Join Sean and Matt as they rewatch all of Star Trek in order and in historical context.
Hi everybody. Welcome back to Trek in Time. And in this episode we're gonna be talking about changes big and small. That's right. We're talking about, hold on, discovery. Start for something. Discovery. Yeah. Season one, episodes one and two. So as usual, this goes back to a viewer comment, which was when you guys got a multi-part, treat them as one episode.
So that's what we're doing here with episodes one and two Vulcan. Hello and Battle at the Binary Stars, the premier episodes of Star Trek Discovery. Welcome everybody to Trek in Time, where we're watching every episode of Star Trek in chronological order. And we're also talking about its context in history. So we're looking at things that were going at the time of original broadcast.
Who are we? Well, I'm Sean Ferrell. I'm a writer. I have written some sci-fi. I've written some stuff for kids, and as a matter of fact, just yesterday I received my copies of my newest book. Yeah, this is The Sinister Secrets of Singh. It's book one in a new series. It is about a boy named Noah who discovers that his father is an evil genius and he has to deal with the fallout from that.
It includes robots, it includes some pirates, it includes danger and adventure and a lot of excitement. I think. So I hope people will be interested in checking that out. It's for young readers, but if you just like adventure books, you can read it too. I'm not gonna stop you and No, it is not autobiographical.
That's right. Despite the fact there's some family similarity between me and one of the characters on the cover. And with me, of course, is my brother, Matt. Matt. Is that Matt of undecided with Matt Ferrell, which is a channel that takes a look at technology and its impact on our lives. Matt, how are you doing today?
I'm doing great. How about you? I'm doing well. It was a surprise to receive my copies of my book yesterday. It was an incredibly rainy day. Mm-hmm. And late in the afternoon, there was a buzz at the door and we weren't expecting anything or anyone, so I hesitantly answered. I am one of those people who, if I'm not expecting my doorbell to ring, I will just often ignore it.
Who cares about doorbells? But this time I answered and I was like, hello? And this gentleman said, I have a package for Sean Ferrell. And I'm like, I'm not expecting anything. What could that be? And it turned out it was many copies of a book that I apparently forgot I wrote and was expecting copies of. So, But it was an exciting moment.
So as I said before, we're gonna be talking about Discovery episodes one and two of season one. But before we get into that, we'd like to share some comments on previous episodes. So Matt, do you want to share some thoughts from our listeners? Yes.
The last episode that we did, which was episode ninety four, was the enterprise series review, where Sean and I kind of gave our top three episodes, all those kind of things, favorite characters, how we thought they were handled, and it garnered a lot of comments, which was really cool to see.
And we had comments from Dan Sims, such a hard choice for me over my favorite character, either Phlox or Shran. So it's, he's right in the line with the two of us. Jason Dumb wrote Shran. Of course, I like the episode with the two Aliens. Secretly On Board Innovative Storytelling is what sets Good Star Trek, apart from the average Sci-fi PaleGhost 69.
You guys forgot. Porthos. Yeah. Who get solid as for being a good boy. Absolutely. Yes.
I saw PaleGhost immediately. I was just like, oh my God. Porthos.
Yeah, I seem to facepalm, I'm like, I can't believe neither one of us brought up Porthos. And then we have Dylan Galt who said my favorite episode is the double one with the mirror universe.
Which is, I find funny cuz like I, I've watched that episode. I did not like that episode. But it really don't wanna, I don't wanna yuck anybody else's. Yum. If you like that, it's awesome. It's
very cool. But I will say this as well, there are things about that episode that are well done, problematic. Like there are and well done.
There are things about it that do grab you as a viewer and like, so it has moments for me as well. And we have giant
Hogweed lives who wrote, for those of you who cannot get enough of Tripp and Reed, They have a Trek podcast together called Shuttle Pod Show. Yeah, just wanna throw that out. Interesting recommendation.
I'm gonna be checking it out. And then the last one, which was we're about to go into discovery and we had a great comment from Karen Colette. At some point we had asked about like, not to give spoilers away for discovery if you haven't watched it. But there is a major time shift in the show where they go from one of the earliest series to one of the most future series.
Yeah. So there's gonna be a period where what, what do we, how do we handle this? Do we watch all discovery or do we pause and then go to the next series that's in line for the timeline. Karen wrote a while back, you were soliciting opinions on how to interweave after season two of discovery. I'm okay with interleaving, but only at the granularity of a season.
So for example, after Discovery season two, you could go to star Trek. Strange New World, strange New Worlds season one and two. Mm-hmm. Then switch to star Trek, the original series season one, depending on the timing, and then switch back to strange new worlds for season three. Of course, depending on how long the, uh, that episode that sh series runs, you might just run out of episodes.
Mm-hmm. That's kind of how I think we should probably handle this, is that we kind of flip on a season level and for discovery, there's a very clear break when then it, it switches, so that'll make it easy for them. But it's also the funny thing with strange new worlds that, that we're like basically in real time with that show almost.
So it's, there's a pot, there's a potential chance where we may have to pause and then go back to strange new worlds to catch back
up. Yeah, and the thing is, we're gonna catch up to it because it's, we're dealing with streaming seasons as opposed to old network seasons where for enterprise, it took us, I mean, here we are, we're on episode 95.
Of this program. Yep. So that's almost a solid two years. It took us to get through a four Seasons of a show, but that's because they had, I think it was episodes 22, 24 and then 22 and 22 and then 20. So we do not have that with a streaming show. Like we're dealing with episodes Discovery, we have 10, and then we're gonna get through discovery fairly quickly once we hit the, you know, first two seasons and then take the break.
We're gonna do that in about the same amount of time that we did one season of Enterprise. So, yep. We're gonna find ourselves suddenly standing there and looking around and going, oh my God, we hit the original series already. So, yep. I do agree, Karen. That's a great, great way for us to approach it. And as a side note to that, we also talked about how we would incorporate the animated shows.
Yes. And our plan there is to do. I forget now what we planned around doing. What
were we gonna do? We plan to, we plan to not do standalone episodes about it, but we would do them alongside where they took place. So like when we're doing the original series, we'll probably tack onto the end of the episodes a little like 10 minute bit about the
animated series or something like that.
