Episode Transcript: An Obol for Charon (S02E04)

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

Saru [From episode]: I’m most certainly not… dead.

re:Discovery theme plays.

Ben: Hello and welcome to re:Discovery. The Star Trek recap podcast whose favourite songs are considerably less than 288 years old. I’m one of your host Ben McKenzie and I’m joined as always by my fearless Captain Carla Donnelly. Greetings Captain.

Carla: Live long and prosper Ben.

Ben: So, let’s talk about “An Obol for Charon” an episode that combines the fun and hope of this season’s first couple of stories with some of the darkness and mystery of Season One. While the Spock thread is kept dangling in front of us and yanked away like yarn in front of a kitten. This episode progresses the “May” plotline, returns Tig No… I mean Jett Reno to us; finds great plot reasons to explore rich elements of the Star Trek mythos and gives us some big feels; and gets deep into Saru and his relationship with Michael. We kick off with a blast from the past, Captain Pike’s trusty Number One visits briefly to confirm Enterprise is still in space dock and to deliver a clue that will let Discovery chase after Spock. Pike argues with Burnham over her reluctance to get involved but while in pursuit of Spock stolen shuttle the ship is sharply pulled out of warp. A massive sphere, part biological in nature, has them in its grip and soon starts messing with a universal translator and other ship systems causing chaos. Saru’s mastery of languages comes in handy but soon he collapses. What he had hoped was just a cold is actually “vahari” the state Kelpians enter when they are about to die either at the hands of their predators or in madness.

Ben: In engineering standards until here watching over “May”, the fungal life form, when they are joined by Jet Reno sent to seal off the ship’s propulsion systems from the malfunctions happening elsewhere; and to trade sass with Stamets. When the power is shut off “May” escapes and latches onto Tilly dosing her with hallucinogens. Although whether to calm her or take her over is unclear. Burnham and Pike debate what the sphere wants, it could surely kill them if it wished, so why this slow attack through the computers? Burnham and Saru work to slow down the spheres virus like influence and share a tender moment. Their work done, Michael learns Spock’s trail will go cold if they don’t break free of the sphere soon and visits engineering where Stamets plan to talk to “May” through a neural interface inspires her. Heading back to Saru the two realize the sphere is trying to communicate and that this isn’t first contact but last. Saru’s “vahari” was triggered because the sphere is dying.

Carla: Saru and Michael convinces Pike to power down the Discovery to receive the spears message, believing it is the spheres attempt in its final moments to download its history for preservation before it dies. The spear pushes Discovery away to safety just as it implodes gifting the federation with 100,000 years’ worth of data from its vantage point. In Season 2 his first real tear-jerker, we cut to Saru instructing Burnham to sever his ganglion -euthanizing him before he descends into madness. Michael’s face contorts in pain as she cries desperately wondering whether this is truly inevitable. Both Saru and Michael are forced to accept what they have been indoctrinated, logic and biology. And this seems to be the main theme of this episode, the polarization between action and surrender. There is a lot in this episode for the Trek fan, the misfit who left home without looking back to find a place where they belonged; where they could be truly stimulated and perhaps people they could call kin. This for me was the source of my many tears shed over this episode. If we surrender to others ideas of who we are and what our potential is, that this is a form of death. But who are we without someone to remember us? Do we exist? Did we exist? But when we push we can discover an entire universe of ourselves but also the rage that is unleashed that comes with this knowing.

Carla: This is further characterized back in the lab with Stamets, Tilly and Reno. Dr Frankenstein, I mean Reno, has trepanned a neural interface into Tilly to talk to “May”. In a childhood that appears to be dotted with loneliness and isolation, May is a friend that Tilly had for only six months and is the fungi’s best bet at manipulating her kindness. The team are dosed by the entity until he disappears seemingly into the mycelial network just Stamets was going to close the door for good. This episode heavily explores the isolation drive and ambition of the highly intelligent. All crewman on Discovery are the best in their field but struggle heavily with their interpersonal relationships; most maintaining a persona that appears impenetrable. However, it is only through teamwork connecting with their fellow humanoid that they are able to achieve their goals and truly by letting others in allowing themselves to love platonically, it radicalises their world beyond anything that they have experienced. The yin yang of human’s fascination and aspiration with space exploration being represented in the microcosm of emotional experience, I feel is absolutely the essence of Star Trek. I adore this episode Ben, but do you think I’m projecting? (laughs).

