Star Trek Discovery: People of Earth

‘Welcome back, Commander.’

By nature I love brevity: An improvement over last week, but some weird writing and tonal issues still hold it back.

Alright. I’ve recovered from my bout of rage over the last episode. I still don’t like Georgiou and I still don’t like some of the dialogue and other tools of the writers, but I’m not nearly as bothered here as I was there.

This episode dabbles noticeably in classic Trek-ness, which I greatly appreciated. It also gave us a look at Earth, which was nice, even if it wasn’t as fully fleshed out as I would have liked.

First, let’s get the re-introductions out of the way. Burnham, Discovery. Discovery, Burnham. I liked the hugs and greetings to various degrees. Burnham and Tilly’s scene was nice, although I felt it was slightly off in a way I couldn’t put my finger on. But the real standout was Burnham and Saru’s moment on the bridge, and the settlement of a longstanding hope of many Discovery fans. Saru is the new Captain of the ship. And may he continue to be.

Less effective was Burnham and Book’s dynamic. It took several scenes for them to really feel like people who had spent a year together. Sure, they told stories and made inside jokes, but it felt a little forced to me until a few scenes in. Once they got the rhythm, though, it rarely faltered. Their latter scenes worked for me quite well.

The classic Trek diplomacy story was a little bit dry and not fully fleshed out, but it’s heart was in the right place. It’s almost as if the writers were stretching muscles they had seldom used in recent times, and were still relearning how to make it work. But make no mistake, this still manages to feel like classic Trek, and I appreciate the effort.

I’m sort of breezing straight through this, but each of my thoughts about this episode is quite brief. This episode introduces us to Adira (Blu Del Barrio), a new recurring character for the show. My initial reaction to Adira is best summed up in this note I jotted down: ‘Just what Discovery needed: Wesley frickin’ Crusher.’ But then they switched it up on me, and suddenly everything made sense.

This initial reaction was fueled, of course, by her immediate ability to magically be better than everybody else at science. Everyone else’s reaction to her seemed overblown too. Stamets’ and Tilly’s conversation was super weird and excessive. Ostensibly they were figuring the situation out as they went along, but the delivery made it seem as though they were explaining it matter-of-factly to each other. But then each picked up where the other left off so quickly, it never felt like they were actually explaining things to each other. This, combined with the praise and awe they expressed at Adira’s amazing abilities, really rubbed me the wrong way.

But, thankfully, that isn’t all there was. There was one more surprise in store that made it all make sense. Adira is host to a Trill symbiont. This is why she knows about ancient technology, has skills that don’t make sense given her age, and acts strange around others. It’s a perfect twist and it deepens the character in an excellent way. (Still bugs me in this episode though.)

All this said, I will reserve judgement on Adira – and Blu del Barrio – until later. Certainly, both got on my nerves here, but that may change. And as a young performer on a new and prestigious set, I’m sure they were incredibly nervous and needed some time to settle in.

This episode seemed to set the show up for the season moving forward. We’ve dealt, in the first two, with the immediate issues of the past, and now it’s time to move into the future of this series. Let’s boldly go, Discovery. Engage!

Strange New Worlds:

This episode's strange new world is certainly strange, but it is not new. Although the crew spent very little time on Earth, we got to see San Francisco in the far future. Shockingly, the ever-present San Francisco bridge is still around.

New Life and New Civilizations:

Both factions, it turns out, were human. The United Earth Defense Force was living on Earth, while Wen's raiders were from Saturn's moon Titan.

Pensees:

-Frakes returns to the director’s chair. Not a ton of directing notes here, but it never really bothered or intrigued me.

-Book’s interaction with Georgiou was very much a ‘boyfriend meets the mom’ kind of thing. I guess the estranged mom-like role is about as good a role for Georgiou as any; Yeoh did do a good job with it back when she was Georgiou-prime.

-As the Disco passed Saturn, the music seemed very reminiscent of the Voyager theme. Appropriate and well-done.

-It was weird that Georgiou and Burnham could casually stroll the halls chatting while the ship was being actively searched by a potentially unfriendly group.

-Can no First Officer escape being called ‘Number One’ anymore? I feel like that should be a special Riker thing, rather than something everybody does.

-Loved the crew visiting the tree they all studied under at the academy. A nice moment.

3 out of 6 not-so-Wesley-Crushers.

--
CoramDeo will take 'May your soul find rest' for 1000, Alex. Godspeed, sir.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem with "Number One". It was there at the very beginning, in The Cage. It's very standard in the Nave.

It's true that they didn't use it much (at all?) during TOS, and that it was very noticeable during TNG, though. Again, it wasn't used on DS9, VOY or ENT, but all of those had first officers that were not part of Starfleet (even though Chakotay graduated the Academy and served on Starfleet before resigning and joining the Maquis).

Anonymous said...

*Navy

Damn google and twitter for not letting you edit your posts, you can read it three times before posting and something will always slip through.