Animated show. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Good to know. So that noise you hear in the background is of course the re alert. We're gonna hold onto the re alert despite the fact we're no longer in enterprise, it's the re alert. Damn it. What do we mean by the read alert? It's when Matt tries to tackle the Wikipedia description and some interesting changes are coming up.
We're gonna be talking about it as we go through this episode. Matt, why don't you tackle the Wikipedia description for this episode and see if you notice what I'm talking about. Okay.
The Vulcan, hello and Battle at the Binary Stars are the series premiere of the American television series Star Trek Discovery, which is set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series in 100 years after Enterprise and shows the beginnings of the Federation Klingon Cold War.
The episode was written by Akiva Goldsman and Brian Fuller from a story by series Creator Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, and it was directed by David Semel Sammel. Mm-hmm. Soval Sonequa Martin-Green Stars as Michael Berman, the first officer of the US s Shenzhou. Series regular. Doug Jones also appears in the episode, which serves as the first in the series two part premiere that act as a prologue to the rest of the series.
Guest starring for the two part premiere are Michelle Yeoh, as Phillipa Georgiou, captain of the Shenzhou, and Chris Obi as the Klingon leader T'Kuvma. Mm-hmm
Hmm. Now, I think what you might have noticed there is there's not actually a summary of anything. It's just descriptive. I do not know if Wikipedia follows that trend with discovery.
It's wild to me to think that Wikipedia is so freeform that for a show like Enterprise, somebody has gone back and given very poorly written but thorough plot summaries. Yes. And on discovery, they're just kind of like talking in hand wavy ways about the show. That summary is also kind of a mishmash of.
I edited it a little bit to refer to both episodes, but it talks only about one. So there are gonna be some notes about a different writer for episode two. Mm-hmm. And a different director for episode two. So what we're looking at for episode one, as Matt mentioned, it was directed by David Semel. His television directing credits include Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, person of interest, Ally Mcbeal Boston Public Seventh Heaven, no Ordinary Family, American Horror Story, Roswell Angel, Buffy Watchman, and other series.
He's also directed and produced episodes of Life House, American Dreams, Beverly Hills, nano two on Dawson's Creek. So this is a guy who's been around. He knows what he's doing. The story, he was by Brian Fuller. Brian Fuller has a great star, Trek. Pedigree. He originally broke into the business of television production as a writer on Voyager and DS nine.
He was also responsible for the show Pushing Daisies, which if our viewers and are not familiar with is pretty much like a fairytale. It's actually a very, very good show. It only had two seasons. That's really good. But it was a very good show and it was, I highly recommend it. He also was responsible for Hannibal American, gods Dead like me and Wonderfuls, and he ended up, he was the creative director for Discovery for about a year, and then he was asked to leave the show.
There's never been a full explanation as to what the breaking point was. It may have just been kind of like big picture creative differences, because his original vision for New Star Trek on television, he wanted it to look more like American Horror Story, where you would have a season that would be a standalone story, a complete story arc of one thing, and then you'd move on to a completely different season with different characters and a different story being told.
And like American Horror Story, where you end up changing locations, changing era. He envisioned, what if we did a show between Enterprise and the original series, and then we did a second season where we were in the era of the original series, and then we did another one season where we were in the era of Star Trek Next Generation.
And then if we did another season where we'd be beyond that. So there is, as Matt mentioned, a little bit of the, oh, they are planting seeds. Mm-hmm. For something. Wild in future seasons. So there we're gonna see how Discovery does hold onto a lot of what he was talking about. I think it's evident in season one being a complete story season two, also being a complete story, but of a different point.
Yep. So I, and I think there's a lot of value to that. It's gonna be interesting for us to watch that. And it does in an interesting way, kind of replicate what happened on Enterprise by Mistake, you know? Yep, yep. The start of enterprise was, well, we're doing this, and the second season we're like, is any of this working?
And the third season was like, how about we reboot? And the fourth season was like, well, how about we build more bridges and if we can keep going, great. And. That was it. So I think it's gonna be interesting to see when it's done intentionally like we're gonna see in Discovery. Another creative director behind the show, Alex Kurtzman, also with Strong Star Trek pedigree.
But he and Fuller decided together that discovery would not try to incorporate the motion pictures that Kurtzman was involved in making with JJ Abrams. This was the starting point of basically saying Star Trek has its own multiverse. You have the motion pictures made by JJ Abrams, and then you have Cannon.
So discovery is a part of the cannon, but it is not linked to the motion pictures that are more recent. I think that's on display in a lot of different ways where the show feels very much like Star Trek, where to me, the motion pictures that were made by JJ Abrams, as fantastic as they are, don't have quite the same Trek tone of.
The original series or later series, like Next Generation? Well, if there's a key
carryover between the movies, his movies, and this lens
flare, lots of lens flare, lots of lens flare, lots of lens flare, and lots of the, the look of the, the ships is definitely, is definitely more modern and that is full display where, you know, the original series, the beauty of the original enterprise was it looked sleek and smooth, which was kind of, A counter to what people saw in actual space travel.
People were seeing rockets launching that looked big and clunky and they broke apart. And then the things that came out, the capsules looked like they were wrapped in aluminum foil and had all these little antennas sticking out. So to see a spaceship looks smooth and you can't see any of the, the, you know, there's no lines, no seams, it's all just perfectly smooth, was futuristic.
We've now flipped it and we've entered an era where we have these ships that at a distance could look smooth, but as you get closer, you see how complex they are. You see the plating, and especially on the bridge, the bridge design on this show is absolutely amazing. But bordering on the point of distracting.
we, we, that's gonna come up in our conversation. I have a lot to say about some of the
stuff. Yeah. So the original. Creators Fuller and Kurtzman Fuller would leave, but a lot of his fingerprints are still on full display. The Teleplay was by Akiva Goldsman for the first episode, he was involved in writing the Batman movies that are not some of my favorites, Batman and Robin, and the non Keaton ones.
Basically iRobot. I am Legend. He was also a writer around a lot of episodes for Fringe, and the series regulars that we would see in this episode includes Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham, Doug Jones as Saru Shazad Latif as Vok and Guest. Appearances include Michelle Yeoh as Captain Phillippa Georgiou. Mary, chief as Lorell, James Frain as Sarek Chris Obi as T'Kuvma.