Ben: Look if you are then I am too. Did you cry Carla?. Because I sure did.

Carla: Oh my god! Are you kidding? Just not even for Saru dying because of course I love Saru but Michael, like Michael’s just beyond existential pain. It’s so multi-dimensional the things that she is having to accept and go through all in that one moment.

Ben: Well it’s her life, like you know, she’s made a new family of the Discovery but Saru is now like the last link to her old family from the Shenzhou. I mean yeah Detmer is there as well, but I don’t you never get the impression that the two of them were ever close. Not like she and Saru were and they’ve had this big bust up where you know Saru couldn’t agree with her methods and what she did. He’s forgiven her, they’ve repaired that friendship, they’ve become close again and now she’s going to lose him. It’s heartbreaking you know, and they have those, I’m tearing up now thinking about it, it was just it was wonderful and sad and I really I really thought he was going to die.

Carla: Me too.

Ben: I really did because I mean it’s a show that’s shown that it’s quite happy to kill people off and look you know in modern television, I think in this post Game of Thrones era we all think anyone could really die…

Carla: At any moment.

Ben: You know they’ll be in the episode when their name is in the titles. That’s as much as you can tell, and you don’t know if they’re going to be dead as a ghost or a flashback and they could die. And I really thought it was going to happen and I was so glad that it didn’t. Not just because you know I love the character of Saru but because I really like where it’s going to take his storyline, but I absolutely agree with you that it’s such an important theme in this episode that people have found their place in Starfleet aboard a spaceship and that the letting down of those barriers that they put up is so important for their success.

Ben: It was what I was talking about you know an episode or two ago about the characters trusting each other and telling each other what was going on which has been a continuing theme and they resist that at first, most of the time. But the thing that I like about Discovery is they let those walls down pretty quickly usually within the same episode or at least the episode after.

Ben: So, it’s never like oh finally you’ve told him about that say no. This only happened earlier this episode or last episode. So yeah I don’t think you’re projecting. I think that’s what it’s all about.

Carla: And also, I think like Michael and Saru are you know metaphorical or parables about science and religion. You know you’ve got one race that is entirely biologically fear driven and you’ve got one race that is highly logic driven and the whole arc of their relationship has been about trying to find that space between them that they share; and not only just getting along but also developing this deep relationship between each other. And that they need each other, they’re not single units you know that there is – together they are more than the sum of their parts. And that is you know it’s just such a beautiful message.

Ben: Absolutely. I think also there’s a great internal conflict in Michael, although it’s not a conflict anymore. I mean one of the things I loved most about…

Carla: She’s letting go.

Ben: She’s letting go. But also, she still has that Vulcan ability because you see it twice in this episode. And I like sat up straight when I saw her do it. She literally shrugs off her emotions like she’s when she’s so bereft and there’s so much pain on her face and she’s letting it out and saying what she really feels. And then she’s like “Well I’ve got to get on with this and do this for my friend” and she just sort of straightens up and the emotion leaves her face and she’s like “it’s time to get the Vulcan mindset on”. And I think that’s something that a human who’s trained can do, but Vulcans can’t do because there’s that whole backstory about their emotions are so overwhelming that’s why they have to train themselves to subsume them. And it’s something that Spock struggles with too being half human. But he sublimates his emotions most of the time whereas Michael can she’s learning to be able to use them when they’re necessary and put them away when they’re not.

Ben: Which like feels like a dream you know like I think we’ve all felt like we wished we could do that at some point.

Carla: And that’s where I find Pike such a compelling character and mostly the captain is, because a good captain and almost all the captains I can think of in Star Trek have modelled this behaviour where they are kind and compassionate people to their crewmen. But when it comes down to it they are they are completely solid in their ability. You know like Pike doesn’t even break a sweat when he’s like “eject the warp core” you know like his whole face does not change through that whole thing and it’s just like that is also such an immense level of training and meditation.

