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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery


I am finding this show to be most enjoyable.  Good sci-fi.  Good acting. Clever storylines within an episode.  Good story arc.  Interesting characters.  And, the people behind the show clearly know and understand Trek; the episodes all draw on what's known as cannon and they bring in aspects of TOS that are well thought out.

I like the twists and turns. The first two episodes took place aboard the Shenzhou, not Discovery.  And the reason was to set the tone, and to start with character development.

There is certainly some mystery in the show.  We are set 10 or so years before TOS, but nothing "feels" like TOS. The uniforms are different, much of the technology is different, and there is a cool spore drive that never gets mentioned.  Why is all of that true?

I mean, we can simply file it away as creative license.  Or its possible that this was an experimental part of star fleet that got locked up like the ark in the Indiana Jones movie. Its also possible we're in an alternate timeline of some sort. Or its possible that star fleet will get knocked backward somehow in terms of tech.

Of course, there's a fan theory that "Section 31" (which was introduced in DS9 as the shadow group that is chartered with protecting star fleet) is behind all of this.  Heck, the designation of Discovery is NCC-1031.  Could it be?

Here's a summary of the plot line:
  • A Klingon named T'Kuvma lights a beacon to unite the houses
  • He is martyred, but Voq steps in to take over as the leader, but he is abandoned by Kol who steals the cloaking technology
  • Voq is helped by another Klingon L'Rell; who is from a house of deceivers. She promises to help if he sacrifices everything
  • On Shenzhou, Michael Burnham explores an unknown object, winds up killing a klingon and starts a war
  • She commits mutiny and the klingons take out a bunch of star fleet ships.  
  • She and Captain Felipa try to capture T'Kuvma, but wind up killing him and Felipa gets killed too.
  • On her way to a penal colony, Burnham is found by Discovery and taken aboard and offered a job
  • We learn about the spore drive, how it works, and see it in action.  It is a game changer
  • Captain Lorca is captured by L'Rell and subjected to some torture
  • We meet a character named Ash on the klingon ship and he is an enigma, but Lorca trusts him
  • There is some storytelling to help us get up to speed with more details (and make for some interesting episodes)
  • And then as the season closes, Discovery wins the day, and is transported somewhere else.  Another dimension, perhaps?  That's the cliffhanger.

Its all very odd.  Now lets look at the main characters who have some interesting things about them:
  •  Michael Burnham. A woman with a mans name.  Raised by Spock's parents (Sarek and Amanda, and we see Sarek, cool?) on Vulcan.  She is logical and dispassionate.  She inadvertently stared a war and is a mutineer.  But Lorica wanted her on Discovery.  
  • Cadet Tilly.  She is Michael's roommate, and perhaps autistic.  But why is she there? And why does she have such a great job and earn so much trust?  Its another puzzle.
  • Lt. Staments.  He invented the spore drive, and is a scientist, not a soldier. He injected himself with alien DNA to control the drive; he is said to have used Eugenics...interesting.  And he is not himself ever since
  • Captain Lorca.  This guy is a crazy SOB. A war hawk.  We learned about his destroying his previous ship.  He is certainly a rogue character and enormously complicated.  He collects weapons of destruction and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of winning the war.  He has a sensitivity to light, and keeps a tribble on his desk in early episodes.  Then, after his capture he has neither.  Odd....
  • Admiral Cornwell.  She appears and tries to get Lorca to give up his command, but is instead sent into a trap.  She is captured by the Klingons, but later returns.  Interesting story point here.  She was useful.  But why?
  • Harry Mudd.  Introducing a character from TOS was cute and clever.  But he was on the prison ship and knew a lot about Lorica and probably more. Later he torments the crew of Discovery.  Coincidence? 
  • Ash Tyler.  We met him on the prison ship.  He seems to appear out of nowhere, but Lorica instantly trusts him and they escape together.  His backstory is notably weak. which makes him a complete enigma. And everyone questions this blind loyalty. And she and Burnham have some feelings for each other to complicate things.
  • Kol.  He is the manipulative one in the klingon world. He steals cloaking tech, and gives it to anyone who helps his goals to lead the klingons
  • L'Rell.  She is quite the manipulator.  Her role is understated, but she is a master of cunning and manipulation.  She ran the prison and did tell Voq she could help him.  What will she do?
  • Voq.  The most interesting character who is likely going to play a critical role, or perhaps already is.  The show lists the actor playing him as "Javid Iqbal" but that person doesn't seem to exist.  So why the subterfuge?

So, that's where we are.  I have some thoughts on what it all means.  Here goes....
  • A fan theory is that Voq giving everything meant that the Klingons used eugenics (and cunning) to change Voq to be another being.  
  • If you watch "The Trouble With Tribbles" from TOS we see that this is the kind of thing is not far fetched as the assistant to the grain trasnporting guy turns out to be Klingon, but looks human.  We also learn that Tribbles squeal when confronted with Klingons
  • The popular wisdom suggests that Tyler is actually Voq.  One clue is that the actor who plays Tyler actually has the lastname Iqbal.  But that's too easy.  I think otherwise...
  • I see other clues.  Michael being a woman is one.  Cornwell being abducted, and returned is interesting. And don't miss that the episode where Cornwell is sent into the trap is called "Lethe"....Lethe is the name of a character on TOS "Dagger of the Mind" who came to a penal colony sometime before, after an interesting history that she won't speak of....
  • My theory is that Cornwell was captured, and disposed of in the penal colony.  And Voq is not actually a he, he's a she, and she becomes Cornwell.
  • And Discovery is part of a special bit of research in Section 31, not star fleet proper, and will be swept away at some point because something catastrophic will happen
  • We'll learn more about eugenics and the klingons
  •  Right now, Discovery is in an alternate universe -probably the same one from  TOS: "Mirror, Mirror" and DS9: "Through the Looking Glass", Plus others in Enterprise and DS9. And surely there will be new mysteries to explore
  • Tyler's appearance will have significance, because he gave up info about star fleet; and he may turn our to be a double agent, but not Voq.
  • Lorica's change may indicate he's some kind of double agent too.  Which would be an interesting twist. 
  • Probably one or both will die as a result of their conniving.

But finding out is going to be fun!  I honestly can't wait.


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