Maulik Pancholy as commander as Dr. Anton Nambue, Terry Serpico as Brett Anderson and Sam Vartholomeos as Danby Connor. And for episode two, directed by Adam Kane, who was involved in Boondock Saints pushing daisies, supernatural Daredevil stories by Brian Fuller, the Tell Players by Gretchen Berg, Aaron Hebert's. And the same guest stars are in that epi are in the second episode.
So this is where we make a big leap forward in time ourselves. The air date of this, these two episodes was September 24th, 2017. And what was the world like? Well, You're all familiar with. Not too long. Yeah, not too long ago. But you're all familiar with me sharing details around what the world was like at the time of Enterprise.
Like what was the number one song? Well, we're no longer looking at the number one song because a little thing called streaming had been introduced. So what was the number one streamed song, Matthew, you'll remember this. It was, look what you made me do by Taylor Swift. Sing a bit for us. Mm, good. And at the movies, a movie called Kingsman, the Gold Circle Earned 39 Millions.
This is of course the 2017 spy action comedy directed by Matt Vaughn, directed by Jane Goldman, based on the comic book series, the Secret Service by Mark Malar and Dave Gibbons. And it's the second installment of the Kingsman Film Series sequel to the Kingsman, the Secret Service, which came out in 2014.
And on television, like I just mentioned about music. Well, tv. Had largely been blown up. This program that we are talking about, discovery is a perfect example of that because c b s, they missed the 50th anniversary of Star Trek by one year. Why was that? They couldn't actually have a Star Trek show because of contracts that had been negotiated decades earlier.
So they couldn't have a new show until 2017. So that's why this series started when it did instead of the previous year at the time, CBS was beginning to put together its own streaming service, which of course is now the Paramount app. And this was decided to be the show that would be the launching pad for it.
So we are now in a streaming era where this was certainly not the last, but it was one of the bigger. Networks to jump into the streaming game. So when we're talking about most watch programs, television had changed dramatically. We no longer had the night, the weekly lineups, the way we we did. Those schedules still exist, of course, but the viewership is much, much lower.
It's nowhere near the same. So when we're talking about what was being watched at the time, I'm not gonna rely on the nightly schedules because again, what would that mean? When you're talking about a streaming show, I'm gonna talk about what was the competition for streaming. So at the time, the number one stream show in 2017 was Game of Thrones.
Its average demand was 16 million viewers per episode. So that's the kind of, those are the kinds of numbers we're looking at for discovery. When it emerged, it emerged with a pretty solid audience and caused a huge uptick in subscriptions for the CBS streaming app. So it was successful in that regard and in the news.
What was going on at the time that this episode was dropping well from the New York Times? Many of the headlines include Trump's Big Gamble, can He Pull Alabama Center Senator to Victory? The contest between Senator Luther Strange and Roy Moore in the Evangelical firebrand is the most significant test yet of President Trump's power to sway the party's conservative base.
President Trump. Remember him, Matt? Oh God, yes. Also in the news, the Pentagon was testing lasers and nets to combat a vexing foe ISIS drones as deadly drawn attacks by the Islamic state increase. American officials are experimenting with technologies that can destroy the weapons, and there was this headline regarding technology, the technology industry push for gender equality and tech.
Some men say it's gone too far. That's quite the headline. Of course, from 2017, as recently as March of this year, the percentage of women in technology, well, it's roughly about 23%. So that equity that men were thinking had gone too far in 2017. Maybe it didn't go too far enough. Mm. Nope. So here we are ready to talk about the Vulcan.
Hello and battle at the binary Stars. And this, as we mentioned at the top of the episode, Stardate 1 2 0 7 .3, which would be May 11th, 22, 56. And so we're 10 years ahead of the original series and about a hundred years after enterprise. And we find ourselves in a vastly different looking galaxy. You wanna jump on?
Can we just talk about, yeah.
Can we just talk about the elephant in the room or the Klingon in the room? What the hell did they do to the Klingon in this show? It is bananas to me why they made the decision to do that. And it, I didn't look into it, but I have wonder, I know there were. Rights issues. Like with some of the stuff, like some of the ship designs are licensed for movies versus the TV show and so they couldn't do certain things and I was half wondering is like, did they make the Klingons look like this because there was some weird copyright thing or trademark thing and they couldn't actually do the Klingons the way that Klingons were supposed to look because what the hell, like this show is the only one that did this because season three Picard, you got Warf.
Warf still looks like the Klingon. We know it's like, so why is this just some random one-off Klingons looking like completely bizarre. And I dunno how to say this, I don't think the makeup's well done because it looks stiff and it looks uncomfortable in the way they talk. Everything about these Klingon, they speak slowly and it, it comes across as actors that were having to learn strange, just weird sounds that they had to say.
And it, it was almost like they were deliberately saying every single. Word, and it didn't sound like a sentence. It did sound like actors saying words. And so because of that it felt very weird and off-putting. To me where when you hear Klingon speak in next generation, it feels like it has a flow to it.
There's an aggression to it, there's a, there's something behind where it feels like a natural language. I'm curious, how did you feel about it? Because this was just no bueno over me. Not like the Klans at all.
My first watch through, which was back in 2017, Yeah, and, and Matt and I were kind of, you know, we both kind of laughed about the fact that this was the first time we were coming back to this show for a rewatch as opposed to a lot of the other star Trek series where we would rewatch many, many times.
I wouldn't even hazard a guess as to how many times I've seen an episode, like a mock time from the original series. Yeah, I mean it's, I could probably start one man performing it right back here if you wanted me to, and jump into the comments if you would like to see that. Uh, this, on my first viewing I found befuddling, like you're describing it.
I, yeah. I found myself at the time thinking that the series was kind of uneven in its first steps on a rewatch. I actually like it more, and I have two responses to it. One is I can give you kind of a head cannon explanation for all these differences that I think would merge nicely with what we experienced in enterprise.
And I can also give you what I think the pragmatic like, okay, here's what was going on, probably. Mm-hmm. The pragmatic one, I think is simply, I think they were trying to make this feel more modern and distinct as opposed to the original series Klingon, who largely looked like actors wearing shoe polish.
Yep. And the next generation struck a note of Shakespearean aspects to it. I think that they were trying to, I think everything about this show feels magnified. It's star Trek magnified, and I don't think it's necessarily in an attempt to distort. Star Trek or change star Trek. But to just say like it's gotta be a modern show.