Carla: And also, I think sometimes inherent in people to you know like he is what Michael should be looking up to. But she still desires to be Sarek. That’s my feeling you know.

Ben: That’s interesting I like that. Yeah I think it’s also interesting to compare Pike’s command style with what Tilly is like and to see how much of a because I think that’s what you said is actually true and that’s the thing that she’s got a journey to go on to get there because when she’s competent she’s great but she doesn’t believe in herself enough that she can get there easily or without the kind of encouragement of others at the moment. And I think that’s where she’s got to get to because Pike doesn’t need someone else to look to him and say, “what should we do”, he’s just “it’s my job to do that I’m onto it.”

Carla: Yeah but he’s also been taught by somebody to do that. And I think that that’s also like the huge message of this is that if we don’t share of ourselves with each other and if we don’t have; you know it’s like that you know “if you can’t see it you can’t be it”, you know so we can, and that’s what I love about Discovery the most is that there’s so many characters that are on so many different planes of their development and there truly is a character for everyone you know? And you can sort of see from a to b and how you know dotted along the landscape you’ll become X Y and Z on your way to there, you know, if you’re hopeful. But one thing I did love about this episode is that you forget how much of a dick Stamet’s is (laughs). And I felt like that was the first Stamet’s moment post Hugh, which I really liked.

Ben: Yeah he has had that sort of weird smugness about him which is which is an odd thing to say about someone who’s clearly still grieving. But he has had a bit of that like even when he’s talking about the opera. Just like “I know about opera and important things”, and I love when he’s trading barbs with Reno…

Carla: Which I call the “soft butch showdown”.

Ben: (laughs) Yes but I think I think one of the great things about that exchange is that they both are very reasonable in it, like they’re both being snarky to the other one, but whereas Reno’s like being – you know she’s got some sass she’s given him some sass. But it’s because she’s just been told yeah this spaceship flies on mushrooms and she’s like “that’s ridiculous, but okay I’ll do my job”, that’s kind of her attitude. And his attitude is like “don’t come in here and tell me how to do my job, this thing you don’t even understand”. And also, you know he’s got that real strong ecological kind of message. And they both they both right in their way. And I liked that I didn’t feel like that was imbalanced it was a nice sort of trade-off. And then they become friends!

Carla: Of course, because there’s no one right way.

Ben: Yes.

Carla: And you know which we’re learning every day.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: Especially Michael.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: I really love that this. Like even though it was about Saru dying I really love that this focus so much on Michael this episode. Her development has been so amazing to watch.

Ben: Yeah, and you know she’s been, it feels a little bit like the last couple episodes she’s been a bit of the B plot even though she should be so tightly involved in the A plot. But the A plot like I said in the intro is being dangled in front of us and pawed along on a string you know -well the arc plot anyway about Spock and we’re not there yet. We haven’t found him yet. I mean you know I feel like we won’t find him for another five episodes yet.

Carla: Oh my God.

Ben: They’re going to string this out as far as possible.

Carla: And that there is a, there is an actor who is playing. So, we will see him at some point.

Ben: We’ve seen him, we know what he looks like. I mean you know he looks like he looks a bit like Spock I guess.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah maybe. Do you think that’s why they made the actor grow a beard so that we wouldn’t…?

Carla: A little bit more sort of camouflage maybe a little bit. I really care about that anymore, do they? We’re supposed to kind of suspend belief, they just give them the same haircut, put them in the uniform and say, “There you go”.

Ben: Speaking of which Rebecca Romijn playing Number One.

Carla: Hooley dooley!

Ben: Amazing! I mean such a small scene but just establishes a presence immediately. I really enjoyed her in this role.

Carla: Hopefully to see more of her.

Ben: Well I mean you don’t cast Rebecca Romijn for like a 10 minute,  not even 10 minutes, like if she’s on the screen for three minutes in this episode I think you’d be lucky. But she’s got that same level of sass as the original Number One, which I thought was great. She’s you know such a forgotten character. She’s only in that pilot. And yeah it’s lovely to see her back.

