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Jim Muir
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 4:23am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Season 2.1 'Brother'

Having enjoyed season 1, I was really looking forward to this... but this opening episode leaves me uneasy. 

On the plus side:
- Captain Pike. Charismatic and engaging and instantly convincing as a seasoned Captain. He makes an excellent addition to the show. 
- Nice to see the Enterprise. But not too much of it.
- The cast. Everyone seems to have settled into their roles now and bounce comfortably off each other
- Central mystery of the glowing energy pulses... and angels(?) I do like a mystery.
- Abandoned the ridiculous Spore drive tech... for now at least.
- Production quality, as always excellent.

The down:
- Michael Burnham is still not that interesting or likeable. She's just... there. I feel she may be a better character without all the vulcan baggage she's been saddled with. Which leads me to...
- Spock. He's not even in it yet and I'm already sick of it. Flashbacks to young Spock, stroppy Spock, sibling rivalry with Spock, conversations about Spock. Oh, and he seems to know all about the mysterious pulses too. Seems (and I really hope it isnt) this season is going to be the Spock show. I mean, I'm a big fan of Spock, but not here, not like this.
- No Lorca. Hey, I miss the old psychopath.
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 8:54pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I'm a little mixed about "Brother".   I certainly didn't hate it nor did I love it.   It's just kind of there.   

Plusses:

-Anson Mount really knocked it out of the park with his portrayal of Pike.   There's some odd camera angles though where Mount (who is 5'11") seems to look a lot shorter than he actually is -- you can see this in the scene where he steps aside to let Saru command the ship.  edit -- mind you, Doug Jones is a *really* tall dude wearing prosthetics that make him even taller... 

-That nice sly reference to "The Cage".  Refresh my memory -- Is this supposed to be pre-Cage or post-Cage Pike?

-Everything looked great, though I'm a bit confused about the wreckage of the medical ship looking like the inside of an abandonded steel mill.   I'm sure I missed something so I'll have to rewatch.

-Some really nice interesting archetecture in the Vulcan house scenes that looked genuinely alien.

-Those were some damn cool space suits.  So damn cool I think I can actually forgive they are way more advanced than the clunky EV suits you see a decade or two later in ST:TMP.  Using the voice command "helmet" to open and close your helmet seems counterproductive though because... erm... how do you talk to your colleages about your helmet malfunctioning without the computer opening (or closing) your helmet?  I'm sure the AI in the suits prevent you from doing something really stupid like opening your helmet in a vacuum but why even take the risk that a command could be misinterpreted?

-The story seems engaging enough.   It's interesting that Sarek doesn't stick around and Pike doesn't immediately volunteer info on the whereabouts of Spock.

Minuses:

-I have to keep reminding myself the original version of this episode and the following five were scrapped and reshot (in part, or in whole?) and the episodes we are seeing are subjectively "better" versions.   Makes you wonder what was so awful they left it on the cutting room floor.   Maybe some day we'll get to see these could-have-been versions like Genevieve Bujold's Janeway.

-Some rather obvious plot twists with lots of telegraphing.  Snarkypants Science Officer was just a little too smart-assed to make it to the end of the episode without biting it.  Of course Super Spock knows all about the Red Maguffins and leaves a clever hidden message in something from his childhood, and the amount of time they showed young Spock playing with the holo-thingy kind of pointed to it having some impact later on in the episode.

-I haven't decided if having the Enterprise sit out the entire Klingon war is a good thing or not.  A five year mission is one thing, but Kirk's five year mission didn't seem to take him all that far away from Klingon space and the Romulan Neutral Zone.   It just seems kind of... I dunno... disrespectful to the STAR TREK that has come before it.   At best it's a crappy way to prop up the importance of your current titular ship and crew by diminishing the status of another. 

-So that's it for the TOS-ish uniforms, one episode?  It almost seems like they shouldn't have bothered.