We have different sensibilities now of what it means to say it's heightened technology. So we're gonna have, they do aggressive hollow technology in this where it looks like an admiral appears on the bridge and is walking around and talking to people on the bridge. Things like that, that they never did in but next generation like.
So there's that aspect,
but that's the problem, Sean. But that's the problem because this is supposed to be in a certain period of the timeline and the fact that they've made, we're kind of venturing into like the way the bridge looked. Yeah. It's like the way they did the technology and the bridge. It looks way more advanced than the next generation, like it looks like.
So future. It's out of place. And it's like, if you're trying to make a show that's in between the original series and enterprise, and in fact an upcoming season, Spock shows up. So it's like, it's in a very specific time period. It'd be like saying, I'm gonna make a World War II movie, but instead of the these planes, I'm gonna put jets.
And instead of like, you know, it's, it's like, why, why? You're making a period piece essentially. You're making a period piece. Yeah. And I understand, wanted to make it look modern, but why didn't they make it look modern within the realm of some of the confines that we as Star Trek fans are familiar with?
I didn't understand why they went so far. It was kinda like they just like wiped the slate clean and said, who cares about what the technology looked like? Then we're coming it fresh. And so for me that, that was the part that kind of struck me like it's, it's like a dis, it's like hitting a wrong key when you're playing a song.
I think. I think it lands in the same, I think it lands in the same vein as episode 7, 8, 9 of the Star Wars movies. I think that they were looking at it as like, this isn't for your, this isn't for you. If, if you know there's a certain aspect of this that's gonna turn you off enough to make you not wanna watch it, then it's not for you.
And I think that they were planting a flag to say, yeah, the original series is a classic. We understand that, but we can't make a show that doesn't look like it was made in the year 2017. And so I think that, right. Just from a pragmatic perspective, I'm like, they were just like, we just need to make it look new.
And there is an aspect of Next Generation and the original series Motion Picture Klingon, that does look old at this point. It's like, mm-hmm. We've, we've seen that so much and the kind of the look of the long hair and all the armor and the aggressive thorniness of them is, Very familiar. And so I think that just from a pragmatic perspective, they were like, we need to kind of surprise audiences and capture their attention and especially be able to capture the attention.
Remember the number one show on streaming was Game of Thrones. Mm-hmm. You're trying to rest an audience away from Game of Thrones. So slick, kind of oily looking Klingon, that heavy prosthetics, like the whole look of them being what it was, is it is unique to Trek at this point, head Cannon wise, like what have I been, you know, noodling on.
Yeah. We may not have liked it, but Enterprise presented the idea that there was some human DNA into the Klingon. Oh boy. And that they were going to go through a period of regressing from having so many bony ridges and they were gonna no longer look quite the same. And that, as Matt and I talked about, was kind of a ham-fisted way of saying, why do the Trek Klingon look different in the original series than they did in enterprise?
Or why would they look different later, head Cannon wise? Maybe over a hundred years they've been doing stuff to themselves. Maybe they've tried to reawaken original Klingon DNA and pushed it too hard and became this for a period of time. So there are kind of like you're
head you ways you're working hard to make it fit.
No, it, it doesn't fit. It doesn't fit. I,
I know what you're saying. Here's my thing is like, yeah,
here, here's my thing, is like a human, looks like a human, looks like a human. And we already are so familiar with how Klingons are supposed to look fine, change their costumes, maybe make them a little more oily, but they could still have the same basic.
Head structure that they've had for decades. There was no reason to change that. That's kinda where I'm coming from of like, part of the problem with the prosthetics in this episode in this series is that they're so thick. They all looked like Muppets. They all, because there was very little facial stuff that was coming through and it was like I was getting distracted by the actors saying, these awkward lines really slow and they had so much prosthetics in their mouth and everything.
It was like, well, what is, what is happening? It's like, you didn't have to do that. It's like you just took it a step too far. But anyway, anyway, we can get to the discussion in the episode. Cause for me, I, I was able to compartmentalize that and put that to the side, right? Because aside from that, I, I, this rewatch, I gotta say I enjoyed the rewatch more than I originally watched, liked it the first time I watched it.
Yeah. And I think part of the reason for that is I, I grew to love this series by the way. I liked where discovery ended up. And so it's like rewatching and it was kinda like, oh, wow. They, they laid a lot of groundwork here. I did not remember. Yeah. And, and I don't know why I didn't remember it. So it's like, I do appreciate the show.
It sounds like I'm bagging on it right from the get go. Right. But it's mainly just some of the artistic choices. I was kinda like, nah. Yeah. But for the storyline, I think it's gonna be more interesting discussion
for me, the artistic choices I, I'm okay with. I actually, yeah. I, you know, coming into it I was like, oh, they're really pushing the kind of theatrical quality of the Klingon.
The, the way they show the show is gorgeous. It's absolutely super mannered. And I also understand completely why you're like, what? Like, I, I get the what. But for me, I was able to be like, like kind of like drop into it and feel like this time around, like, oh, I kind of get what they're going for. It feels very alien.
It feels, it, it's meant to be like our goal should not to be able to fit in. Like that is ultimately the drive here. It's a, I mean, we're talking about 2017. Effectively, they're talking about Klingon nationalism. Mm-hmm. And they're saying like, no, we do not want to fit in. That is not what a Klingon is. A Klingon takes Klingon controls.
So there's that aspect to it. So to jump into the plot summary, the Shenzhou under the command of Phillipa Georgiou has arrived at a sector of space, which is very close to the Klingon sector of space because a interstellar relay has stopped functioning. They find it, they discovered that it has a hole in it's clearly been destroyed.
They also spot what looks like an unidentified alien object in an asteroid field after some investigation by Burnham who goes and visits this. Site and discovers this century's old thing in space. She also discovers that there is a Klingon on this object. The Klingon attacks her. She accidentally kills the K Klingon, knocks herself unconscious and hurdles off into space and is not able to return to the ship as efficiently as she was supposed to.
She, she gets pretty serious radiation poisoning. She is rescued by the ship, by the Shenzhou, and when she wakes, her immediate response is we have to do something about this. Her personal history involves being the victim of a Klingon attack on a science outpost that was manned by humans and Vulcans, and she was one of the only survivors having been rescued by her adoptive father, Sarek.
