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prometheus59650

Episode 1.8: “Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum” Discussion Thread

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11 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

Hope it’s better than last week’s... ;)

Heh.

I LIKED last week's. It wasn't flawless, but I liked it, mainly for the smaller character moments...but t wasn't a wasted hour for me.

Edited by prometheus59650

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Corylea   

My husband said of this week's episode, "It was pretty cheesy, but at least it was Star Trek-flavored cheese." :)

 

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This was a good episode all around, even if it was really just the jump off for the  really good stuff next week.

Edited by prometheus59650

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18 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

Hope it’s better than last week’s... ;)

Something of a low bar...:P

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Enjoyable, decent stuff with a few elements that don’t add up. The space battle at the beginning was really tense - getting a glimpse of the Gagarin’s crew really sold the encounter as a genuine loss. It was terrific to see an away mission, and Pahvo was well-realised with its blue foliage and sky crystals that resonate the planet’s musical harmonics into space (great idea, if not wholly original). Still not entirely sure why or how Saru abandoned his Starfleet principles - was there more “mind control” involved in this than he later admitted?  If not, his basic fear factor surely undermines any pretentions he has to command. Even so, as a character, he’s still one of the best things about the show, because Doug Jones makes him so believable. Burnham was also great in this one, Ash Tyler’s ability to warm her up paying dividends. Really enjoyed those scenes of all three characters planetbound. Yeah, it was all a bit cheesy. I liked it though.

Less enamored of the scenes on the Klingon vessel, and more confused by them than ever. Good to see both Mary Chieffo as L’Rell and Jayne Brook as Cornwell back. Is Cornwell really dead? If so, what a waste. Can’t help thinking this might be sleight-of-hand, that she’ll be revealed to be alive again later - hope so. Her death being an incident in L’Rell’s abortive plan to defect (or not?) seems like a real misuse of a character that’s been carefully built up to have many different takes and insights into both the Federation and now the Klingon status quo. 

Are we supposed to think that L’Rell’s actions throughout these scenes are sincere or not? Or is it another double bluff? Disco seems to be trying to playing the long game in terms of storytelling here, but it’s not giving us enough signals to know how to read a character. Part of that is because of the limitations of the Klingon make-up, though Chieffo does a great job communicating what she can though those restrictive facial appliances. Either way, I’m hoping light will be shed upon her motivations next episode. And, all that said, for me L’Rell remains the best Klingon character in this new iteration of the species, and a hell of a lot of that is down to Chieffo making it work. 

When she comes upon her deceased comrades, that was potentially powerful stuff, but I found myself confused as to whether they were just murdered or victims of Klingon cannibalism and this room had been co-opted as a fridge. I will need to rewatch this. 

All those scenes marred for me what was otherwise an enjoyable episode. Tonally, they seemed a real mismatch between the interesting away mission and the planetbound scenes. I liked the ones on the Discovery too (Stamets and Tilly! More please.) But as a whole, good bits with too many oblique questions. 

Edited by Robin Bland

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1 minute ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Something of a low bar...:P

Honestly? So far, I like Discovery because it’s Star Trek, not because I find it deeply impressive. It looks really nice and there’s been a couple of decent-to-good episodes and I’m in it for the long haul. I like the characters (mostly) but they’re made that way by charismatic actors more than great, tight scripts. 

I find that I’m wanting it to be good more than I’m actually enjoying it, more than I’m bouncing off my seat with a sense of honest excitement. There’s such an uneven tone throughout this war arc, and the showrunners need to pull it together now. Serialized storytelling is fine, but it’s just one tool in the box. And here it seems to be obfuscating the arc plot, not clarifying it or drawing me in with its reveals. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with the Klingons and worse, I don’t really care. They just seems insipid and stupid a lot of the time - dumber and even less believable than the Space Vikings of old. And they’re boring too, Chieffo’s valiant  efforts notwithstanding.

This episode felt like it was pulling in two entirely different directions - wanting to embrace the old spirit of optimism, and wanting to be gritty and modern in its portrayal of the necessities of war.  (DS9 proved you can do both those tones and make them work.) To me, this episode felt like a late-stage rewrite, so you had all the heavy war plot shoehorned into a decent if hokey away mission story that at least served to give us some interesting and much-needed character development. 

Which it all makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy it - I did, but I’m still waiting for that episode where I go, now this is it’s own thing. This is a classic, and it’s all its own new Star Trek. 

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49 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

Honestly? So far, I like Discovery because it’s Star Trek, not because I find it deeply impressive. It looks really nice and there’s been a couple of decent-to-good episodes and I’m in it for the long haul. I like the characters (mostly) but they’re made that way by charismatic actors more than great, tight scripts. 

