Tag: Episode

Episode Transcript: New Eden (S02E02)

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.

Carla: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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…

Ben: Yeah.

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…

Carla: Preach.

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.

Carla: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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.

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: She’s cut from a little bit of the McCoy cloth, I think.

Carla: Yes.

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…

Carla: Disappears.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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”?

Carla: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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.”

Carla: Yeah.

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!

Carla: Yes.

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.

Carla: Right.

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.

Carla: Yes.

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…

Carla: Yeah.

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.

Carla: Yeah.

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.

Carla: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

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.

Carla: Yeah.

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.

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: But also, I think you’ve got the wrong dad.

Ben: Really?

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.

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

New Eden (S02E02)

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.

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

Show Notes…

Episode Transcript: Brother (S02E01)

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

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

re:Discovery theme plays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carla: Dun dun dah!!

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

Carla: Oh my God! Thrilling!

Ben: There was so much cool stuff happening!!

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

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

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

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

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Yeah.

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

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

Carla: Yeah.

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

Carla: Screaming! You know, waiting.

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

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

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

Carla: Yeah.

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

Carla: No.

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

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

Carla: It does feel good though.

Ben: It does feel good.

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

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

Ben: Oh yeah totally.

Carla: Torpedos and cannons….

Ben: Oh yeah.

Carla: Kind of jazz.

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

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

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

Carla: As is their uniforms.

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

Carla: So shiny.

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

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

Ben: Okay. Go.

Carla: One was my feelings.

Ben: Oh, please tell me your feelings.

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

Ben: Right.

Carla: …entire season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carla: No.

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Ben: I love that.

Carla: Yeah.

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

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

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

Carla: And exists.

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

Carla: Yeah.

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: We obviously knew who Tig was before.

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

Carla: Oh my God!

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

Ben: Oh yeah.

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

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

Carla: Yes! SASS that’s exactly it!

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

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: You know he’s not…

Carla: He’s not leery. (laughs)

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

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

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

Carla: Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

Carla: That’s what I was thinking.

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

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

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

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

Ben: Sure.

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

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

Carla: Wow.

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

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

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

Carla: Wow.

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

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

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

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

Ben: Oh yeah well…

Carla: This is “good Lorca”.

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

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

Ben: Mmmm. Yeah, could be.

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

Ben: Yeah, or you know…

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

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

Carla: I don’t know. It’s Star Trek.

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

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

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

Carla: Which he will forever be known as.

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

Carla: Jett.

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

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

Ben: It’s non-baryonic matter.

Carla: Yes, that’s right.

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: And this shadow has a beard.

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

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

Ben: It does feel that way.


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

Carla: So creepy.

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

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

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

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

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

Carla: Me too.

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

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

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

Carla: Okay.

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

Carla: Oh yes yes yes.

Ben: And he picks Spock.

Carla: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

Carla: And dark.

Ben: And dark.

Carla: Dark and broody.

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

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

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

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

Ben: I did like that.

Carla: That was sweet.

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

Carla: Loving it.

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

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

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

Carla: Zonked out on spores. (laughs)

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

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: Which I am liking.

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

Ben: I think we shall.

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

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

Carla: I love it.

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

Carla: Sure.

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

Carla: Ones that we have never seen before.

Ben: I know they’re really cool.

Carla: What about that sneezy snot alien?

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

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

Ben: Right.

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

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

Carla: We’re not doing this!

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

Carla: So, on notice Discovery!

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

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

Ben: Yes.

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

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

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

Ben: Oh yeah.

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

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

Carla: Yes.

Ben: Or something.

Carla: Yes.

Ben: Yeah. So…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ben: Yes.

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

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

Carla: Sure.

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

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

Ben: Yeah.

Carla: So, it’s not actually kind of…

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

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

Ben: The one on that side.

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

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

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

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

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

Ben: It got a lot of flak.

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

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

Carla: Do you have any other news?

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

Carla: Of course!

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

Carla: Ben’s science corner.

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

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

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

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

Ben: Yeah yeah. Like they…

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

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

Carla: Fried their network.

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

Carla: Sure.

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

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

Ben: Galaxy, yeah.

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

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

Carla: Sure.

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

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

Ben: There’s a lot of stuff going on.

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

Ben: Oh yeah!

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

Ben: That’s Lower Decks?

Carla: Lower Decks, that’s right.

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

Carla: So far into the future…

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

Carla: Screaming!

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

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

Ben: No, it would be set after Voyager.

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

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

Carla: Okay.

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

Carla: That is thrilling.

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

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

Ben: No, I’ve got to find those!

Carla: Yeah.

Ben: I’m looking it up.

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

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

Carla: No no.

Ben: Never mind.

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

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

Brother (S02E01)

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!

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

Show notes…