So we are introduced very quickly to the idea that. Burnham is not your typical human. I think the introduction of her with Yeah. Georgiou is really interesting. Where they're on a planet before they go off to find the the relay. There is a lot of dialogue that is intended to give you the idea that Burnham is a Vulcan, her head is covered, and there is a big reveal where she removes her scarf to reveal that she does not have Vulcan ears.
I think that that whole setup is pretty well done. Yes, I like that. The other
thing I, I forgot about this whole setup of the show was how, from the very initial conversation, the scene you're talking about, with the two of them on the planet trying to get off the planet, they're dropping lines very naturally about you.
You served with for seven years. You think you'd understand like very natural exposition. That didn't feel like an exposition dump, but it was like, okay, they've been working together for seven years. And she said, I think it's time to talk about your first command. So here's her first officer. Yeah. And she's talking about promoting her to get her own ship and be a captain.
And that's one of the things I forgot, I forgot from the opening minutes of this show. Yeah. They were establishing Burnham as she is a captain in the making. Yeah. And it's like that, that seeds what happens later in the sh the show. But I was very impressed with how much they were setting things up. And I thought it was more, my memory of it was so fuzzy.
I felt like it was kind of like they were adjusting season to season. Mm. In a very kinda radical way to try to mix things up. And it wasn't, it was, it was, it was clearly established from the very beginning. Yeah. The other aspect was when they get to the ship, the banter between all of the characters on the ship.
On the what, what's their ship? Yeah. The Shenzhou. Yeah. Like they establish, it's like if this crew's been together for seven years, it feels like it. Yeah. Because the banter is so natural. They're very familiar with each other. There's lots of inside jokes happening. There's a sequence with Burnham, like nudging Saru out of the way to take over his console and do something, and him nudging their back and it's like, it's kind of unprofessional what they're doing, but it's friends.
Yeah. They're, they're totally family and they're friends. They're familiar with each other. I completely forgotten about all of that, and I thought that was so well done because it felt like a crew that was already a cohesive hole. Yeah. From the very first scene, we see them, so it's like, it, I I, I had to give it kind of like high marks from my memory.
Not remembering that and seeing it a second time, I was like, damn, they really kind of came at this in a really clever way. Yeah. From the very beginning.
Yeah. The, the exposition, I think the, the writing in this is really top-notch and it's really good. Yeah. And the performances of Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green, are terrific.
Martin Green in particular, she's on camera a lot, and she was famously Michelle Nichols at the Premier Party for this. Approached her on the red carpet and whispered into her ear, this is yours now, like mm-hmm. And Fuller in putting this together, said one of his reasons for wanting to put Star Trek back on television was because of the aspirational aspects of it, and he has always been moved.
He said, by the fact that Asian Americans saw Sulu. Commanding, you know, piloting the ship and becoming a captain in his own right and how important that was. Jora was famously, Michelle Nichols was going to leave the show. Martin Luther King Jr. Convinced her to stay on the show saying to her, you are so important on that bridge for people to recognize themselves in the future.
And Oprah has credited Michelle Nichols presence on that show with making her believe maybe I can do things, maybe I can do great things. So Fuller wanted that kind of return to aspirational storytelling. In that star Trek mold, and I think it's on full display with the casting of Michelle Yeoh, with Martin Green.
The various personalities that are on the, the bridge of the Shenzhou is one of diversity and inclusion. Mm-hmm. And that is, I, I love it. From that perspective, I think it's so important to have that on display and the kinds of dialogue that you point out, which feels seamless and feels like people dropping things in, including little bits like Saru saying, on my world there are no apex predators, so.
Mm-hmm. So we are constantly, we understand the world as a place of danger, and they introduce that aspect of his personality seamlessly in the moment because he's like, we've gotta get. Let's go. Let's, yeah, let's get outta here. And when Burnham wakes up in the Med Bay, her first response is, we need to, we need to reveal the Klingon presence.
And we need to do something strong right out of the gate in order to prove that we are worth respect. Because she's reach, she reaches out to Sarek and gets guidance in the form of what was first contact like remember the Vulcans in their first contact moment on earth. Come down the gang plank. Give the famous hand sign.
And then there's a handshake, and that's the beginning of a relationship that we learned in Enterprise was not always easy, but eventually builds to what we anticipate moving forward as we know what Spock and Kirk have, and we know what the future holds for the relationship between those two, two different worlds.
Here we're finding out, well, the first contact between Vulcans and Klingon, the Vulcans probably tried the same thing and the Klingon cut their heads off, did not work. So it did not work. Yeah. And as a response, Vulcans followed the logical approach, which was, well, if that's how they are, then every time we see them, we need to attack them.
And over time, it built up a level of respect, which led to the Vulcans and the Klingon having a kind of peace. Humans haven't had that yet. The only interactions that they've had have been combative, but. Because of the chaos that's described as being in the Klingon Empire. The 24 houses are basically battling each other so much.
They're not really doing much, reaching out into the rest of the the quadrant. And so we see now one leader trying to emerge to reawaken the teachings of Kahless, to bring the Klingon empire back together and to assert itself as a. Unit that will defend itself against the, what they view as the lie of the federation.
I love, I love this the, how they describe it as like this insidious of the species that comes out and they always say, you know, we come in peace. Yeah. And when they're, they're talking about this and they, there's the hologram transmission from the, I think it's the admiral or, or Georgiou, when she said, yeah, Georgiou, the whole thing.
And he goes, he's like, wait, wait for it. And then she goes, we come in peace. And he goes, see? Yeah. See? And it's like the rallying cry for, you know, we have to band together cause
this is just No, no. And they're standing there and there's an aspect of assimilation that isn't wrong. That is something that, you know, we, you know, we live here in the United States and there's always this.
Tension about, well, people come here from other parts of the world and then they watch their children and their grandchildren lose the culture from their homeland. And the tension there and the Klingons are standing there saying, the humans have done it to the Vulcans, the Tellerites, the Andorians. Like they bring them into the fold and they turn them into this, and we will not have that happen to us.
Mm-hmm. And so as a rallying cry, it's, I think it's absolutely what was going on in the era of 2017. Yes. Immigration as an issue and a political issue in the war. First is not, Over it hasn't been solved. Yeah. Every country on the planet that has immigration issues where people are coming from other places because of very often war, famine, drought, like there are real issues that drive people from their homeland to go to other places.
