Set your face to ugly cry – in this week’s episode “An Obol for Charon”, Discovery’s most elegant soul, Saru, faces a fatal illness – the vahar’ai; the ship is held in place by a sentient orb which causes havoc to its systems; and Tilly is consumed by the fungal entity “May”. Team re:Discovery discuss the central theme of polarisation between action and surrender, whether we exist if there is no one to remember us, the “soft butch showdown” between Stamets and Reno, if shirtless Saru met our expectations and much much more. So grab a hanky and press play!
This is a transcript of our third season two recap, available here
Philippa [From episode] : “Our command believes that misfits have merit. So, we keep busy.”
TyVoq [From episode]: “I’m surprised you call yourself a misfit, Emperor.
Philippa [From episode]: The freaks are more fun
re:Discovery theme plays.
Carla: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery. The Star Trek recap podcast that knows only in the future will man buns be sexy. I’m joined, as always, by my Science Officer Ben McKenzie. How are you Ben?
Ben: I am disappointed I don’t have a man bun.
Carla: (laughs) You’ve got time, we’ve got time.
Ben: And I need to grow my beard bigger, clearly.
Carla: This week’s episode – a rather blunt Swiss army knife of exposition and recap, “Point of Light” picks up many threads left over from Season One and progresses the Spock/Red Angel plot line but also we finally get an answer for Tilly’s ghost. In the episode opener we meet L’Rell and TyVoq on Qo’noS where tensions with the Klingon Houses over her Chancellorship have reached boiling point. Cut to the Discovery, Michael’s parent Amanda arrives on Sarek’s ship with disturbing news. She has tried to make contact with Spock and tried to find out about his condition, his location, but has been blocked at every step. Amanda steals his medical file and begs Michael to help her break into it. They both take the file to Captain Pike for permission leading Pike to contact the head of the psychiatric facility to find out what is going on. Spock has reportedly killed three of his doctors, escaped, and has been diagnosed with “extreme empathy deficiency”. Amanda, Michael and Pike do not believe this for a second and Pike gives permission to break into Spock’s file. During the transfer several images of the Red Angel appear in drawings Spock has made. Amanda is distraught, relaying to Michael that Spock saw this Red Angel or once as a child, the angel giving Spock the location where Michael was hiding after the learning centre bombings on Vulcan.
Carla: Michael shares with Amanda that she feared for her family’s safety after this and hurt Spock irreparably on purpose so that he would not continue to try to protect her. Meanwhile on Qo’noS we discover that L’Rell got pregnant Voq before he was merged with Tyler having the baby gestated ex-utero, as this was a massive liability. She has never met the baby and presumably has no interest, until TyVoq’s discovery, and they go to meet the baby together. They arrive to L’Rell’s uncle murdered and a very empty goth spacecraft – the baby has been kidnapped by House Kor and is being held for ransom for the kingdom “give up the Chancellorship and keep your family or you will die”. Just as it was finito time for L’Rell and TyVoq a hooded figure burst through the door and killed everyone.
Ben: Surprising no one who’s seen the credits, it’s evil Georgiou now working for Starfleet black ops department Section 31. The last thing they want is another war with an unstable Klingon Empire. And to that end Georgia has a plan for L’Rell. Back on Discovery, Tilly’s ghost May is so insistent that Pike is not the captain during a command training exercise on the bridge until she shouts at May to “shut up”, surprising the bridge crew and appearing unstable. She then retreats back to her room convinced she’ll be kicked out of the program. Michael, desperate for a distraction from her own problems, after Amanda has left to go help Spock, helps Tilly figure out May is probably related to the spores. And with Stamets and Saru’s help they find that, indeed, a spore from the mirror universe has infected her body. Stamets uses the dark matter asteroid to suck it out of her where it becomes a floating blob of matter, they contain in a force field but not before May identifies Stamets as the captain she was looking for. Back on Qo’noS L’Rell channels Evita and makes a passionate speech to the killing on people painting TyVoq as a traitor.
Ben: She tosses TyVoq and the babies heads into a pit vowing to never have another child but instead to rule the empire not as its Chancellor but as its Mother. On an advanced Starfleet stealth ship, we find Georgiou and AshVoq and baby whose heads were fake! The baby is sent to a Klingon monastery and Tyler, more or less press-ganged to join Georgiou in Section 31.
Ben: Like, look, again there was a lot going on in this episode.
Carla: I don’t think there’s ever not a lot going on but whether its good quality is a different story.
Ben: I’m getting a vibe that you didn’t like this one as much.
Carla: There was a lot to like but there was also a lot that I really did not like. Okay so how do we want to demarcate.?
Ben: Well let’s talk about the different threads of the plot.
Ben: We spend a lot of time on Qo’noS.
Carla: Yeah. Which just seems like such a miserable place.
Ben: Yeah. Well I mean it does seem quite it’s got more goth than I remember…
Carla: Yeah, I agree it’s…
Ben: they were more like space Vikings it’s Next Gen
Carla: Fire and ice and ash and…
Ben: But it makes sense. I mean it was never a pleasant place.
Carla: No of course not.
Ben: I mean you don’t evolve like backup organs if you live on a verdant field world. You know.
Carla: Yeah.Or, the ability to have ex-utero babies.
Carla: All right. So, we’ll talk about L’Rell and Voq.
Ben: It’s nice to see them back.
Carla: It is nice to see them back. Can we just get out of the way that I was right about Klingon hair?
Ben: Well it’s not I don’t dismiss it so quickly. Glory in it a little bit longer.
Carla: But I’ve seen them lot on internet that they’re just like “oh they’re just covering up their mistakes because everybody railed against how bad the Klingon looked” but I don’t know. I feel like it could have been purposeful.
Ben: Look they still look largely the same.
Carla: Yeah, I mean slightly different, but you know.
Ben: Yeah, the difference is not that big.
Carla: There’s some pretty sick Mr. T mohawks in there.
Ben: Oh yeah. They’re all just, I mean I like that because they were – every time you see a species on Star Trek, and they all look pretty much the same except for the actor’s face under the makeup…
Ben: You just think “humans aren’t like that.”
Ben: Right. So, I like it…
Carla: Two arms two legs…
Ben: They have different coloured hair, they have different styles of hair. They have different skin colours. Weird bumps on their heads. Yeah and I’m cool with it. Like reinterpret it. However, you want. I think.
Carla: But don’t you feel like though kind of gross caricatures of everything the worst that Klingons can be? or is this just like the unstable post-war Klingon environment? or is it a Klingon environment under a female leader?
Ben: I think it was. It would have been too easy to say it’s all neatly wrapped up now that L’Rell’s in charge. I mean she does take control of the Empire.
Carla: It’s a hostile takeover. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. She holds all the other Houses to ransom – “Let me be leader and unite under me or I’ll blow up the whole planet”.
Ben: That was never going to be a happy stable ending.
Carla: I feel like it would have given them all a boner like they would have loved that.
Ben: Oh well they did. That’s why they agreed to it. But that doesn’t mean you know there aren’t Houses who are like we should still be in charge. And there’s always that jockeying for position.
Carla: Of course.
Ben: Who’s going to be head. You know.
Carla: Can I just, like the gender politics of this was messed up.
Carla: Yeah. So, we’re talking about this is like two 200 years in the future?
Carla: Right. And so, we’re still having women in power having issues about you know having their children cared for while they’re working. Yeah well so many clumsy, it just felt like a 75-year-old man was ordered to write in some feminist content into the structure that he had made.
Carla: You know.
Ben: Yeah. No look I get that. I think. I mean there’s definitely reason why they’ve done it with the Klingons rather than anyone else because the Klingons are never depicted as being particularly gender progressive. So even in the Next Gen era all the important Klingon characters are dudes.
Ben: And if they’re not then they I mean they pay the sort of lip service that I mean B’Elanna talks about on Voyager having all the same kind of issues that say Worf does. But I mean she’s also got that extra dimension of only being half Klingon. But then all of the Klingon women that you see, well there’s not that many of them to start with and they’re well they, and yeah they were operating in the shadows or they’re behind their Houses. They’re not leaders of Houses.
Carla: Well and that’s the other thing – like you I think I’ve only seen one barely other female Klingon in the background in all of these scenes.
Ben: Well there’s. Yeah, I mean there’s the Next Gen there’s the sisters who get blown up in Star generations, they’re pretty great. But at the same time, like, they’re you know…
Ben: So yeah look I agree with you that the politics of this are not great. But I also think like if they’re making a consistent with Klingons then they needed to work harder to make it better.
Carla: It just felt shoehorned in. It could have not been there, and everything would have been fine.
Ben: Yeah that’s true.
Carla: You know, like no comment. So, there was that though, that I found. These are ultimately the things I found disappointing something that I didn’t find very interesting, that has not been explored enough, but it is in the realms of religion/science/sci-fi stuff is you know the consent issues with Voq/Tyler.
Carla: And how he’s talking about you know how you know basically he feels violated or raped by L’Rell. They’re sort of negotiating and that feels to me in that spectrum of genetic manipulation, people not really understanding the consequences of that, so I find and also like Stockholm syndrome. So, I find that quite deep. But it wasn’t very explored.
Ben: Yeah, I quite enjoyed how he basically gives like a five second recap of what happened to him which I think is good because it is one of the least clear parts of the plot of season one.
Ben: Where he says, you know, “I am a Klingon, but I’ve been surgically altered to appear human and then I had this human psyche grafted onto mine. And then you’ve had to destroy my personality. So, I’ve got access to…” and he still he mentioned he’s got access to all of his memories. But he doesn’t have the personality anymore the personality is gone. And I think really, he should be a new person. Like I think they’ve missed an opportunity of integrating him as a new character by changing his personality more significantly whereas really, they’re presenting him as no it’s Ash Tyler. It’s just that now he’s Ash Tyler who knows he used to be a Klingon.
Carla: But well we don’t really know that because we don’t really know him before…
Ben: I guess that’s true.
Carla: …what happened to him. Yes, so this is whatever the result is.
Ben: Yeah. Because he’s not I mean he was never Ash Tyler. He’s a Ash Tyler.
Carla: As we know him.
Ben: He was killed in his, but his brain was scanned and then was put into his head somehow. They never had never really addressed that. I mean wouldn’t it be great if he turned up and he wasn’t dead. No, it would be awful.
Carla: He wouldn’t have, I don’t, I don’t even know what it’s going to happen there. Of if that was a possibility.
Ben: I got to say he’s got some style going on.
Carla: Oh my God.
Ben: That’s a big beard he’s got a cape.
Ben: He’s got leather outfit.
Carla: It’s out of control.
Ben: He looks like he’s playing a goth bard in a game of dungeon and dragons. (Carla laughs) I was really into I thought was cool.
Carla: Yeah. He looks great but I just can’t. I can’t help but feel so sad for this character. And now he’s going, he’s in Section 31 because he just doesn’t fit in anywhere.
Ben: He’s got nowhere else to go.
Carla: And presumably, so now he’s like transferring the Stockholm Syndrome to there.
Carla: And now he’s just going to be like part of this amoral organization presumably being made to kill people or go on like dark missions or who knows what they’re going to use him for. They just see him as an asset.
Ben: Yeah, I guess he’s they’re Klingon specialists.
Carla: Yeah maybe. Maybe he’s just going to be a desk bound.
Ben: I mean he kick some ass in this episode of me.
Ben: He and L’Rell get beaten but they’re heavily outnumbered and they take down a lot of those Klingon’s, so he’s clearly got all Voq’s fighting skills still.
Carla: And body and strength. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah, he’s got the strength of a Klingon they’re stronger than humans so he’s yeah, he’s a pretty valuable asset to somewhere like Section 31 although again he also he’s pretty recognizable like surely everybody in the Federation knows his deal?
Carla: They’ll probably just manipulate him to be a sleeper agent again but for them back into the Federation.
Ben: Oh, that’d be, that would be rough.
Carla: Who knows.
Ben: Who knows what we’ll find out. We’ll find out.
Carla: So “Mother”, if I’m generous with that I would say that that is a deliberate shitting on a homo social society and making them be ruled by a feminised titled person.
Carla: Is that how you would take that?
Ben: I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it at the end there. Because it always seemed weird that they called – it’s an empire. Why isn’t their leader called the Emperor or the Empress? Why is it the Chancellor. I don’t know. Oh wait no. That’s a whole. That’s a Kahless thing isn’t it? Because he’s there, look I think there is actually a law reason for that. Now that I’ve said that out loud but yeah it was a bit full on. And also, quite in its way quite condescending but I think that was the intent. It’s like the squabbling children.
Ben: So, I’m going to be a mother and tell you to cut it out.
Ben: I don’t know. We’ll see how that resolves, I guess.
Carla: So that’s them. Oh, but also the baby does a Luke Skywalker. Adopt him out.
Ben: Nothing’s going to happen with him surely because like he can’t unless we jump forward 18 years, he’s going to be old enough to do anything.
Carla: No but maybe that is a great tangent into my theory of what’s going on.
Ben: Oh okay. Well actually having said that there is also precedent for this because Worf’s son comes back in time from the future to teach himself how to be a proper Klingon, avert like a disaster or something (both laugh).
Ben: Like so if Alexander can do that then…
Carla: Well there’s also chatter on the Internet that I haven’t gotten that far into Deep Space Nine I’m only on Season 3. But later on, there is an albino Klingon and they think that this person could be him.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Ben: Or his descendants.
Carla: He’s descendent, him or his descendants.
Carla: Because it’s so far into the future.
Ben: Ah well no. Yeah. He could totally be him because when there are other Klingons that live from this era and are still around in the Deep Space Nine era.
Ben: So yeah. Like Kang.
Carla: (laughs) Such a good space name.
Ben: Yeah. Even though in the in the old school series he looks like a human with a goatee and eyebrows. But you know the modern Klingons. They look great.
Carla: I agree.
Ben: I think they look good. I’m glad the hair’s back.
Carla: I am too.
Ben: And I really liked how the face paint became such a clever plot point.
Carla: Really? I thought I was so stupid.
Ben: Yeah no you didn’t like that?
Carla: No! Okay tell me what. you just thought it was cool tech?
Ben: I thought it was cool and I thought it was nice because I didn’t see that coming. .
Carla: Yeah. No that’s true.
Ben: How did they know he was here?! and then he’s like “I put micro probes in the face paint that you wiped off my face” and I’m like oh that’s cool!! Like this guy you know I just feel like I really love a good competent villain. And I thought that was nice. That’s a clever plan.
Carla: That’s true.
Ben: Competent villain moment. So, I enjoyed that.
Carla: And he’s just ready for anyone to try to wipe off his you know his face paint.
Ben: I think he specifically did it because he knew it would insult the Emperor and that she would get him or her one of her lackeys to do it because he did. He does say like “I was only intended to sort of listen in on your plans. I didn’t think I’d find out about your secret baby.”
Carla: Yeah. Oh my God.
Ben: But yeah, I do. And I said this during the intro but I kind of wish that they hadn’t put Michelle Yeoh in the credits so prominently.
Carla: I didn’t even know. So, this is like this is the thing this is the first episode where I’ve really was really quite disappointed in this episode. I didn’t like most of it, but I think it’s the first time where it’s like if I hadn’t of known so much, I would have had that amazing shock moment but then yeah as one of our listeners said in the comments that it was in the credits. I always skip credits.
Ben: Okay it was probably wise I mean this is the you don’t often get spoiled by a special guest star announcement like because usually that I’ve put it in there. If the special guest star is supposed to be a surprise but I guess if it’s Michelle Yeoh she’s going to have high billing.
Carla: So then if you saw that name and then there’s a character that’s killing everyone of course you’re just going to immediately get her but then you’re not necessarily going to understand that she’s a part of Section 31.
Ben: No, I mean.
Carla: That would have been a good reveal.
Ben: Kind of guessed. But just because we know that from the, it it’s one of those things where it’s not a surprise because of the knowledge you have in the sort of hype around the show and the announcement of the other show that she’s going to be in. But at the same time, I still like super into it. Like she showed up like the freaking predator.
Carla: I know.
Ben: Blowing people with like a shoulder mounted plasma canon.
Carla: I know. What was that tech that was covering her face making her look like a different alien?
Ben: Yeah. And the big cool like hood thing that she’s wearing.
Ben: It was awesome.
Carla: Yeah. It’s pretty thrilling.
Ben: Yeah, it’s great.
Carla: Can I tell you my theory of what I think this all means? Like all of it.
Ben: The Klingon stuff or are we going onto the Red Angel.
Carla: Red Angel potentially also. You know implications for everything.
Carla: Is that in Star Trek usually things like this is one of two things. It is a temporal timeline. So, we’re having interference from the future by Star Fleet inserting themselves into situations or getting things to happen.
Carla: To preserve a timeline or rectify a timeline or we’ve had a Q and a Q which is a being mostly from Next Gen they’re basically like supernatural beings.
Ben: Gods. Yeah.
Carla: Yeah, they’re gods who make a lot of mischief, but they couldn’t, they don’t care about humans at all. So that’s why I’ve been always kind of like it’s not a Q, why would they care? But if they’re invested in it then they would care. So, they’re the two things that I have as possible explanations as to what is going on because this whole thing with Spock saving Michael that’s a real manipulation of a pawn in a chess game kind of thing you know?
Carla: So that got my antenna up. What do you think?
Ben: Makes sense. I mean the Red Angels don’t need to be time travellers because we’ve already established that they’ve been around for like 200 years. Like they saved people from World War 3.
Ben: But that yeah there’s no sign as to why they would do that.
Ben: What they want. I mean I get the feeling my feeling was that so far up until now they’ve just been sort of getting the Discovery crew to clean up after their messes like because you’ve got the crashed spaceship on the asteroid which is their asteroid that’s gonna crash into a thing. So, it’s kind of their fault. At least you could read it that way. And then there’s like “oh yeah and also there’s these humans that we saved from World War 3 we put them on this planet. They’re just been living there happily. But there’s about to be this radiation can you sort that out for us?” And so, I was like “oh maybe that’s their deal. Like they’re just fixing things that they’ve screwed up through their meddling.” But now I’m yeah, I’m thinking maybe I like your idea. I don’t know whether they’re time travellers or what.
Ben: I mean I hope it’s something more complicated than that because there’s so many instances and as they flagged in last episode there’s so many instances of creatures that have such immense power that they may as well be gods in the Star Trek universe like it’s ridiculous how many there are.
Ben: And I hope that there’s something else going on with the Red Angels like they clearly have that level of power. But are they entities themselves? Are they working with someone? I mean what if it turns out like there’s only one Red Angel and it’s it is Spock and like he’s going through his own timeline. I don’t know. It’s weird. So yeah, I think your theories are good because my theory I think is kind of rubbish doesn’t make any sense in the light of why would they save Michael?
Carla: It’s motivation. That’s the key.
Ben: Yeah why are they doing these things?
Carla: Yeah. Yeah.
Carla: Because we’ve had several examples like many of beings that have this kind of power but it’s like why would they care?
Ben: And they don’t usually show up and be helpful.
Ben: They’re usually very selfish and it’s always an allegory for “with great power comes great responsibility and also ultimate power corrupts ultimately” or whatever the phrase is you know. So, it’s the Squire of Gothos and Q and all these other entities or humans who are given this kind of power. They always go a bit off the rails and then have to be reined in. Or they are making a very definite point of saying I don’t want this power I would misuse it. And so, these angels are something else. Hopefully.
Carla: We haven’t really talked about apparent killer Spock.
Ben: This is all I’m worried about this.
Carla: I’m really worried. I feel like he is being held somewhere by somebody and this was all lying and they’re like milking it for information or powers or something.
Ben: Yeah somebody knows what’s going on. Somebody knows more than they’re letting on. I mean because I did like that Amanda and Michael and Pike were all like “No way did he kill a bunch people and run off like there’s no way” like there’s no way that would work.
Carla: Or without because you know.
Ben: Unless he was like they were attacking him. I, it’s disappointing to see Starfleet in the future like going “yes he has mental illness he’s psychotic he’s kills people” you’re like that’s not how mental illness is.
Carla: Right and that it’s the mother blaming herself as well for not giving him enough love like it’s so gross…
Ben: Yeah. I mean is that they always.
Carla: it’s contextualized in Vulcanism, but you know it’s like still at the same time.
