Monday, February 12, 2018

The Last Days of Disco

Star Trek: Discovery has been many things over the course of its 15 episode run. Finally becoming a stoner and sex comedy in last night's season finale, it really felt like the creative team got together and said, well, we might as well have a party. And it was fun.

Spoilers after the screenshot

This is more like the Klingons I know and love. Klingons having fun being fucking brutal. I even liked Ash (Shazad Latif) better when he was letting his hair down and speaking Klingon. Though, on that note, they really need to do something about the Klingons' hair, or lack thereof.

The Klingons get a big redesign but for some reason the Orions are still basically humans with green skin? Well, okay, it's fine. I just wish the camera had stayed on the strippers longer and there'd been more of an effort made to make them titillating. I know Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) would agree.

I don't care now that her being made captain doesn't make any sense, this lady is fun. She's almost Kirk. Well, Kirk was a lot more complex, which would've been nice for Mirror Georgiou. Her immediate attempt to control language on the Discovery bridge was interesting, though. The tactic is a classic one designed to reinforce hierarchy in war, to dehumanise the enemy to make it easier for them to kill. This is why Winston Churchill banned The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, because it portrayed Germans sympathetically despite it being unambiguously a pro-British film. It's a conversation worth having--does the population need to be sold on a simpler version of reality so they're more comfortable with killing?

Context is for kings, Lorca told us early in the season--Lorca, who only gets a brief mention in this episode, and only from Mirror Georgiou. This flies in the face of the idea that the Federation is a perfectly functioning socialist utopia. So this naturally leads to Burnham (Soneque Martin-Green) confronting Cornwell (Jayne Brook) in full view of the bridge crew. Was this meant to be the moment where Burnham shows she's finally learned the lesson that Lorca was wrong, that someone taking matters into her own hands is always the wrong thing to do? Her calling on support from the bridge crew would seem to support this idea. "A year ago, I stood alone," Burnham says, "I believed that our survival was more important than our principles. I was wrong." Ah, case closed, guess context is for everyone, not just for kings so--

"Do we need a mutiny to-day? To prove who we are?"

Oh. So don't take matters into your own hands, unless you really want to. I guess it's a bit like "Only a Sith speaks in absolutes" being in itself an absolute.

Later, the soft hearted Sarek (James Frain) gets emotional talking about how he'd given into the idea that destroying the Klingon homeworld was the only way. I thought the Vulcans being portrayed as open with their emotions was a result of sloppy writing but now I think it was a conscious creative decision. I don't recall any mention of the Vulcan philosophy of emotional suppression, or of how strong emotions once tore Vulcan apart before they came up with this way of life. Maybe the creators felt this didn't look good in the face of the popular pseudo-scientific metric of "emotional intelligence".

In all the discussion of what Burnham did wrong back at the beginning of the series, though, no-one mentions that she was following Sarek's advice, that apparently the Vulcans kept the peace with Klingons by always firing on Klingons first, the so called "Vulcan hello". In other words, what Burnham was ultimately trying to do by getting the Shenzhou to fire on the Klingons was to keep the peace in a language the Klingons understand. Which makes what she did at the end of the series . . . pretty much exactly like what she did at the beginning of the series. So it looks like Lorca was right, it's just that Burnham is more suited to a leadership role than Cornwell. Context really is for kings.

It really is odd how we don't have any reactions to Lorca's absence. This crew had served under him for some time. We saw him save at least one planet under attack by Klingons and Burnham seemed really pleased when he praised her decision making in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad". Shouldn't we see some people dealing with the fact that this man they respected and served is dead and gone? Aren't they upset at all? I would have thought dealing with these kinds of issues would've been the whole point of having him being secretly from the mirror universe. It really feels like the makers of the show somehow didn't realise he was the best character on it.

Meanwhile, Tilly (Mary Wiseman) encounters Clint Howard who seems to be playing Cheech Marin in this episode. Wiseman is really funny getting high off volcano vapour.

Twitter Sonnet #1083

Banana leaves at ease confirm the beat.
The shadow lines demure 'neath candy sun.
A Lazy Susan brings to odds a heat.
And back to kitchens baked into the bun.
A shoulder shape suspends the weather sky.
A hardly felt interpreting returns.
In giving pins the ball obtains a try.
To bowl in clouds we flew asleep in turns.
In times of gummy air the moth'll rest.
Beside the bark of choc'ate ash it grew.
To shape a pigment east of scarlet crest.
A hopping bead revealed the cup of true.
An eager recipe ignites the stove.
Electric glass compels the brain to rove.

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