Carla: And is she in “The Menagerie” as well? Because I’ve only seen the pilot episode.

Ben: She is but not but it’s not much.

Carla: It’s whatever spliced from the pilot episode?

Ben: Yeah because really it’s Spock’s retelling of the bits that are really most relevant. So, there’s a lot of the normal framing stuff you’d have is not there. I mean they do use a lot like the majority of the footage from “The Cage” in “The Menagerie” but from memory, and it’s been a little while since I last watch it, I don’t think she’s in “The Menagerie” nearly as much as she is in “The Cage”.

Carla: So, we’ve got 100,000 years of data. We’re back on Spock’s trail.

Ben: Yeah, can I talk about 100000 years of data.

Carla: Sure.

Ben: Because I have a theory.

Carla: Okay.

Ben: I hope this is a setup to link Discovery in to the Picard series because they say that it will take centuries for them to study all this information. And by the time we get to the Picard, new Picard show era that’s like about one hundred and forty, well I’m guessing here but it’s like at least one hundred and thirty years later. So, I – and his hobby is archaeology. Right. So, I’m hoping that he studies this information or that there’s some link between the two, just like it doesn’t have to be a major link. I just think that would be a nice thing for them to have said.

Ben: I would be very cool.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: And it also you know there’s a couple of things that is very exposition-y to kind of link to canon, create canon, so there’s that. So that’s how we sort of get most of the data for the voyages that come like later “go and explore this go and explore that”. You’ve also got Pike explaining about you know how he thinks it’s the “damn hologram infrastructure” on the Enterprise so he’s like “rip it out”. So that creates the exposition that’s the reason why the Discovery has holograms and Enterprise has screens. And then presumably they have screens for the rest of the fleet because he becomes a flight captain later. So, there’s you know there’s little point of exposition there that I think the fans are really loving as well or hating apparently.

Ben: Look you know if course people have their own opinions, but I don’t really want to hear about the hating. We’ve got to talk a bit more about the emotional business between Saru and Michael.

Carla: What do we, what have we got to say?

Ben: I just like the things that we find out about his backstory or his feelings about being in Starfleet. I just I really like to have touched on themes of refugees and how he is a refugee you know and that makes total sense. But the things that happen in this episode make you know when we talked about the Short Treks back in our second bonus episode before we started the season I was a bit like this doesn’t make sense it doesn’t quite gel with what we’ve already found out about Saru but now I’m like oh now it does kind of make sense. There’s this whole like biological thing that happens to them where they think that means they must go and get culled now. But he talks about it like, I still think there’s a big disconnect between the way he talks about it knowing what happens and the way that his society seems to view it. But now it’s starting to make more sense. And it’s clear to me there’s going to be an episode or two that explores that in a great more detail. And we find out who the Ba’ul are what the deal is. So yeah I’m still confused that they you know, the Ba’ul clearly have like post-war era technology. So why the Federation can’t make contact with them and say stop eating these people I don’t know? And I’m also a little bit confused about just get on back on the Prime Directive track a little more a little confused about how Saru’s journal suddenly means his species isn’t applicable under a General Order One anymore.

Carla: Oh no, that the he, they can’t they won’t be able to give them that information until they become a post warp…

Ben: Oh, I see.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah I misunderstood that. I thought he was saying that if she documents it then they won’t see them anymore.

Carla: No. He is just working, he’s just like log it and then when they’re… Yeah.

Ben: Gotcha. Okay that makes much more sense. And also, it’s even sadder because it’s like…

Carla: Oh, that’s what I mean. It’s so heartbreaking.

Ben: His people aren’t even going to see this until who knows how long.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: But now it’s different, now it’s different. I also I really hope that like Saru get some kind of superpowers now that he doesn’t have his ganglia. It just dropped out and it’s like an evolutionary stage for Kelpians.

Carla: Well he’d have so much processing power. If you’re not spending all that energy on you know being anxious.

Ben: And he’s already immediately like “I’m not afraid anymore” and I’m like “oh what are you going to do Saru? are you going to kick some ass?”

Carla: I wonder if “shirtless Saru” as a hashtag already.