Ben: Yeah. And he I mean Spock there’s moments in the Original Series where Spock kind of struggles with that dichotomy within himself and he largely really embraces the Vulcan identity and the Vulcan way of life. He holds to it. He could reject it and he’s certainly done other things that have pissed off his parents you know like not going to the Vulcan science academy. But I just yeah. I don’t know this this extra backstory for him. You don’t really find out much about what his childhood was like in any of the other shows. Oh, there’s an episode of The Animated Series apparently where you meet young Spock. But I don’t know if you would really consider that to be part of the story. So yeah, I don’t know. I just don’t know how I feel about it and feel sad about it.
Carla: And there was that comment from Michael to say that he was my shadow. So, this has all been painted as like he was challenged by this new child coming into the environment but then later.
Carla: Overprotective. Is that enough Spock? We don’t know enough.
Ben: Yeah. We don’t know what’s going on. It’s his. He’s a very he’s a shadow in this. Yes. As we don’t see him, we don’t know what’s going on with him and every time we find out something new things are worse.
Carla: I have the feeling that Tyler is going to be able to help Michael the most with this with finding out where he is.
Ben: Well I mean the obvious sort of thing is if somebody has got him and he’s been abducted from a Federation it’s Section 31.
Carla: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m thinking.
Ben: And so maybe next episode that’s what we discover I don’t know.
Carla: And then we’ve got Tilly’s ghost, fungal space fungal poisoning.
Carla: I loved this.
Ben: That was great. This is my favourite part of the episode. I mean I think I liked this episode overall more than you, but I agree with you. This is the best story line of the whole episode. I just because I remember last time, I was talking about how I liked that everybody was trusting each other and revealing their problems. And then this episode begins with Tilly like not telling anyone about this woman who’s dead that she can see who’s talking to her and I’m like “why haven’t you told anybody?” And I think she, they do justify it pretty well it’s just like “No I’m in the command training program I can’t go to medical and tell them I’m seeing things like they’ll not like you”…
Carla: But that’s not another feather in the cap of mental illness in the future.
Ben: No. And also, you’re on a Star Trek show. You know that weird shit like this is real. You should be trying to figure it out with your brain then your friends. And eventually she does of course come clean to them and they’re like of course. Yeah. Come on let’s go. But not before she shouts at Captain Pike. Oh, I felt for her in that moment.
Carla: I know. And he was just glorious, as usual, stealing everything that he is in.
Ben: Yeah oh when he suggests “oh why don’t we just marry some people who aren’t that crazy about each other” Oh no you don’t mean that. It’s so delightful.
Carla: But you’ve touched on what I wanted to talk about with this because very much like in Voyager by Voyager time this entity I mean this entity is persistent. It’s talking quote unquote talking to Tilly but they’re perceiving that as her commandeering her neural network to create hallucinations. But this entity was very insistent in the end in trying to tell her something and then they just kill it, they capture it, by Voyager time that would have been considered a first contact opportunity and they would not have they would have explored it as long as it’s not going to hurt the human they would have explored that as much as possible but now they’ve just captured this thing and…
Ben: Yeah, it’s interesting because Tilly is so angry with May. She’s really like “you’re messing up my opportunity” and it seems for superficial reasons. But also, there’s that element of “you lied to me” and she’s freaked out because “you are using the memory of a friend.
Ben: You have not seen in a long time and who has been dead and I didn’t even know and that is that is a shock” and I can understand her anger and resentment because it’s like “you could have told me who you were you could have said hi I’m not a real person you could have and you could have appeared presumably as anything you wanted. So why you here are this person whose dead who’s from my past and lying to me and presenting himself as a real person” and then you know.
Carla: Because they have an important message about the network, they’ve got to tell Tilly and they killed it.
Ben: But they don’t but she doesn’t tell you. I mean there’s the other thing is that May is not very good at conveying this message last, she’s been talking to Tilly this whole time and oh she’s just like “we have to talk to the captain”. It’s like why don’t you just tell Tilly what the message is the captain can’t see? Yeah. Again, her frustration is so I think justified by the way that May doesn’t communicate what it is that she wants when she is quite you know, eloquent. And so why doesn’t she just come out and say it? Instead she’s like I only talked to the captain. He’s short like she can. She can say all these things but can’t actually.
Carla: Because is it a message from Hugh?
Ben: Oooo it could be. I mean it’s the fact that it’s a sport from the Mirror Universe is quite worrying because maybe the Mirror Universe bores are evil in some way.
Carla: (laughs) That too. But I was just like festival as a human. I’d be like “Oh my God I have a parasite in me. Get the fuck out of me”. But then at the same time like she’s mega science and she’d be like “can’t we study it? What is it doing to me?” I just found this all very rushed.
Carla: And it’s gonna bite them in the ass. That’s my prediction.
Ben: Well I mean they haven’t killed it or expelled it from my body, and it seems a bit angry but hopefully now maybe now they can talk to it.
Ben: I don’t know. I hope so. I hope they try.
Ben: I am glad that we now know there’s definitely no weird incestual stuff going.
Carla: Yes, well not really.
Ben: Oh, you think maybe that’s the thing that she did…
Carla: I think it’s…
Ben: to push him away.
Carla: Yeah maybe.
Ben: Like pretend that she was interested or something.
Carla: Or tried to have some kind of physical intimacy with him but I think there’s a lot in that contextualisation that Amanda does about intimacy and talking about how she was never physically affectionate. I don’t know that feels contextualised, so I feel like yes potentially that’s off the table, but I’ve still got a question mark.
Carla: All right. Shall we 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 or the Star Trek universe. We will also be taking questions during this segment from you the listener. So please follow our socials to be in touch. What do you want to talk about Ben?
Ben: Well we actually do have a couple of questions from listeners.
Carla: Oh, we do! Hello!
Ben: Which is fantastic so I think we should talk about those from Darren Lutchner via email. Thank you, Darren, for sending it in “You mentioned on recap of the first episode that you like the mix of aliens on board and females on board Discovery. I totally agree. However, the humans all seem to be American. I would like to have seen a mix of Earth cultures surely all Trek series set in the original universe should have a grumpy Scotsman”
Carla: Everything should have a grumpy Scotsman.
Ben: They just make everything, better don’t they? I mean Harry Potter is immensely improved by having McGonigal on hand but yeah. This was something that I kind of had in the back of my head because all the human crew of Discovery. That all Americans and this is pretty rare on Star Trek.
Ben: I mean in the Original Series they made a big deal out of showing that Earth was a united culture by having all of the human crew be from all these different countries and have different accents. Then on you know like Next Gen Picard is French but he sounds English.
Ben: And that’s pretty much it actually produced the entire rest of the human crew. They’re all from America show or at least have American accents. And on Voyager they’re mostly American actually. But then you have Chakotay who is Native American and B’Elanna Torres who it’s never really, didn’t really go into it.
Carla: She’s kind of like Latino but American.
Ben: So, it’s not since the Original Series it’s they’ve not gone out of their way to include lots of non-American actors.
Carla: We had Miles on…
Ben: Oh true.
Carla: We had Miles on TNG and then also when he went to Discovery
Ben: and Julian Bashir Yeah.
Carla: And Julian Bashir on Deep Space Nine.
Ben: He’s English but we’d like an Indian or Sri Lankan heritage. They never go into exact detail about what his ethnic background is but and they’re from England it seems. But then they moved around on earth quite a bit.
Carla: Well who knows what that means in the future you know. We do have Georgiou who has grown up in Malaysia.
Ben: OK that’s true.
Carla: But she’s not on the crew so to speak.
Ben: She’s dead.
Carla: Yeah. (bursts out laughing).
Ben: (laughs) So So they killed her.
Carla: Yeah. So, we don’t know where the Terran in Georgiou grew up.
Ben: Yeah. So, I would love it if you don’t introduce any new human characters that if they weren’t from America.
Carla: Yeah. And the irony is that so many of the actors are British.
Ben: So, there’s Sarek. Jason Isaacs is British. He’s a Northerner. He’s got a very thick accent. Yeah Shazad Latif. Yeah.
Ben: And so, I think that was a great point. Thank you for that Darren and I agree we love to see some non-American characters on Discovery.
Carla: And shout out to Keith Gow as well, Oh hello. We love our chats with you. Do we have any other questions?
Ben: We did have one more Dan “Destructor” on Twitter. Thank you Dan who did send a couple of questions last time that we kind of covered in the discussion, so we didn’t end up explicitly addressing that asked, “Was it me or was that blood un-Disco pink?”
Ben: And I am interested in this because I was keeping an eye on that scene and I was trying to once there was blood flying around. I kind of assumed that you know it was gonna be pink because that’s what colour Klingon blood is.
Ben: I think it kind of was.
Carla: Yeah. Because did you notice it splatter on the camera?
Ben: I did not until you pointed it out.
Carla: Now you won’t be able to unsee it.
Ben: Now I can’t unsee it.
Carla: I’ve passed the gift to you. (laughs)
Ben: Oh, this it’s the worst! (laughs).
Carla: Yes. So, it has been colour match. So, it’s not weird I don’t think.
Ben: Yeah. So, I. And that’s a nice little bit of continuity but also it’s, and this is not a Discovery problem this is this is my disappointment with all of Star Trek, it’s because the aliens are always like a human but with weird face they do anything they can do to differentiate them I’m keen for you know and I know that there’s an in universe explanation for that but I still am vastly disappointed that we almost never meet intelligent species that don’t seem to be just more humanoids right. And I understand that’s budget reasons. But. Yeah. So, anything that differentiates them further I am a big fan of.
Carla: All right I’ve got a couple of things. Do we all clock Pike calling Owosekun “Owo”?
Ben: oh, I did not clock that.
Carla: So, Hashtag Owo. What about Sybock?
Ben: Oh yeah. I wondered if we bring him up. Yeah.
Carla: So Sybok for those who don’t know is also the other brother in this situation Sybok rejected logic later in life and was excommunicated essentially from Vulcan the Vulcans and the family.
Ben: And he’s Spock’s half-brother.
Carla: That’s right.
Ben: Whose mother is another Vulcan.
Carla: Yeah. Before Amanda right because she died. Yeah. Yeah. So, she. So Sybok is Spock’s older brother. So, what are we thinking? He’s already rejected logic at this point and there’s only quote unquote the four of them as Amanda said.
Ben: Yeah well, he’s old and it’s never clear how old he is. It’s further compounded by the fact that from memory the actor who played him in Star Trek five is actually younger than Leonard Nimoy (both laugh) which makes it very difficult to figure out how old is supposed to be but also maybe he just seems younger because he’s not always frowning seriously like all other Vulcans. So yeah.
Carla: That’s okay cause Rose was two years younger than Bea Arthur in the Golden Girls. So, you know, not Rose um what’s the name of the mother? Yeah, the mother.
Ben: Oh, are you serious?
Carla: Estelle Getty. Yeah. She’s two years younger than Bea Arthur. Yeah. They had put her in like old makeup.
Ben: Wow. Okay yeah. All right. But look. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know. Is he going to turn up? It seems difficult to have a discussion about weird secret siblings of Spock.
Ben: Like not even at least vaguely mention it. Although having said that if there’s anyone who could keep a secret and never bring it up it’s gonna be Sarek. (laughs) Because he’s clearly done that for multiple things.
Carla: Sarek is a douche I’m sorry and how is he a diplomat? Maybe it’s like chefs don’t cook at home you know what I mean. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Wow. Yeah. He doesn’t really intervene very well. I mean those scenes in the last episode of him talking to Spock and telling him what to do would not yeah. Not very diplomatic.
Ben: He’s much more of a douche in the Original Series. Okay. Like when. When Spock finally sees him for the first time in 18 years. He’s just did what a dingus.
Ben: Like seriously he just it’s he’s given Spock the silent treatment quite literally and it just goes to great lengths to avoid speaking to him or even about him. And you like that’s not very logical sir.
Carla: I know it’s a drama.
Ben: Yeah. And then Amanda’s like “Oh why did I marry a Vulcan?!”. They have this cute little like they hold their fingers instead of holding hands. (Carla laughs) well it’s very weird.
Carla: I have to admit like seeing Amanda in this episode and everything that she’s going through I’m like “Why. What’s in it for you Amanda?”
Ben: Yeah. I mean look I like Sarek in this for the most part but it’s the back-story parts of him where I’m like “Why did you do that?”
Ben: Yeah. So that’s a fair point.
Carla: I don’t think I have anything else except this. Andrew Colville who wrote this episode was in the writer’s room for Mad Men. I know definitely season three but I’m not sure how many seasons, he’s a well-respected writer but he was just I don’t know where that was the direction that the show needed to go in. But this this episode really didn’t land for me like I think it did I called it a Swiss Army knife, so I think it did a good job in terms of you know bringing everything together. But these first three episodes are so different from each other that I’m really hoping that now everyone’s caught up. We’ve got a path that we’re going down and from like Episode 4 onwards we’re going to be moving forwards not all over the place with a story. What are you, how do you feel?
Ben: Well I mean I feel the first two had a pretty consistent tone for me like it was there was more adventure there was more fun. This one’s a bit back to the season one style of awful things happening all the time and less being less about mystery and more about conflict and very direct conflict. And at the same time all of the conflict in the episode comes from existing sources like the Discovery doesn’t go on a mission in this episode. So yeah, I don’t know I feel in two minds about it. I certainly liked it more than you and I had a good time watching it. It does feel a bit like the whole Klingon subplot. I kind of feel like it felt shoehorned into one episode.
Carla: Yeah like look it always was telenovela and I think that that kept it real to what it was in the first season. So, I don’t sort of begrudge that.
Ben: That’s what Klingons are like.
Carla: Yeah. Klingon Oprah.
Ben: Yeah. They love it. Now I wanted to briefly mention that we’ve both been watching some old school stuff. Yeah. And I I’ve really been enjoying revisiting a few episodes of the Original Series I’ve just watched all of season one of Enterprise with the sort of new perspective that Discovery has given me. And one of the things that made me realise just like this is the first time that I know of that someone has done a spin-off series that’s not just a prequel or a sequel it’s set in between other existing stories.
Carla: Yeah that’s a good point.
Ben: So, it comes after Enterprise you’ve got like a lot of stuff established in the Enterprise about what kind of technology level the early Federation had and all that kind of stuff. But then it comes just before the Original Series so it’s like set roughly the same time period. And a lot of the same politics but sort of the things that lead up to that point. And so, it was actually someone on Twitter was talking about how the way that Klingons behave in the films makes a lot more sense. And even in the Original Series when you now have this context of what the Klingon Federation war was like they nearly but they nearly got as far as earth like they gonna wipe it out and it was only kind of averted by this you know weird extreme dimension hopping spaceship crew that was then had to be silenced and not allowed to talk about it. So, there’s this really. And also, the stakes of what that war about for the Klingons now being established kind of feeds into what they like as a culture and how they view the Federation in both the Original Series and kind of you know ongoing from that. So yeah, I’m really enjoying re watching some of that stuff for the new context.
Carla: You actually reminded me of something that I wanted to bring up which is you know like right in the beginning T’Kuvma is like “yeah. Here comes their lie. We come in and peace”. And now that we’ve seen we’re starting to see that they’re essentially amoral behaviour of Section 31 if this is what other beings that are not in line with the Federation are experiencing then we can now understand the mistrust, aggression, that the Federation ships experience in the future. And it’s not just xenophobia or trying to gain control of power. Well they’ve got their little operatives in the background controlling or murdering or you know.
Ben: That’s their America. And I mean this is the thing that in so many of these sci-fi shows earth becomes like a stand in for the United States rather than you know like a bunch of different nations that amalgamate and create a new culture.
Ben: Shorthand for that like Babylon 5 was very much like that as well. And sometimes that’s what the Federation is painted as. And I think that also is why I get to make another Insurrection reference (Carla laughs) because one of the things I love so much.
Carla: Three for three.
Ben: I know one of things I love so much about that film is it is Picard reinforcing the real values of the Federation in the face of the Federation doing something horribly unjust and ethically corrupt.
Ben: And saying you know he’s got a skill he’s got this great speech about where they’re going to relocate these people because they need to use the energy on their planet and he’s like it’s only like 800 people. And Picard’s like “How many does I have to be before it’s not okay. Six million?” and you’re like WHOA this is the business. And so, he’s like yep. Disobeying orders we’re going to shoot at Federation officers like this is bullshit. Not standing for it.
Ben: And it’s that that. And the fact that that you know corruption can still exist into the future.
Ben: I like that while the whole people who often bang on about how the flaw in Roddenberry’s vision is that it was supposed to be so lovey dovey and perfect but it’s always those moments where people have to hold onto those values in the face of even the institution that they’re serving failing that I think reinforce it and make it so great.
Carla: Yeah totally. And it’s also a parable for us to understand that complacency creeps in wherever and whenever no matter how far you have evolved there will always be these attitudes and insurgencies coming trying to you know it’s just natural. People want what they don’t have.
Carla: And it will you know you have to stay true to your ethics and your morals and I think that’s always the thread that runs through Star Trek.
Ben: Yeah there’s one other thing I want to mention before we go which is about Anson Mount.
Carla: Oh yeah?
Ben: And I’m sure you won’t mind us talk.
Carla: No, we can talk about him all you like.
Ben: Because I was looking at him in this episode was going “He looks really familiar. I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere else” and so I looked him up on the IDB and I realized where I’d seen him. And it’s weird because I haven’t even actually watched the show that I’m about to talk about, but I was really interested in it. He was in the Inhumans.
Ben: One of the Marvel TV shows based on a fairly obscure by Marvel standards group of kind of like mutants called the Inhumans, but he played the leader of this group who’s called Black Bolt.
Carla: Mm hmm.
Ben: And he wears a cool outfit and he’s like…
Carla: Of course.
Ben: The leader of then humans.
Ben: They used to live in a secret underground lair and then they moved to the moon. It’s a whole Marvel comic book nonsense. But his superpower is that his words when he speaks his voice can just destroy things. And if he even so much as whispers like things get cracked in half and if he shouts, he can destroy a whole planet. So, he never speaks, and he speaks in sign language. And I was reading about this. He invented his own sign language.
Carla: Oh wow.
Ben: Cause he’s like they’re the Inhumans they live on the freakin’ moon. He doesn’t know American Sign think we know. So, he worked with like some sign language folks to kind of create his own signs that you could kind of follow but were not ASL. And I’m like “What a dude!”.
Carla: That’s really cool.
Ben: And then the show apparently was awful and got cancelled really early. But yeah, he’s the silent protagonist of this show. And he looked great in the outfit.
Carla: That’s awesome. Do you know. Can I tell you something? Because I study psychology.
Carla: Can I say you’re really interesting about linguistics. So, in cultures, deaf cultures that had developed without language. So, there was no proper, there was no language to be learned. Communities of deaf people created their own sign language, ways of communicating and they all had natural syntax.
Ben: Oh wow.
Carla: Syntax is inherent to humans.
Ben: Yeah. You know I was this Steven Pinker wrote about this.
Carla: I don’t know who Steven Pinker is.
Ben: I think I got the name right. He wrote a book called The Language Instinct and it’s all about how humans are hardwired to learn a language. He didn’t go into. I don’t remember if he talks about the syntax but yeah, he mentioned that as like one of the bits of evidence is like you don’t have a language you make one up because your brain is ready for it.
Carla: That’s right.
Ben: Yeah that’s cool.
Carla: That’s my car.. that’s “Carla’s Science Corner”.
Ben: Oh, I’m going to read more about that. It’s amazing.
Carla: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. All links to creatives are in the show notes or on our website www.rediscoverpodcast.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 www.splendidchaps.com
“Point of Light” picks up many threads from season one, as well as progressing the Tilly’s ghost, Red Angel and Spock plotlines. We reconnect with L’Rell and TyVoq’s man bun on Qo’noS, where holding onto the seat of power is proving difficult; Amanda seeks Michael and Pike’s help in decrypting Spock’s stolen medical files; and a new assassin is in town – Section 31 is real, and is recruiting! Team re:Discovery discuss overarching theories, question Sarek’s parenting, ask where (and who) is Sybok, and much much more.Show Notes…
This is a transcript of our our second season two recap, available here
Saru [from episode]: “Questions or concerns before we depart Captain?
Captain Pike [from episode]: “If you’re telling me that this ship can skip across the universe on a highway made of mushrooms I kind of have to go on faith”.
re:Discovery theme plays.
Ben: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery, the Star Trek recap podcast that knows the real “Red Angel” is Ensign Sylvia Tilly. I’m one of your hosts Ben McKenzie and this episode I’m discussing the second episode of season two, “New Eden”, with our own cadet who’s fast tracked on the command training program: Carla Donnelly! Hi Carla.
Carla: Hello. I was actually the second youngest person ever to enter the cadet training program. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Okay. Right…just behind Tilly.
