Trekathon 760: New Eden (DIS)

January 25th, 2019

More Discovery. Spoilers ahead.

This has the most ‘TOS-like’ premise of any episode I can think of since TNG – a lost human colony with a mysterious origin. So much so I was racking my brain for a ‘New Eden’ in TOS (without being able to Google it of course). There’s some resonance with ‘The Way to Eden’, but not enough to make it a full callback.

Overall I thought this was a middling episode. There was an attempt to do something potentially interesting in science versus belief but neither side of the debate really got much time to put a case. It was hard to care very much about whether the Prime Directive got followed or not on the planet, so there just weren’t stakes to drive the plot. The ship side part had some fun moments with Tilly, but also really lacked any kind of suspense.

So far I don’t like much of what I’m seeing with Captain Pike. Strong Captains do not typically spend a lot of time thanking subordinates for obeying orders, that’s the expectation. Captain Pike gives off a ‘..or whatever you think is best’ vibe, which killed his science officer last episode. For someone who last year was established as being one of Starfleet’s best captains it’s a bit odd.

The show is also getting pretty clunky around the edges. The technobabble, for instance, is getting pretty bad. I know that’s a pretty common malady for Star Trek, but Season One largely avoided it.

The overarching plot of the season is interestingly slow to develop. So far we seem to be on a galactic scavenger hunt of some kind. But there’s really no justification as to why this is the Federation’s number one priority, worth overturning some very sensible rules like ‘don’t use the spore drive’ and ‘obey the Prime Directive’.

Quick hits:

  • Gah, I hate the idiot plot. Yes, I know we just talked about someone being committed to a psychiatric institution, but just tell the Captain about the strange vision. At least it didn’t last too long.

  • Having the cool ‘prepare for Black Alert’ code phrase is somewhat undermined by immediately following it with ‘spore drive online’.

  • I love the reference to Clarke’s law, but I think the ‘sufficiently advanced ETs’ really ought to be Rule 4, not the new 3.

  • I’ve always loved pictures of terrestrial planets with planetary rings. It’s even backed up by real science.

  • Lt Owesekun got herself a backstory! Seems to confirm a move towards a move towards a larger role for the remainder of the bridge staff – Lt Rhys must be up next.

  • Some excellent leadership and mentoring from Saru with Tilly. Seemingly ineffective of course. Overcaffeinated Tilly is as much fun as drunk Tilly.

  • May was just a little bit too much like Tilly, I had her pegged as a hallucination early on – never interacts with any other characters.

  • I now need Short Treks on Joann’s backstory (a luddite community in the Federation is fascinating) and why Detmer is such a hot rod (pilots licence at 12).

760 down.