that’s what sells it. And you know Anson Mounts doing a fantastic job of embodying this person who really believes in the mission and isn’t going to leave somebody behind, and he tells his whole crew that’s what we’re doing and everyone’s like “Yeah”. And also, you know he’s just such a good judge of character, like he’s met Tilly two or three times and he’s like “I know that she would give her life for any of us”. When she’s when he’s talking to Burnham, he says to her “I don’t know you that well, but I know you well enough.” And I’m like yeah that’s, you don’t know that well, but you do know her well enough like that is very clear. So yeah I’m loving him still. And his reaction to Leland who’s his old mate who’s running Section 31. He’s like “nup”.
Carla: Well he’s such a company man. And to not know that this exists really shits on everything that he believes in in this organization because black ops really is analogies to the CIA, right.
Carla: The CIA are out there you know rigging elections, assassinating world leaders, you know putting people into place and drugging people. So, to, he does seem provincial in that moment.
Carla: To be so upset by the existence of this organization but also their tech – like there was so me there was so many “whoa” moments for me in this like when they decode from being a rock.
Carla: And also, it took me the second watch to realize where he goes “what the hell kind of com is that?” and he’s using a badge.
Ben: He’s got a comm badge.
Carla: Yeah dude.
Ben: Which they I mean and they’re all wearing like they’ve got the little insignia and it is it’s like a comm badge, but nobody else’s has got any technology in it. And I think that’s really nice, it’s a nice explanation for us because when you look at…
Ben: When you look at Star Trek now like if we made the show, and some people complain about this and I don’t understand their position, because when you look at Star Trek now you look at the technology they have on the Enterprise in the Original Series and you like, I wouldn’t have that in my car today. That that is crap.
Carla: Maybe in my car. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Well I don’t have a car so you know I’m theoretically I’m imagining a theoretical car, but you know I’ve sat in a Tesla like it’s more advanced than the old school Enterprise, it can drive itself for starters. It’s got better screens, got all the stuff and like you we’re all used to having these supercomputers going around and our pockets so the idea that you have to have your flip phone to talk to people 250 years’ time, however long it is, like ridiculous. And so, when you reimagine it for a modern audience having this thing where it’s difficult to do full on Star Trek style communication through subspace and miniaturizing it is quite a feat. So, showing a character going “How the hell do you do that?” that’s secret technology which will become mainstream and used you know, but that’s how the real world works too. You know like they were the technology that made say you know an iPad possible existed for decades before they made the iPad but it was very expensive to produce and so it wasn’t in the mainstream.
Carla: And of course, I absolutely believe that technology is gatekeeped, gatekeepered, by…
Carla: Powerful organizations whether it is you know a governmental organization that’s developed it or even a capitalistic organization you don’t want to let people know that they have that technology.
Ben: They want to hold onto it till they can exploit it properly.
Carla: And that actually makes that actually makes canon extremely interesting that they have cloaking technology and it never even makes it into fleet until a thousand years into the future until the time travellers and can we say hello! maybe I’m right again. We’ve got some tachyon particles.
Ben: We do have tachyon’s its true. But they could mean anything Carla.
Carla: Could it.
Ben: Yeah it could literally mean almost anything.
Carla: Really? (laughs)
Ben: Yeah. They don’t exist they’re not real.
Carla: I know but because they’re from the future.
Ben: Well you know where they’re from? You know this is fascinating.
Carla: I was hoping you. Yes, I was hoping you would explain.