Carla: Yeah. Just behind Tilly.
Ben: We can’t be better than her. No one’s better than her. Let’s get straight into it. This week’s episode “New Eden” visits some classic Star Trek themes and tropes – humans from the past displaced in time and space. The ethics of interfering in other cultures, even when those cultures have grown from ours, and the tensions of belief between science and religion. It also advances several plot threads and deepens the mysteries introduced at the season’s beginning while also providing many moments for both the core and supporting cast to shine. “New Eden” keeps up the mood of fun and adventure introduced in Brother while also introducing strong themes of trust and faith. If season one was about recognising trauma, season two is shaping up to be about healing from it.
Ben: We pick up where we left off in “Brother” with Burnham playing Spock’s log for Pike and showing him the drawings that proved Spock saw the red bursts two months before they happened. Pike reveals that Spock isn’t just on leave but submitted himself to psychiatric care requesting no contact with his family. Pike tries to convince Burnham that she could reach out to him and she almost tells him about the Red Angel. Then the Discovery receives a priority message: a new Red Burst has appeared! Tilly and Burnham tracked the burst to the Beta quadrant, 50,000 light years away. Deciding that the mission is important enough to use the spore drive, Stamets straps in and the Discovery hops to the planet of Terralysium – but again, there’s no sign of the Red Burst…
Ben: Instead they find a human distress call that’s been looping for 200 years and several communities of humans who appear to be from mid-21st century Earth. Since they’re from pre-warp Earth, General Order One – also known as the Prime Directive – applies, and Pike takes Burnham and Owosekun down in disguise to investigate without interfering. On the planet’s surface, the away team discover a peaceful low-tech culture based around an old church, the source of the distress call, combining many of Earth’s major religions into a single faith. One man, Jacob, is descended from scientists and seems to suspect the visitors are not from the “Northern Territory”, as they claim, but they stick to their story and head off to investigate the church and find the source of the signal.
Carla: Inside the church the away team find the source of the distress call in the basement. It has been jerry-rigged, suggesting that at least one person in New Eden knows there might be other beings out there. And indeed, right at its discovery Jacob pops out and busts their cover. His family has tended to the signal for generations hoping, and believing, that someone else was out there. When Pike tries to neutralise the situation, lying to Jacob about their origins and technology, Jacob becomes desperate and sets off a stun bomb – stealing their weapons and instruments to use as evidence of their advanced technology. As the away team come to, they break out of the basement and run to the town square to find Jacob showing their equipment to the townspeople. A small girl is playing with a phaser, accidentally turns it on and “wish he was my dad” Captain Pike throws himself onto it – shooting himself in the chest. Michael and Joann beg to take Captain Pike to the church to pray locking the doors behind them, Jacob knowing this might be his last chance to see these aliens, kicks down the door to see them being beamed away. The townsfolk interpret this as the Red Angel ascending them to heaven.
Carla: On the Discovery an extinction level radiation event is found to be imminent, Saru ruminating that this may be why they were brought here. Through Tilly’s ingenuity, Demet’s burnout power and the mycelial network, they are able to deposit the non-baryonic asteroid into the field of radiated debris, drawing it away from Terralysium and saving the planet. Pike makes one more trip to New Eden to tell Jacob the truth and make an exchange – a power cell for a World War III helmet left behind by one of the original settlers. Pike accesses the footage on the helmet and sees another Red Angel…
Carla: This episode heavily focuses on magnetism and gravity; the way we relate to each other, in the way that the universe dances together. Ben, there was so much in this episode that I have to admit I welled up many times. This is prime sci-fi and Star Trek territory – moral and ethical philosophy. I had many feels, where should we begin?
Ben: Well I think let’s go right back to the start of the episode. One thing I noticed is that ten minutes had passed before the credits even rolled and I was so enthralled by that point I was like “What! It’s been 10 minutes already?! This is insane!” And so much happens, like we get the recap of Spock. But I think one of the key things for the themes of the episode happens right at the start, which is where, you know, Pike tells Burnham that she can trust him and she’s about to tell him about the Red Angel, and then doesn’t.
Ben: But by the episode’s end she does. And there’s also a moment a little bit after that were Stamets reveals to Tilly, for the first time he’s told anyone, that he saw Hugh in the mycelial network. And I love that about this episode: where people are coming clean with their secrets. They’re trusting in other members of the crew and so often in all drama, and this has been a big thing ever since kind of Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed a bit sort of how we thought about TV shows, where people just like, they create drama by people just not telling each other what’s going on. And I loved so much…because that’s one of the things that drives me up the wall in these shows…that I loved so much that this episode was about the opposite of that – people deciding to trust each other and tell each other what’s going on. Which means like the plot is going to go even further than it could if people were keeping this stuff to themselves.
Carla: But it also has a major element of that – in terms of Spock not telling anyone anything about anything.
Ben: Well yeah that is true, and he is. But I think you know we’re going to have that episode, whenever that happens, and maybe it’s next week maybe it’s in a few more weeks, I don’t know, where we finally meet him and we’ll see what he’s got to say and I think…I think that’ll be really interesting to see how trusting he is and whether he’s as forthcoming as Stamets and Burnham are in this episode.
Carla: Sure. I watched this twice as I do for each episode, and the first one, I was a bit on the fence. Like “oh no is this…what is this Touched by an Angel territory that we’re going into?”. There are ghosts and, you know, but really the thing that struck me the most, hearing it several times now, is how absurdly emotional Spock’s final log was. And like it’s just it’s so not Vulcan, like to have such DRAMA, “like this may be my last log on the Star Trek Enterprise” it’s like. Whoa man.
Carla: So, he’s obviously in a bad place and also like that would probably be the biggest shame for Vulcan to go to a psychiatric institute because their entire race and culture is about mastering the psyche.
Ben: Yeah well mastering your emotions, I would hope that they’re enlightened enough to recognise mental illness as a thing. You know.
Carla: It doesn’t seem that way, poor Michael has been traumatized, maybe that’s just Sarek’s a bad dad and it’s not indicative of Vulcan’s.
Ben: We can hope so. But yeah no that’s a good point I hadn’t thought about that, about Spock’s message, and it reminds me of so often when you see – I was watching an episode of Enterprise the other day where this happened, where one of the senior Vulcans is talking to one of the senior humans in Starfleet, and he’s so emotional but he’s talking in an even tone, and it’s like, that doesn’t mean you’re not emotional mate. (Carla laughs) We’ve all seen that trick like that’s what idiots on the Internet use. Yeah. So yeah that’s that is interesting I hadn’t thought of that. But yeah that’s, it’s a, it’s a great start to the episode. Like we just get straight into it. Suddenly we’re on the other side of the universe.
Carla: But what does it all mean?
Ben: Well I don’t…
Carla: What is happening?
Ben: You know the Red Angel thing of the thing I like about it is that they’ve already set up this idea is that you know are we being sent to places? And they’ve already like, full on, just come out and said Clarke’s Law you know like “sufficiently advanced technology indistinguishable from magic”. And they go so far as to explicitly say you know “sufficiently advanced aliens are basically gods” which is such a recurring theme in all of Star Trek. Like you watch the original series and it’s like every third episode as they meet some godlike being with incredible powers, and they did it and you know the Next Gen era too. But a bit less often.
Carla: But I think that that’s also like very much wraps up their colonialist attitudes and that’s something that really comes across quite heavily. Because I think in the first season there wasn’t – they talked about them needing something like a Prime Directive. Oh no. That was an Enterprise episode I saw last week…
Carla: So, we have the Prime Directive and…
Ben: Or General Order One.
Carla: General Order One. That’s right I’m sorry.
Ben: They refused to call it the Prime Directive in Discovery. I don’t know why that is.
Carla: We have General Order One and you’ve always – look they’re always breaking it left, right and centre – you know like it’s not worth the paper that it’s written on for any of these star travellers.
Ben: But you know they angst about it. (both laugh) So I think it’s worthwhile. I liked the way that it gets broken in this episode.
Carla: Yeah, I do too. It’s compassion.
Ben: Yeah. And I think the one thing that I was disappointed by is they never brought Saru into that loop because his circumstance is basically identical…
Ben: to Jacob’s, right?
Carla: It’s exactly the same.
Ben: So, there’s precedent, for one thing. And secondly, he would surely have an opinion. He’d be like you know “why don’t we take this guy with us?”. Like he knows.
Carla: I was I was waiting for them to take him with them.
Ben: Yeah. I was waiting for that too.
Carla: I wanted Jacob to go with them so bad.
Ben: But I knew…when they got to the end, he didn’t seem to want to go with them. He was content just to know that he was right.
Ben: And for them to have given him something that would help his people. And you know and he said they’d be back. So maybe they’ll come back. I don’t know. But I mean they’re very far away. I mean that was the thing I enjoyed about this is that you know, this is, they’re 50,000 light years across the galaxy. And I last episode I did talk about how I wanted to look up how the quadrant system works. And so basically the quadrant system is dividing the entire galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy – because Star Trek only happens in the Milky Way galaxy, they don’t go across the whole universe – into four parts, and Earth is actually right near the border between the Alpha and Beta quadrants. So, if you imagine it like a map with North, South, East and West; Earth is kind of like quite far down in the South, right in the middle of the South edge of the map. And that’s where most of the known space is. That’s where all the other races and species that the humans have met. So, it’s where Vulcan space is, and the Ferengi, and the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Empire, but it’s right near the border of the Alpha Quadrant and the Beta quadrant which are kind of like in the… Southwest is the Alpha Quadrant, the Southeast is the Beta quadrant, and…but it’s huge. I was way off with my estimate last episode too, like the galaxy’s more like 100 to 150,000 light years from one end to the other. It’s quite a lot bigger than the 30,000 light years, and so 50,000 light years is like a third of the way across the galaxy. And it’s quite far into the Beta quadrant. Like way further than has ever been explored. So, this is, this is a significant trip. And it also means that there’s – you know Discovery this season seems to it’s going to go to places that no starship has been before. You know.
Carla: Right. And so, to me it automatically kind of skips ahead it’s like: well where does this end? You know, how does this get wrapped up. Do they eventually jump somewhere that they never come back from? You know and this is why humans are found in all, all quadrants or the you know the memory of them or the history of them, the knowledge of them.
Ben: Yeah it could happen.
Carla: So, we have the Red Angel who has transported this church of people from Earth. Obviously, Americans of course.
Carla: To this planet in the Beta quadrant. And this Red Angel’s also leading the Discovery from one to the other. Spock is somehow involved with his visions, that have driven him mad.
Carla: We’ve got the ghost of Hugh on the network.
Ben: That scene with Stamets and Tilly…they’re killing me this season.
Carla: They’re beautiful.
Ben: Oh my God. But…and I love that when he comes out of the spore drive chamber, he’s like, he’s clearly upset. He doesn’t want to talk to Tilly, but we never find out why is he upset: because he was there? Was he upset because he wasn’t there? We don’t know. And you know presumably we’ll find out. But I mean I’m guessing he wasn’t there. That would be my feeling, and then he was upset not to see him, but you know either way how are you going to…? You’re not going to feel good about it either way are you?
Carla: No. And the whole process seems to take things out of him and also that was – I had my question answered which was they were taking it offline because it’s unethical.
Ben: Yeah well because, because it’s illegal to do that sort of genetic manipulation ever since the Eugenics Wars that pre-date actually World War III which is one of the things.
Carla: So, it’s coming up.
Ben: Yeah, I know it’s happening it’s happening anytime now. I’m worried.
Carla: It’s already happening in China. (laughs) But I think that’s a conversation for another time.
Ben: Oh no.
Carla: And then what other ghosts do we have? We have Tilly’s old school mate.
Ben: That was such a good little subplot. I mean Tilly, Tilly has a great, this is a great Tilly episode. And look um I’m on board anytime the real Red Angel comes along. (Carla laughs) But she you know she’s got her own thing going on. She’s contributing so much to the crew now. Like she has the, and her idea doesn’t quite work Burnham has to come up with a slightly better one or a modification of it to find the signal, so they can track it. But then she’s still doing things like Stamets said in the first episode “out of love”. You know she goes off and does this dangerous experiment by herself because she’s desperate now to find a way to use the spore drive without Stamets having to pilot it, so he doesn’t have to go in there and maybe have to confront the ghost of Hugh. And I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t see Hugh this episode, actually, speaking of him.
Carla: Yeah. Or Jett.
Ben: Yeah. Where’d she go? Yeah, I mean, well she’s not part of the crew, so presumably they took her home, but hopefully she comes back… I mean you don’t know.
Carla: I don’t know what happened to her at the end of last episode.
Ben: You don’t get Tig Notaro to play an awesome character and then just put her in one episode, surely, she’s going to come back.
Carla: And that, okay, then we’ll just put a pin in that as they say.
Ben: Let’s come back to Tilly. So yeah, she’s doing this dangerous experiment and nearly gets herself killed cutting a little bit off the giant space rock that’s made partly of possibly dark matter – we don’t know. And then ends up in the sickbay where we also meet the new medical officer again who’s like, she’s not in it much so we haven’t got to know her yet, but she’s got a bit of sass on her as well.
Ben: She’s cut from a little bit of the McCoy cloth, I think.
Ben: Just telling patients what to do. But yeah, I did find…did you twig that something weird was going on with her friend?
Carla: Look this is going to sound incredibly racist but I couldn’t figure out her accent for a very long time and I was like “is this some kind of magical elf thing?”. Like I thought, you know, her high-pitched voice and her thick accent – which sounds like Caribbean or Jamaican or something like that. It just kind of, something did twig in me, but I was sort of churning the cogs to kind of understand. So, I was a bit on notice. What about you?
Ben: Not when she first appeared on her first. I was just like “Who is this person, I’ve never seen her before?” But there was that familiarity between them where I was like, “that’s a bit weird”. I think that was the thing that twigged it for me. It’s like she’s very familiar with Tilly and she’s like “yeah I kind of know who you are”. And then towards the end though I started to get that sort of Sixth Sense feeling of – spoiler for The Sixth Sense – that no one else could see her, like I was like, “Did she talk to anyone else?” And she kind of refers to, she’s like, she calls out for help when Tilly’s trying to get out of the bed in the medical bay but…
Ben: …the others, the others don’t actually speak to her or say anything to her. They only talk directly to Tilly and I didn’t twig that at the time but a bit later on in the episode I was like “Is anyone else seeing her? Is she real?” And then yeah when she when she was in her quarters looking her up, I was like “she’s going to turn out not to exist”.
Carla: Or be dead.
Ben: I didn’t, I didn’t think she’d be dead. I thought she might not be real but then it turned out she was a friend of Tilly’s. And then she was dead. I was like “whoa okay”.
Carla: And this is where I like the first watch, I was like “Oh I’m not, I’m a bit turned off by this whole thing like this sort of Touched by an Angel territory” as I said. But then on the second watch, you know especially with the you know the very very large intersection of the Venn diagram between religion and science which is essentially devotion and searching, you know, that’s where it actually became very meta for me because it schooled me on my own feelings. I was like, you know, you had all these feelings about the first the first time you watched it. The second time it’s like well why can’t I suspend my belief in this environment for it to be you know? Why do I have to want it to be entirely about science? And you know it’s a fantasy, it’s a fiction fantasy show.
Carla: You know. So, I found that really, really fascinating that it sorts of turned that machinations on in my mind.
Ben: Mm hmm. Well you know, look, it’s no Star Trek V okay? They’re not crossing the Great Barrier to meet God. But it’s I think, yeah, for me I think the thing that really kept me on board, really into it, was that they’re questioning it from the start. Burnham is, you know, she’s been schooled on Vulcan. She’s a science officer. She’s very down the line. Like when they’re meeting all of the villagers on the planet, she’s the one who’s like “Don’t you have anyone who’s into science, like, are you all religious people”?
Ben: And I quite enjoyed that she was there but, not dismissing their beliefs, but just asking “Don’t you have anyone who believes something different as well?”
Carla: I feel like she was judgey.
Ben: She was a bit judgey, I agree. But I think her questioning and then other people going “Well look it could be something” I really enjoyed. Like I wasn’t on her side, but I liked that there were both sides there and that people were stepping in, Pike particularly, whose Dad as we find out in this episode was both a science lecturer and a comparative religion teacher, which I thought was awesome. So, he’s like stepping in going “No it’s okay. Why not both?”. You know, he’s doing the meme.
Carla: Yeah, he’s like “can you prove that they don’t exist?”
Ben: Yeah. And I liked that it’s questioning that whereas shows that just are like “those of you who are questioning it are just wrong”. You know I don’t like it when it goes either way with them and that’s why. Like for example The OA, I don’t know if you’ve seen that on Netflix? And I, like I…
Carla: Also starring Jason Isaacs.
Ben: Yes. Who I love! But I got about halfway through it, and I’m like “I don’t think I like where this is going”. Like it was all too “you people who don’t believe in mysticism, there’s something wrong with you” for me, and I’m… Not questioning enough.
Carla: Yeah, it’s very “jump and the safety net appear, it will appear” kind of stuff.
Ben: Yeah which is not my bag but this I was really into.
Carla: And look I think did a very deft understanding or didactic telling of the kernel of the truth that everybody seeks in these realms which is to understand the invisible, to make the invisible tangible.
Carla: You know and that it does take a leap of faith to do that or to seek it. And that’s what I found really beautiful about Jacob and his character and his family. I’m just like “yes! you’re keeping the flame of science alive”, you know, and they were so, just very quietly working in the background. And that is most scientists as well they’re quietly working away in the background, you know, getting shafted not getting any funding.
Carla: You know, understanding things about the world that they’re trying to tell us that nobody is receptive to. You know…
Ben: It was really interesting crossover of themes because my other podcast, Pratchat, the book we’re reading for the next episode is Small Gods, which is about that clash between, you know, sort of science and religion because it’s all about – there’s a, you know, a nation who has a god but the bureaucracy of the religion has built up so much bigger than the faith that originally fuelled it. And people now mostly act out of fear of what the Quisition will do to them rather than, you know, real belief in the religion itself. And then there’s this counter movement of people who’ve found this treatise, written by the philosopher Didactylos, telling them that the world is on a turtle. And so, their catch-cry becomes “the turtle moves” and it’s kind of, it’s very much a parallel to like what Galileo was saying about the Earth moving around the Sun. And so yeah, I found that really weird, that the same themes cropping up in both podcasts.
Carla: Yeah, because guess what? We keep talking about it!
Ben: Yeah well can’t stop.
Carla: Because people aren’t getting it. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Yeah, it’s true.
Carla: And it’s also like so navel gazey that we continue to just try to get, you know, to the edges of it.
Carla: And it just keeps expanding out.
Ben: Yeah. I also really liked the way that we had the sort of parallel threats going on. I mean in our synopsis we sort of bunched up the threads together because it’s a lot easier to follow.
Carla: Yeah, I was going to call it the “B plot” but really, I felt that was a bit mean. (laughing) So I took it out.
Ben: Yeah, no, it’s just another aspect to the A plot, I feel. Like it was all very, it was all very tightly interwoven, and I like that about Discovery. They’re very good at having…like they don’t have a B plot that’s got absolutely nothing to do with the A plot until, you know, it becomes convenient for it to be a deus ex machina, they really sort of set up things that make sense. And you could argue that about the space rock being the thing that they need to save the planet from the rings or whatever, but I actually thought it all came together really nicely, and I just…I just love the way the bridge crew are all working together. And I love that, again, you know I’m hoping that, you know, Owosekun’s adventure this episode is a sign that we’re going to see that from the other like incidental members of the crew, like they’re all going to get their episode where they get to shine. Because she’s awesome in this, like she’s just on the, she’s on it. Like they get stuck she’s like “Oh yeah I can get us out of here.”
Ben: And she likes gets them out of the basement where they’re locked in, in the church, and like “this is great”. Like yeah give everybody a cool moment.
Carla: And that also at that point in time there’s still Luddites which I found, you know, fascinating and then of course obviously she’s in Starfleet.
Ben: Yes. So, she’s left. I mean maybe she’s going back maybe she’s on Rumspringa. (Carla laughs) We don’t know. We don’t we just don’t know.
Carla: I think it Star Tr…Starfleet training takes a lot longer than the Rumspringa period of time. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Yeah, I guess so.
Carla: So, we think the implications for this is…so now, what, there’s seven bursts, we’ve done two… Are we going to do the other five? Is that what’s going to happen?
Ben: Well, no, because this is a new one, right? So, there’s, there’s seven…
Carla: Ohhhh…I didn’t catch that.
