Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quick Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery Ep 4

The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry
And yes, there will be spoilers.

I actually forgot to watch the episode yesterday and instead decided to finish out Fallout New Vegas. Not sure that is a good sign for STD. Yeah, I know it's a funny acronym.

I felt like not much happened in this episode and what did wasn't all that interesting to be honest. I also realized something that's bugging me but I'll get to that.

It opens up with an unintentionally funny scene when Michael walks into the elevator with Saru and tells the elevator to go straight to where she wants to go. What was Saru doing in the elevator then? Either he was going off on that floor and forgot or Michael just completely ignored that he might want to go somewhere else.

I'm suspecting more and more that the new look on the Klingons was because the producers, or whomever is in charge of those things, was worried that no one would be interested in something that has been around since literally the beginning of the series. With a whole new look and basically feel to the Klingons they can sort of be passed off as a new enemy. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it yet but I am still not all against it either.

They're pretty cute actually.

When they showed the "Ripper" (the name feels a bit like a metaphor for the series, simplistic and not all thought through) my immediate thought was "huh, that looks just like a tardigrade" and two seconds later they confirm that in fact it is a huge tardigrade. I was actually quite intrigued by the idea of turning a giant tardigrade into a weapon, considering they are the most sturdy animal we know of, even more so than cockroaches. Tardigrades are almost impossible to kill and can withstand insane amounts of temperature change and radiation. But no, apparently it is going to be tortured into being some sort of "navigator" or cog in the machinery. I would've preferred the weapon-path, but hopefully they'll go somewhere else with the tardigrade as well.

The whole attack on the dilithium-mining-outpost was just not well done... When the kid shouted "mummy, mummy wake up!" I was cringing at the bad writing. Add cliché yelling and crying children in the background. And then at the end they had the little kid who looked up into the sky and said "who saved us?". I was starting to wonder whether I was watching a 70's Superman movie. And why did Lorca need to endanger the entire ship with that "blow-the-Klingons-up-with-explosives"-scheme? It looked like the phasers were doing a pretty good job already so that entire tactic seemed really stupid.

Not that there is anything wrong with Superman.

In the meantime the Klingons can't agree on anything even when in full-scale war with the Federation. This doesn't surprise me, but that Kol (or whatever his name was) guy who comes and takes over everything from Voq says, and I paraphrase "well we won't stick together after the fighting anyway so we might as well not before the fighting". Yet again, seems like a bad tactic. Unless he is worried Voq will get too much power but we don't get to see the motivation behind what any character is doing besides Michael.

And here we come to my one biggest issue with this series so far. Every series of Star Trek so far has given many characters in the show the opportunity for some character development. There has been an overarching story, but also branching stories in which we learn more about someone else beside the main character. In Next Generation that was unfortunately characters I didn't care much about, like Troi or Crusher, but mostly this has worked really well and has made me care more about everything that happens to the crew. The Original Series probably does this the least but they still manage to give depth to more characters than just Kirk.

So far I see very little inclination that STD is going to give much character development to anyone but Michael, and when another character gets any development it is only to further the story around Michael. We get some exposition into Saru's species in the first episode, which comes in handy in this episode when Michael needs his "threat-ganglia". Tilly explains a bit of herself but that is only so that we will understand what a pain in the ass she will be for Michael. I didn't like every character of all the other series, but knowing more about them allowed me to make that choice! Now I don't even get to decide whether I like someone or not because they are barely even people to me, they're just dialogue-providers for Michael.

The biggest reason for this is obviously that STD so far is slated for way less episodes than any of the other series. Even Star Trek Enterprise, which I felt was short by Star Trek standards, is almost 100 episodes (TOS has 80, NG 176, VOY 170 and DSN 173)! Clearly they've either decided to go for a tight-knit, no excursions allowed, story-arch to test the waters for more episodes, or maybe this is it. I really hope this won't be it.

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