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