Ben: I had to go back and check this, but when I was sort of looking over my notes, I was like “hang on a minute”, because the original seven are spread out over 30,000 light years. This one’s more than 50,000 light years away. So, it can’t be one of the original seven and they refer to it as a new signal when Saru reports it. So, it’s almost as if the seven original ones were to get their attention and then they left one of them as like “This is where we want you to go,” and now they’re just going to fire up a new one wherever they want the Discovery to go. If, you know, if that’s what it turns out to be, if they’re being directed to places. But I think, I mean it seems like…clearly the first one…”Here’s a crashed Federation starship you’ve got to save.” The second one, “Here’s a population of humans that we saved 200 years ago, and we need you to, like, save them again, now, from this imminent danger of the radiation,” right? Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the doughnut!
Ben: Which people are calling the #DetmerDrift on Twitter. That’s the official hashtag now.
Carla: I would totally play that video game.
Ben: So good. I thought that was cool.
Carla: Do you think Tilly is kind of going down “manic pixie engineer girl” territory?
Ben: Look that’s a good point. I hope not. I mean I think her friendship with Stamets is very grounding for her.
Carla: And I also feel like she’s been developed enough for that not to be that.
Ben: Yeah. I think she, you know she’s enthusiastic.
Carla: And she’s just full of ideas. And she’s obviously super intelligent.
Ben: Yeah. And she’s also on her own story. I mean I think there, there’s a lot of writing about “manic pixie dream girl” stuff. And I think one of the key things that makes it a harmful trope is that they’re totally in service to the story of, usually, a man.
Ben: And I don’t feel that Tilly is. You know, like she’s got various, she’s got multiple friendships and now she’s got her own mystery. You know she’s got her own plot line which she didn’t really have in the first season she was very much a supporting character for Michael. And now she is, you know, coming into our own, she’s doing her own stuff, she’s getting herself into trouble, she’s getting herself out of trouble, and we’ve also seen her be very capable right from the start. You know like we talked about in season one recap episode when she’s on the Glenn on that first away mission she’s onto it. So yeah, I think they’re going to steer clear of that territory.
Carla: Can you think of a character in the past that has kind of had this comic relief but has been so prominent? I mean Neelix was kind of like that…
Ben: Dr. Phlox is a bit like that on Enterprise.
Carla: Very much.
Ben: And I think, I think you could argue Data sometimes fills that role.
Ben: As well. And…um…
Carla: They’re all bridge crew. Well kind of, yeah.
Ben: They’re all bridge crew, yeah. I mean – aw, well Barclay. Reginald Barclay from Next Gen.
Carla: Ahhhhh, ha, ha ha ha!
Ben: ‘Cause he’s a sort of that nervous character… (Carla bursts out laughing) And you think, “This guy’s just a nerd.”
Carla: Bravo! Excellent.
Ben: But, you know, Tilly’s…
Carla: We could talk, we could do a whole episode on Reginald Barclay. What a character.
Ben: Yeah. Look if we ever do any non-Discovery episodes we’ll talk about him for sure.
Carla: All right. Shall we move onto Short Chats?
Ben: I think it’s time.
Ben: And now: re:Discovery Short Chats! This is our section at the end of the episode where we talk news, trivia, and anything related to Discovery. We’ll also happily answer listener questions in this section so send us some via social media. You’ll find us @rediscoverypod on Twitter and Facebook. Now what do you want to talk about this time around Carla?
Carla: All right so a couple of things I picked up. One was… (laughs) This very much raised my eyebrow: that a planet that now has 11,000 people was germinated from 200 survivors. (laughs)
Ben: Over 200 years.
Carla: Over 200 years? I haven’t done any modelling, but I was like, wow, that’s pretty impressive. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Well yeah, I guess. Yeah. Yeah, I guess their genetic diversity’s not going to be high, either.
Carla: So that was also my big question mark. I was almost going to Google like how many people do you have to have in a community for… (laughs)
Ben: Well I don’t know. I don’t know.
Carla: …or a healthy, for healthy DNA strand.
Ben: They’re going to end up with facial tumour disease like the Tasmanian devil. (laughs)
Carla: (laughs) Oh dear. So that was one that I had… Ah, also obviously, Jonathan Frakes, “Number One”, directed this episode.
Ben: I really enjoyed seeing his name in the credits. Has he…he directed some episodes of season one, didn’t he?
Carla: Yeah, I think he directed the one after the season, after the mid-season break, which is the one where they’re in the Terran universe.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: Yeah. He directed that one. He’s directed many episodes of other Star Treks along the line.
Ben: He’s good. You know he’s directed some of the films as well. He directed – I think he directed Insurrection, which as I have previously mentioned, (Carla laughs) is my favourite of the films.
Carla: Just marry Insurrection, Ben.
Ben: Oh, it’s so good.
Carla: So that’s exciting as well, and he calls himself a “recovering actor” on his Twitter. But then also he sort of let fly about a few things about the new Picard show, saying that it’s, Picard is retired.
Ben: When you say “let fly”, do you mean he’s complaining, or he’s just, like, leaking…
Carla: No, like gossiping, gossiping.
Ben: He’s leaking out…
Carla: And he cannot quote-unquote, you know, confirm or deny whether he’s in the new show…
Ben: (laughs) “You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly confirm…” (Carla laughs) Yeah, okay. Yeah, well I know…
Carla: They’re my two things.
Ben: I mean many of the cast have said that they have not been asked to be in the Picard show, but I think, yeah, surely at least some of them will show up in guest roles at some point. Look I quite enjoyed that we had some references to World War III, because I’m a sucker for alternate histories, and one of the things I love about a long, you know, a big sci-fi universe, particularly one that’s set in the future, is that they have to decide what happened between the present and the fictional future. And now we’re touching on World War III and it’s refers back to parts of the Star Trek universe we’ve seen before. So, these people are from the early 2050s. In fact, if I got my years right I think they’re…
Carla: I think the 2060s.
Ben: Ah no they’re from like 2050, I think it was 2051. They do mention a year in the episode, but I forgot what it was. But I did look it up and I think it’s only like a year or two before the end of World War III so, you know, if they just waited it out a little bit longer, they could have stayed at home…but probably they’re about to be blown up.
Carla: I don’t think they had a choice! (laughs)
Ben: No, I don’t think so but that’s ten years or so, a bit more than ten years before when Zefram Cochrane first flies a warp engine and makes contact with the Vulcans, which is in 2063. Which is not that far in our future really.
Carla: No, we’ll be alive. We’ll be alive for 60 million people to die in World War III. (laughs)
Ben: That’s disappointing. I mean, yeah because that’s after World War III. But there’s basically half the planet destroyed and there’s a lot of dead people. It’s not good. So yeah, I quite liked that little bit of past history. I also liked that this is, you know, it’s returning to tropes that we’ve seen in other Star Trek shows that so far Discovery hasn’t done. They don’t do a lot of first contact with alien species, they don’t do a lot of like resolving diplomatic tensions…because we’re at war. So, it was mostly about Klingons and fighting the war and finding ways to get around that.
Carla: Wearing civvies.
Ben: Yeah. Whereas this…it was nice to see them get into disguise, and go down onto the planet…
Ben: I mean I’ve just been, I think we’ve both been watching Enterprise, really for the first time, and there’s a couple of early episodes of that, like “Terra Nova” where they go and they find this planet which was like the first planet colonised by humans. And now there’s like the descendants of those humans who call themselves Novans and their whole society has kind of fallen apart a bit because a lot of them…
Carla: Of the radiation. Again!
Ben: All the adults got killed. Yeah, because of radiation. And I’m like, well this is a nice parallel, it’s a similar kind of story but not the sort of thing we’ve seen Discovery do before.
Ben: And I’m kind of hoping that that means we might see a new tack…because I liked their new take on it, and I think we’ll see – I hope we’ll see some more of that kind of stuff, later in the season.
Carla: Well I’m-not to, you know, overuse the word magnetic but Pike is just… He’s such, he really has that star power, and you can’t – the camera loves him, everybody loves him. You can’t stop looking at him, I don’t know if that’s just me, but…
Ben: He’s a very handsome man.
Carla: He…but he’s becoming, like, the gravitational pull, like the centre of that universe. I don’t know, how do you feel? Do you feel like you’re taking up a lot of space?
Ben: I feel he’s taking up quite a lot of space for sure and it’s interesting that you know one of the draw cards for Discovery supposedly was “this is going to be the first show where the main character is not a captain.” But I would argue that in Star Trek, the original series, yeah you had sort of your three main characters and then this sort of large supporting cast who you’d only ever see two or three of them in any particular episode. In Next Gen it was a bit less like that and the ensemble cast got bigger, and there’s probably like five or six members of the cast who you’d see in nearly every episode. And in Discovery, it’s kind of a little bit like that. And Michael yes is still the main character, but now also Michael has been reinstated in rank and is basically Number One on the bridge or close to it.
Ben: And it’s not…I don’t think it’s as distinguishable from that anymore. But I like that Pike is kind of integrated more into what’s going on.
Carla: I think we’re just getting to know him still.
Carla: But at the end of the day he’s the leader, he has to make the decisions. You know.
Ben: He seems…I think he feels more present than Lorca was, because Lorca was obviously, they always had to keep him a bit secretive because they had the big secret about him they didn’t want to reveal.
Carla: Plus he was also off scheming all the time. So, you know.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. He was delicious. (Carla laughs) Oh, I miss him so much.
Carla: Well it’s okay, we’ll see good Lorca again soon. And what is he like?
Ben: Oh yeah, that’ll be interesting.
Ben: Yeah. Because we know how different in personality the other, sort of, Terrans and our universe folks are, so yeah, it’ll be really interesting if we do get to see him. But no, I think I think you’re right, he’s super magnetic, he’s wonderful. He did not win our Space Dads poll on Twitter…
Carla: Yes. Talk about the space dads! (laughs)
Ben: Well, like…because people have referred to him as a space dad and he is he’s like the kind of guy you like “I want you to be my dad you’re the best dad ever” and I thought well let’s have a poll. Because my favourite “space dad” in Star Trek is Tuvok. And so, we created a poll, the options were “Who’s your favourite Space Dad” – Captain Pike, Tuvok, Benjamin Sisko or Wolf. And I’ve, I picked three actual dads from the show as in they play their characters as dads as well and not a lot love for Tuvok hardly any love for Worf, little love for Captain Pike. I mean Worf was the tricky one he had sort of has his father ship thrust on him and he’s kind of busy doing other things… But, loads of love for Commander Benjamin Sisko.
Carla: Because he was such a great dad.
Ben: He is such a great dad. I can’t deny that.
Carla: I thought about this in many different ways because I’m like well this is the way we ascribe parenting. We’re judging other races’, other beings’ parenting styles, by our own, you know, what we desire.
Carla: But also, I think you’ve got the wrong dad.
Carla: I think Pike’s a Daddy. (laughs) So maybe that’s why he didn’t poll so well.
Ben: (laughs) Well he’s not the only Daddy that you’ve identified in this show so far this season.
Carla: Tig Notaro’s a Daddy as well. Yeah. (laughs)
Ben: Yeah, I can see where you’re going with that. Yeah, that’s fair enough. Maybe we need another poll? Will there be more Daddies? We don’t know. But maybe we’ll find out next time…
Theme music plays.
Ben: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. All links to creatives are in the show notes or on a website rediscoverypodcast.com. We’d love to connect with you; please add us on Twitter and Facebook at @rediscoverypod.
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Season two continues as it began with more high adventure, as the Discovery fires up the spore drive and follows a new red burst 50,000 light years across the universe into the Beta Quadrant, where they find an impossible colony! As Pike, Burnham and Owosekun go down to the surface to investigate, Tilly ignores OH&S to help out Stamets and unearths her own spooky business. The mysteries multiply, the crew’s trust in each other grows, General Order One gets debated, and the #DetmerDrift is born. Plus there’s tension between science and religion, big questions about faith, and we want Pike to be our Dad (or Daddy?) more than ever.Show Notes…
This is a transcript of our our first season two recap, available here.
Ensign Sylvia Tilly [from episode]: This is the power of math people! (Applause) Come on!
re:Discovery theme plays.
Carla: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery, the Star Trek recap podcast that won’t infer an entire series plot line through a fortune cookie message. I’m one of your hosts Carla Donnelly, and today I will be discussing the first episode of season two, “Brother”, with my brother from another mother, Ben McKenzie. Hey Ben!
Ben: Hi Carla! I think I’m entirely human though, so I think, I think we share the same species at least. (laughs) But that’s all right.
Carla: On to the episode at hand. “Brother” is a classic Discovery blockbuster episode and very much feels like a reboot of season one. Like the first episode of season one, “The Vulcan Hello”, “Brother” is setting the tone – the theme of mothers and fathers reappears prominently. However, in a post-war environment these relationships appear more constructive. In “Brother”, there is a fair bit of mirroring in the story line and action sequences with “The Vulcan Hello”, however this time the tension and intrigue generate from within, rather than without.
Carla: In season one, Burnham and the Discovery crew set out to vanquish the Klingons and the Terrans. Season two is shaping up to be an in-depth character study of the Discovery’s crew members and the familial politics of Michael and Spock. Our crew has been through hell and now the war is over, and the trauma is receding, they have the time and distance to reconnect and re-affirm who they are. Not only personally but also professionally – onto the task of what Federation vessels are for, space exploration!
Carla: This episode begins with a young Michael being adopted by Amanda and Sarek, something a volatile Spock passive aggressively takes umbrage with. Transitioning to the present day, the Enterprise is hamstrung and out of service so Captain Pike is assigned to the Discovery to continue the mission that the Enterprise could not complete – investigate the source of one of seven red bursts that have been displayed simultaneously 30,000 light years across the universe. The team arrives at the location of the nearest red burst and discover a Federation medical ship smashed into an asteroid. An away team is gathered with Burnham, Pike and two Enterprise crew members. Connolly, a Science Officer, is annihilated by space debris mid-mansplain, and Burnham risks her life to save Captain Pike.
Ben: Landing on the asteroid the crew explore the wreck of the USS Hiawatha and are led by some advanced probes, built from scavenged bits of the ship’s tech, to the medical bay, where Commander Denise “Jett” Reno has been keeping the casualties too injured to evacuate alive using her engineering know-how. They set up pattern enhancers and Burnham reroutes power to the ship’s transporter bay and they evacuate the casualties. But just as they are about to leave the power goes out and Burnham is left behind as the others escape. Burnham runs through the disintegrating ship but is knocked out by falling debris. When she comes to, she sees a blurry vision of a humanoid figure with wings. Pike returns and rescues her but the sample she grabbed for Tilly is left behind.
Ben: In the medical bay, Tilly and Burnham cook up a plan to study the asteroid as it clearly has unique properties worth investigating. Pike gives command back to Saru for the manoeuvre and they successfully collect a massive chunk of the asteroid. Discovery returns to the Enterprise, but it’s still disabled. Pike reveals to Burnham that he is staying aboard to share command with Saru. But when she asks to visit Enterprise, he tells her that Spock is not there: he went on personal leave a few months earlier to investigate a mystery he kept to himself. Burnham visits Spock’s quarters and listens to his personal log in which he says he is having nightmares as he did when a child, and recorded what he saw. To Burnham’s amazement, it’s the seven bursts across the galaxy – which Spock saw before they happened…
Carla: Dun dun dah!!
Ben: WHAT! Oh wow this was so good!!! I was so excited, this episode was so great Carla.
Carla: Oh my God! Thrilling!
Ben: There was so much cool stuff happening!!
Carla: How did you feel? That’s what I was going say. How did you feel about it? But that’s exactly how you felt about it.
Ben: That is how I felt about it, I couldn’t contain my feelings about it, and it was so cool. I loved everything. I loved everything, there was so many good things happening in this episode. I got some of my wishes Carla!
Carla: Yes, so much more of the bridge crew! Well and by more we mean like five lines.
Ben: Something like that. Some of them got to speak for the first time! Well not the first time but, you know, we got, we got their names again in a context where we might even remember them. It was so good.
Carla: Deft little bit of exposition on that. (laughs)
Ben: Yeah. You know I was watching the recap and I’d forgotten how much they really teased that it was the Enterprise that was showing up. Like…
Ben: Like, oh you know “the statics coming through, I’m getting their registration number” and it’s like “NCC-” and it’s coming in like one digit at a time: one…seven… (Carla chuckles) Come on guys!
Carla: Screaming! You know, waiting.
Ben: So good, so good. I mean because I had, I had mixed feelings about that.
Carla: I know, I did too. I didn’t want to see them, go away!
Ben: Yeah! All right? We’ve got our own crew. We don’t need you guys!
Ben: But then I was like, oh but you know, Kirk’s not there.
Ben: McCoy’s not there. Nobody’s there. Like Pike’s there and we don’t know Pike that much…
Carla: But I thought ultimately like Spock was going to get in there somewhere.
Carla: So there was going to have to be a transition or a bridging of some kind, that Spock was going to be able to appear on the scene, or not appear as it seems!
Carla: So, I kind of I accepted it. But at first, I was just mad, I was like… I felt like it was a nod to kind of original – like to some kind of fan base, that I felt like, no, it can just be its own thing.
Ben: Yeah. And I mean that’s one of the things I loved so much about the first season is it is very much its own thing. It’s got those little you know like the biggest connection really to the rest of the Star Trek universe is Harry Mudd and that’s cool, and it’s nice. There’s lots of little you know easter eggs and stuff that you can find. But you know for the most part it really was telling its own story and it was about the characters who were there, and it didn’t need big connections to the other stuff, but…
Carla: It does feel good though.
Ben: It does feel good.
Carla: Like now that it’s happening, I’m like “this is exciting” and seeing the, like the linguistic transition of the uniforms, like it’s still the same cut and shape, but it’s just the different colour and… That’s beautiful to watch you know.
Ben: Yeah and I like I like how they build some of that exposition into the episode in very, very natural dialogue, like where you know the engineering officer from the Enterprise is like “wow I can see where Starfleet’s spending all their money” – although they don’t have any money. I don’t know, that was a weird, that did make me think. But then again, like, original series era there is still a fair bit of talk of money. So, there’s some sort of money going on, somewhere.
Carla: Well maybe just because it’s such a newer, fancier ship than the Enterprise.
Carla: And also it’s a science vessel so I’m sure it has much more, different equipment and cool tech rather than….
Ben: Oh yeah totally.
Carla: Torpedos and cannons….
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: Kind of jazz.
Ben: I know that the ship’s absolutely more advanced, it was more for me that was just, it wasn’t weird when you say it, but then I guess it remains you know a euphemism in much the way we use a lot of euphemisms about things that don’t really make literal sense anymore.
Carla: Or that it was just exposition to talk about the uniforms.
Ben: Yeah. And I liked that, but I also like that acknowledgement that this ship is fancy. Yeah. That was cool.
Carla: As is their uniforms.
Ben: Oh yeah, they look great in those uniforms.
Carla: So shiny.
Ben: Yeah. Should we talk…should we start by talking about the Enterprise crew that we meet?
Carla: Mm hmm. I have two things I want to talk about first.
Ben: Okay. Go.
Carla: One was my feelings.
Ben: Oh, please tell me your feelings.
Carla: Thrilled! I was a bit of a I was a bit worried that I knew too much through the process of creating this podcast because the whole first season was like – I had no idea of anything and I purposefully was dark on all information.
Carla: But it was – I had the same thrills and goose bumps. And it was so exciting, and the special effects are just out of control. Like we’ll talk about that later in the Short Chat section particularly about how the budget completely blew out which is quite evident, like how much money they spent on it.
Carla: And then also like my favourite easter egg of the whole episode, that I wonder if you picked up on this – because it’s, I mean they’re ultimately like they’re writers, and all writers are nerds and they’re nerds for writing process.
Ben: (laughs) I can attest to that. Yes.
Carla: Yes. So, here’s what I picked up. So, the first, it was a very much a mirroring of the first season as I said in my introduction and just like in the first season the first two episodes and the last two episodes were an inversion inside and out of each other.
Carla: Right. So, this was a mirroring of that first season episode where it’s called “The Vulcan Hello” and not doing what was called the “Vulcan Hello” was the catalyst for the entire season.
Carla: So, in this episode with Michael offering her hand in a human hello to the Vulcan seems to be the catalyst for this…
Carla: …entire season.
Ben: Yeah yeah. And of course, it’s called “Brother” and the brother is not really…he’s not there…yet. (both laugh) Again you’ve got that reversal. I like that. That’s good. Yeah yeah. Oh cool.
