Trekathon 764: The Sounds of Thunder (DIS)

February 26th, 2019

Discovery visits something from the Short Treks. Spoilers.

I’m glad they didn’t leave coming back to Saru’s story too long. Given his character it would have been hard to swallow if we’d gone on with the rest of the mission without thinking about it. But the coincidence of Saru changing and the mission coming to his home world? That’s a lot to swallow.

Unfortunately a very powerful set of seeds for a story is very significantly wasted. We could have spent a lot more time with the struggle between Saru’s duty and his desire to save his people. And just ‘ooh, we can rebroadcast the sphere’s trigger’ cuts short the opportunity for a much greater struggle for Saru to go through. And an ongoing source of tension and story is thrown away.

The Ba’ul are also very boring villains. While they have an interesting back story and motivations, they are portrayed with such a heavy hand that we’re not allowed to feel empathy for them. If there’d been a bit more nuance maybe the predictability of the episode could have been side stepped at least a little.

The other problem I have is that Ba’ul plan here is fundamentally stupid, and very high risk. They relied on having a 100 per cent capture rate for all Kelpiens transitioning stages? Over two thousand years, and four thousand villages? Even something as simple as someone going for a long walk could throw this up. And as soon as someone doesn’t die during the transition everything falls down.

Overall the second miss in a row. And I have some worries about losing some of what has been wonderful about Saru’s character in all the changes to his motivations and physiology.

Quick hits:

  • What do you call ‘spinning around the room exposition’? Spewsposition? It was a very distracting (and unnecessary) bit of directing.

  • I’ll be disappointed if the Ba’ul turn out to the be ‘next phase’ Kelpiens, but it seems the obvious direction given the ‘no one has ever seen them’ thing.

  • ‘Let’s go to Saru’s home village’ was not a good idea. His advantage in knowing people was either not that much (as it had been 18 years), or potentially a danger (his sister).

  • I wonder if it occurred to anyone to check in with Emperor Georgiou? After all, in the mirror universe they had the Kelpiens farmed, so they’d know a lot more about what was going on.

  • Pike should have had Saru benched far earlier in the episode – his conflict of interest was simply too great. Would have been better to do that under escort of course.

  • The Ba’ul were really hard to expand. Yes, have some cute audio mixing. But do remember to communicate as well.

  • Saru is very quick to leap from ‘this is how I’m reacting to this change’ to ‘this is how everyone would react’. Not very scientific.

  • The Ba’ul would fail the Evil Overlord checklist – allowing access to central communication conduits from inside a prison cell? Very poor form.

  • How did the doctor miss Saru’s new spike thrower when doing the scan?

764 down