-The Pike DNA test scene with Tilly just came off as awkward.   I get why they did it, I just don't think they pulled it off.  TIlly seems to act a lot more unprofessional this season than the last, too.

-That awkward elevator scene doesn't work any better within the context of the show than it did on it's own as a trailer.  To be fair,  I don't think the scene would have worked in THE ORVILLE either. 

-STAR TREK needs four-letter curse words like a bicycle needs an effing fish (IMO). Thirty years ago a "double dumbass" and a discussion about a character's (offscreen) use of colourful metaphors worked amazingly well.  Implied profanity, just like implied horror movie violence and gore are far more effective because they are left up to the viewer's imagination.   Thirty years ago it was played for laughs.  Nowadays we seem to want our heroes to be 'more real' by being profane.  Times change, I guess.

-I have a very bad feeling (tm) where they are going with this strained relationship between Michael and Spock.   Please, please don't let it be a romantic/sexual relationship between step-siblings.   The character of Spock deserves better.  I'm not particularly fond of Michael, but the character deserves better too.   Seriously.   Just don't.   (besides, this is STAR TREK, not THE FLASH ;-)


Edited by Rob Ocelot on 21 January 2019 at 9:04pm
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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 9:11pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Oh one other sorta-minus....

What was up with the Engineer-cum-Doctor and her experiments?  Some of that stuff would have made Josef Mengele blush.   Jeez.
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 9:22pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

No Lorca. Hey, I miss the old psychopath.”

LOL and I agree with your assessment. But as any Babylon 5 fan will tell you, the Red Angel has to be the “good” Lorca. :)
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 21 January 2019 at 9:30pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Re: “That awkward elevator scene doesn't work any better within the context of the show than it did on it's own as a trailer.  To be fair,  I don't think the scene would have worked in THE ORVILLE either”

Agree with all of your other comments including (god forbid) step-sibling relationship.  As for “the sneeze” from elevator scene above, my immediate reaction was that this was either a hat tip or a boast to The Orville.


Edited by Victor Perez on 21 January 2019 at 9:31pm
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Tyler Kloster
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Posted: 22 January 2019 at 10:26pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Rob, "The Cage" happens 2 years before DISCOVERY.
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 24 January 2019 at 11:07pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

So, there are still problems with the show and plenty of nits to pick, but "New Eden" is the first episode of Discovery that just felt like an old school Star Trek episode to me.
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:20am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

<<"New Eden" is the first episode of Discovery that just felt like an old school Star Trek episode to me.">>

You beat me to it... came here to write exactly the same thing. :)

Too bad Pike didn't keep his uniform, btw...noticed on second viewing of last week that except for the color, the tunic had every single detail that the DISCO uniform had.  




Edited by Victor Perez on 25 January 2019 at 12:23am
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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:25am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

<<Rob, "The Cage" happens 2 years before DISCOVERY.">>

How can that be? The Cage represents the end of Pike's career--but explicitly not the end of Pike--and that is what the fortune is foreshadowing. What am i missing? Are you just saying that the timeline is messed up?  Thanks in advance--totally confused.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 2:00am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

If I may, according to the canon timeline (as much as I may not like it), Pike served as Captain of the Enterprise from 2251 to 2263. The episode "The Cage" takes place in 2254. At this point, Pike is nowhere near the end of his career. Discovery, if memory serves, is set in 2256, two years later. Pike goes on to become a Fleet Captain and is injured in 2266 or thereabouts, exposed to Delta Rays while rescuing cadets aboard an outdated starship, "months" before the events shown in "The Menagerie."

There is plenty of unaccounted for time in Pike's career for what we're seeing in "Discovery."

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Victor Perez
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:05pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Oh yikes thanks. I had a brainf*rt and even though the photons were streaming "The Cage," my brain was somehow thinking "The Menagerie."  Now if I could just find my keys. :)
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:15pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Not a problem, sir. I thought you might have been thinking of "The Menagerie," but I didn't want to presume. 

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