Friday, February 1, 2019

Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery S2E3 "Point of Light"

Spoilers as usual.

Another Friday, another DSC episode and it's another busy one.

This episode tries to deal with that thing that is going on with Spock, that thing that is going on with Tilly and the Klingons are reintroduced into the storyline. For which I am happy actually, because I was starting to worry that that wasn't going to be a thing any more. While these stories intersperse in the episode I am going to deal with them separately to hopefully make it a little bit more clear.

Burnham's foster mother, ie Spock's mother, comes to visit and tells Burnham she has tried to visit Spock at the psychiatric clinic, but when she wasn't allowed to she stole his medical file, because apparently that isn't difficult to do. Burnham asks Pike for help to open the encrypted file and at first he is against it. When Pike finds out that Spock is on the run wanted for the murder of three people he changes his mind however.

The medical file doesn't reveal much, it especially doesn't reveal any physical appearance of Spock. We would've seen a picture of this person long ago if it wasn't Spock, and in fact the whole thing is only half-interesting because it is about Spock. It makes me wonder if they retconned Spock into this storyline to make it more palatable. Impossible to say at this point, but I have some issues with trying to believe Burnham's relationship with Spock, considering of course that Spock never ever mentions her. They are trying to explain this by the fact that they have a really lousy relationship, and they talk a bit more about why that is in this episode without actually giving any details. Burnham mentions to Amanda (their mother) "hurting Spock deeply" when they were younger, apparently to protect him, and that he has never forgiven her since even though she has reached out. It strikes me as a bit un-Vulcan like for Spock to still be hurt about it, but since we don't know exactly what Burnham did it's difficult to say.

Maybe they are trying to explain the "original" Spock?

Apparently Spock has been seeing the "Red Angel" ever since he was a child, the Red Angel being the same "something" that Burnham saw on the meteor in S2E1. The Red Angel even helped Spock save Burnham at one point, so of course I am curious to find out what it is. An alien species?

At the same time Tilly is struggling with her own visions, as the ghost of May is not leaving her alone. After a breakdown in front of captain Pike, she goes to talk to Burnham about it and a throwaway comment from the May-ghost during this conversation (that she doesn't know what crying is), that Tilly of course has to mention to Burnham, gives Burnham the idea that the May-ghost isn't a hallucination but a real thing that's invaded Tilly somehow. They're forcing that revelation way too quickly, but it is what it is.

Tilly runs to Stamets who quickly finds out that Tilly has been infected by a spore or fungus or something, they suck it out of her and it is some sort of blob that they shoot into oblivion. Some way to make first contact. Thus, we have no idea what this thing wanted.

And then we have the Klingons. L'Rell is chancellor over all the houses, but is struggling to hold their allegiance. Because she has Tyler with her, they question her capability to rule and her loyalty to the Klingons. At first Tyler is struggling to show affection for L'Rell, then suddenly it's revealed they have a son together and everything changes. Now Tyler wants to be a family with L'Rell. It's also a bit comical that L'Rell explains to Tyler that she hasn't told him about their son, or even spent any time with the child herself, because it is a liability. About four seconds after they decide to unite, the kid turns into a liability, when it is kidnapped by L'Rells main antagonist Kol-Sha.

Must be so warm underneath all that hair and face.

He wants to trade the life of the child for the chancellorship and after a fight it seems like he is going to kill L'Rell and Tyler anyway. In comes a mystery person and kills Kol-Sha and his men. The mystery person is none other than Philippa (I still can't spell her last name, so won't try) whom I am happy to see again. She tells L'Rell that both the baby and Tyler will hinder her in her mission to rule the Klingons, although it is not explained why Philippa cares. She takes Tyler and the baby with her while L'Rell lies to the other Klingons about having killed Tyler for having killed their baby (and for spying on her), and that Kol-Sha sacrificed himself in this battle to save her. The baby is sent off to be a monk in some monastery, so unclear if it will matter any more.

Tyler finds out Philippa is part of something called the Black Badges, which I guess is some sort of MI6/FBI of the Federation? I have never heard of the Black Badges in Star Trek lore before, so not sure if they're made up for this series or just something I've blanked out on.

So yeah, a lot happens in this episode and while some parts feel forced or rushed, the overall story is pretty interesting. I am less interested in the Spock story arch, but I am curious to see how the Klingons, the Red Angel and the seven signals fit together.


Speaking of the Klingons, they have hair now. I am pretty sure they didn't in season 1? If possible they look even weirder, and it's just something about their huge heads that make them feel unreal and that is in a series that has some very odd looking aliens over the years. They've managed to make the Klingons look the most unrealistic somehow. Can you even say that about an imaginary alien species? I can only explain it by the fact that the Klingon were an established species with an established look before this.

Also, it seems like the different directors are having some sort of bet on who can make the more annoying shots. This episode might take the cake though, because it has so many almost nausea inducing panning/spinning shots it started to make me angry. Why would you ever want several panning shots that start from upside-down or sideways? Why does the camera need to move so much at all?! Stop that. Star Trek doesn't need artsy-fartsy, it is in fact hampered by artsy-farsty.

Gold star for using the authentic sound effects from TOS on the transporter though.

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