Trekathon 806: The Sanctuary (DIS)

December 6th, 2020

Trying to Discover more things. Spoilers.

Ultimately a flat, fairly unengaging episode for me, perhaps because its split focus meant that nothing really had space to grow. The biggest part of the plot was the fairly boring and generic brother vs brother conflict down on the planet. But we don’t have nearly enough sense of who the brother is or much of the history between them, so there’s never really stakes. We know that Book is not going anywhere on this level of plot, so there’s little suspense.

And then we have a whole bunch of other stuff going on – more Emerald Chain establishment, Georgiou doing weird mirror universe things, some character advancement for Detmer and Adira, something about sea locusts, a small step forward on The Burnh, and even a D (or possibly even E) plot about Saru trying to find a catch phrase. All of these other plots take oxygen and time away from the main story, so it doesn’t have time to establish its stakes. Everything is breathlessly paced, but I just didn’t care.

A big concern for Discovery this year is that the villains are very one note. Previous seasons had more complexity, and quite often a point of view that at least justified what they did even if we couldn’t sympathise. But the biggest bad we’ve seen so far is Osira, who is little more than a scenery chewing generic crime boss. Wouldn’t it be more interesting if that idea that the Federation was selfish and corrupt actually had some truth to it, and maybe the Emerald Chain was doing the right thing.

Finally, another point in the “Saru is a bad captain” list – that is not how you do plausible deniability. You’ve got to at least throw in a ‘Oh noes, a mysterious ship has just started attacking you, do you need some help’ or two. You can’t just drop a ship out of the back of your shuttle bay and let them start shooting, piloted by one of your officers. Very silly, and it would seem totally ineffective as well.

Quick hits:

  • There are a bunch of plots that the show seems to just keep forgetting for an episode or two. Like Georgiou, Detmer’s injury, and so on. It almost feels like two writing rooms are going on.

  • ‘Prime Directive violations’ is an odd way to describe extortion.

  • Tilly and Saru trying to find a catch phrase is the cutest thing ever, but it was a bit too fourth wall for me.

  • Vanishingly few TV shows have ever done the ‘pronoun’ thing, seemed well handled here.

  • There are only a few directors of Star Trek whose work really stands out – Jonathan Frakes is top of that list.

  • “A while since we’ve seen a Star Fleet vessel” – wasn’t there negotiations going on about three episodes ago?

  • All Hail Queen Grudge. Again.

806 down.