I find that I’m wanting it to be good more than I’m actually enjoying it, more than I’m bouncing off my seat with a sense of honest excitement. There’s such an uneven tone throughout this war arc, and the showrunners need to pull it together now. Serialized storytelling is fine, but it’s just one tool in the box. And here it seems to be obfuscating the arc plot, not clarifying it or drawing me in with its reveals. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with the Klingons and worse, I don’t really care. They just seems insipid and stupid a lot of the time - dumber and even less believable than the Space Vikings of old. And they’re boring too, Chieffo’s valiant  efforts notwithstanding.

This episode felt like it was pulling in two entirely different directions - wanting to embrace the old spirit of optimism, and wanting to be gritty and modern in its portrayal of the necessities of war.  (DS9 proved you can do both those tones and make them work.) To me, this episode felt like a late-stage rewrite, so you had all the heavy war plot shoehorned into a decent if hokey away mission story that at least served to give us some interesting and much-needed character development. 

Which it all makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy it - I did, but I’m still waiting for that episode where I go, now this is it’s own thing. This is a classic, and it’s all its own new Star Trek. 

I can’t help but agree with much of this.

I enjoy parts of it; some of it very much.   Some of the characters really jump off the screen (Stamets, Lorca, Tilly).  But overall, it’s a typically rough first-year of a Star Trek series.  So I remind myself that TNG and DS9 both had similarly rocky first seasons (even TOS had some clunkers in Year One; “Mudd’s Women” “Alternative Factor”).  DS9 had a few in its first two years as well (“Move Along Home” jumps to mind).

Keeping that in mind, as well as my love of the characters and the brand, I’m ready to give it plenty of slack.   

For better or worse, I’m predisposed to Star Trek (I think it’s in my very DNA at this point), so I’m afraid my admitted bias can’t be overcome.  

tumblr_n2rffvXCyv1tv4k5po1_400.gif

56 minutes ago, Robin Bland said:

And here it seems to be obfuscating the arc plot, not clarifying it or drawing me in with its reveals. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with the Klingons and worse, I don’t really care. They just seems insipid and stupid a lot of the time - dumber and even less believable than the Space Vikings of old. And they’re boring too, Chieffo’s valiant  efforts notwithstanding.

^

I think I like the Klingons just a little bit more than you do (their aesthetics at least), but last night’s episode was a genuine test of my patience; I’m still not sure exactly what was going on, and I kinda wish they’d stop “Game of Throning” them to death.  

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The good:

- Lorca. Opening sequence. I liked that it wasn't a "Hero Lorca jumps in and saves everybody" scene. This is why I want to like this new show. Because I want for it to be UN-like the Trek we've seen before.

- I like L'Rell. She's seriously the only Klingon on this show I care for.

- Lorca. Closing scene. I wish they had just showed him like "oh so the Klingons are coming to destroy this planet? Whatever, not my problem" :P (I know, I know, it can BECOME his problem if the Klingons decide to use that fancy communications thingy for their own purposes.)

 

The meh:

-  I thought they'd gotten rid of that admiral. Why is she still here? She's a potential threat to Lorca, and I don't like threats to Lorca. Meh. I'm not sure she's really dead because L'Rell is a walking plot twist

- Saru finally gets something to do... and then it's just your average generic "possessed by aliens" plot. Can we not? Meh.

 

The bad:

- This episode was just so... horrifyingly Old Trek. It was just like what we've seen dozens of times before, and BLEEEEEEEERGH. The more the show becomes like Old Trek the less I like it. I want unusual things, not "this energy being does not register as a lifeform" lines. YAAAAAAAWN. We've had that before, endless times, there's no need to repeat this. I hope they stop this. I want for the show to go back to Lorca and his little chamber of horrors. Can we do that?

- PLEASE, less Burnham and Tyler. Their romance is just so utterly BORING to me, there's NOTHING that intrigues me about it. Sorry. This is not why I watch Trek. I don't want the 32941038576th hetero romance sub plot. (They cut a scene with Culber and Stamets from this episode, so yeah, I'm angry. They have given us ONE Culber and Stamets relationship scene and Burnham and Tyler are all over the place already and they've just gotten together.)

- I still don't care about Burnham. I doubt this will ever change. I don't dislike her but by now I could honestly do without her being the center of things. She's not that interesting.

 

So... I liked this episode even less than the one we had last week. If it wasn't for Lorca, now would be the time where I'd consider to stop watching.

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Locutus   
3 hours ago, Robin Bland said:

 

Which it all makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy it - I did, but I’m still waiting for that episode where I go, now this is it’s own thing. This is a classic, and it’s all its own new Star Trek. 