Ben: It is, so tachyons are a theoretical particle. There’s no evidence that they actually exist. There’s a lot of theoretical writing about them and what they would be like if they did exist. But the guy who wrote about them and gave them their name, Gerald Feinberg coined the term in 1967 in a paper he wrote about a theoretical faster than light particle because this is the important thing about Tolkien’s is that they always travel faster than light which means that they could potentially go backwards in time if they existed. You could potentially build a tachyon anti-telephone, a device that you could use to send information backwards in time. So, you can’t travel physically backwards in time but if tachyons are real you could potentially by building now a device that could detect the tachyons and someone sending a signal in the future and you would detect them coming back in time and get information from the future which could change history and cause paradoxes. Right. So, they don’t exist as far as we know but the guy who wrote it he was inspired to write the paper about a potentially faster than light particle because he read a short story called “Beep” by a guy named James Blish. James Blish then went on to write the first ever Star Trek novel for adults which was called “Spock Must Die” which is, a lot of people think, the first ever use of the word tachyon in science fiction.
Ben: So, it’s like this sort of full circle like he was he inspired the idea a scientist gave it a name and theoretical framework and then he used it, and didn’t just use it in the sci-fi, he used it in Star Trek.
Carla: It’s academia at its best.
Ben: Yeah. So, it’s quite an interesting history. But yeah they don’t they don’t really exist. So, when I think Leland who suggests it could be time travel and then Pike says yep it could also be transporter stuff or this other thing. And the Admiral says “you’re both right or maybe none of you are” like I think they’re setting up that this is a clue but we’re not going to tell you what it means. And maybe it does mean time travel.
Carla: It’s like “you might think you know what it means”. But really it’s dead Hugh from the future.
Ben: No no no.
Carla: So right it’s trying to think of the worst thing that they could do.
Ben: There’s a lot of bad things they could do.
Carla: I have so many notes on this, mostly about Pike. His hair seems to be getting bigger.
Ben: And better.
Carla: And better.
Ben: Oh, he’s got such good hair.
Carla: His face is so expressive. You’re an actor and tell me all about it. How fucking hard would this be?
Ben: It would be interesting to contrast Anson Mount’s performance with Sonequa Martin-Green because she knows she’s playing a character who has mostly got her emotions under control. So, she is often portraying Michael with quite a flat affect. But then you know in emotional moments lets it out and she’s great, she’s amazing.
Carla: It’s so controlled.
Ben: And that is like that is super difficult but also just as difficult and just as wonderful is Anson Mounts performance because Pike wears his emotions on his sleeve. By which I don’t mean you know he’s overly emotional and.
Carla: And yeah you can read him like a book.
Ben: But here he shows what he means. And but he’s funny he is in control but he’s not in control by repressing those emotions he’s in control by channelling them. And so yeah he shows on his face and yeah it’s just wonderful. I mean I got say that I like so many of the cast members of the show.
Carla: Oh, they’re all wonderful.
Ben: And I really liked that there was, is there are a few lines for the regular bridge crew this this time around, Reese gets a couple of lines.
Carla: Nhan got to have her resting bitch face on which was amazing.
Ben: She’s still wearing the skirt. I noticed that this episode.
Carla: Yeah! And it’s like I don’t know what’s underneath it is tights? Cause she’s got kneed high boots. I’m loving it. I want one!
Ben: Yeah but she’s like she’s wearing the skirt what she’s doing – now she’s Chief of Security.
Ben: She’s still in a skirt, you don’t need to wear pants to be Chief.
Carla: It’s probably easier.
Ben: Yeah yeah. Probably is actually, freeing to run around. That’s great.
Carla: Yeah. And like speaking of which like in the future we probably all have calorie-controlled diets by re.. what are they called again the reconstitutors?
Ben: Well they don’t the kind of don’t. Well they don’t have replicators yet, but they do have.
Carla: Well maybe that’s why there’s fatter bodies on Discovery.
Carla: Because that’s what I want to talk about.
Ben: Oh okay. Yeah.
Carla: Because I always thought in the future because they’ve got the replicators you can just have a completely calorie control diet and eat exactly what you want and never put on any weight so that’s why everyone’s thin in the future.
Carla: But this one I’ve noticed like there’s so many big butts walking around in the background in uniforms and it just and then like with Nhan and stuff it’s like oh “finally I can imagine a uniform that maybe my body will fit into”. It’s been really thrilling.