Carla: So that’s my that’s my 2 little things. You want to talk about the. Just like the Enterprise crew?
Ben: Well you know, I because I don’t spend too much time on them. Quite interesting. I mean I liked you comment about “Yeah he he’s killed by his mansplaining”. That’s totally true. And he’s such a forgettable character, like this guy is named Connolly which by the way is the actor’s name. How weird is that. His name, his name, hang on I wrote down his actual name.
Carla: It’s also what I get called a lot by accident.
Ben: Oh Connolly, oh of course. But no, his last name is Connolly Affleck. I don’t know if he’s one of those Afflecks.
Carla: He was so sullen, so sullen the whole time. You’re real…
Ben: Well I don’t think you supposed to like him.
Ben: But also, I kind of felt a bit like there’s three, only three people come across from the Enterprise. All three of them go on the first away mission available and one of them is dead. And then there’s no like funeral or anything.
Carla: Well I think someone had to be disposable, right?
Carla: To ramp up the danger. Like someone was going to die. You don’t want it to be from the bridge ’cause we’re going to get to know them.
Ben: And I guess it’s only fair that it’s not always the one wearing red.
Carla: Yes!!! I was going to talk about that!!!
Ben: (laughs) It was the wearing blue this time around.
Carla: Yes. So Red Shirts are usually the ones who die. So, this is very much against canon which is also putting everybody’s knickers in a twist on the Internet. So, it’s thrilling.
Ben: I love that.
Ben: Yeah. Well I was relieved though to because I was like don’t kill off the new female character. That’d be a bit rough. She only just got here! I mean this guy only just got here too, but he’s a…he’s a dick! So I don’t mind…
Carla: Sure. Sure, and I can actually understand now. Because the first season is like “yeah you know feminists, feminism has gone too far” or whatever blah. I just thought, okay great. No, it’s a good example of how you can measure in equality into the back story. But now like watching this episode it’s kind of like, no, this is pretty out there in terms of feminist, as a feminist text. It’s being inflammatory in a way that is, I think designed to drive certain kinds of fans away, and to embrace a new kind of fan that they want to bring in or keep on the show.
Ben: I think, I mean, I think a lot most of those fans are already on board although you know as we discussed in our previous episodes that the whole killing off of Hugh was a bit of a red flag to some people, I think, that yeah, maybe this show’s not as different as we thought. And the fact that you know he’s still in the credits, the actor, and…
Carla: And exists.
Ben: He’s been visible in the first episode although you know only as a recording which leads us to wonder you know how much is he going to be in the rest of it. What is that for? What form will his participation take? Like it’s quite unknown. So, it’s yeah, I think, I think, they’re definitely taking some good steps.
Ben: Yeah. I mean look I’m hooked. I’m not going anywhere.
Carla: No, of course, I’m like “bring it on!” And I feel I actually, I don’t know it’s some kind of internalisation process, but I feel guilty loving stuff like that so much. I feel it’s so entirely, I mean I feel, I feel so entirely catered for by this whole show including of course as a queer woman by Tig Notaro. There were lots of question marks on the Internet over who this person is.
Carla: We obviously knew who Tig was before.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, I mean I’ve not watched lots of her stand-up, but I did buy her, like, the famous set where she talks about the cancer diagnosis, and just like the most amazing deadpan…
Carla: Oh my God!
Ben: Like just perfectly pitched. So, I got, I love, I love her work and yeah, she’s just so great she really brings that to this role.
Carla: I think she brings like. Well let’s talk about. We can talk about Enterprise sort of feels because Pike really has that kind of cowboy Kirk’s swagger.
Carla: Right. And that sort of feels like the deal of the Enterprise. And I feel like Tig sort of has that McCoy kind of acerbic-ness.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: And I think, and it feels like she’s being set up to be kind of like the McCoy of the Discovery.
Ben: And she’s got that, she’s got that sass.
Carla: Yes! SASS that’s exactly it!
Ben: What I love is that, that whole idea that you know she’s an engineer, but she’s been forced to do all this medical work and she’s just like well the body’s just another machine. That’s so awesome! I really dug that. And like they all felt like she piggybacked that guy’s heart onto another heart because there was no suitable donor. What?! This is amazing! Yeah. I thought that was really cool. So I love her character. I think yeah Pike’s interesting cause he has got that cowboy swagger but he’s like a really, really friendly affable cowboy.
Ben: You know he’s not…
Carla: He’s not leery. (laughs)
Ben: He’s not out to just shoot people he’s just like well “c’mon let’s have a good time”. You know I think he’s yeah, he’s got that charm which I really liked.
Carla: He’s like loose but you feel safe with him at the same time. (laughs)
Ben: And I wonder how much we’ll see of his engineer, like if she’s sticking around? Or returned to the Enterprise, you’re not really sure if she’s gone back or not. And weirdly like this is just a little detail but again I love when they bring stuff in from the other series like her species is a species that was featured in one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Ben: And when I first saw I didn’t realize that when I first saw I sort of you know it was like she looks a bit familiar.
Carla: I was trusting you to tell me about the alien stuff, so… because I didn’t know this one.
Ben: Yeah well, I didn’t know either I had to look it up, but I bought it because my first thought was another cyborg because there’s so many, we see so many of them like the transporter officer that beams them in to the ship from the Enterprise is also a cyborg, he’s got cybernetic bits.
Carla: Or is it the prototype Geordi La Forge VISOR?
Ben: Oh well it could be, it could be.
Carla: That’s what I was thinking.
Ben: And you know the engineer I thought she was also a cyborg but no she’s this species I think they’re called the Barzan, and they need that, it’s a little respirator because they have this weird, they can breathe oxygen but they also need some other gases that are quite toxic to other creatures so they have this little thing that sort of injects it into their face so they can breathe. And that’s what she’s wearing so yeah. And I thought she was kind of cool. I didn’t see much of her but she’s, I liked how no nonsense she was. And she had a little bit sass as well when she’s like looking around the Discovery going “wow this is great”. And Pike had that great line, like “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s starship,” which I thought that was cool.
Carla: He’s great. I immediately I love him also. Anson Mount like he was born to play that role – they could have just called him Anson Mount, like, that is a Star Trek captain name.
Ben: Yeah. You know I hadn’t thought of that. That was great. It’s weirdly like I feel like I know Captain Pike fairly well because one of the few things that I have watched more than once of the original Star Trek is the Captain Pike episode, the two parter “The Menagerie”. And you know I like that they had the little, a little reference to that in the fortune cookie message which I don’t know see I’m not trying to read too much into it as you suggested intro but.
Carla: Well give me that back history because I don’t know that.
Carla: And then I can explain what I think it means.
Ben: For it was so the original pilot for the original Star Trek was called “The Cage” and it was about visiting these aliens who had these incredible like illusory mind powers, and they were trying to capture people because their civilisation had been devastated, and put them in a sort of, you know, a state where they had these illusory lives of luxury and wonder. And they capture the Enterprise crew – which includes Captain Pike because Kirk was not the captain in the original pilot – and they try to persuade him basically to stay on the planet and mate with this human woman, who’s like from a crashed expedition ship that they’d come to find, so that they could like breed a race of humans that they could use effectively as slaves. It’s not…it’s, it’s a pretty awful story line in terms of what they’re doing.
Ben: But then what happened was during the first season, this might dovetail into your discussions about the budget on Discovery, but they found because it was a, quite a new ground-breaking show in terms of special effects back in the ’60s, they were running behind in production, and they had to figure out some way to write episodes they could make real quick. So, they turned in a two-part episode, the only one that they made, called “The Menagerie”, which reused a whole heap of footage from the unaired pilot. And so the story became that long before – and this is why Pike was introduced as a previous captain of the Enterprise, like you know a decade before he was…the episode happened – Spock was serving on the Enterprise as science officer for Captain Pike, they’d had this adventure, and now in the future Pike’s like retired from being a captain, he’s been sort of kicked upstairs so to speak, he’s now a fleet commander I think. And he is involved in a mission where he gets horribly burned and ends up in a wheelchair which is a bit weird, like it’s the future.
Carla: Well there was a wheelchair user on Discovery. And maybe that was a reference to that as well?
Ben: Well it could well be. I mean I guess more weirdly is that they give him this sort of – and again the disability politics of this is not great – but he is… effectively he can’t speak anymore, he’s got facial burns that means he can’t speak, and he can’t move very much. And so he’s in this sort of remote-control wheelchair that’s controlled by his thoughts because he’s still perfectly cognizant in mind. And he can only communicate by beeping like once or twice and I’m like… (laughs) I feel like in Star Trek future they would have more sophisticated ways of doing that, but anyway, he can’t do that. And so Spock basically kidnaps him, and he mutinies, effectively, to kidnap Pike and take him back to this planet so he can live in this illusory world.
Ben: And like be happy for the rest of his life instead of being kind of miserable because the idea is he’s, you know, he’s like Captain Kirk, he’s a man of action, like not being able to go out and have adventures would be torture for him, which again, as I say, the disability politics of that is not great, but that’s the sort of back story of Captain Pike.
Carla: So that’s what you thought – what was the fortune cookie again? “Not every cage is a prison…”
Ben: “Not every cage is a prison, nor every loss eternal.” So I think that “not every cage is a prison”, it seems to me fairly clearly like an in-jokey reference to the fact that his original episode was called “The Cage” and he goes back voluntarily into this cage to live out his life.
Carla: Could be like a Rorschach as well, like… See to me, I think it means a thousand percent Lorca’s coming back.
Ben: Oh yeah well…
Carla: This is “good Lorca”.
Ben: …there’s more than a few people I’ve heard have said that.
Carla: But then hearing that again, I’m like, is that a Hugh thing too?
Ben: Mmmm. Yeah, could be.
Carla: Can he be, become like, embodied in a robot body or something?
Ben: Yeah, or you know…
Carla: Like Black Mirror style, you know… (both laugh) Like, all of, all of… (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) Oh God no! No no no, oh, that’s horrifying!
Carla: I don’t know. It’s Star Trek.
Ben: Yeah. Well it would be less horrifying in Star Trek I assume, but still…yeah.
Carla: I loved this episode also that it was fun. Obviously, they’ve kind of been through a lot and I think that that was kind of necessary as well to tell those tales about the Star Trek universe that we’ve known about but we’ve never seen properly. And now that we just had that, fantastic, space fun, super cool…
Ben: And it was like a real, it was a real rollicking adventure you know? I mean, yeah, we had, you know, science officer mansplain, ah, destroyed, but…
Carla: Which he will forever be known as.
Ben: Yeah that’s his name now. I’m sorry Connolly Affleck guy, but anyway. Yes. That aside it wasn’t a very dark episode because they have this adventure. It’s thrilling. It’s exciting. You know yes, they get injured there’s some…that feels like the people at risk, but they succeed in their mission, they rescue, um…Tig Notaro. I’m never going to call her by her actual character name…no.
Ben: They rescue Jett Reno. (laughing) And what a great name that is too, by the way! And they rescue all of the medical passengers as well on this medical ship. And they capture this massive asteroid that has weird properties that somehow interact with the mycelial network.
Carla: Or that it’s dark matter or…we don’t know…
Ben: It’s non-baryonic matter.
Carla: Yes, that’s right.
Ben: I might have something to say about that later.
Carla: Okay. But there is, there is a shadow.
Carla: And this shadow has a beard.
Ben: (laughs) Yeah, we do know that it has a beard. That’s true.
Carla: Okay. So now we know that Spock has been on…well, you know, he goes on two back-to-back five year missions.
Carla: Right? But he’s kind of having some, obviously some sort of breakdown. I’m just going to lay it on the table: do you think they are setting up some freaky-deaky incest situation here?
Ben: It does feel that way.
Ben: And you know what? Like, I’ve been through this with another TV show, so, The Flash TV show, the DC one. This is creepy guys!
Carla: So creepy.
Ben: Like, I know you want to think of it as romantic. But first of all, they grew up together as like, sure, not blood relatives, but basically brother and sister, and that’s like…that’s like all those stories of like people marrying their childhood sweethearts. I’m like “That’s not how life works, it doesn’t work out that way”.
Carla: But there’s further implications for this as well considering that Spock then later ends up with Uhura.
Ben: Mmmmmm, oh yeah. That’s a good point.
Carla: I hope there’s no kind of like…
Ben: I kind of hope it does go somewhere else.
Carla: Me too.
Ben: I mean Michael, Michael’s really stressing that she feels it’s her fault that she and Spock don’t talk, that they don’t have a relationship anymore.
Carla: But he doesn’t speak to Sarek either and Sarek is like “I never thought I would hear from him again”, so obviously…
Ben: We know why that is though, that’s addressed in the original series.
Ben: Because he gets… Because remember, there’s that episode, I think it’s “Lethe” – I always get the names confused – but where Sarek’s having, replaying that day where he had to pick who was going to go to the Vulcan Science Academy.
Carla: Oh yes yes yes.
Ben: And he picks Spock.
Ben: But Spock decides not to go to the Vulcan Science Academy, gives up his space there and goes to Starfleet instead. And that’s, that’s the reason why they don’t talk to each other for something like eighteen years. And in fact, they still, when they meet…
Carla: I didn’t realize it was so cataclysmic.
Ben: Well when they meet in um, in Star Trek the original series, I think – I think – that’s the first time they speak. So I think Sarek, even if Spock’s in this, I don’t think Sarek’s going to meet him and speak to him during this period.
Carla: Hopefully it’s just you know identity politics sort of swapping over because it’s quite clear that Spock has a very extreme reaction to her being full human. And Amanda is full human. And them having that connection and he has that child, you know… It seems to me like a cataclysmic version of the child “oh no this person is a competitor for food rather than an ally”. But it seems to be even worse because she’s also human. I don’t know. Hopefully big question mark over this.
Ben: Yeah. No that’s fair enough. And I, yeah, I hope it goes somewhere else, I hope it’s not that. But wherever it goes it seems like it’s going to be complicated and that I’m up for.
Carla: And dark.
Ben: And dark.
Carla: Dark and broody.
Ben: Real dark, because like when they, when they realise what the ship is, that look that Sarek and Michael share is like – oooh, neither of you are ready for this. And Sarek doesn’t know what happened between the two of them either. Like there’s that great exchange in Michael’s quarters where it’s quite clear that he doesn’t know what it is that’s going on between the two of them.
Carla: And that’s where it feels creepy because he’s like basically “my door is always open to you if you ever want to talk about it” but it’s kind of like “I don’t really want to know either”. (laughs)
Ben: (laughing) Yeah, like: “I’m a bit concerned about this.”
Carla: I will, before we wrap up, I will say one thing, I really, I thought it was very sweet Saru trying to grill Michael about her relationship. He’s like, about… Obviously she’s, you know, become distressed.
Ben: I did like that.
Carla: That was sweet.
Ben: I did, last thing I want to pop in to before we go on to other matters, I really loved Tilly and Stamets’ relationship in this episode. I mean also Tilly was just great throughout this like she’s very awkward with Pike which was just delightful. But also just that really heartfelt, like when Stamets tells her that he’s leaving the ship because he can’t deal with how much Hugh was around which also was… Like what a moment, like…oh. But she’s like you know, she tells Michael “You’ve got to come back from this, I can’t lose more than one person today.” But then towards the end of the episode when Stamets is like “Well I’ve got to stay on board until we finish this mission, like I can’t just leave now.” There was just that really lovely moment where he asked to be invited on her science mission and she said, “Well of course you’re invited,” and they did the high five over the power of maths! I was just like this is great. Like this is what I love Star Trek for, like nerds doing nerdy stuff in space together.
Carla: Loving it.
Ben: And when Saru says “pump the brakes”. (both laugh) Oh my God I love that so much. There’s just so much to like about this episode.
Carla: Yeah. All right. One more final thing that actually that scene really summed up as well: because I’m like everybody’s lost people on this ship, they’ve… Everybody! But it just really shows like even though of course Hugh was a casualty of war in the way that, you know, it was a sleeper cell agent that killed him, it’s still such a personal loss. You know, it wasn’t in war so to speak, it wasn’t in battle. It was, you know, while he was in the room, and that really, that really hit home how raw… And also that he finally had some time and space to start processing it.
Ben: Yeah. Because he wasn’t really, because he was kind of like not properly aware of it at the time either because he was like zonked out on like being connected to the network and I…
Carla: Zonked out on spores. (laughs)
Ben: There’s that scene… Like I watched the recap of this episode, and it has that scene where he’s just holding Hugh’s body and he’s…and he doesn’t…he clearly isn’t fully cognizant of what’s going on. And it’s just so awful. So, I really, I really like that he’s – it’s nice to see him in a calm place, like he’s still very clearly sad, he’s still in mourning, but he’s not distressed by it anymore. He’s processing it. Which I think is a version of grief that you so rarely see on screen. You know there’s this very much this idea in fiction – and it comes from our culture, that’s a very harmful idea – that you have this one relationship and its everything, and when that is over, if somebody dies, that’s it. You can’t be happy for the rest of your life. You know, you can’t have new lovers, you can’t move on. And I think what we’re seeing Stamets go through is much healthier, still no less sad, but much healthier than that.
Ben: Which I am liking.
Carla: Yeah, I think it’s great because it was concerning in season one. But now it’s understandable. All right, shall we move on?
Ben: I think we shall.
Carla: All right. Now it’s time for re:Discovery “Short Chats” where we talk news, trivia and anything related to Discovery. We will also be taking questions during this segment from you, the listener. So please follow all of our socials to be in touch. What do you have for me today Ben?
Ben: Well I kind of I wanted to talk a bit about the bridge crew, because as we mentioned we see more of them this episode which is great. But in particular I want to talk a bit about aliens on Discovery.
Carla: I love it.
Ben: And non-humans because we see a lot more of them on Discovery than we see on most of the other Star Trek shows, which I think is a function of them having a budget to sort of put them in.
Ben: But there’s such a weird variety of them which I kind of really like.
Carla: Ones that we have never seen before.
Ben: I know they’re really cool.
Carla: What about that sneezy snot alien?
Ben: I love him! (giggles) He’s one of my favourites.
Carla: Although I do have to say, someone once told me – shout out to Jay if you’re listening, because you ruined my life over this – he couldn’t watch The Walking Dead anymore because he was like “I can’t stand when things splatter on the screen.” And I’d never noticed it until that point.
Carla: And now it’s all I can see. And when that aliens sneezed, it splattered snot on the camera and I was like NO. NO.
Ben: Oh no! Carla it’s been ruined for you. (both laugh) You’re like “There are no cameras on the starship Discovery!”
Carla: We’re not doing this!
Ben: Well hopefully they don’t do it anymore.
Carla: So, on notice Discovery!
Ben: Yeah, I just really liked that. And one of the things I like is there’s the character Airiam, I think I’m pronouncing that right. Her name’s not said that often… And she’s the one who looks like a cy… like an android basically on the bridge. And I think we have to assume she’s not actually a full android, because there’s so much guff about Data being unique and the only, like, fully sentient robot effectively.
Carla: So, this has kind of gone around in circles, and at first they said that she was an augmented alien.
Carla: Which caused some confusion. And now they say that she a heavily augmented human.
Ben: Yeah. Which is also weird. I hope there’s an episode about augmentation at some point where it becomes a plot point, just to give us some context of what is the deal…like, does it become less popular in ten years’ time?
Carla: Apparently, she can swap parts of her, thing out.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Carla: For specific missions. And I’m like “What is that tech?!”
Ben: They said…where, it was on one of the After Trek episodes wasn’t it, where they talked about that. Is that right? Or on one of the websites.
Ben: Or something.
Ben: Yeah. So…
Ben: Yeah. So, I think that’s quite interesting. That was from quite thing… The other interesting thing about her though, is that the actor who played her in the first season…is no longer playing her. She’s now playing…
Carla: She’s now playing someone else, isn’t she?
Ben: Someone else. Yes, she’s playing one of the other crew members who’s fully human. So, they’ve been like, we’re gonna, we’re gonna give you a promotion so people can see your face. (Carla laughs) And we’re gonna cast someone else in your role, just as it becomes more prominent.
Carla: That’s very exo-genically racist. (laughs)
Ben: Yeah, it’s a bit weird isn’t it. Yeah. So, I don’t know but I thought that was very interesting. But yeah, I love that there’s so many non-humans on the crew, and I hope… I hope that a couple more of them get a bit more of a prominent role, ’cause, like…like with all the other Star Trek shows, most of the bridge crew and most of the important characters are human beings – or very close to human beings – and yeah, I’d love to see a couple more of the aliens… Like I love Saru so much, but I’d love to see a few more of them get a bit more of a look-in.