I know what you mean.  Unfortunately, I feel like it is partly a result of the serialized storytelling.  I know one might say, “but DS9 had serialized episodes that stand on their own as classics.”  And that is true.  But to have an episode concept that is all “it’s own thing” within the confines of the big Star Trek tropes they have already carted out (war with the Klingons), I don’t know if we will see that Season 1.  Like many, I feel that the Klingon scenes and intrigue just aren’t that well put together.  It’s frustrating and makes me look forward to the start of Season 2 when hopefully they will have ended the Klingon arc and we can get some more original concepts.

At least, the character exploration in Discovery has taken the drivers seat, while the plots seem highly derivative of much that we have seen before either in Star Trek or elsewhere.  That is good and bad, but when you have a plot that plays out slowly over an entire season, the character development is probably what is going to make individual episodes stand out anyways.  At least, they are getting that right for the most part.

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I’m enjoying the show overall, but there hasn’t been an episode that’s really knocked my socks off; I’ve been more impressed with the actors and the production values than the actual screenwriting.   But...I’m holding out hope.  

Once again; we’re only 8 episodes in.  Early Trek is always a bit bumpy at the start (even DS9).  Among the 8 episodes so far, there’s only been one that I’ve found to be a bona fide dud.  One concern of mine is the money being spent; this is a lavish and very expensive show.  Arguably the best-looking ST series of all time.  If only they could marry that production value to some of the older type of TNG or DS9 storytelling?  We’d REALLY have something.  

As it is?  It’s good looking and the characters are promising, but overall it’s nothing truly exceptional just yet.

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My biggest problem with the series at this point is this:

They are trying to sell me hard on Burnam as the core of this show, but, at this point, she's still the least interesting person in it.

- Lorca is compelling as the VERY grey area good guy. I'm really looking forward to the fall finale as I expect we'll really see what he values and how many of those values are Starfleet values.

- Stamets is more compelling with his snark and intellect and the humanity underneath. When Burnam told him she'd never been in love, I believed him when he told Burnam he was sorry.

- Tilly? She IS Starfleet. Wide-eyed curiosity, intelligence, friendliness, and determination. And even Starfleet's unwritten motto of "Science is %$#*&^# cool." This young lady is something.

 

Burnam? I see steps being taken in the right direction, but I don't find her all that likeable, and I have yet to see her living by those Starfleet values that she told Lorca she's all about.

If this is supposed to be Burnam's show, I should be behind and rooting for her, and I'm really not. She could disappear and I almost wouldn't notice at this point. 

 

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I'm not disliking Burnham, but I'm just not buying that it's her show; it's already turning into an ensemble and frankly there are other characters that I'm finding the other characters more compelling, including Ash Tyler.

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21 minutes ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I'm not disliking Burnham, but I'm just not buying that it's her show; it's already turning into an ensemble and frankly there are other characters that I'm finding the other characters more compelling, including Ash Tyler.

And I think we can pretty much say now that Ash is not Voq...unless he can fool a biobed.

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4 hours ago, Locutus said:

I know what you mean.  Unfortunately, I feel like it is partly a result of the serialized storytelling.  I know one might say, “but DS9 had serialized episodes that stand on their own as classics.”  And that is true.  But to have an episode concept that is all “it’s own thing” within the confines of the big Star Trek tropes they have already carted out (war with the Klingons), I don’t know if we will see that Season 1.  Like many, I feel that the Klingon scenes and intrigue just aren’t that well put together.  It’s frustrating and makes me look forward to the start of Season 2 when hopefully they will have ended the Klingon arc and we can get some more original concepts.

At least, the character exploration in Discovery has taken the drivers seat, while the plots seem highly derivative of much that we have seen before either in Star Trek or elsewhere.  That is good and bad, but when you have a plot that plays out slowly over an entire season, the character development is probably what is going to make individual episodes stand out anyways.  At least, they are getting that right for the most part.

Mostly, the character stuff has been working for me. But, at this point, if you're testing the patience of the likes of this guy:

6 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I think I like the Klingons just a little bit more than you do (their aesthetics at least), but last night’s episode was a genuine test of my patience; I’m still not sure exactly what was going on, and I kinda wish they’d stop “Game of Throning” them to death.  

...You're in trouble.

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1 hour ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I'm not disliking Burnham, but I'm just not buying that it's her show; it's already turning into an ensemble and frankly there are other characters that I'm finding more compelling, including Ash Tyler.

Me too. She's all right, but she's certainly not a character who has come to the fore.