And then the people who are already there very often claim they're coming here to change us. They're going to change what it means to be us. The Klingons are making that exact argument. It's effectively a 2017 argument like, we will not change. This is not going to happen, and we will do whatever we have to to stop it.
It is a really great starting point for a new series, which is Post Enterprise. It's a really great place to jump off. So we see
it's, it's, it's very much of the time. That's the thing I liked about it. Absolutely. It's very much yeah. Of the time politically.
And so we see Burnham make the claim like we, we need to do something strong.
And they effectively pull T'Kuvma's, ship into, uh, revealing itself by targeting the ancient object in the asteroid field, which we will learn is a signal device to be able to broadcast to all of Klingon. There's a whole aspect of that that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. It beams light. It would take the light decades, light years, centuries, light years to get it.
Would you Don't light a flashlight and then have, you know, like somebody who lives miles away and go like, oh, did you signal me? It's, it's, this is not going to work the way that they presented in the show, but this thing is lit and it will bring all the 24 houses, representatives come running. Burnham's argument is we need to cut off the head.
Right now we need to demonstrate, we will not be, be toyed with, and Georgiou is following the Starfleet protocol of we don't fire first. That's not what we do. That's not who we are. So it is a return to a classic Trek debate, which is, we're not soldiers, we're explorers, but they're an incredibly dangerous territory.
So, mm-hmm. That is a beautiful tension that has always existed within Star Trek, goes all the way back to the original series. Here it is being introduced on the bridge of this, this first ship that we're seeing. In this, we're seeing this self defensive nationalism species, you know, defense on the form of the Klingon.
So it's big. Issues right out of the get, get-go to to start the conflict. Burnham in her belief that this has to happen is willing to actually disable her own captain and effectively mutiny. Mm-hmm. So this is something now wildly different from what we've ever seen before. And this was one of the issues that Fuller wanted to push into Star Trek.
He and Kurtzman basically broke a rule of Roddenberry's, which was within Starfleet. Starfleet doesn't fight amongst its own. It's a unified humanity, a unified vision of the future. But here we have her actually saying like, I believe so firmly that if we don't do this, we will die. So in order to protect my captain and my ship, I will mutiny in order to do the thing I believe will save us.
And she orders. The ship to fire on T'Kuvma vessel Georgiou is able to rally and stop this moments before the photon torpedoes would've been fired. And in stopping, it delays events long enough that all the other houses now arrive. And now at the end of the first episode, the Vulcan Hello was going to be firing first.
So we end the first part of this story with all of the other vessels arriving, and it's now too late. They can't do what Burnham argued. And Burnham is obviously now in deep Dooo because she has mutated against her captain, who is also effectively a surrogate mother figure. So many layers of betrayal here.
How did you feel about that as a high point to this episode? The climax of this episode being what she did to Mutiny? I'm
torn because I, it didn't feel star Trek to me. Because of how divisive it was. And here's this main character that we're supposed to be on their side for the entire show. And usually the main characters are heroic.
And in Star Trek land, they always tend to be these, they may have arguments, but they're always kind of in lockstep with each other. And for this to happen, it was like, this is not, this is not my star. Trek was basically my, my reaction. But from, if, if you took Star Trek out of it, I thought it was a really compelling case they were making for her character.
Because it's kind of like she's got the juxtaposition of she's logical, but she's human. Yeah. And this is kind of like showing kind of like the, it's like the worst of both worlds. Yeah. Of like she's in denial that her emotions are guiding her. Yeah. And she's distorting logic to make choices that are actually counterproductive.
Yeah. And so she's kind of her own worst enemy fumbling through this. And so you can kind of see her fumbling and you're like, oh God, don't do this. This is like the worst. Path you could be going down, but you can understand why she's doing it. It's rationalizing everything under logic, even though it's actually emotions is driving it.
Yeah. And so it's kinda like, it's, it's, it's an interesting setup. So even though I don't think it's star Trek, it's a great setup for what's gonna come in the coming, the rest of the season and the, the following seasons because she learns from those mistakes and turns into the aspect of what we expect out of our heroic star Trek heroes.
It's like, so for me it's like, I'm kind of torn. I didn't like it cuz it, it's, it's so not star Trek, but from a storytelling point of view, I thought it was really well done and it sets up a really interesting character path to come. So I, I enjoyed it. I mean, I really did enjoy
it. Yeah. I know exactly what you're saying and I feel very similarly.
It's really kind of like taking Spock and inverting him. Yeah. To create this. This person who as you, as you mentioned, I love the aspect of she thinks that she has a skillset that other people around her don't have, which is her ability to utilize logic in the way she does. And she is, unlike Spock, Spock is constantly aware of an emotional turmoil underneath his surface that he's constantly pulling back.
That is his, that his character is this. I'm constantly battling this side of myself. She doesn't know the battle is happening, and so she is making, she's in denial. Extreme leaps in logic. Believing that like, ah, but I have an argument here that you can't impune and everybody around her is like, what are you talking about?
You're just acting like a jerk. Like you're just being a jerk right now. And jerk is being, you know, a very light term for Mutineer. She convinces herself that the only thing she can do in this moment is to incapacitate her own captain and in order to save the ship, the reality being the moment she would fire, there's no guarantee that she would've been able to do anything to that vessel that would've incapacitated it to the, in the way that she was hoping.
So we end up seeing her at the beginning of the second part of this story. She is locked away in the brig and the Klingons who've all shown up are now communicating with T'Kuvma and are basically like, what the hell's going on, bro? Why'd you call us here? And he makes this impassioned appeal to let's unify the houses again.
Let's start on the path again. Let's remember the teachings of Call Kahless again and let's be Klingon again. We are not being Klingon and when we're, you know, squabbling amongst ourselves, look at what is showing up here. And the great scene that Matt referred to where Georgiou was making her plea of like, now that we're talking, let's have a nice conversation cuz let's not forget we come in peace.
And his sitting there and being like, wait for it. Here it comes. That's a very, I, it reminded me of Christopher Plumbers Commander Kang in Star Trek six. It's, he's got that kind of, even though it's all completely in Klingon ease as opposed to being in, you know, anything that we would be able to recognize without the subtitles.
His approach, his knowledge, his like, kind of like banter on the side while she's doing her whole. Like putting out an open palm to, to shake your hand. And he's like, yeah, it's got a blade. She's got a blade in the other hand. So it's that kind of like Shakespearean take on everything that I really liked and then a battle ensues.