Carla: All right, I want to talk about the first six episodes. Well something for everyone to watch. So, Bryan Fuller left the show. Bryan Fuller designed the entire universe which was like three or four shows which we are now seeing becoming. But I don’t think he designed them in that way. Anyway, he imagined a whole timeline with multiple shows. The writers took over as the show runners and the writers, so they wrote most of season one. They wrote the first six episodes of this season before they were fired.
Carla: And Alex Kurtzman has now taken over as show runner. He was a writer and a director on the show. He’s taken over as show runner and his episodes are from episode seven onwards and he has indicated that, you know, his show will be very much more aligned. So, I don’t know whether there’s going to be quite a clear demarcation, or I don’t know but it’s something for everybody to have it back their minds.
Ben: Yeah, it’s interesting isn’t it. I mean because we talk about it being, he’s had this whole timeline of multiple shows. It’s important remember I think it was always intended to be fitting in with the timeline of, like the canon timeline of the original series, and everything else that’s already been made.
Ben: But yeah, I think there’s been a lot of questions about how much liberty has been taken in terms of where, where, like, what weird stuff is going on? Like, you know… I mean ’cause like Geordi needs a VISOR to be able to see when he’s blind, and it’s not until like towards the end of the Next Gen movies that he actually gets full-on artificial eyes. And yet, you know, Detmer on the bridge has got this big cranial implant with like either an…and I’m assuming probably it’s an enhanced eye… And look a lot of these details are not really important to the plot of the show. But when you’re putting them in you do have to consider that you know what Star Trek is and who watches it, so people are going to have questions about this stuff. So I’m hoping that what we see is that they have thought about some of these things.
Carla: Well that seems to me like it’s the visual version of the Cochlear implant.
Carla: So, it’s not actually kind of…
Ben: It’s not replacing the eye, it’s kind of…
Carla: Oh no she – it doesn’t look like that she has a glass eye it, doesn’t it. It does, it looks like an artificial eye.
Ben: The one on that side.
Carla: Whereas with Geordi it’s like it totally commandeers his visual network and makes his real eyes see.
Ben: Because he’s real eyes just didn’t work. Yeah. So, when he gets the new ones, they replace them. Except when he’s on, you know in Insurrection when his eyes grow back. And I’m like “What do you mean they grow back?!?!” Like, you… But yeah, he has to take his implants out or something, it’s a bit full-on.
Carla: Oh my God, I’ve got to go and watch all the movies again.
Ben: Insurrection is my secret favourite. It’s my secret favourite.
Carla: Okay. I’ll have you’re going to watch all the Next Gen ones, I think, because Tom Hardy’s in it…
Ben: It got a lot of flak.
Carla: As young Picard which is so absurd and hot.
Ben: Look that, he’s the best thing about that film. It’s really not very good. But Insurrection, yeah, is my secret favourite of the films. I really love it.
Carla: Do you have any other news?
Ben: I don’t have any news, I don’t think… I wanted to, can I talk a bit about science very briefly?
Carla: Of course!
Ben: I just I feel like I need a science corner because…
Carla: Ben’s science corner.
Ben: When Tilly and Burnham are talking about the asteroid and the fact that it interacts with the mycelial network in some way they describe it as non-baryonic matter and I love it when they use like interesting real science terms in Star Trek and often you know so often it’s just techno babble that makes no sense and doesn’t really interact with the real world at all. But non-baryonic matter is a thing because baryons, basically they’re class of subatomic particle the most famous baryons are ones that you would have heard of they’re protons and neutrons so pretty much all normal matter that we interact with is made up of at least in part baryons and so non-baryonic matter is it is a real thing and it’s weird and in our universe in what we know in the real world the kind of things that might be non-baryonic matter includes the matter in black holes or dark matter or neutrinos that sort of thing. So, it is it is a real consideration that this is weird, and I think the implication is this is non-baryonic matter we haven’t seen before. So, I just, I just was quite excited to see a science term used in a way that kind of made sense.
Carla: Well and now that the spore drive is decommissioned, I feel like I must have missed the memo on that, but are we going to have black hole? Are we going to have the ability to make black holes?
Ben: Oh yeah. Well they’re going to do something aren’t they. I mean it’s a science vessel! I just hope they don’t end up like the Glenn! (Carla laughs) So when, like the Enterprise has to come and save them because they’ve done something dumb. Actually, look you know, this is a question, is that I was a bit confused about the Enterprise being shut down.
Carla: Yeah that’s something that I don’t understand it was very much swept under the rug.
Ben: Yeah yeah. Like they…
Carla: So, I’m like sure whatever I’m going with it.
Ben: And they did mention it and I think basically the idea was that they had a lot they copped a lot of interference when they were trying to plot these seven you know red bursts.
Carla: Fried their network.
Ben: And it yeah. And then when they tried to get there something collapsed it. And I’m wondering – can I make a prediction?
Ben: I’m wondering if Spock sabotaged them so they couldn’t go after him if they tried to go where the bursts were because he knew where they were going to be. And I also felt, if I can say one other thing that made it a bit confusing for me, is the way they talked about how the bursts worked because the whole point of them being interesting is the seven of them happen identically at the same time. But then they all disappear too quickly for them to get a fix on where they are except for one which they can track. And I’m like, but hang on you know where the others are, you’ve got them plotted on a map of the galaxy, and then you go to this one and it’s not there anymore, like his famous line, (laughs) “Where’s my red thing? I was expecting a big red thing!” Anyway. But…
Carla: The thing that we know is that the Milky Way, it’s a Milky Way universe thing so…solar system thing.
Ben: Galaxy, yeah.
Carla: So presumably it’s going to impact Earth, that’s going to be probably the thing they focus on the most.
Ben: Look this is reminding me that one thing I want to look up before the next episode is how the quadrants, you know the Alpha Quadrant, Beta Quadrant, Gamma Quadrant…
Ben: How they align with the Milky Way. I have a feeling that it’s all in the one galaxy…noooo…well I’m not sure, because I can’t remember if the Delta Quadrant is like another galaxy, which explains why it’s so far away? But, our, the Milky Way is about 30,000 light years from one end to the other, if I remember rightly, so…yeah, that fits.
Carla: So, and then also there was the Milky Way story that Michael told right at the beginning. So there’s, there’s a lot of stuff, “spider senses” there.
Ben: There’s a lot of stuff going on.
Carla: One other thing I want to let everyone know if you don’t know already is that there’s been a new Star Trek show announced.
Ben: Oh yeah!
Carla: Starring Michelle Yeoh as evil Emperor, the Emperor, slash now good Philippa Georgiou, working for Black Ops. The whole show is going to star her working in black ops. There’re question marks over whether it will start production at the end of Discovery or overlap. Which sort of creates a lot of question marks about, you know, the future of Discovery and what it is intended to be. They’re saying four seasons, but we’ll see what happens there. But that is thrilling. And then there’s also – that compliments the Picard show, which is the new Picard show which is coming out in September. And then there’s also the cartoon as well that CBS have. So there’s four new Star Trek shows coming out, or in process.
Ben: That’s Lower Decks?
Carla: Lower Decks, that’s right.
Ben: That’s amazing. I’m really intrigued by the fact that you know they’ve got Discovery. They’ve got the Section 31 show, which will have to be set at the same time as Discovery because it’s Michelle Yeoh’s character and that’s where she lives. I don’t know about Lower Decks but then you got the Picard show which is this outlier, which has to be set further in the future…
Carla: So far into the future…
Ben: …than any other Star Trek show because it’s got to be –
Ben: – a reasonable amount of time after The Next Generation. So, I’m like… “What the hell?”
Carla: But that’s before Voyager though isn’t it? Or will it be…
Ben: No, it would be set after Voyager.
Carla: It’ll crossover with Voyager’s timeline.
Ben: The last Next Gen movie is set after Voyager gets home.
Ben: Yeah. Star Trek: Nemesis because Admiral Janeway talks to Captain Picard.
Carla: That is thrilling.
Ben: So yeah, I’m excited about that. And also, I just, I just want to see him. I just want to see him.
Carla: He looks so babin’. Have you seen the preproduction photos?
Ben: No, I’ve got to find those!
Ben: I’m looking it up.
Carla: You need a little a little sit down after that. (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) I bet I will. I hope he’s wearing the velvet open jacket.
Carla: No no.
Ben: Never mind.
Carla: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. All links to creatives are in the show notes or on our website rediscoverypodcast.com. We’d love to connect with you; please add us on Twitter and Facebook at @rediscoverypod.
Petra: re:Discovery is brought to you by Splendid Chaps productions. Find more entertainment for your ears at splendidchaps.com.
The moment we’ve all be waiting for is here! Brother is the first episode of Discovery season two, and the re:Discovery crew is here to guide you through it. In a thrilling season opener, we meet Captain Pike and some of the Enterprise crew – but not Spock as expected, which looms large. There are seven mysterious red lights blinking simultaneously 30,000 light years apart. An Enterprise officer meets a grisly end mid-mansplain. We talk Discovery’s aliens, non-humans and augmented humans. Science officer McKenzie nerds out about non-baryonic matter. And we collectively scream over the latest addition to the Discovery crew: Tig Notaro as the swaggering, sassy Jet Reno!Show notes…
This is a transcript of our introductory season one recap episode, available here.
Ben: Welcome to re:Discovery – a Star Trek: Discovery recap podcast made with love and logic. I’m one of your hosts, Science Officer Ben McKenzie, and of course I’m here with my fearless Captain, Carla Donnelly. How you doing Carla?
Carla: I’m great. How are you?
Ben: I’m well too. I’m excited! It’s still a week before the start of Star Trek: Discovery season two, which starts dropping on Netflix for those of us outside the U.S. from February 17 – or February 18 if you’re in Australia and live in the future… [Editor note: the actual premiere date is January 17 in the US and most countries, and January 18 in Australia.]
Carla: I was going to say “if you’re in the future”…
Ben: But that just means we have one episode to remind ourselves of the amazingness that was Discovery season one!
Carla: How are we going to do like a whole…? We’re going to have to compress it. I think we’re going to have to focus on one or two things that we want to deep dive into.
Ben: Yeah I think we’ll do that. You know I have, I have prepared, you know, a little summary of the whole season.
Carla: Oh yes, yes.
Ben: And of course major spoiler alerts for everyone for the whole of season one.
Ben: Obviously. And for each episode as we go. I mean this is a, it’s a recap podcast – we’re gonna tell you what happens! So if you haven’t seen it, you might want to watch it first and wait. But anyway, here we go: here’s what happened in Star Trek: Discovery season one…
Carla: I’m sitting up straight.
Ben: Star Trek: Discovery is set ten years before the original Star Trek series, and a century after Star Trek: Enterprise. Commander Michael Burnham, a human raised by the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, serves as first officer aboard the starship Shenzhou under Captain Phillipia Georgiou. They encounter a rebel sect of Klingons and Michael tries to persuade Georgiou to fire first, as Klingons only respect strength, but her mutiny fails, and she is court-martialled, and the Klingons begin a war with the Federation, killing Georgiou. Six months later Michael is brought aboard the starship Discovery, captained by Gabriel Lorca and crewed by many of her old shipmates, and enlisted to help him in the fight against the Klingons. Thanks to scientist Paul Stamets, Discovery gets an experimental “spore drive” which allows travel through an inter-dimensional mycelial network, giving it an edge in the war. But it turns out Lorca is evil and using them all to travel to a parallel universe, which he is originally from!
Carla: Dun dun dah!
Ben: When the Discovery returns – minus evil Lorca but with the mirror universe version of Georgiou in tow – they find they have missed nine months of the war. They sort it all out with the help of Michael’s almost boyfriend Tyler…but he turns out to have been a Klingon in disguise all along!
Carla: Dun dun dah!
Ben: The war is ended, Michael is forgiven, and the Discovery needs a new captain. But that’ll have to wait – because another ship has come to visit… Obviously that’s a, that’s a real short re-telling. (Carla laughs) I’ve missed a lot of details in there, but it’s quite a ride.
Carla: That was excellent, well done.
Ben: But what, what are some of the things that you most loved about season one?
Carla: Oh look general overview: I love that it’s…just…it feels like a fully-realised version of the Star Trek universe.
Carla: In terms of the confluence of technology. I think like in the last episode we talked about Voyager, and I do agree with you that Next Gen was a slightly better show, but Voyager had that technology of being able to sort of realise quite a lot of other sort of more complex timelines and it to look a little bit less crap.
Carla: This is…outstanding.
Ben: Oh yes like several levels beyond that.
Carla: And it feels like they can just really let rip in, in the full extent of their imagination. How about you?
Ben: Well yeah I feel much the same. I mean you know look I’m a, and I said I wasn’t going to mention this every episode, but I am an old school Doctor Who fan, so you know my ability to suspend my disbelief is pretty advanced.
Carla: Okay great. (laughs)
Ben: But yeah I do like that it feels to me…some people complain about how the technology looks so much more advanced in Discovery than it does in the original series when it’s ten years earlier in the timeline and I’m like, this is…
Carla: Who wants that?! (laughs)
Ben: If you were making Star Trek now this is what it would have looked like, like… (Carla laughs) Like they still pressed actual physical buttons in the original and you…like that’s not how you’d build a starship in 200 years time now, like we can all imagine touchscreens and projections and all kinds of crazy stuff. And so yeah I like that too. I like that it looks, it feels like it’s in the future. It’s very difficult to watch the original series and feel like it’s in the future and even, you know, Deep Space Nine, Next Gen era, it’s a little like it… It does feel a bit futuristic because they got lucky with a few of their predictions…
Ben: But you know when the thing that we use after an iPad comes out it’s going to feel real dated (both laugh), whereas this feels yeah this feels like it’s futuristic.
Carla: And that’s where I do think they actually, they did make a lot of concessions to the original series, and really the world. Like I’ve talked with you about this offline but there’s…I don’t even…why are they even using buttons? I don’t even think that…
Carla: You know. There’s so much about it that you could pick apart, but why would you? I did get all these like amazing little tingles and feels where, you know, they have all the original sounds in there of the technology, like (makes sound like “boooop”), you know? And I think they really did a great job of trying to sort of bridge that gap of the old show and this show. But speaking of it being in that era, that’s the thing that I actually love about this the most, is that they’ve used this opportunity to set the show ten years before the original show in this timeline. So in the canon of the shows that we have you know it sort of goes Enterprise, now this, then original, then TNG – and so they’ve used this opportunity to really insert the authority of women so much further back into the timeline so it kind of goes Archer, now Georgiou then Kirk. You know? And I thought that that was a really beautiful touch. I’m not sure if it was entirely intended but it gave me a lot of feels.
Ben: Yeah, no that’s that’s a really good point and it’s obviously not just women either, like there’s a lot of other representation in Discovery that’s been a long time coming to the Star Trek universe.
Carla: Do you want to talk specifically about Discovery itself?
Ben: About the show or about the ship?
Carla: (laughs) Well…
Ben: Because I do like the ship.
Carla: Oh yes we love the ship. Science, it’s a science vessel!
Ben: It is! I love that in that first episode – uh, well not the first episode, it’s the third episode – but the one where, you know, we first see the Discovery inside, and they identify it as a science vessel having, coming, you know just off the… It’s like a brand new one, it’s like one of the most advanced ships in the fleet. Um…which also explains why, you know, in some ways it seems more advanced than the Enterprise which is already in service at this point and so is clearly older than Discovery. But then they walk past a guard, and they’re like “Why would you see so many military dudes on a science vessel?” Like this is already interesting. I just really liked that from the get-go you’re not quite sure what the deal is.
Carla: And I think that’s actually really cool because this is where this show really pivots, and especially in placing it in the timeline as well, because we have a protagonist who is not a captain, we have a ship that’s not the flagship ship of the armada essentially… And also in all of the other shows, we hear about the science vessels, but they really seem kind of Dark Ops, Black Ops. It’s always to save them out of like really crazy situations…
Ben: They never show up unless like well the crew is dead because they’ve done something dumb.
Carla: Right. (laughs)
Ben: Which does happen also in Discovery, to be fair, I mean the Glenn has that fate doesn’t it?(laughter) So you know but but yeah we never see one as the main ship in this show.
Carla: We never we never get a peek of it unless it’s you know absolute. So you always kind of get this kind of classified air of these ships and they’re also supposed to be off-grid so that they’re not destroyed, or tailed by other alien races. So I love that it’s a science vessel.
Ben: Yeah, that is cool. That’s cool. And it’s awesome that there’s so many science staff aboard, in their fancy blue and silver uniforms. Which I do enjoy! (giggles) It’s interesting to see that, you know, they’re going to be seemingly phasing those out for uniforms that look a bit more like the original colours. We’ll see what happens with that I guess. But what else did you like about season one of the show?
Carla: Well queer representation is very important to me so obviously I loved Stamets and Culver but I also did not love that they suffered from, what is it? #killyourgays. Yeah. Which is you know whenever a gay character is introduced into a series they die pretty much straight away.
Ben: Doctor Who is notorious for this.
Carla: So…but we don’t – there’s kind of a question mark over that, because the new posters have Hugh in it!
Ben: Yeah he’s in there!
Carla: So we don’t know what’s going on there and also, obviously, Paul Stamets is still alive but..who knows.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Carla: So I love that. I love that being written into it, though I am disappointed that it has taken that trope as well. What about you?
Ben: Well there’s so many things I really liked that they decided to tell like sort of one long ongoing story, it’s quite different to what has been done in Star Trek before.
Carla: Wow, I never realised that! I, no, I realised that it was like one thing but I’m like, I’d never have thought about that in terms of… I guess Voyager was, the whole thing was that they were so far away, but it wasn’t an ongoing…
Ben: And, look, that’s strongest, and I think it’s one of the things I really like about the first two seasons of Voyager, is it feels much more like they don’t forget that. But after you get to about season three or four they kind of are just doing “adventure of the week”, except every now and then we remind you that we’re a long way from home and we don’t have many resources. But it’s still you know the adventure of the week: we make these guys, and meet those guys, and we carry on and there’s not really consequences for what we did.
Ben: Yeah, it was very much that. And then that’s what all the Star Trek shows have been like that. Which is great. Like it’s a wonderful format. I enjoy it. It means you can tell lots of different stories. I really like the way they, they meshed that kind of stuff into a really ongoing storyline. So you do get different kinds of stories, but they weave back into the main plot, and occasionally get one that’s more standalone like for example one of my favourite ones was the time travel episode, “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”. I love that episode, ‘cos I love a good time travel episode.
Carla: Me too.
Ben: I think they do it really well in Discovery but at the same time even though it has, you know, it’s reasonably standalone, it works because of things that are also advancing the ongoing plot, like Stamets being able to tell what’s happening. That’s an advancement of the plot where he’s becoming more enmeshed with the mycelial network. The relationship between Michael and Tyler, which becomes so important, is really advanced in that episode. So there’s, they’re really doing a really great job of having an ongoing story, but at the same time putting those little extra bits in.
Carla: But that’s also kind of…you know that’s a Matrix level employment there as well, because it’s a Harry Mudd episode.
Carla: As well. So it’s kind of putting all of its tendrils out into the rest of the Star Trek universe.
Ben: And that you know that also… I just think they’re so clever because that also serves the purpose of reminding us of…
Carla: The timeline…
Ben: …where Tyler came from, where they met him.
Ben: Yeah well also the timeline, tying it back into the original series, but also, you know… Because that’s where they originally meet him, and that’s why he wants revenge, because they leave him with the Klingons. It reminds us of where Tyler came from and reinforces his backstory which then makes the reveal all the more like delicious, when it happens. SO GOOD. Yeah. And actually speaking of Klingons, I also really love the Klingons in this.
Carla: Yes I do too. Oh okay, so we can pepper all of this with our little facts that we know each other…er, about it. Did you know that you can watch it with Klingon subtitles on Netflix?
Ben: What! No I did not know that. Are they Klingon characters?
Carla: No no, they’re anglicised.
Ben: Yeah, okay. That’s all right though, because I don’t know how to read Klingon characters.
Ben: That’s cool!
Carla: Isn’t that cool?
Ben: And now I can learn how to speak Klingon watching Discovery. That’s amazing.
Carla: Yeah. I don’t know like I feel like… I feel they’re very “coneheady”. They kind of freak me out with the size of their alien heads, it sort of feels more Alien-alien, you know what I mean?
Ben: Oh yeah, I know what you mean. Yeah.
Carla: And also I’m always like, where’s the prog rock, you know, hair Klingons?