To Locutus' point, I like the ensemble - I think this crew, as it is, and think it has a lot of potential - but the showrunners need to harness it and figure out what Discovery is about. Maybe it's just so clever that, at the end of the season we'll discover how wrong we all are about everything we've assumed about the story up until this point. I hope so, because I'm beginning to think it's all a bit of a mess. Yeah, moreso even than TNG's first season, certainly moreso than DS9's. Other Trek shows may have dithered and not had the courage of their premises (I'm looking at you, Voyager and Enterprise), but at least they felt all of a piece, stylistically speaking. Discovery doesn't - tonally, it's all over the place. It just doesn't feel like it knows what it wants to be. It's not boring exactly [stifles subconscious desire to shout "KLINGOOOONS!"], but so far, it really isn't terribly good, either. It just seems like some kind of good-looking but standard issue, generic SF show and frankly, I always thought the writing on most Star Trek shows, even when it fell into certain habits, was generally of higher quality than this. It always had a conceptual polish, and if that was missing then there was something engaging about the characters. Not all of the time, but if Discovery isn't aiming to be the best of Trek, outdoing or at least snapping at the heels of the finest episodes of TOS, TNG, DS9 and even Enterprise, what's it for?

I really want it to succeed so we get more good Trek on TV, but c'mon. Stop being pretty and wow the audience with some far-out ideas and make us love the characters. All of them. Don't be generic. Make us believe in IDIC, and boldly take us somewhere strange and new. 

Edited by Robin Bland

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Locutus   
1 hour ago, Sehlat Vie said:

I'm not disliking Burnham, but I'm just not buying that it's her show; it's already turning into an ensemble and frankly there are other characters that I'm finding the other characters more compelling, including Ash Tyler.

I understand why Fuller tried to shift the focus off the Captain and the bridge, and the writers have been marginally successful there at least with not spending too much time on the bridge.  

Unfortunately, I think the Burnham character was really Fuller’s vision and without him in the writers room, what is to stop them from going a different direction.  I think it is a case of the writers enjoying writing for Lorca, Stammets, Tilly, and Saru more.  THEY don’t find Burnham’s character as interesting as Fuller did, so the follow through on Burnham being the focal point is kind of unravelling before our eyes.  And frankly, I’m fine with it, because like others here, Burnham is not my favorite character ... but then, that’s also due to the writers too.

Edited by Locutus

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17 minutes ago, Locutus said:

HEY don’t find Burnham’s character as interesting as Fuller did, so the follow through on Burnham being the focal point is kind of unravelling before our eyes.  

I think that unless Burnam starts turning some pre-planned corner by the end of Season 1, this is where we are.

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2 hours ago, prometheus59650 said:

And I think we can pretty much say now that Ash is not Voq...unless he can fool a biobed.

I’m still not ruling that out....we haven’t seen him with Lorca’s tribble yet.  With this show’s retconning, he could have a gizmo that can fool bio sensors. 

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Just now, Sehlat Vie said:

I’m still not ruling that out....we haven’t seen him with Lorca’s tribble yet.  With this show’s retconning, he could have a gizmo that can fool bio sensors. 

Maybe. 

I'll say that when/if the Tribble squeals in front of Ash, how I will laugh. If that scene occurs, outing Ash is LITERALLY the only reason that tribble has EVER been there.

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But we didn't guess what it was for, right? :laugh:

1 hour ago, Locutus said:

I understand why Fuller tried to shift the focus off the Captain and the bridge, and the writers have been marginally successful there at least with not spending too much time on the bridge.  

Unfortunately, I think the Burnham character was really Fuller’s vision and without him in the writers room, what is to stop them from going a different direction.  I think it is a case of the writers enjoying writing for Lorca, Stammets, Tilly, and Saru more.  THEY don’t find Burnham’s character as interesting as Fuller did, so the follow through on Burnham being the focal point is kind of unravelling before our eyes.  And frankly, I’m fine with it, because like others here, Burnham is not my favorite character ... but then, that’s also due to the writers too.

I think you're right about all of that.

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2 hours ago, Locutus said:

Unfortunately, I think the Burnham character was really Fuller’s vision and without him in the writers room, what is to stop them from going a different direction.  I think it is a case of the writers enjoying writing for Lorca, Stammets, Tilly, and Saru more.  THEY don’t find Burnham’s character as interesting as Fuller did, so the follow through on Burnham being the focal point is kind of unravelling before our eyes.  And frankly, I’m fine with it, because like others here, Burnham is not my favorite character ... but then, that’s also due to the writers too.

^

This could very well be.

I’m not anti-Burnham, and I enjoy the actress, but the character is simply not the most compelling of the group.   Will Riker is a great character, but would I want a show centered around him?  Not necessarily.  He works better as part of a greater ensemble.   Same with Burnham.  I don’t mind her being the jumping off point for the pilot, but I don’t think they need to keep beating it into our skulls that she is the focus of the show.   We, the audience, decide who is our personal focus.   Look at TNG; you have fans that have that one character they tune in for and relate to; you can’t dictate their focal points to them.

Fuller may have found Burnham’s story the most compelling, but judging by online comments I’ve read, the audience of DSC disagrees...

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