There is no, the Klingons are not going to pay attention to this. And they take the approach of like, we're gonna smack you down and we're gonna make sure that we leave you alive so that you can tell your friends who did this well, the entire
second episode, we can kind of fast forward the plot here because the second episode is really just action adventure.
It's just, it's just, yeah. The battle. It's like ships fighting things exploding. The, their ship gets wrecked and, and like with her in the, in the, in the cell.
A great moment herself, her logic,
the only reason she's alive Yeah. Is because she's in the cell completely exposed to space. It's like there's, there's, there's a lot of action adventure in this, in this episode compared to the first one.
Um, the first one was more like thriller tension, and then this one is cats outta the bag. Yeah. Everything's chaos. And it's, it was really kind of a, a fun star warsie, you know, kind of space romp of like how everybody's reacting to each other. Everybody's fighting and it looks like they're knocked outta commission, but they're not completely outta commission.
And the admiral shows up. There's like great sequences that happen and I kind of do wanna mention that the one sequence I thought was, wow, that is brutal, is when the admiral shows up, rescues them mm-hmm. From drifting to an asteroid and he does the same thing. The appeal to the Klingon saying, we're here, let's talk.
And as the Klingons go, yeah, sure, we'll talk. Yeah. And then. Just like the, the ship starts shaking and then the signal cuts out. It's like, what's going on? And that massive cloaked ship. Like a, A Viking ship. Yeah. Running through another ship, just slowly cutting them in half. Yeah. I, I was just like, that is some of the best space battles.
Yeah. I've seen It was really breathing or television. So incredible. I was like that. That is amazing. That was really well done. Had me kind of like, you know, jaw on the floor. Like this is fantastic. Yeah. I can't believe this is on streaming
television. Yeah. Yeah. And it's really, really cool stuff. And it's a thing that we've never seen before and it really, it's the fire belching out of the Europa as it's being torn in half the fact that the admiral then self-destructs the ship in order to destroy the ship that is doing this to him.
Yep. The, the destruction of the Shenzhou to the degree where she has to out logic the computer. In order to like convince a computer like, I will die if you do not do this thing. So do the thing and I will be able to survive. And the computer even says there's a, what was it? A 23% chance this will work. And it's like, ooh, these are not good odds.
And you know, she, she is able to survive by convincing the computer to allow the vacuum of space to suck her out of the area of the cell and into a doorway where there's a hallway that's still pressurized. So she's able to survive. She's able to get out of there and try to help, but she is witnessing the ultimate destruction of, of.
Every ship that's shown up and they end up with a battered vessel, they're not going to be able to function in any way to battle back. But they're able to Jerry rig a, uh, they're gonna put together a device to attack the Klingon ship, to blow up the, the lead ship, which is now the only one that is still there.
The other Klingon vessels have left the original ship with T'Kuvma is the only one still there. And then they discover, and this is, this was another aspect where I was just like, wow, this is something we haven't seen before. It's creepy, but it's like well done. They discovered that what the Klingon vessel is doing is beaming the.
Dead Klingon. Yeah. Floating in space aboard and T'Kuvma aboard. We actually know that he has told his crew, bring them all aboard. I will prepare them for burial with my own hands. So this guy really is a true believer. He is trying to walk the walk that he believes he has to, to lead his people. And he's gotten some believers from the 24 houses.
He's got people who joined him in that battle. So this is the beginning of something that we know as a viewer. Like, oh if, if they don't manage to either stop this in some way or make peace in some way, this is not gonna turn out well for the federation. This is a Klingon empire that if it starts to actually flex its muscle is going to be able to clean house.
So they plant explosives into a body. And this was one of like, this is creepy. This is a little, mm-hmm. Like it's pushing some boundaries of good taste, but they put an explosive into a body and we watch as that body is then pulled aboard the ship. And when that torpedo blows up, it effectively lops the head, cuts the ship half off the ship, and then Burnham, once again, makes the argument, the thing to do is to take him prisoner.
If you kill him, T'Kuvma becomes a martyr. He becomes a symbol for the Klingons and unifies them even in death. But if we capture him, then he becomes leverage and he looks weak. So it helps us to capture him. So Georgiou and Burnham go aboard the Klingon ship to try and capture him. It does not go well. We see Georgiou die and we see T'Kuvma die.
Burnham gets back and aboard. T'Kuvma ship, the character we haven't talked about at all up to this point. But who is important to mention? He has more to do in the future than he did actually in these episodes. But he's there symbolically as a, as a castaway child who T'Kuvma has taken under his wing and is Vok, who appears to be an albino Klingon.
So he is ghostly white and is not accepted by any of the other Klingon, but T'Kuvma has taken him in and Vok is absolutely dogmatically committed to Coto, to T'Kuvma, and his belief that he is the reincarnation of Kahless. So we see the death of T'Kuvma. He's now gonna be the martyr that they didn't want him to be.
We also see the death of Georgiou and Burnham gets back to the ship and is immediately just like torn apart, that she's lost. Her captain, but more importantly her mother figure. This is effectively, she has two relationships in her life, Sarek and Georgiou. These are the two key pillars of her belief system of her life.
And she's now lost. She's lost Georgiou. And then the, the Starfleet crew, they vacate the ship. There's all sorts of escape pods and we jump forward an uncertain amount in time. Not a long period, but we jump forward just enough to see that Burnham is on trial. She. Pleads guilty to mutiny and it is a very dramatically rendered, it doesn't look anything like we're accustomed to seeing from a Starfleet tribunal.
Mm-hmm. Where we'd normally be a very well lit room and somebody would very officially say like, we find you guilty and in this it is dramatic backlighting and there's no lights in the room. And they're like, how do they do their job? I don't know. But Burnham is effectively told, you are stripped of your rank, you will be locked away for the rest of your life.
Everything you hope to do, you did not accomplish and wow, you're in a bunch of shit. So the end of the second episode, uh, it was described as these first two are prologue to what is to come. I don't like that term of it being prologue. Yeah, it really isn't. It's, these are the first two chapters of Burnham's story in season one.
