Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bring Me the Disco King

I think Captain Lorca is my favourite character on Star Trek: Discovery now. In Sunday's new episode, "Lethe", he was the most solidly written character and damn if that Jason Isaacs doesn't have charisma.

Spoilers after the screenshot

I'm not sure about the thoroughness of his background check on Tyler (Shazad Latif), though. Seriously, is there anyone out there fooled by this, anyone thinking, "That poor Starfleet officer, captured by the Klingons, lucky he met Lorca! I wonder what's in store for him on board the Discovery!" CBS has gone to a lot of trouble to make things even more obvious by giving a completely made up name for the actor playing the albino Klingon, Voq. If you go to the imdb entry for "Javid Iqbal" you'll see that Star Trek: Discovery is his one and only screen credit and he has even less biography on record than Tyler. Did no-one ask Tyler what it was like reconnecting with family and friends who thought he was dead?

Actually I think there's a clue in Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) being surprised that Lorca would "practically adopt" anyone, let alone Tyler. I suspect this is a case of Lorca wanting treat the obvious spy as an intel asset. But poor guileless Tilly (Mary Wiseman) buys the whole story and even thinks Tyler is "hot".

She's just so eager to be a captain and get the good grades and do everything right. It's like watching Wile E Coyote walk off a cliff. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong.

It seems Holodeck technology in the Discovery timeline is as advanced as it is in The Next Generation, which makes sense since all communications are by hologram in this universe. Maybe the reference to the Enterprise by Michael is meant to make us believe there's a Starfleet ship out there using viewscreens and everyone wears pastel coloured pullovers. Michael's so comfortable in her blue jacket she's even wearing it in her mind connect with Sarek when in the waking world she's wearing one of the snazzy Disco exercise shirts.

I guess no-one in the future remembers the term "Disco" having other connotations? I guess no-one remembers ABBA or the Bee-Gees? Maybe it's one of those things people just don't talk about, like the Vulcan "Hello".

How come they never do the "Peace and Long Life" part of the salute on Discovery? I checked Memory Alpha and saw that there are other instances of people just using the "Live Long and Prosper" part of the exchange so this isn't exactly a break with canon. Still, I feel bad for the people at Memory Alpha saddled with the headache of somehow trying to jam Disco in among everything else. I would advise them not to try. Why do we have to cross our eyes and pretend all this makes sense? Because Alex Kurtzmen says so? Context is for kings, suckers!

I still like Martin-Green as Michael but her character really has short shrift in this episode. Sarek (James Frain) lying about Michael failing the test is more about him than her. Did this push Michael to try harder? Did this set up a rivalry between her and Spock? What is her relationship like with Spock? I would like to know. I wonder if Michael's seeming erasure from history is going to be an allegory for how minorities and women have had their contributions erased throughout history. Which I suppose would be another nail in the coffin of Star Trek as hopeful vision of the future. I wouldn't say that the "logic extremist" idea of the Vulcan suicide bomber in this episode makes no sense--many of the most damaging ideas about race came from the 18th and early 19th century when supposed men of reason came up with a pseudo-scientific rationales for the inferiority of certain races. This would fit in with an overarching theme that it's sometimes better to throw out the rules and go with your gut.

Cornwell (Jayne Brook) is apparently a psychiatrist as well as an Admiral but judging from the way she attacks and threatens Lorca's career before finally getting around to mentioning his possible PTSD suggests to me she hasn't the best technique. Still, kudos to her for being the only one to acknowledge there's something suspicious about Tyler, though one would think she's in a better position to investigate Tyler on her own than Lorca is. Lorca drawing his phaser on her certainly suggests he is reacting based on trauma, which I think might be something interesting to play off Saru. His whole culture is based on the idea of reacting to perceived threat. But I wish there were more scenes between Lorca and Michael, I do like their chemistry. Certainly better than Michael's with Tyler. He seems to win her over by just describing her behaviour as "human". I don't know if he could be more obvious if he said, "Sounds like something one of you--I mean, we--humans would do. Yes, it's very humanitoid, as they say. Us humanly human humans, humaning all over the place, that's definitely us, oh yeah . . ."

Hey, I wonder why Voq wasn't in this episode.

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