Ben: Well, let’s see. I mean it’s interesting because someone was saying that Gene Roddenberry had an explanation for that, because in Star Trek: The Motion Picture there’s some Klingons, fairly briefly, involved in the film, and they look quite different from the ones from the TV show, and he explained saying well you know, not all humans look alike.
Ben: Like they come from different places they have different ethnic backgrounds, so do Klingons, and they look different. Clearly it’s a bit more wildly different, for Klingons.
Ben: But I think that could be part of it. I actually was thinking about that when I was re-watching the first couple of episodes and when you see the representatives of the twelve houses there’s actually quite a bit of variation in what the Klingons look like. And I’m I’m not 100 percent sure, I’d have to go back and have another look, but I think at least one of them did have something that was like hair, so I’m not really sure.
Carla: I was very much had my beady eye on that whole scene. But they had the holograms of the 24 houses who’d all turned up.
Carla: But really you can only kind of see six of them. So yeah you kind of extend your imagination to there’s maybe like three houses who choose to rock hair, or maybe they can go hair and just grow it at a different period of time, it becomes the fashion.
Carla: You know I thought about this way too much (laughs).
Ben: Oh look, I mean you know when you get up to stuff like the “Trials and Tribble-ations” episode of Deep Space Nine, where the Deep Space Nine crew including Worf go back in time, to the original tribbles episode – which is about a Klingon disguised as a human being, by the way, it’s a large part of the plot – but they’re looking at the other Klingons who are basically just sort of… Well they’re rather distressingly kind of people in brown-face with big moustaches, it’s not…the original Klingon makeup was not very great. But when you look at them and you look at like Worf, the Next Generation idea of a Klingon, he kind of says we don’t talk about it, this. And there’s a whole backstory as to what happened there. There’s like in Enterprise, they go into it a bit where they kind of explain there’s this sort of genetic thing or…I cant remember the exact explanation, but that… Klingon, the way Klingons look, has changed over time. So again it’d probably be quite interesting to go back to the first two episodes of Enterprise reminding myself what they look like in Enterprise, because they look a bit different in Enterprise as well. Klingons maybe are just really into evolution.
Carla: Hey. (laughs)
Ben: They just like to change it up every century or so. (laughs)
Carla: Sure, sure.
Ben: We’re going to really look like this now.
Carla: Maybe that. Well apparently, this is really off track or maybe it’s not, I was researching the history of body hair and apparently like men used to be like very clean shaved, clean shaved, shaved heads so they wouldn’t have anything to grab on in battle. So maybe like those Klingons have just gotten soft. There’s not enough battle happening in the United Houses (laughing) Klingon Empire.
Ben: Oh wow.
Carla: So many hair theories for Klingons, write us if you have any of your own? (laughs)
Ben: We’ll do a spin off podcast just called Klingon fashion tips. (Carla laughs) Anything else you want to talk about about the first season? I mean there’s so much… What about characters, who’re your favourite characters in Discovery?
Carla: …good or evil?
Ben: Ooooh…well…let’s start with evil.
Carla: Evil…oh, the Emperor, obviously.
Ben: Well yes.
Carla: Yeah. What about you?
Ben: Well I do like, I love the Emperor; Voq I love Voq. But also: evil Lorca. I mean he just treads such a thin line, like re-watching it particularly, I was talking about this with a friend the other day…
Carla: Oh, beautifully acted.
Ben: Every episode, you think he’s like maybe, he’s a bit evil and you don’t know he’s from the mirror universe yet, but you’re like maybe he’s a bit evil and then he turns it around. Like when he’s first explaining to Burnham what’s happening on the Discovery and she’s like, “You’re making a weapon, it’s not really cool” and he goes “Let me show you what I’m actually doing. I’m making a new propulsion system. When the war’s over we can use it for exploration.” And you’re like…
Ben: Okay, maybe he’s all right… But he’s just, he’s… He’s always ruthless but he sort of turns it around as if he’s ruthless for the right reasons. And he just keeps that pretence up so long. It’s, it’s beautiful. And also I just could watch Jason Isaacs all day, I think he’s just such a great actor. So he’s a probably favourite evil character.
Carla: I think like can we talk about the Terran mirror universe because this is the thing that I have so many questions about.
Carla: And then I think it would kind of cover off a lot of characters. So I’ve written a lot of notes… So with with the Terran Empire, Terran universe, right. Everybody seems to be accounted for in terms of major characters in there, pretty much living their lives in exactly the same way. So while we didn’t see Katrina Cornwell the Admiral in there, but, you know, we knew that there was an evil Lorca. We knew that there was an evil Michael whose death is mysterious, is presumed dead, though Michael says to the Emperor at the end you know, will you what, you can’t just bear to watch another daughter die. So what happened there? Did she kill her? So let’s just go on the idea… I can’t understand this, and I can’t, I feel like everything is very specifically laid in there. So it has to mean something. So right at the end the Admiral is like “But we saw the Discovery explode,” and they were like “Oh no, that was the Terran Discovery, because when we went to the universe they came here”. And so then she says “Well then when bad Lorca came here then good Lorca I must’ve swapped there”. So I don’t really understand she’s like “Well, a Starfleet officer on his own couldn’t survive in that world.” So I think there’s a huge question mark over… good…
Ben: They go out of their way to say he’s definitely dead which I hope means he’s definitely coming back.
Carla: And also with, and also like with evil Michael maybe.
Ben: Yeah. Could be. Could be. I mean I feel like they spent so much time on the mirror universe, like way more than most of the Trek shows have, that they probably won’t make it a major plot point in the second season. But you could bring a character from there. You wouldn’t have to explain it much because we’ve already spent so much time there. So I’m really hoping for a return of good Lorca. But yeah, the mirror universe…it has that standard kind of narrative drive, which is the parallel universe is completely different from our universe, or it’s a reverse of our universe in some way…except for the fact that all the same characters are in the same place so they could meet, because then we could just use all the same cast.
Carla: Are you thinking I’m thinking it too deeply?
Ben: No I think, I think that you’re right, and that they’ve made a lot of these decisions on purpose. But I also think that the whole point of having that kind of mirror universe is to show the same characters in that light. So – and it’s always been the way with the mirror universe episodes – is that they always feature versions of the main cast, although it’s often not the entire main cast, just as it is in this. It’s like…we never see both versions of Lorca, we never see both versions of Michael, we never see both versions of Saru or Tyler you know like there’s lots of people we don’t see both versions of…well we actually that’s not true. I guess we do see both versions of Voq, don’t we.
Carla: Yeah. See this is where the mechanics doesn’t work for me because Saru is there and then quote-unquote “evil” Saru is still there on the Shenzhou.
Ben: Oh yeah that’s right, he is there. Yeah.
Carla: And so then I’m thinking: what does “Killy” get swapped out into? So I think… I’m thinking about the mechanics too much, so let’s leave it at that, but let’s just say that there’s a huge question mark over a couple of these missing people and perhaps, Hugh – don’t know. But they weren’t married in that universe.
Ben: Well. And I don’t think we ever meet the mirror Hugh. Do we?
Ben: So yeah. That…Maybe he’s there.
Carla: That’s all I have to say I think about this section, because there’s quite a bit that I probably want to move to the “coming soon” section – what do we think is going to happen in the second season. Do you have anything else?
Ben: Um…No I don’t think so. I mean I just love…
Carla: You love Tilly.
Ben: …everyone on the show. I do love Tilly. I do love Tilly. Re-watching her, I’d forgotten that right the end of her first sort of major episode is when she tells Michael: “Here’s something people don’t know about me: I’m going to be a captain someday” and I’m just like… yeah you are! Like, shit yeah, this is awesome. Like, when you see a character who’s depicted as a bit, you know, clumsy, or um, nervous or anxious, often that’s it and they’re just a joke. But Tilly’s not that – like she has that aspect of her personality but when she’s on that first away mission, to the Glenn, she’s the one who points her phaser into the darkness and says “Show yourself” and she’s totally confident in that moment. Like she is super competent as a Starfleet officer, but she’s also a real human being who has foibles and anxieties. And I love that about her. But I love everybody on the ship.
Carla: Me too.
Ben: I’m really interested to see if we’ll find out any more about the characters who are still around on the ship, we see them fairly often but we don’t really know who they are yet. Like particularly the people who also served on the Shenzhou so like, oh I’ve forgotten her name, Kayla I think her name is, the bridge officer…
Carla: The first officer.
Ben: …the one with red hair. And a couple of the android characters. Like I’m interested to know a bit more about the expanded universe of Star Trek as represented in Discovery. I think Discovery’s like not the show for that in a lot of ways. But I’m interested to find out more about it and maybe we’ll see little snippets of it here and there.
Carla: I do have one more thing that I just thought about that was actually what I wanted to talk about the whole time is – I really, after watching this so many times, this really is a show about trauma and about post-traumatic stress disorder. Right, and this, and everybody has had these traumatic things happen to them and how it has kind of derailed their lives and it continues to derail their relationships in their lives. And there was this really amazing amazing moment with Tilly and Michael when they’re on the Klingon home world and she just pulls her aside and she’s like” I can see that this is going to be really hard for you and I just want you to know that you’ve got my back” and her face just like collapses because I’m like oh wow here’s this human person who was raised by Vulcans and this is probably the first time in her life that somebody has actually intuited her emotions and has showed her compassion. And I feel like that’s kind of like the foundation of the entire show. You know is feeling feelings.
Ben: Yeah. That’s right. Oh yeah I’d forgotten that moment. That’s so good. It’s also a central theme of the character of Michael Burnham is her repressing and expressing her emotions and learning when to do which because she’s had these two kind of, she’s got these two competing ideas in her head. You know she starts out very Vulcan but she becomes much more human like is one of the things that I kept coming back to is you know how much is she really to blame for all the things she blames herself for. And she does she does like in a moment of hotness.
Carla: or is it trauma?.
Ben: Or trauma, like she kills the, T’Kuvma, when she was the one who was like “it’s vital we don’t kill him we have to capture him or he’s going to be a martyr, and the Klingon cause is going to go on forever”, but as soon as he kills Georgiou, who she treats very much as a surrogate mother figure.
Carla: Mm hmm.
Ben: That’s it. Like she’s like nah let’s switch to kill he’s dead and then realizes you can see on her face that she almost immediately realizes what she’s done and that’s okay. And she blames herself for the war because of that I think. And that is one of many times throughout the show where you see that dichotomy. I think that’s exactly what’s coming back into that last scene you’re talking about.
Carla: And it may be what propels it into the future because it really is like it’s it is a show about mummy/daddy/children/ids, family issues and identity politics it’s essentially about identity politics because she struggles so much between her humanness and her Vulcan upbringing. And you know Tilly feels like she’s a cadet away from home for the first time just struggling to kind of put all these things she’s put into practice, Saru away from his home world one of only one of his kind. And they’re all, it’s about, and I guess it’s a really I feel like a homosexual experience. You know like you create your family but still at the same time you’re trying to unpack all of this shit that’s happened to you you know through all of your interactions with these people. So I really feel like the personal relationships in this show is the most complex and developed out of all of the Star Trek. And I think that’s even though it’s like it goes telenovela in terms of the crazy shit that happens this anchoring of the personal relationships is really what makes it so deep and rich and I think is becoming the best Star Trek ever made.
Ben: But no I got. Yep. I’d go with that. And I think it’s not a coincidence that we both love Voyager and now we love Discovery because while Voyager didn’t have as it didn’t have that element of the trauma it was so.
Carla: well it did! They were all well never going to go back and see their families.
Ben: Sure they had a shared trauma. That’s true that they it was a very much a show about a family because here’s all these people they starships their first mission and now they’ve been together and they they can’t leave they’re forced to live together. And it was less about choosing a family though because they didn’t have a choice but making a family out of who they had and the relationships that show are very familial which I love. It’s one of the things I love most about it and I think it’s yeah I think that carries into Discovery and it’s that aspect of it that I really like as well.
Carla: Well I feel like we’ll explore all these themes in the shorts, in the Short Treks. Which we’ll move onto now.
Ben: I think that’s a good plan because we were talking about Tilly and her competence and her desire to be captain and the first of the Short Trek episodes which if you’re not familiar with them these have shorter episodes they’re about 15 minutes long. They explore just various different ideas they dropped one of them a month in the lead up to the new season and the first one Runaway is all about. Tilly.
Carla: Lovely Tilly.
Ben: She just gets an adventure on her own.
Carla: She’s like..what is that cartoon movie, Brave?
Ben: Yes. She’s got the same hair.
Carla: She’s the lady from Brave.
Ben: Yeah she’s got the same hair as Merida. That’s true. It’s a beautiful story. She finds this alien who’s stowed away aboard the Discovery and helps her out.
Carla: Well and also has to, she’s coming from a life of rigidity in terms of Starfleet Academy and we see a first character development in terms of when to go against protocol and what is what is ethical. what is moral, which is actually really the basis the basis of a lot of sci-fi and Star Trek.
Carla: So seeing her sort of like, oh okay so she can do this, you know she’s not entirely by the books. I think that that’s setting her up as. A fully developed character now going into Season 2.
Ben: Yeah yeah. So that was that was great. And I think also it set the tone for the Short Treks where they’re primarily about a very small number of like usually two or three characters.
Carla: Oh I’m going to say they’re about character development it’s like what about the ship and the like well no that’s character development as well.
Ben: Yeah because the second one Calypso is probably my favourite of, of, the four although I like them all but it’s set, it’s just set in the future it’s written by Michael Chabon! who’s apparently I found out is actually in the writers room for Season 2 Disco.
Carla: Oh wow!
Ben: No he’s in the writers room for the new Picard show. That’s right.
Carla: Either or it doesn’t matter sounds great.
Ben: Yeah. I’m into it. And it’s yeah it’s set a thousand years in the future aboard the Discovery there’s nobody there except a computer that’s like running.
Ben: Zora. Yeah.
Carla: Who has become sentient.
Ben: And she just she rescues a guy in a life pod and wakes him up and it’s all about their relationship and it’s sort of told in these little slices you’re not quite sure how long he’s there but it’s clearly a bit of time and they develop this lovely relationship.
Carla: Well because she won’t technically release him.
Ben: She’s not she’s supposed.
Carla: supposed to
Ben: She was she was reticent to give him because he’s like one shuttle one shuttle that’s available but it’s it’s never been flown and she’s not sure if it’d make it all the way back to his home world so she’s not willing to let him risk it because he might die even though that’s clearly what he wants to do he wants to get back home is his fled he’s fled a war and his family is still back there and it’s just a really lovely exploration of just a really interesting I mean it gave me, reminded me of the film Her. Which I. I know you did not like.
Ben: But I did. But I think I think it maybe for you it was like a nice version of that film.
Carla: Yeah I guess. Yeah.
Ben: We don’t need to go into that. Calypso, I think, explores this relationship where this artificial intelligence Zora is a person, she’s a person. I don’t think you know the way.
Carla: She named herself. She’s named herself, she’s been out there for a thousand years developing her knowledge.
Ben: And she’s clearly feels feelings.
Carla: Yes absolutely.
Ben: And she’s feels he feels some feelings for dude.
Ben: And and what a pair of actors as well as so good in this for two actors who presumably are not in anything else who’ve just been brought in to do this one episode, one mini episode, they just nail it. They’re so good. I really love this episode.
Carla: I just love that it was so out there.
Carla: And I love. I do love seeing the ship as a person because the ship is a character. I mean it’s not so much it hasn’t been so much in this first season of Discovery but the ship is very omnipresent, particularly in Voyager, you know. So maybe that’s also coming as well because we haven’t really heard the ship’s voice much.
Ben: Yeah. And it’s sort of really personified although Zora seems to be separate like she always, she never seems to think of the ship as her. She sort of feels like she’s in charge of the ship which is a subtle difference because there’s there’s an episode of Next Gen and I forgot which one is where the Enterprise starts to become sentient and self aware. That’s interesting. I just I love it.
Carla: I also love what it potentially does to the timeline and when it went. Where were they abandoned. What is a thousand years into the future?
Ben: A thousand years from when as well, we don’t know? Like a thousand years from the end, of when Discovery ends, from sometime in the second season. Like what happens? We don’t know.
Carla: And is this is this something or is it is it nothing? Is it just going to be like a little dot on someone’s Star Trek timeline presumably in a bracket somewhere. So I love that.
Ben: It’s interesting that the first two episodes of the Short Treks feel like they could just have been ideas that somebody had for a story that could reuse the Discovery set. But the third and fourth ones feel like this might indicate something that’s happening in Season 2 because they’re using stuff that you wouldn’t just make for a 15 minute episode. Case in point The Brightest Star, the third episode.
Carla: Oh yes your favourite, the Kelpians.
Ben: Well you know what I love Saru, he’s one of my favourite characters but actually this is my least favourite of the Short Treks.
Carla: oh really?
Ben: I enjoyed him in it. I enjoyed, I enjoyed actually all the performances I really loved the bit at the end where he meets Georgiou and goes off like I thought that was lovely but I felt like for an episode where they’re like let’s explore Saru’s backstory and where he’s from and what his people are like it – just raised more questions than it answered for me. Like it didn’t.
Carla: Like what?
Ben: It didn’t feel entirely consistent with what we knew. Like Saru always has talked about how his species were a prey species evolved to detect the coming of death which kind of indicated that they were being constantly hunted down on their planet and he can run really fast as well.
Carla: He does say that like we were the equivalent of cattle.
Ben: Yeah yeah but it’s sort of like the way he speaks about it. Yeah it felt like they were being horribly subjugated and they hated it and it was awful. But then when we see his planet they’re all just like, “Yeah it’s part of the balance”, like they have this whole spiritual belief around it. And I mean you could argue that maybe this is what cows think when they’re in an abattoir. Well you know they’re waiting you know they’re like “Oh the great thing is coming to take us away” or whatever but they’re very calm about it. And it doesn’t quite gel with like their biology or the way that it’s been talked about before. And then there’s the technology level mismatch like Star Trek actually it has, has a weird habit of whenever someone’s a pre-warp civilization. They don’t show you like the equivalent of 20th century Earth..
Carla: Yeah it’s all sort of people in huts.
Ben: Yeah yeah. It’s like we don’t, you don’t see that you know lacking in technology to not be a warp civilization because you know there’s this very advanced bit of technology, there’s a floating pillar that transports his people away to be presumably eaten although no one in the episode seems to know what happened so them they just know that they go. So maybe Saru only finds out after he leaves. Who can tell but he knows something’s up he doesn’t believe that it’s right. And so when a bit of technology falls off it he uses it to communicate with the outside universe and contacts Starfleet and in particular, Philippa Georgiou who at this point in her career is not a captain yet. So it’s set quite some time before Discovery and I like the basic storyline but I just felt like this is weird like it was written by someone who did not write any of the other bits of Saru talking about his background. So I enjoyed it but I felt it was a bit incongruous and I’ll be interested to see because I expect they did not make three other Kelpian like masks and.
Carla: Ah that’s your prediction.
Ben: Just for this. Like I think we probably are going to go back and visit the Kelpians in season two and I’m excited for that. I’ll be really interesting to see where that goes.
Carla: Well that’s where my big question mark kind of hangs over this and I’m sure someone or many people have written about it at length that I can go and research later but I just don’t see how this fits into the Prime Directive. So she says “yeah you can come with us but you can never come back”. So is it because he’s been able to communicate.
Ben: Yeah. She says that she has gotten special dispensation because he has demonstrated an understanding of post-warp level technology because the interstellar communication device that he’s using is clearly as sophisticated as the kind of technology you need to travel at warp speed. That’s what I gathered from what she said.
Carla: It still feels really very vague.
Carla: And kind of you know.
Ben: So I’m going to secretly come down and take you away.
Ben: But no one on your planet can ever know and we’re not sure. And also it feels super. The whole situation where clearly the people eating the Kelpians and I’ve forgotten what they called but they have a post-warp civilisation and.
Carla: The Ba’ul.
Ben: The Ba’ul yeah. So it feels to me like Starfleet should get bloody involved so they should be saying like you have post-warp we want to contact you and we want to also say can you maybe not eat these like sentient beings who live on the planet below. Like that’s not really okay.
Carla: I don’t think they’re allowed to interfere culturally.
Ben: Well if it’s a post-warp civilisation they can talk to them on that level. Star Trek characters do it all the time like every second civilization that Voyager meets. They’re like “what you’re doing is ridiculous”. (both laugh)
Carla: So yeah I don’t think that’s another wormhole. I just don’t really want to go down. I actually really enjoyed the episode. Hopefully there will be more Kelpians because as we saw in the Terran universe there were also slaves and food.
