Trekathon 744: Choose Your Pain (DIS)

Another week, another episode. Things got a little Mudd-y.

Spoilers after the jump.

So, Mudd at last. Probably the thing I was most apprehensive about when casting was announced. It’s a strong performance by Rainn Wilson in that it feels like the same character as in the Original Series. It didn’t, however, feel particularly like someone who had spent a lot of time in a prison camp. It seems like he’ll be back, so I’ll reserve judgement for now.

The Saru and Burnham conflict is quite interesting. Normally characters like Saru are relegated to the background, but here he’s allowed to have a strong point of view and for it to drive the plot forward. Saru as Captain was an interesting plot – he rose to the occasion in a way that was a little surprising from how he acted in the first episode. But it felt in character, although asking the computer to monitor him seemed like excessive insecurity – mainly there so he could cancel it at the end of the episode.

But how was that as an hour of Star Trek? Overall, a bit meh. It had some nice moments, but a lot of things were going on, few of which seemed to really matter very much. Not a bad episode by any means, just slight. Perhaps mainly there to set up a couple of pieces for later episodes?

Quick Hits:

– “I love feeling feelings”. Ah Cadet Tilly, never change.

– Captain Lorca’s eye thing deeply freaked my wife out.

– What exactly did Lorca think he could do versus an *entire ship* of Klingons?

– Sending the incredibly secret ship to search for the missing Captain seemed like a bad idea to me.

– Most decorated captains – Matthew Decker, and Christopher Pike are TOS call backs (“The Doomsday Machine” and “The Cage”), Robert April is technically an Animated Series callback (“The Counter-Clock Incident”), and Archer is a reference to Enterprise of course. I’m not sure the chronology quite works for Decker, Pike or April – they would be relatively young captains at this point, surely? It would have been nice to see another name on the list that we didn’t know yet too.

– The speech by Stamets about the spores was some Grade A classic treknobabble.

– I loved the ‘it’s so fucking cool bit’ from Tilly. A clever subversion of the normal tone of Star Trek, but also a touch of realism.

– I’m not sure if the torture sequence was intended to be a reference to “Chain of Command Part II” or not, but it was impossible to not think of that episode. Probably not the greatest idea to put one of the greatest moments in all of Trek in mind, sets up a difficult grading curve.

– “USS Buran” is a great name for a ship, referencing the failed Soviet shuttle program. It speaks to a Star Fleet that has more than just a western tradition.

– Nice to see a same-sex relationship in Star Trek without a lot of fanfare about how progressive they were being. Nicely done – that scene was really independent of the gender of the participants.

– Is that the first time we’ve seen tooth brushes in Star Trek? I think it might be. Ferengi tooth sharpeners don’t count.

744 down.