Trekathon 762: An Obol for Charon (DIS)

February 10th, 2019

Discovery. Spoilers.

After a slowish start (more Spock and Red Angel plot mechanics), this turned into an interesting episode of a fairly traditional Star Trek type. It is another ‘super-powerful alien holds the ship in its grasp’, but it avoids most of the pitfalls of that type of episode. Easily the best episode of the new season so far.

Ultimately it’s Saru’s episode. There’s often a character in these kinds of shows which has ‘speaks a ridiculous number of languages’ in their background. This is the first time I’ve seen it used as a plot device, together with the first novel (or interesting) universal translator malfunction ever..

And even though I was about 90% certain that we weren’t going to see Saru die this episode, the scene with Burnham and Saru was incredibly affecting. Two beautiful performances, from two incredible actors. There’s a risk with this kind of thing that you can undermined it with the reset button, but here it sets Saru a new and exciting direction.

The remainder of the episode is some by-the-numbers ‘try a lot of things to escape the alien thingamajig’, and then the ‘Tilly’s weird alien possession’ advancing. As far as I can tell that plot is headed in the direction of explaining the disappearance of the spore drive technology. It’s a little reminiscent of the ‘Warp 5’ plot from the TNG episode ‘Force of Nature’. I was a little worried we were going to go with ‘we think Tilly’s not possessed any more, but she is’ plot, requiring the characters to all be idiots, but fortunately that’s not the direction chosen.

Quick hits:

  • Ooh, a retcon for no holograms in TOS Enterprise. Doesn’t make a lot of sense given, say, the Defiant was the same. But it’s something.

  • ‘Number One’ – was that meant to be Majel Barret’s character from Enterprise? Nice (if obscure) callback, achieved mainly through some great hair work.

  • ‘I was a weird kid’. Really Tilly? Astonishing…

  • Have we seen that conference table set before? It’s another nice call to the other Star Trek series.

  • Very glad Tig Notaro is still around. She’s a lot of fun, but kind of dominates scenes in a way that’s a bit distracting.

  • Mary Wiseman and Anthony Rapp sing the hits is an album I would buy.

  • Saru’s quarters are beautiful.

762 down.