Ben: Eaten by Terrans.
Ben: That brings us to episode 4 of Short Treks though.
Carla: The Escape Artist.
Ben: AH! This was a lot of fun.
Carla: Oh my god Rainn Wilson.
Ben: Ugh Just nailing it!
Carla: Who knew?
Ben: He’s having the best time of his life.
Carla: Totally totally reinvented my idea of him as an actor.
Ben: Yeah yeah yeah. And he directed this one too.
Carla: Wow I didn’t know that.
Ben: So he knows what he’s doing. He didn’t write it but he directed it and I did not see the ending of this coming!
Carla: Me neither.
Ben: So it’s Harry Mudd like he’s clearly running a con and like you just waiting for the other shoe to drop. There’s 15 minutes to this. It can’t just be him trying to get out of being captured for 15 minutes and sure enough he is running a con and what a con it is. It’s so good. The payoff is so good.
Carla: He’s got he’s got an A.I. robot Harry Mudd farm going. He’s got a little little Harry Mud’s ready to go out on grifts left right and centre.
Ben: And they seem they seem quite sophisticated until they kind of get rumbled and that breaks their programming and they quickly become not very sophisticated.
Carla: This was actually my favourite one. It was really peppy. It was it it was it didn’t feel rushed but it still had like a lot of information in there. It had a great twist at the end. I felt like I really understood more of the character. And also there’s going to be this huge question mark every time we encounter Harry Mudd now from now on is like is he real?
Ben: Is the real one?
Ben: That’s great is that yeah I hadn’t thought about that but you’re right yeah. Oh yeah that was great. I really loved it.
Carla: Shall we discuss very briefly our thoughts for the next season. I feel like we’ve captured a lot of it in the rest of the discussion but.
Ben: Yeah let’s. What do you think is going to happen in season 2. What do you what do you hope.
Carla: Well actually have had a little bit of foreshadowing or actual information about this so there is the original trailer and now there’s the second trailer which leaks information that was leaked like a Comicon or something.
Ben: Oh yes that’s right.
Carla: This was scenes that were cut from the finale of the first season where Georgiou is recruited by this thing called “Black Ops”. We don’t know what it is. We don’t know what they do.
Ben: Is it Section 31? Yes because we did. And you know what they seed that in the very first episode, well not the very first, again the third episode because they’re walking along the corridor. The prisoners with Burnham and they see the guy with the black badge and you’re like that’s got be Section 31. Come on. Listeners, if you’re not familiar with Section 31 they crop up a lot in Voyager and Enterprise, particularly Enterprise. They’re like the yeah the black ops section of Starfleet.
Carla: So that’s that’s really super exciting just to know that Michelle Yeoh is going to continue to be in it. She has just been phenomenal.
Ben: Yeah so good.
Carla: Phenomenal. The fight scenes the fight acting. What a babe.
Carla: The thing that I’m actually most looking forward to is getting to know Christopher Pike, Commander Christopher Pike. Captain Christopher Pike who was the original captain of the Star Trek Enterprise who we never really know knew anything about and Tig Notaro is in it!
Ben: Oh yeah I keep forgetting that I have no idea what her character’s going to be. It’s going to be great to find out.
Carla: So exciting.
Ben: I’m pretty excited to see what Spock is like. But a new Spock that’s pretty exciting. I don’t want to just get excited about the stuff that’s old Star Trek stuff coming back as in the original series is my is is a Star Trek I’m least familiar with you know, I’m mostly familiar with the movies right, so I’m I’m enjoying the idea that here is like another way into the origins of those characters and those situations. But also I, I think I haven’t seen the full second trailer but I’ve seen a bit of it and I’m pretty sure that Tyler is in it which means Tyler’s coming back.
Ben: I’m pretty sure I might have been imagining that but I thought he was.
Carla: That would be amazing. And didn’t you say that Spock is being called a hipster Spock now.
Ben: Because he’s got a beard yeah. (both laugh)Yeah. He’s got the beard.
Carla: I definitely want more gay love. Hopefully that is being heralded by Tig Notaro.
Ben: Well I kind of my when I first heard Spock was coming I was like Oh maybe, maybe Spock and Stamets will get it on and then I was like Spock’s not getting it on with anyone, he’s like Vulcan he’s just.
Carla: No the Vulcans have you know their seven year Pon Farr
Ben: Yeah and he’s not due for it which is actually it is only seven years?
Carla: I think it’s seven years. Yeah.
Ben: Wow. Okay well maybe he is due for it, it’s ten years before Star Trek. It could be fourteen years before it happens in the TV show. I don’t know.
Carla: One more thing that I’m sort of like question mark or that I would love to see because we’ve seen a lot of the aliens that we know some busted up robot people that we’ve never seen before (laughs). But also like a question mark over the Romulans, I don’t know where they come into Star Trek but I mean already there’s contact with Vulcan so they must be aware of the Romulan’s.
Ben: And when where Michael goes into the spore drive chamber one of the places that she sees is the council chambers on Romulus. So we know that the Romulans are around but I don’t know if there’s a neutral zone I don’t know what the deal is. I think from memory and my memory this is a bit hazy cause it’s what I’ve read about not seen in the original series. There’s kind of like a surprise reveal that these people aren’t Vulcans they’re Romulans.
Carla: Oooo! Yes I think that’s right.
Ben: So I think if there are any Romulan if there is any Romulan stuff in there it’ll be it’ll have to be sort of kept secret somehow.
Carla: I think we can definitely look forward to lots of body swap Freaky Friday shenanigans. Yeah.
Carla: And maybe like a bit more spice maybe some romance.
Carla: Fingers crossed.
Ben: You would hope so. I hope, I hope Michael finds some new romance. Hope Stamets finds some new romance. I can’t, I know we talked we talked about this again. I just don’t know what’s going to happen with Hugh. I mean see Hugh still exists as a sort of entity in his mind. Like made.
Carla: In the.
Ben: Real by the network.
Ben: But whether or not they’re still using the spore drive is going to be a bit of a question mark and what happens to the spore drive because there’s no mycelial network travel in like any of the other Star Trek series so clearly there’s some reason why they don’t use it anymore. It’ll be interesting to see if that comes in in this season or if they sort of push that off too later because I believe Kurtzman who’s now taken over the running of the show has said that it’s going to sort of merge more into what you what we know of Star Trek canon. I hope that I did that too much. I mean I think one of the great strengths of Discovery is a show is that it just went its own way.
Carla: I agree and they can explain it all away by it being a science vessel and you know it’s all kind of classified. I mean they even go to lengths to say at the end it’s like we’re all in agreement. This is completely classified. Nobody can ever know about the Terran universe you know. So I do think that that’s its strength.
Ben: Yeah totally. So yeah I’m interested to see that. But you know I as I I may have said before on the podcast I’m a I’m a continuity nerd I love that stuff and I can’t wait to see how the show explains it. I can’t wait to see how fans explain it and I just can’t wait to see what kind of crazy stuff they add into the Star Trek universe. Then we have to sort of figure out how does this fit. Because I love that. I mean that’s why I watch these shows. I love the creation of this mythology and the expansion of one that already exists and has so much in it. It’s just it’s great. It’s good fun.
Ben: Well that brings us to the end of this our second introductory episode of re:Discovery which means of course from next episode we’re going to be talking about new Discovery again.
Ben: Oh so exciting. We’re looking forward to it. We hope you are too and we hope you’ll join us then. But until then…live long…and prosper.
Ben: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. All links to creatives are in the show notes or on our web site redicoverypodcast.com. We’d love to connect with you. Please add us on Twitter and Facebook @rediscoverpod.
Petra: re:Discovery is brought to you by Splendid Chaps Productions. Find more entertainment for your ears at splendidchaps.com.
Welcome to the second bonus episode of re:Discovery! We recap all of season one – a huge undertaking – and discuss it in depth. We talk Klingon hair (or lack thereof), the identity politics and trauma of the Shenzou and Discovery crews, ponder if Good Lorca still exists and much more. In the second part of the episode we cover the four Short Trek episodes and talk what it all may mean for season two. This episode contains spoilers! So please make sure you watch all covered content before listening. We’ll be back on Tuesday the 22nd of January for our first season two recap! (Which, despite Ben’s mistake, will be after the January 18th premiere, not February 18th. 😂)
This is a transcript of our first introductory episode, available here.
Carla: Hello and welcome to the best thing that has ever happened to me – re:Discovery, a Star Trek: Discovery recapping podcast! I’m one of your hosts, Carla Donnelly. You may know me from my other podcasts about my obsessions: Across the Aisle, a performing arts criticism podcast, and Club Soderbergh, about the films of director Steven Soderbergh. However, Star Trek is my deepest and oldest love. So here we are. And by we, I mean us, the other half to re:Discovery – Ben McKenzie. Ben where would our listeners know you from? And most importantly tell me your personal history of your relationship to Star Trek?
Ben: Well listeners might know me from other podcasts including the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary celebration Splendid Chaps, which is where I got started in podcasting. Or from my other current podcast, Pratchat, which is a Terry Pratchett book club where we’re trying to read and discuss every single book written by Terry Pratchett, one every month. Which is basically like being in Star Trek – we’re on a five year mission, except it’s going to take us more like six and a bit years.
Carla: Okay so your nerd credentials.
Ben: And you might also know me from Night Terrace which is a time travel audio comedy series which I co-wrote, co-produced, and I star in it alongside Jackie Woodburne who plays Susan from Neighbours, and Petra Elliott… I should say she plays Susan in Neighbours, not in my show. That would be weird.
Carla: Though coming soon! (laughs) Potentially.
Ben: Okay, so I started watching Star Trek back in the 90’s when The Next Generation was on TV. My stepdad at the time really liked the old Star Trek and he wasn’t that much of a fan of the new one. So you know…
Ben: Look… One of many ways in which he and I never got along. But I resisted it for ages because I was very much an Anglophile growing up. So, for me the big sci-fi thing was Doctor Who, always, and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Red Dwarf. They were sort of my three big sci-fi things. But then when I – and I watched a little bit of Star Trek Next Generation but not a lot – and then when I got into university I sort of… I was at a college and there was the main TV room, which was closed in the evenings, and then there was another one that was hidden under the stairwell. And me and this other small group of nerds, we would all go down there late at night when everyone else was like leaving, or in fact we just claimed it as our thing, and we’d go down there at like nine or ten o’clock at night and watch whatever sci-fi show was on. And that’s when I really started to watch a lot more Star Trek. I’d kind of, you know, I’d seen the films, I got into the films, I liked the films but that was when I really started to get into it. And mostly that was, it was a little bit of Deep Space Nine, sometimes it was Babylon 5 you know or some other non-Star Trek show, but it was sometimes Deep Space Nine, but a lot of Voyager. And I think because Voyager started around that time when we were watching it, for me Voyager is like my first true Star Trek love. I really…
Carla: Oh! I just got chills, because exactly the same!
Ben: Yeah. Because for me it’s always a bit of a guilty pleasure. I think in some ways Next Generation is a, is a better show. But Voyager, particularly the first two or three years of Voyager, is still probably my favourite Star Trek. And I’ve since gone through and watched the whole thing again. I kind of I love it. So that’s my Star Trek background. How about you? How did you get into it?
Carla: Wow. I come from a family of pretty nerdy, sci-fi, freaky people. So sci-fi was huge in our household. Yeah. And when I was little, like really little, like infant, my favourite shows were Doctor Who and Astro Boy. And like I figured out exactly what days, it took me like ages when I was like three, to figure out that TV shows came on at regular times on regular days, and then once I cracked the code of the television guide there was no stopping me. So we did watch Next Gen in the ’80s, most religiously actually, and all sci-fi films. My dad would take us to the movies all the time to watch everything Star Trek, Star Wars and a lot of things that really terrified me like Dune. He showed me Dune when I was eight years old, he’s like “You’re into Star Trek and David Lynch let’s watch this”. No. Bad. So yeah, I had a pretty steady diet of it. And I think, and I…you know, like a lot of box sets in the ’90s. Same as you were, about the same age, I remember that commercial television around that time, yeah it was like the 10-11-12 slot was all taken up with sci-fi re-runs or things that were on during that time.
Ben: Stuff they bought cheap from the US.
Ben: “We don’t think that Australians really want to see this. But we know that the nerds will stay up late at night and watch it.”
Carla: Yeah. (laughs)
Ben: That was my theory. (laughs)
Carla: Well, thank you. Because yes it was true for me. But it wasn’t really until, like, it’s always been in the periphery for me I’ll always go into a Star Trek movie when it comes out. But like five years ago Jessie Scott, who I do Club Soderbergh with, she was just appalled that I had never really seen much of Voyager. And she’s like it is the best one you have to watch it. So I finally sat down to watch Voyager and it just pretty much beamed me into a new Star Trek fandom.
Ben: Yeah. Do you have a fave Voyager character?
Carla: Tuvok. Because I’m a Vulcan freak, obviously, because of my avatar too.
Ben: I’m so glad you said that, Tuvok’s my Vulcan dad. I love him.
Carla: Tuvok is the Vulcan-ist of the Vulcans. He’s magical.
Ben: I love him so much.
Carla: Totally. But also Janeway, of course, like and also like I love Neelix as well and whenever I see the actor in other things as well I can like pick him even when he’s off screen just saying something and I’m always so excited. What about you?
Ben: Look you named, you named most of mine. I do have a soft spot for Harry Kim.
Carla: Oh yeah.
Ben: I just feel like…you know, he’s very put upon, and he’s, like he feels that… I can identify with how he feels, this tremendous weight of responsibility that he’s just an ensign, on this, like, supposedly, you know, first job, and then all of a sudden “Oh we’re cut off from Starfleet on the other side of the, you know, Universe and everything’s awful and now I’ve got to really pull my weight, I can’t like get transferred off the ship when I’m not good enough.” And you know, I just really like the actor as well. And I think for some people they sort of see him as the Wesley Crusher of Voyager which seems a bit mean.
Carla: That’s rude.
Ben: But I really like him. Yeah. I like most. Actually I like pretty much the whole cast of a Voyager. I love the…
Carla: B’Elanna was awesome.
Ben: Oh B’Elanna is great.
Ben: Yeah. B’Elanna Torres.
Carla: I guess like that’s the thing coming here today, thinking about why was it that Star Trek really caught my eye? And it was something that I did go back to more than the other sci-fis. And I think even in my little tiny child brain it was…even though sci-fi is the most progressive genre, quote-unquote, because you know they are breaking down barriers and have been for 50 years, 60 years in TV. Star Trek really kind of did have more developed female characters even with the Next Generation like Beverly Crusher was the doctor and the women really had proper roles and they weren’t kind of supplementary like they were in…
Ben: Tasha Yar.
Carla: Star Wars… Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. It’s interesting because you know from a Doctor Who perspective you’ve got all these people who talk about the ’60s era of the show, when it started, as being the most sexist, and yet in actual fact when you go back and look at some of those episodes there’s extraordinarily sort of forward thinking stuff in there. Which then is kind of lost throughout the ’70s and ’80s, and has come back, you know, obviously in the new show in various ways, and also yes, it’s got its failings. But I think, yes, Star Trek’s got that weird sort of combination of both as well, like it does some things really progressively and some things are like “ugh”. And both of them, because they’ve both been around for so long, like they get examined in a way that other shows from the 1960s don’t. Like particularly Doctor Who because it’s the one show – even though you know it’s also been like six or seven different shows throughout its history, but it’s been the same character in the same sort of situation basically throughout the whole thing – that gets examined a lot. But I think also Star Trek, because it still exists as a sequel series and spin-offs and new ideas about what it should be, and so we do go back and look at the original with a more critical eye than maybe we do other shows from the 1960s which just get forgotten and nobody goes back to look at them again.
Carla: Yeah like Lost in Space which has had a reboot now.
Ben: Yeah I do like the reboot of Lost in Space.
Carla: Oooo Parker Posey!
Ben: Love Parker Posey.
Carla: Oh my God, that was a casting…and that’s what I’m, like, this is where we need to go. If we’re going to re-imagine these things just recast them with different genders.
Ben: Oh yeah totally.
Carla: You don’t need to change much about it to get the inclusivity and diversity happening. You can just put different actors in the same characters. It’s a mind blowing thing for a lot of people apparently.
Ben: Well you know Doctor Who’s been doing it for a long time. I mean it’s taken them a long time to finally cast a woman and I think in a lot of ways, for example, Jodie Whitaker’s Thirteenth Doctor is written very similarly to the other characters. And I think you know when we get into talking about Star Trek: Discovery I think again you know a lot of the stuff is- they haven’t really had to change much, like they’re not writing captains particularly differently. I mean this was true in Voyager as well: Janeway was her own character, she was her own kind of captain, but she wasn’t like a radical departure from the kind of captains that you’d seen. And I kind of liked that she’s got a bit of Kirk and a bit of Picard in her but she’s also very much her own thing.
Carla: Well she was so hardcore science, so she was, you know.
Ben: But everyone in the future is Carla, it’s what I love about Star Trek.
Carla: But I don’t really feel like that about Picard. You know, like…
Ben: Well he loves his archaeology.
Carla: (laughing) And archaeologists as well!
Ben: Yeah. Oh yes that’s true. (laughs) Can’t get enough!
Carla: All right. So just before we wrap up what is your favourite thing about Star Trek?
Ben: Well it is that, you know, it’s that idea of the future. It’s really, it’s a kind of future I can really get behind where everybody is a massive science nerd. Like it doesn’t matter what job they have on the starship, they understand quite advanced ideas in physics and chemistry and geology and, you know, human knowledge is like a thing that you do because you understand its worth, it’s not like your job. And I think that I really I really dig that. And extrapolating further from that, that idea of what the future could be like for people. That’s kind of a big broad one, but I just really like that idea.
Carla: Like you just really love the Star Trek universe.
Ben: I really like what the future human society looks like…
Ben: ..in the Star Trek universe. Yeah.
Carla: Yeah and I would agree because I think that it’s actually… I mean you can understand that that was sort of a post-war Atomic Age view of what the future could be in the 60s, but for it to still develop into that in the 80s, like in decades of total social nihilism, and to have this kind of little beacon of “but we can be this in the future”… It’s amazing.
Ben: How about you? What’s your favourite thing about Star Trek?
Carla: I’m more sort of on the mechanics of it. And, and it’s also why I like Voyager the best as well because the temporal timelines in Voyager I think are the best.
Ben: I love a good time travel episode.
Carla: Yeah, and they’re so well developed and we’ll talk about it soon in the next episode or in the future with Discovery. But there’s this whole other Star Trek universe like a thousand years into the future that keeps you know touching back and there’s all these other timelines so I love the breadth of that. And you know it’s just obvious seeing nerd writers really ripping into their favourite fantasies, and I love that, and I love that there’s a place for that in this world. You know what I mean?
Ben: It is, like, for continuity nerds – and I am one – Star Trek is the most fun playground. ‘Cause most of it makes sense, you know? That’s the thing. Whereas if you want to get into continuity nerd stuff with Doctor Who – and I promise I won’t, I’ll try not to talk as much about Doctor Who in the rest of the podcast, I already did a whole podcast about that… But, you know, it’s written by different people and totally different production teams over a span of you know 55, 56 years now. So it doesn’t make any sense. Like that’s the honest truth, most of it does not make any sense, even within the last 11 years. So looking at Star Trek you know and the amount of work that fans have already done to make it make sense. I love that shit, ohhh, I love it.
Ben: So I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.
Carla: I do too. So we’re a little late in the game as the second season of Discovery is about to begin but we’re just so happy to be doing it at all. A bit of housekeeping in terms of what to expect: we will be publishing episodes on Tuesdays, Australian time, because we’re obviously Australian.
Ben: Yeah, and now you know who we are and where we’re coming from, you’re ready for next week when we publish our preview episode. We’ll be discussing the first season of Discovery, the Short Treks mini episodes that we watched, somehow, and our spidey-senses about what we think Season 2 might have in store for us.
Carla: Can’t wait. Until then… re:Discovery is hosted by Carla Donnelly and Ben McKenzie. Our theme music was composed by David Ashton of Sample and Hold Studios, and our portrait illustrations were created by Alex Clarke. All links to creatives are in the show notes or on our website rediscoverypodcast.com. Please connect with us on Twitter and Facebook at @rediscoverypod. And we record this podcast on the stolen lands of the Woiwurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin nation. Land that was never ceded, land that was and will always be Aboriginal. Thanks for listening!
Petra: re:Discovery is brought to you by Splendid Chaps Productions. Find more entertainment for your ears at splendidchaps.com.