Ben: It’s good. And I think I mean everyone’s fit like they’re all running around chuckles all the time and.
Carla: Sure, you’re no slouch in you know the Federation.
Ben: You’re in Starfleet you can just you got shit to do like you got to get out there and do it. But yeah but they, yeah it’s good they’re showing a nice diverse range of bodies.
Carla: Of butts.
Ben: Of butts. Oh, hey look I got to admit I wasn’t looking at the butts as much but maybe I will now be noticing them now.
Carla: You won’t be able to stop looking in the background.
Ben: Well I mean I did notice Hugh’s butt of course. First nude butt on Star Trek was it?
Ben: Has there been one before?
Carla: I don’t know. That’s a good question. Message us plays with nude butts.
Ben: Yeah we want to know all about it.
Carla: Only from Star Trek.
Ben: Yeah just from Star Trek. Only Star Trek butts. I mean cause we’ve seen we’ve seen plenty of bare chests.
Carla: So many!
Ben: Starting with Sulu way back in the day.
Carla: Holy shit Enterprise is like just oh yeah gay porn.
Ben: Always getting their t shirts off getting around in their gear.
Carla: It’s actually like uncomfortable. Anyway, that’s a conversation another time. Shall we go to Short Chats?
Ben: I think we will.
Carla: 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 our socials to be in touch at @rediscoverypod. Ben what do you have to talk about today?
Ben: Well this episode gives me the perfect chance to talk about something I love talking about which is transporter technology.
Carla: Oh yeah, ok cool.
Ben: Because it’s such a big plot point in this episode.
Carla: I love this analogue version.
Ben: And they it’s nice they have the other pods like the organic transporter but really the thing that I want to talk about is that the way that it works in going between the two planes and the way that they talk about it really establishes that Star Trek transporters work in a way that as far as we can tell is impossible in the real world.
Ben: And if you’ve ever read anything listeners about the physics behind how mad a transmission might actually work; the way we’d have to work in the real world is you would be scanned, then your body would be destroyed and then precise information about you would be transmitted via whatever means and then you would be re constructed from raw materials at the other end.
Carla: It’s just like the replicator but for people.
Ben: Exactly. Yeah but that’s not how Star Trek transporters work.
Ben: No. Star Trek transporters use some weird process that doesn’t make any sense according to the laws of science that transmit forms your body into energy and then transmits that energy and then reconstitutes that energy into matter. So, it is you the whole way.
Ben: That is the way they talk about it. And look I mean it’s a bit confused in a lot of Star Trek like they’ve never really gone into a lot of detail about how transporters work there’s been techno babble about various things like Heisenberg compensators to measure accurately the position of atoms because that’s impossible to do at a quantum scale. So, they come up with some jargon to say no we can actually do it. And the way they talk about it in this episode is explicitly about transforming someone into energy and then transmitting them and then reconstituting them. And that energy somehow is them and that’s the whole story about how Hugh becomes a person in the mycelial network is that his energy was transmitted into the mycelial plain through Stamets, who at the time was still a conduit for it. And then the spores, the JahSepp on the other side, build a body according to his energy pattern.
Ben: Which made sense to them. And that’s also how their organic transporter works. I mean like I said earlier they kind of bend over themselves backwards to explain how this is possible, but I still think it doesn’t quite make sense but it’s but it’s pretty close.
Ben: But yeah I thought it is interesting how explicit they were about this sort of transformation into energy and then reconstitution into matter but how your still you and they never talk about it because Stamets talks about the conservation of matter or mass which is a real physical concept where the amount of mass in the universe cannot increase or decrease it just, well the universe expands just gets further away from itself but it’s been further expanded into the amount of mass and energy because you can convert one into the other it can’t be increased or decreased. And so, his whole thing about how if she was destroyed there’d be bits of her left but if there was none of her there then that could only be explained – because you can’t just destroy it like he could burn her but then there’d be bits of her DNA and like molecules left. But if she’d been transported then there would be no sign of her. So yeah interesting.