Ben: Oh probably. Did you think that’s what you looked like under the shirt?

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: I really liked the how much they use the universal translator, in this episode. Because it’s such a it’s kind of like such a background thing in Star Trek but I’ve never seen it used as such a plot device before and it’s just a really nice way to remind us that yeah all these folks on the bridge they don’t all speak the same language. They’re being translated constantly, anyway, and whenever this comes up I always think  “but why did their mouth movements match the language that we’re hearing? How does that work exactly?.

Carla: I wouldn’t think too deep into it really. (laughs)

Ben: I only ever think it for about five seconds mainly because it’s fun to think of reasons why that works. Like is the universal translator just hearing audio and then speaking another language like real translators that we have in our real world right now? Or is it you know is it something deeper? Is it like a babel fish? Like it translates it in your brain before you speak? You know so.

Carla: That’s interesting.

Ben: I love it anyway. It’s great and I like that Saru knows 94 languages because just imagine the discipline it takes to learn 94 different languages from another you from other cultures and other species. When there’s a device that exists that means you can just speak to them automatically anyway.

Carla: Sure.

Ben: You know.

Carla: My thing of that is when they’re talking with people back on Earth I’m like that would literally take years. Like how are they? Are they warp speeding these transitions like transmissions? Like I can’t. That’s the thing that I think about the most. It’s literally real time and..

Ben: They’re subspace transmission.

Carla: Oh, that’s right.

Ben: Yeah. I mean they never explain how it works. The idea is that they’re sending these signals somehow not through normal space.

Carla: Yeah its but it’s going, it’s looping around.

Ben: Yeah. It means they hardly ever get I mean until unless you’re on Voyager. You hardly ever get the plot device of “we can’t talk to people because we’re so far away”. Like even in this is something about you know we’re both watching Enterprise now. I think one of the things that I find the weirdest about it is that it’s not so it’s really not that different from another Star Trek. Like is it they play up as the premise. You know it’s before the Federation that’s before they had shields it’s before they had proper transporters.

Carla: I so I disagree with you.

Ben: But they have all this stuff already like they can they can just talk to home anytime they want. They can. Yeah I don’t know.

Carla: It’s a conversation for another.

Ben: It is maybe that maybe it’s a bonus episode we talk about how we feel about Enterprise.

Carla: Do you want to move onto Short Chats?

Ben: Yeah let’s do it.

Carla: Okay. Now it’s time for re:Discovery Short Chats where we talk news trivia, and anything related to Discovery and also any questions you have for us. Follow our socials and get in touch and we do have a question this week don’t we Carla.

Carla: Yeah we do. We have a question from Josh Wright. Thanks Josh.

Ben: Thanks Josh.

Carla: He got in touch via Facebook and he is puzzled by the whole Enterprise business. He has lots of questions. What happened to Enterprise? Why is it so heavily damaged? What happened to the hundreds of souls on the ship? Are they okay with that or their senior officers? And why isn’t Pike going back? Is Enterprise a Manus Island level of intergalactic ignorance and forgetfulness? Have I missed something? Or is there background from the original Star Trek series that I needed?

Ben: Well look I thought I’d go back and look at this because if you remember a few episodes ago I was a bit confused about this.

Carla: Yeah I think it’s really confusing. I don’t think you’re the only one Josh.

Ben: They’ve left little hints for us. They’ve kind of described what’s happened but there’s not really any concrete information about why. I mean in this episode. Well let’s go back to the start. So, in “Brother” Enterprise is described as being “completely off line except for life support”. And they also say that only something catastrophic could do that Enterprise because it’s you know one of the major ships in the fleet, it’s built to last you know. And Pike also says they suffered multiple catastrophic systems failures while heading on their way to the first Red Burst. But you know this doesn’t quite make sense because they’d mentioned all this in passing but what happens in the episode is that the Enterprise seems to be on its way to meet up with Discovery so that Pike can get on board but actually they’re sending out a distress call because they’re stuck they can’t get anywhere and it just happens that Discovery is passing by.

