Like the Ship Star Trek Discovery Takes Too Long to Get Where

first_imgStay on target ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ S2 Finale Recap: When No One Has Gone Before’Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2, Ep 13 Recap: Tearful Preparations Well, they can’t all be bangers. After a tight, well-scripted first three episodes, the fourth entry in Star Trek: Discovery’s first season tries to do way too much with too little time. The bright side though, is that the mess is still unmistakably a Star Trek mess. The stories are all pure Trek at their core. If any one of them had been made the episode’s sole focus (or even just two of them for an a-plot and b-plot), this could have been an instant classic Trek episode. Even with the missed execution, there was still fun to be had here. And hey, though Burnham’s story’s payoff came a little too easy, it was satisfyingly Trek.The real problem here is that the writers tried to cram one too many stories into an hour. As a result, none of them got the attention they needed to make a great episode. Well, the two that held our interest didn’t get enough time. The Klingon arc is what really dragged the episode down. I get that the Klingons are going to be incredibly important to this series. And when Burnham and Voq eventually do meet again, it’s going to be a big moment. They need to spend time setting that up. But here, they spent too much time.Voq’s story could have easily been two scenes shorter, and still got the same message across. Voq has been stationary in space for months because he refuses to use the dilithium core from the destroyed Shenzhou. We’re told this in an incredibly long scene whose only purpose is to tell us that they ate Captain Georgiou. That alone seemed unnecessary. We’re already feeling cheated enough by the fact that Michelle Yeoh was featured heavily in the show’s marketing and barely made it two episodes in. Now they’re going out of their way to remind us that there’s no hope she’ll ever come back. Even Game of Thrones gave its big name star more time than that.Mary Chieffo (Photo via CBS)After Voq seemingly united the houses of Klingon under T’Kuvma, we learn that not everyone believes him to be the chosen leader. He’s betrayed by one of the Klingon lords and left to die on the Shenzhou. Well, he would be if T’Kuvma’s former second-in-command hadn’t stayed with him. She offers him a way to win the war and unite the Klingon’s under him. To accomplish it, he’ll have to sacrifice “everything.” While I’m definitely curious to see what that means, why did it take the bulk of an episode to get here? Is it because the Klingon language is so slow and methodical that their scenes take up more time? By spending too much time on a Klingon story that really isn’t that complicated, the show did a disservice to two possibly great Trek stories on the Discovery.What the show is trying to do with Captain Lorca is interesting. Since he’s not the main character of the show, he doesn’t have to be the good guy all the time. Not every Captain in Starfleet is Jean Luc Picard or even James Kirk. Some of them would certainly be more military minded. Just because you replace the Federation’s military with an exploratory fleet doesn’t mean the war hawks go away. Putting one in charge of a vessel full of scientists is a great idea, and could lead to some great stories and plenty of those philosophical debates we all love so much. To get there though, it has to treat its stories with more care than this. Lorca receives a distress call from a faraway base. They’re being attacked by Klingons. They’re the only ship with a drive capable of getting to the base before it’s destroyed. The problem is, they can’t jump that far and be certain of their destination. That is classic Trek right there. There’s a scientific problem, a time limit, and people with different interpretations of how to solve it. That’s a recipe for great TV.Rekha Sharma, Sonequa Martin-Green (Photo via Starz)At the same time, Burnham has been tasked with studying the creature from the third episode and finding out how to harness its Klingon-killing abilities for Starfleet. That’s less great, but it sets up another classic Trek storyline: The creature you perceived as a threat is more complex than you think. These two plots tie in together at the very end in a satisfying way. You can tell the writers behind this show know Star Trek. They know how this universe works, and what makes a good story. All the ingredients for a great episode are here. they just get the proportions wrong. Without enough time for either of the arcs on the Discovery to breathe, they’re reduced to cliches. They take too many shortcuts to be plausible, and as a result, what should be big epiphanies feel a little underwhelming. The way Lorca defeats the Klingon Birds of Prey is novel and cool, and pretty much what you hope for from a Star Trek battle. But since the show didn’t have any build-up to that moment, it was underwhelming.I (along with pretty much everyone else, it seems), am not too thrilled with the way Landry’s death was handled. She was given too little screen time for her death to have any emotional impact, and since her death didn’t affect Burnham’s arc at all, it was completely unnecessary. What made it worse was that it was caused by a sudden onset of stupidity. In the brief scenes we’d seen from her before, she seemed perfectly capable and intelligent. Then, without cause, she loses all of that and opens the containment door. Then, she tries to stun a creature known to shrug off kill shots. That was horror movie levels of stupid. We expect more from named characters on Star Trek. Well, unless they’re wearing red shirts. (Also, I don’t want to get into this aspect of it too much because I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but yeah. When the first two major characters you kill off are both Asian women, that’s not a great look. Just FYI, CBS.)(Via CBS)I can’t call this episode bad, because it really wasn’t painful to watch. There are some real stinkers in Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation (and Voyager, and Enterprise… Deep Space Nine is perfect). This episode wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the worst of those series. It just didn’t live up to the fantastic potential set up by the first three episodes. The most disappointing thing is that it’s so easy to see how it could have been great. Not every episode needs to move at a breakneck pace. This is Star Trek. It’s OK to slow down. It’s expected, even. There’s enough good in here that I’m confident we’ll be able to write this off as a growing pain. Especially since next week’s episode features Harry Mudd. That alone is promising. Also, though my love for Rent has diminished considerably since High School, seeing Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz as a futuristic couple on a starship is everything to me right now.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *