Jesus Fucking Christ. Just when I think I might be running out of things to complain about with ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, another episode comes along and provides an abundance of new material to tear apart.
My cup runneth over with stupid.
Okay then. ‘What’s Past Is Prologue’ has arrived. It smells like wet dog and it just took a shit on the floor. If it has value, then that value is derived solely from the image of Michelle Yeoh putting her martial arts background to full use on Jason Isaacs’ face.
First off, random observations:
- What happened to Tyler? Where the fuck is Tyler? What happened with his mind-lasers? Is he okay? Tyler, buddy, are you alright?
- All of the not-quite anonymous crew get some actual lines this episode. Some of them even get polysyllabic words to say. Airiam gets two lines, I think; Detmer gets another couple; Owosekun actually gets a miniscule side story of her own! None of them speak to Burnham or Tilly, or each other, obviously. Mirror Owosekun does get to speak to Mirror Georgiou, though, so that’s a plus point.
- Oh, we also get Landry back. Or at least Mirror Landry. I don’t think she speaks to any other women. She also seems precisely as evil as the Landry who got Tardigraded way back in Episode Four. Like, the character is in no way noticeably different to her prime version. Whatever.
- Landry has now appeared in three episodes and been killed in two of them, which puts her at equal rank with Ensign ‘Shitbird’ Connor.
- Neither of them match Captain Lorca, however, who has now been killed more times than he’s been in episodes, I believe, if you count his repeated slaughter in the Harry Mudd episode.
- Well I sure am glad we introduced Mirror Stamets, it was great to see the enormous role he had to play in the storyli- oh. Oh well.
- Lorca gets disintegrated on his way towards a massive fiery ball of fungal energy. Which is a fate too good for him, I feel.
- That same fiery fungal football apparently had no effect on the Discovery, which flew through it unharmed.
- The mighty Terran Empire, militaristic to a fault, has apparently never heard of the term “Naval Escort”.
- And Captain Lorca apparently had no idea that Emperor Georgiou was capable of an “emergency transport”. Which seems to just be a standard transporter. But used in an emergency. And which can apparently be shut down remotely… which seems rather to defeat the purpose, somewhat.
- Saru confirms that his “threat ganglia” are, in fact, simply magic. Or just bogus. They will accurately flare out when he can’t see Burnham not boarding a shuttlecraft, but they don’t get set off when he literally has his own death confirmed as a safe bet, or even just when surprising things happen suddenly. It’s almost as though this show is written inconsistently…
- He even uses his non-firing threat ganglia to reassure the crew that everything will be okay. If I were one of them, I’d have stapled his ganglia to a table and jumped in the next escape pod.
- I mean, he points out twenty minutes earlier that his threat ganglia very specifically failed to spot the very obviously traitorous Lorca, thereby somewhat bringing into question their use in any capacity whatsoever.
- Jesus, you know, I don’t really care when this show violates Trek canon, but IT CAN’T EVEN STICK TO ITS OWN FUCKING CANON.
- FROM THE SAME FUCKING EPISODE.
- SHITTING HELL.
- Yet another space battle occurs in which the Discovery faces little-to-no threat. Seriously, every time this ship gets in a fight it suffers no damage and its enemies do literally nothing to catch the crew off guard or force them to change their plans. The closest we got was when the Gagarin got nailed in the face at the beginning of Episode Eight, but even then the Discovery just warped out without any damage or casualties. Great to know there’s so much at stake. Such tension. Many danger. wow.
- Lorca gets Agonised for three days, and looks like shit throughout this episode.
- Landry was Agonised for A YEAR and comes out looking like shit, as you’d expect. Then she walks into a different room and looks just like an attractive actor in normal TV makeup. I guess in the future, women aren’t allowed to look the way they feel.
- Speaking of which, Lorca’s army of revolutionaries have literally just spent the best part of a year in Agonisers. A year. Of unrelenting torment, throughout their entire bodies. So obviously they’re all in good enough shape and possess sufficient mental cognizance to overthrow a fresh, well-equipped defensive force that knows they’re coming. They’re sprightly enough to fight Burnham and Georgiou on equal terms in a hand-to-hand fight, Burnham being a demonstrable master of Vulcan martial arts and Georgiou being Michelle Yeoh.
- They arrive nine months into the future, and can’t get in touch with any part of Starfleet. But they apparently can get a full map of Federation and Klingon territory using the “War Map” app (“War Mapp”?) on their viewscreen. Except, if there’s no Starfleet to contact, who the hell is supplying them with comprehensive tactical information? Wouldn’t that, by definition, have come from Starfleet? Or do the Klingons just post up valuable strategic info on the web? Huh, maybe the Klingons just realllly buy into Net Neutrality.
- Fucking hell, how does this show manage to be so STUPID? ALL OF THE TIME? CAN’T IT LET UP A BIT? JUST A BIT? FOR ONCE?
Also, I guess that really was the last we’ll see of Mirror Voq and Mirror Sarek, eh? Wow, talk about a disposable story line. They turn up to trigger Ash, then get killed off-screen. Neat.
How Not To Write A Story
Joy! The hapless crew of the Discovery have discovered a method of defeating the Evil Terran Empire, which will prevent the Terrans from accidentally wiping out all life in the Multiverse.
(Yes, accidentally. And it’s such a significant plot development that it features as the topic of roughly six lines of dialogue in this entire episode, and is resolved before the credits roll.)
But – Calamity! Defeating the Evil Terran Empire will result in Discovery‘s almost-certain destruction! Never mind, now is the time for Inspirational Speeches! We don’t believe in the No-Win Scenario!
No, wait, we actually don’t believe in the No-Win Scenario. Because half an hour before the Discovery arrives at its doom, Tilly realises that there’s some Magic Space Bullshit which means they can totally survive! And go straight home!
Yay! I sure am glad we didn’t have to go into that final battle with any sense of danger or tension. That would have ruined it.
I mean, literally, the Discovery turns up, isn’t hit once, flies through the orb thing, and at no point are we worried because we already know they’ve figured it out.
Y’know, I thought I was pushing it a bit when I spent two thousand words trying to convince people that dialogue is a bad thing. But it turns out I was right. They literally go from “Certain Death” to “Probably Fine” in the space of a conversation. There’s no moment in the final battle where it seems like the crew might not make it, because they’ve already got the cheat codes.
Oh, also, the Spore Drive now travels through time. Which is great, because we no longer have any ability to build up any tension for the entire rest of the series. Because we already know what the solution will be: travel back in time to before this all started, bring the dead back to life, etc.
On a more personal note, this episode was written by my good buddy Ted Sullivan. Which adds an extra dimension of personal interest for me. Because it really was hot garbage. Sorry, Ted (are you still okay with me calling you Ted?) but it was hot, fiery garbage. A hot garbage fire. That was this episode.
On the plus side, we now know that this entire season is going to time-travel itself out of the canon. So, y’know, silver linings and all that.