Carla: I thought it was kind of fun, metaphysical, meta-ness about death. Yeah you know but life and death and the spirit and our existence beyond physical plains. Because I think that’s kind of what people imagine dying to be like as well. I’m not sure but that’s certainly how I’ve thought about it in the past particularly about the decomposition of the body and how everything is made out of atoms and carbon and all the materials of life you know and that we return to where we once came from and will come back again from the same material.
Carla: Okay I think I’m finally ready to talk about the queer significance of this version of Star Trek. Okay so we have Tig Notaro which you’ve talked about in the past which is fabulous. Also, the actors who plays Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber are very dearly loved in the community. They were both in the original production of RENT, RENT is an AIDS musical essentially, that sounds horrible, from the 90s it’s very famous. I don’t know anything about it but lots of people are very falling over themselves about it. Also, Wilson Cruz has the honour of being the first gay person to play a gay character on TV.
Carla: In “My So-Called Life”.
Carla: Yeah. So, he is a trailblazer.
Ben: When was that?
Carla: I think it’s like 96?
Ben: That’s horrendously recent.
Carla: Right! and Anthony Rapp who plays Stamets kicked off the gay #metoo movement by accusing Kevin Spacey…
Ben: Oh wow.
Carla: Of sexually assaulting him when he was a 16-year-old actor in New York. So, Anthony Rapp has done an incredibly brave – because both of them at the time were one of a handful of actors who were out. He’s been out since he was a young teenager. He was a child actor and then he also has the unfortunate indignity of also being the first person to kick off the gay #metoo movement and bring light to Kevin Spacey behaviour. So, the two of them together are stalwarts and heroes of the Queer community. Who else do we have? We have Tig really like these oh and we have Mia Kirschner who plays Amanda. She played probably one of the most notorious queer characters in queer TV. She was Jenny on the L word and we sometimes see on the #queertrek hashtag people being like “what! Jenny’s in Star Trek now? my two worlds are colliding”. She’s not actually queer but the L Word was obviously such a huge show for queer people in the early 2000s. So really that’s kind of like most of the active iconic queer people are in this show. I can only think of really one more person that they should add that is in that stratosphere of queer icon is Jane Lynch. They need to bring in Jane Lynch.
Ben: She would be great.
Carla: Potentially Portia de Rossi.
Ben: Although I don’t know. Jane Lynch. What who would she play? I mean I feel like..
Carla: She could be another salty.
Ben: Yeah well these are…
Carla: Or gregarious.
Ben: Oh, you know she could be she could be Harry Mud’s mum. (both laugh) That would be incredible. Like it just turns up and like seem like she’s going to be like telling him off. But then no they’re totally planning a con together. Like how good with that.
Carla: That is awesome.
Ben: Okay. I mean there’s lots of other things you could play with that’s the one that immediately came to mind.
Carla: And we need to get Portia de Rossi in as like T’Pol, 7 of 9 type character.
Ben: She would kill that.
Carla: Totally. Ah so that’s my uh that’s my finalization of queer casting for Star Trek. But I just thought I’d give everybody the backstory on who these actors are and how we see them as the gravity that they have behind them when they are all together on one show. It’s obviously incredibly deliberate, cherry picking these people to put them on the show. So, when things like this happen it’s just like “What the fuck are you doing bros?” you know.
Ben: Yeah. It does seem weird. I mean of course there’s still a lot of representation that hasn’t happened in the show. We don’t have anybody who’s gender queer or non-binary. But I think that’s weird because it’s the one thing and this is something I’ve been thinking watching Enterprise. It’s the one thing that really dates it, makes it feel not like the future is how retro and traditionally hetero everything is.
Carla: Particularly Enterprise so much fist fighting.