Carla: No. But I also think that that ties into this where it’s like when there’s a ship that is going to go into space dock for a long time that needs extensive repairs usually they just keep the repair crew on, and they repatriate the rest of the officers either into other missions or they give them shore leave. So, I think it was like marrying, I mean these guys were investigating the “Red Bursts” so was that so was the Enterprise. And so, they just repatriated Pike straight onto the Discovery.

Ben: Yeah. Put him in charge of it.

Carla: To continue his mission.

Ben: Yeah that’s right. Yeah. And I mean when Number One shows up in this episode she does give us a bit more detail about what’s going on. She does answer a couple of your questions Josh because she confirms that the Enterprise has been towed to space dock and I think there might have been a brief mention about that in one of the earlier episodes as well. So, we know it’s in space dock and it’s being repaired, its current chief engineer is currently on board. His name is Louvier and they make a nice little reference to “I don’t think they’ll ever have an engineer on this ship who loves it as much as this guy”. Oh yes we will. But yeah I like that he sounds French. That’s nice but yeah. So, So it’s yeah. And they suspect the holographic comms system but it’s a cascading range of failures.

Ben: And I just want to reiterate my theory for the record that I think we’re going to discover Spock sabotaged the ship, in case it ever went after the Red Bursts. So, he’s somehow programmed the ship’s systems to shut down or put like a you know like a virus in there or something if they’re ever heading to one of the coordinates, he’s already identified as where one of the bursts are. So that’s my prediction. I have. I don’t. It’s just a gut feeling. I hope that is true because I think that would be really cool. But I don’t know if. Well I don’t know if that’ll be true.

Carla: Yeah. So, we can only assume that the Enterprise staff has been repatriated to other missions or they’re on shore leave if you want to go back – I’ve only watched the pilot episode for Star Trek which is you know basically most of Pike’s backstory. And then they recut as Ben said in the episode previous a couple of episodes previous. They very cut that episode into a double episode called “The Menagerie” which I’m just up to. And I think they’re really the only two episodes that you’ll get background on Pike. But it doesn’t really explain any of this. This is new to canon. This this incident so we’re about as in the dark as you are.

Ben: They very rarely if ever mentioned what the Enterprise got up to before Kirk took it over except for those episodes you just mentioned. So yeah.

Carla: Okay I want to recommend the Short Treks if you guys haven’t seen it yet. If you go to Netflix and you go to trailers you kind of have to dig around a bit. I don’t know why they buried them so much. But if you dig around in trailers you’ll be able to find the four short trek episodes. The one about Saru is particularly related to this episode so if you’re feeling a little bit lost as well that would be great. So, Commander Nhan was wearing a skirt this episode, did you see that?! So cool. Like a Discovery skirt.

Ben: That’s awesome.

Carla: Want one. And do you want to talk about Number One the history of Number One. Majel Barrett?

Ben: Yeah. Yeah. You’ve watched it more recently than me. What’s your impression of Number One?

Carla: Well I don’t know. I don’t necessarily want to talk about much about the character because you know she. Yeah. She’s like headstrong beautiful amazing. But you don’t really see her much in that episode. I just wanted to give everybody especially people who haven’t experienced or known much about Star Trek. So, Majel Barrett who was Number One in the pilot, she was also the voice of the computer for all of the Star Trek’s up until Voyager. She was also married to Gene Roddenberry. She’s considered the first lady of Star Trek. And she was Lwaxana Troi on Next Gen which I think is like this personally my favourite character in Star Trek of all time. She is fucking amazing. So, I’m like goals. Hashtag goals.

Carla: What else do you have to do you have anything else about Majel Barrett?

Ben: Look that continuity of having the same computer voice over a century or more. It’s just it’s just little lovely little. It’s a lovely little thing. And she’s great. She does such a great job of both. All of those characters yeah.

Carla: What do you have?

Ben: Well I want to…

Carla: Do you want to talk about aliens?

Ben: I always want to talk about aliens and I particularly want to talk about how great is that Linus, our favourite sneezing lizard man has now got dialogue.

Carla: And six nostrils. (laughs)

Ben: (laughs) And six nostrils. Ah he was great. I really like how they’re bringing that because they had that scene at the start of this episode where there’s all the bridge crew sitting around a table like you know.