So she ends the second episode locked up. And Starfleet is now behind her. She is not going to ever be fulfilling the role that the opening episode showed where you're on the path to getting your own captaincy. And we're hoping to have it happen soon. That's done. So we find ourselves now with, we still haven't seen a ship called Discovery.
We have seen the main character get locked away and yeah, she's a prisoner. She's a prisoner. So as far as like the thrust of a new show, what did you think about that as being like the ultimate, like, here's where we are now at the end of episode two again.
If this had been called random sci-fi series on new streaming service, I would've, I would've eaten this up.
But I remember the first time I watched it, my reaction was, this is not star Trek, uh, by the end of the, the second episode. But I had so much fun with it, and it was so well-written and so well rendered. It was like, I'm gonna finish this show out. This is fun. But it doesn't feel like star Trek to me. And I, and I rewatching it.
I still had that feeling of, this does not feel like star Trek, but because I know where it goes, I'm cutting it way more slack on this second rewatch. And so I'm a lot more forgiving of it. The, the first time I watched it, so I, it's, I'm, once again, I'm to, I'm torn. I'm so torn. Like you just mentioned, like the whole trial scene, it's style over substance, and there's a lot of that in this show.
There's a lot more style over substance, a lot of glitz that makes no logical sense. It's done that way because it looks cool. But when, as soon as you think about like, would it actually be done that way? The answer is, oh no. It's like they would turn a light switch on so they could actually see what they're doing.
It wouldn't, it wouldn't be lit the way it's lit, but it looks cool. So that's why they do it. So that's kind of where, you know, I kind of give the show, kind of knock it down a little bit because they were putting a little more of that style over substance priority. But storytelling wise, I thought this was a great, unique, interesting way to set up an entire star Trek show because our main character is a convict.
It's like, that is like nothing we've ever seen in Star Trek. Yeah. So I gotta give them kind of like a tip of the hat to man coming outta this from a unique, fun. Interesting. Here's a black woman that we were being told was going to be the captain of a sh ship that we assume is gonna be the discovery because the show's called Discovery and, oh wait, nope.
Yep. Black person ends up to prison. Yeah. Shocker. You know what I mean? It's like it's, it's making a lot of statements and it's doing a really interesting thing. So I kind of have to applaud the kind of chutzpah, I guess I would say of being that standing behind your convictions and doing something unique, I gotta applaud them for
Yeah, and there's also, like I mentioned earlier, it isn't star Trek until it is and Yep. And being the first to do a thing and not being the first to do some other things. Wasn't the first time we've seen a black woman on the bridge of a ship wasn't the first time that we've seen a captain disobey orders in order to do what they feel is right, like we've seen these things before.
The style over substance. The only defense of style over substance is when the style sends you a message to reinforce. Something internal to a character. Like if you have that moment of, well, logically this doesn't make any sense that they would be sitting in a dark room. It's meant to convey the oppressive emotional burden that Burnham is now carrying with her.
So it's like that's, it's impressionistic only defensive it, it's impressionistic. Yeah. Yeah. It's impressionistic and it's, and that's the only defense of it. And that I bring that up. Not to defend it, but just kind of to put that into the conversation as well to say, yeah, there is a lot of style over substance.
Some of it is earned as much as they can, and that's a more modern storytelling technique than when the original series was put together, or when enterprise was put together, where we had a lot less of style over substance. Um mm-hmm. Enterprise was guilty of other mistakes in the form of like Yep.
Withholding information to keep the big reveal, and then never giving the big reveal, like they never show the face of the. Person talking from the future to the Suliban. It's that shadowy hologram that's like, oh, you're gonna have to go do these things. And then it's like, who was that? And like, we're never gonna tell you.
It's just good luck figuring that out. It's like that wasn't style of a substance, that was just bad decision making. So dark shadowy rooms, lots of lens flare, like a bridge that is super, super high tech, but they don't turn one ceiling light on. What is, it's like it's meant to convey like things internal.
So it's like, again, not to defend it, but to say, okay, maybe they back away from it. I think they do. I think they do back away from it. Because when this came out, it did very well with viewership, but it was reviewed as being uneven and. It's the first two episodes and uneven is, you know, absolutely unavoidable I think, at that point.
So I think that as we move forward, we're gonna see it pulling back from some of that. And it's also going to rely on giving us a cast of characters at this point moving forward. We only really know two characters that are gonna stick with us. Mm-hmm. And we only know one of them well. So it's Saru we're gonna have to learn a lot more about, and Burnham is our main character.
And again, that's a little bit different for Star Trek up to this point. Mm-hmm. It's been very heavily, like these are always going to be about the entirety of the crew here. We've been given a main character and so that's another thing. It's a little bit different from some of the other tricks. So, To our listeners and viewers, what did you think about all of this?
What did you think about it at the original time of broadcast? Were you hooked immediately or did you have to warm up to it? Or if you're. Just joining it now. Maybe you didn't even watch it back in 2017. What did you think about it now, as a viewer, let us know in the comments. You can also reach out to us through the contact information in the podcast description.
Next time. We're gonna be talking about episode three of Discovery, which is context is for Kings. Matt, any predictions as to what context is for Kings is about? No. Yeah,
the honest answer.
Before we sign off, Matt, do you have anything coming up on your channel you wanted to share with the viewers and listeners? Um, it's
not right away, but I do wanna kind of start teasing. I just got back from a trip to the uk, which I've dubbed my UK Nuclear Fusion tour. I got to go see a whole bunch of, you're not
calling it the N-UK tour.
Sean. I'm just gonna skip over that. Yeah, I got some really amazing things. I got access to things I never, if you would've expected somebody like me to get access to and talk to people all over the place in the UK about nuclear fusion. And it was an amazing, amazing trip. And I'm gonna have a series of probably three or video four videos coming up on the channel, all about that.
So if you're interested in nuclear fusion, be sure to check out my channel. As for
me, you can check out my website, sean Ferrell dot com. You can find out more information about my books, including the one that's coming out in June, the Sinister Secrets of Singe. It's available for pre-order now and it's available wherever you buy your books.
So, Big bookstore like Amazon or Barnes Noble, small Community Bookstore. Wherever you want to go, you can find it there. And if you'd like to support this show, please consider leaving review wherever it is that you've found it. So if you go back to YouTube, Spotify, Google, wherever it is, you're downloading this, go back there, leave a review, don't forget to subscribe, and don't forget to share it with your friends.
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