Ben: Yeah. Because you’re just looking at it and also like just I mean one of the characters I thought I was going to really like, and then he just turns out to be such a bro in a lot of episodes is Malcolm the English character who’s a bit stiff and you expect that he’s going to like sort of relax a bit into the show but he’s just he’s just such a bro you know? Like what the episode where they go for shore leave on Risa and they’re just trying to get laid. And it’s just gross and he gets drunk with his mate and the way he talks about T’Pol. I mean I’ve learned a lot in the last decade. Right. And that was like the 2000s. Like surely I would hope that by the time of Enterprise things have only gotten better and more enlightened, but no it’s such a reflection of the time that it was made..
Ben: And then you look at things like there’s that episode of Next Gen where Riker falls in love with the alien where it’s taboo to have a gender. And he wanted them to cast a man so it would be more significant, but they cast a woman which was, and he’s on record in interviews saying I still think that was a mistake. We should have cast a man and I should have made more of a fuss about that and tried to make them do it because then you would have had like a non-hetero kiss on Star Trek the Next Generation which would have been amazing. But also, that episode kind of also is weird because now you watch it and you go that’s the future. And the only representation of people without traditional genders is an alien.
Ben: And so yeah it’s weird.
Carla: That’s funny I felt the same way about Enterprise about Trip. But I ended up loving him.
Ben: Trips like yeah he’s just there’s something less dickish about him somehow. I don’t know what it is.
Carla: He’s curious.
Carla: He’s open minded. Yeah.
Ben: Because he has that early episode where he gets together with the aliens. I mean he gets pregnant and he’s like and he’s not shy about the whole thing. And then he gets pregnant he’s understandably pissed off.
Ben: But you know that’s yeah I think that is a big difference.
Carla: Look the biggest thing that date’s Enterprise and it’s the thing that irritates me the most about that show is the blonde highlights that they put in Trips hair and Scott Bakula’s hair. That’s some serious “NSYNC” frosted tips there and they brush it into oblivion but it’s there.
Ben: Yeah fair.
Carla: I only have two more things go for it. Leland and Pike homo vibes?
Ben: Could be I mean they clearly were close and they’re still kind of chummy but I don’t – I mean you get the impression you know Pike hasn’t seen him for ages like last time he saw him he was wrestling crocodiles on some place which does sound like maybe that’s a euphemism for something (both laugh).
Carla: I was like “hmmm”.
Ben: Yeah I mean that would be a cool backstory I’d be into that.
Ben: I’d love it.
Ben: But clearly they’re not, they’re pissed off now although the way that they apologized to each other. I mean and I’m always in two minds about this like yeah I think having more queer storylines is great. I think also it’s so important to show good close friendships between straight folks, particularly between men, like this is something you see between women on TV a lot. It’s one of the reasons I always get a little bit annoyed with people. I understand why they want to ship Holmes and Watson for example in any version of Holmes and Watson. And sometimes I’ve done it as well, but I think also the value of the relationship they have as friends or any two male characters have as friends, where it’s not just that very bro-y thing like with Trip and Malcolm in Enterprise but where it’s a deeper more important friendship. I think it’s also really important in addressing issues of toxic masculinity. So, having said that I also just don’t think Leland is hot enough for Anson Mount, Pike’s too hot for him.
Carla: (laughs) Well maybe that’s what happened?
Ben: Pike just realized why am I with this idiot.
Carla: I’m too good for you.
Ben: You’re both hot-wise and morally.
Carla: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. All links to creatives are in the show notes or on our website www.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.
In this week’s episode “Saints of Imperfection” the Discovery crew launch a mission to rescue Tilly from the mycelial network and pursue Spock’s shuttle craft. This episode is heavy with entities existing where they shouldn’t – Phillipa Georgiou on Spock’s shuttle, Pike’s old friend Leland running Section 31, and in the season’s first (expected) whoa moment, the highly problematic return of Hugh. Team re:Discovery discuss the history of the theoretical tachyon particle, body diversity in the crew, the queer significance of Discovery and the technology of transporters. Like everything in this episode, it doesn’t work how you think it does!Show Notes…