Carla: Daily briefing.

Ben: Doing a daily briefing discussing the problem and then the captain comes in and Linus is just one of them and he’s just chatting about it. And later on, you know he’s also been researching this sphere and reporting what they’ve found alongside Michael. So, he’s clearly part of the science crew I guess. But yeah he’s I just really enjoyed that. And also, now Nhan is back.

Carla: Nana’s back.

Ben: In her skirt.

Carla: In her skirt she’s very cool.

Ben: Yeah she’s cool. So, it’s nice to see her around and that there’s we’ve got this great supporting cast of people who we’re now getting to know a little bit better and hopefully a couple more of them will get a bit more of a spotlight episode just like Owoshekun did.

Carla: Yeah. And that’s maybe also like directly related to Josh’s question like obviously Nhan has been moved over to the Discovery whilst the Enterprise is being repaired.

Ben: Yeah. And we know Number One is hanging out in the space dock overseeing the repairs.

Carla: Right.

Ben: It’s like we’re not going to let someone else look after our ship. We’re going to keep an eye on it. And he’s asked her to do that, but it’s also given her some time to look into the whole Spock thing. So, it’s worked out quite well.

Carla: I will say one other thing that made me raise my eyebrows was when Pike and I don’t know the Doctor’s name I’m sorry. Pike, the doctor and Michael were in sickbay and they’re like holding down the bandages on that person who’s like bleeding to death but they’re still just like talking all about Saru I’m like “rude”.

Ben: I made a note about this. I’m like look I recently did a first aid course. This was not okay.

Carla: That would not be comforting the person who is bleeding to death.

Ben: No, I’m like “take your conversation outside, be here and present”. Pay attention.

Carla: Exactly.

Ben: It’s not. It’s either or guys either or.

Carla: That’s all I have.

Ben: Yeah I. Yeah. Well I look the other thing I do. We haven’t talked much about the engineering plotline and the mycelial network.

Carla: That’s true.

Ben: But I do want to say I thought I and I think you didn’t feel the same but I thought was a little bit weird that Jet Reno suddenly pops up and she’s been on the ship the whole time like she’d just been stranded on an asteroid for, what was it like five months or six?

Carla: But it’s not the Jet Reno show Ben.

Ben: I know that but I’m just saying surely they should have taken her home whereas the implication of her dialogue is that she’s been on the ship ever since. Like she didn’t take any time off she didn’t get rehabilitated or debriefed. She’s just gone.

Carla: We don’t know that. Maybe that’s what’s been happening the whole time and now she’s reporting for duty.

Ben: I guess maybe. But it sounds like when she talks it sounds like she’s been on the ship the whole time.

Carla: But also, like whatever her possibilities is that she could get transferred to space dock? That’s it. She’s so fucking far away like she would have to do this kind of domino effect of being transported.

Ben: But they’ve just been to within a stone’s throw of star of one of the space docks because Number One didn’t come out of nowhere.

Carla: That’s what I mean by that’s her option. Like I said they’re just going to ship it in like. Seems to be very into her work.

Ben: But surely they had to take the other survivors of her ship somewhere. They’re not still on the Discovery.

Carla: They probably are getting better.

Ben: I just thought it was weird that they never even. It was just one of those things where I just wanted to say what was happening because otherwise it was a bit weird when she turned up and there was no, I don’t know.

Carla: And they did all the work of the exposition of like who are you again? you know, like you had to say her title again. So yeah you know it’s like well “you rescued me from the Hiawatha”, but it was always my assumption that she was going to be taken up by the crew. But that was just because I figured you don’t get Tig Notaro to do one episode of your TV show.

Ben: Yeah well exactly. Yeah. I felt the same. But you’ve also got the start of your answer about what happens to the spore drive now as well because the mycelial organism reveals that the Discovery’s trips through the through the network are destabilizing and destroying its habitat. And so Stamets immediate reaction is “okay then shut down” and you’re like “yes this is why we like Stamets” because you can be a bit of an asshole, but you are ultimately wanting to do the right thing all the time. What’s going to happen to Tilly. Yeah well I don’t know. Where is she. Do you reckon did she think she’s in the mycelial network or is vanished somewhere else?

