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Star Trek Discovery: Stormy Weather

Stamets: "I suppose now is as good a time as any to learn to delegate."

By nature I love brevity: Not my favorite episode this season. But Frakes had some fun at the helm, and nothing really stood out as bad per se.

This episode was clearly designed to bring the growing Zora storyline to the forefront. While that seems like an exciting prospect, as does the mission into one of the spacetime rifts caused by the DMA, the execution was a little wonky. For one thing, the threat was super vague and undefined. The initial hook that the ship was in a void where they couldn't see or hear anything at all was cool, and the idea that something was approaching that could destroy them, but they didn't know what it was, also generated some decent suspense. But then nothing really materialized that the audience could latch onto as a solvable problem. What exactly was happening to the ship? I'm still not sure. I understood that the solution was to follow those particles they found in Book's brain, but I have no idea why they didn't detect those particles before, when they were running every possible kind of scan to see if they could detect anything at all.

'Stormy Weather' gains some points, however, for clever and economic use of characters. This episode made great use of Gray and Dr. Pollard, two characters that have struggled to find a reason for being on the show for a little while, Stamets got some good stuff to do and a great line that made me howl with laughter (see above), even the bridge crew did some interesting stuff. And no, I'm not counting the Bridge Crew Backstory of the Week (TM), with apologies to Lt. Cmdr. Owosekun's thoroughly unprompted and completely tangential story about her childhood friend that died or something. I liked Gray in his scenes with Zora, which is new. Nothing against the character, I just haven't felt like any of his content has been very strong, and I don't feel Ian Alexander has been giving very believable performances. But he was used smartly here, and this may be Alexander's best performance to date.

Zora's an interesting issue. On the one hand, Annabelle Wallis is pretty good in the role, and Frakes' behind-the-scenes decision to have a physical stand-in to read Zora's lines on set pays off really well in her interactions with the rest of the cast. But none of Zora's material is particularly distinct when it comes to AI stories. Heck, I found Airiam's single-episode character growth in 'Project Daedalus' from Season Two more compelling, and that didn't get the necessary buildup at all. As much as the comparison bugs me, Zora is no Gideon from Legends of Tomorrow. We'll see if the show can bring something new or at least not cliche to the AI genre. I'm skeptical, but I did love Zora in the Short Trek 'Calypso' (which, again, you really should watch).

I really don't have much to say about Book's visions of his father. It was fine. Rothaford Gray's performance was perfectly acceptable, and the material was okay. I really don't feel like we made much progress for Book as a character, though, nor did we really learn anything new. It was pretty forgettable stuff.

I really did appreciate the seasoned directorial touches Frakes brought here. Little things like a fun montage that propelled the episode into action at the start, or a reversal of Discovery's trademark rotating bridge shot, or the aforementioned physical stand-in for Zora, all made the episode a little bit better. Frakes knows what he's doing, and the show's more assured and confident sense of identity enables him to do that much more with his episodes. Good work.

Strange New Worlds:

We've got a bottle episode on our hands, folks!

New Life and New Civilizations:

No new planets, no new people.

Pensees:

-We learned through one of Saru's lines that the legacy of the Enterprise still lives on. Somewhere in the fleet there's still a ship named Enterprise, all these years later.

-Interesting that they aren't using the Spore Drive anywhere near the DMA. I bet that will come into play later.

-The Dot being eaten by space and screaming was sufficiently horrifying, especially after the little robots have been so anthropomorphized by the show.

-Wait a second. Did Burnham use... caution? Instead of pushing on into danger for the sake of the mission? By Saru's advice? Wow. Now that is character growth.

-The death of Ensign Cortez was sad and reminded me of submarine movies like The Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide or The Wrath of Khan. I don't think we've seen him before. I wonder if he was assigned to the ship in the 32nd Century, or if he came through the rift with them.

-Come to think of it, what's the over/under on people assigned to the ship? Are they mostly the same crew? Have some left for other ships or postings? We saw in 'Kobayashi Maru' that Bryce did a stint on the Curry, and I remember from last season that Admiral Vance's original intention was that the crew of Discovery would be reassigned, before Burnham and Saru convinced him to keep them together. How much change of crew has happened since then?

-Zora's new holographic 'avatar' of sorts has been appearing in the opening credits all season.

-Apparently the new theory is that the DMA - and therefore Species 10C - may have come from outside the galaxy.

-Keeping people alive inside a pattern buffer is an old trick, first used by Montgomery Scott to preserve himself inside the transporter of the U.S.S. Jenolan for 75 years. This was seen in the TNG episode 'Relics.'

Not quite par for the season, but close. 3.5 out of 6 family trees.

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CoramDeo is just as blind as a guy whose eyes stopped working.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I kept thinking of Scotty in the pattern buffer. :) I enjoyed this one. It felt a bit like old Star Trek.

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