Carla: I think she’s in the network. Maybe she’ll see Hugh.

Ben: I don’t think she’s gone to the Mirror Universe.

Carla: No.

Ben: But she’s definitely gone. Yeah. Well I guess we’ll find out. Like it’s surely the next episode is going to be about that.

Carla: Well I’ll be about rescuing her and racing to Spock.

Ben: Yeah well both so that could be. Maybe that’s our next plot. Who knows? Mm hmm. There’s one other thing I wanted to talk about and it’s also from the engineering section is the obsession of Starfleet crew not only in this era but 100, 150 years later with 20th century culture. Because till favourite song is “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. And to put that in context that is like your eye having our favourite song be from 288 years earlier.

Carla: I’m into it.

Ben: Which probably means it’s an opera. To be fair I mean this folk music from that time as well, but I tried looking it up and then Stamets knows it. So, there’s a canon of music. Like I, I mean I regularly work with kids who are you know seven to eleven years old and they don’t know any Beatles songs or even who the people are.

Carla: But year you’re talking about Starfleet. They probably have you know Starfleet 101 is like the history of the obsession with space in culture and culture.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: In contemporary culture like you know it would be the space race and stuff. But Star Wars the missile thing not the actual maybe the old movie as well, you know because that was the start of…

Ben: I guess that’s true. But actually, I do have a theory about this, is that Starfleet like the original Star Trek era and the Next Gen era are both kind of a post scarcity sort of post capitalist society. So, there’s no wants. Like you’ve got, we don’t really have replicators yet in the Discovery era. But you will soon, and they certainly are able to produce food pretty easily. They do sometimes still talk about money. But certainly, by the time of the Next Generation they don’t have any money they can just replicate whatever they want. All they need is raw materials and they can have whatever they need. So, and people who serve in Starfleet right there their mission like they fulfil themselves by doing stuff by going out and doing things that they want to do not because they must feed themselves. And that’s what I mean. And what you see as a result is all these people are doing their job on a starship. But in their leisure time they don’t just sit around watching TV they all play music and sing and do theatre. So, there’s nobody whose job it seems is primarily to be an artist because everybody’s got enough leisure time to be an artist if that’s what they want to do.

Carla: Yeah and they’re also like doing heaps of stuff on the holodeck. They’re experiencing periods of time in different worlds and it’s visceral you know. So, they have the access to all of this information at their fingertips. So, you’re talking about, it’s essentially like a 100 percent self-actualized society. Yeah.

Ben: And so there’s a lot of people learning to play music to perform as an actor and they’re learning based on these classical texts and you’d see occasionally, you mostly see it in Voyager actually whether they introduced the concept to the holonovel although, that’s also in Next Gen they’re just gone, the don’t call it that. But there’s people writing these interactive scenarios and it’s just yeah. I don’t know. It’s cool. But I think that kind of maybe I thought about this way too much as is my want but I just thought maybe that’s why they’re all obsessed with 20th century culture because they are looking back to a time where there were people whose whole job, whose whole life was dedicated to the creation of art whereas now that’s pretty rare because everyone has enough time to do that in their spare time.

Carla: Do you think you’re overthinking it Ben. It’s like in the Star Trek movies when they like go to 20th century earth and eat a burger. Everybody’s screaming because they get to see a representation of their culture in this series. You know, if you wanted to do all the mental gymnastics of trying to understand how that could potentially be, sure. But I think that that’s literally what it is. (laughs)

Ben: Look I understand that’s the real-life reason. I just I just like to think about these things you know I’m…

Carla: Sure, there’s many a fan a fan theory out there as well.

Ben: I hope so. Yeah.

Ben: You’ve been listening to re:Discovery. You’ll find links to creatives on our Web site at www.rediscoverypodcast.com. We’d love to connect with you. Find us on Twitter and Facebook as @rediscoverypod.

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

An Obol for Charon (S02E04)

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!

Connect with us and let us know your thoughts via Twitter, Facebook or our website. A transcript of this episode is available.

Show Notes…