Well, here we are. Discovery is finally back in our screen with it's very first episode titled "That Hope is You" and brings a lot to talk about with a lot of feelings after the first watch. I kept myself away from spoilers and trailers this time around as I wanted to give a good chance to the show and not judge anything by the trailers, giving myself the opportunity to start fresh. It did work as I have not much idea what will happen in this season and I think this is going to be the way going forward with "future-Treks." Did my initial feelings about season three paid off a little or completely demolished? Well, read on...
IN A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY...
First things first the future looks really... alien! It does not feel anything I imagined, but I guess that is good. A future world that far has to look alien and strange and that does feel that way. So I guess on that note I'm happy... but that's about it. Generally speaking I can imagine that most of you going to expect me to talk positively about this episode and this strange new world we got into, but I wholeheartedly cannot do it any more. Star Trek has changed a lot and I'm not only talking about the future here...
For some reason I felt nothing about Star Trek in this episode that I have felt with any of the other shows, it felt strange, it felt cold, it felt like... Star Wars. I kept thinking about the whole situation what Michael got into, crashing into a different planet, finding Book, walking to a spaceport, bargaining merchandise, than fighting out the way from a sketchy situation ending up in a space station where you might find hope. It reminded me of New Hope. As of now Book feels like Han Solo, Grudge is Chewbacca and I guess that leaves Michael as Luke (?) searching for the new hope that will be the remaining of the once might Federation.
Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with Star Wars... as long as it is not titled Star Trek. :) The aliens were familiar looking as far as 930 years of time travel takes us, but for some reason they looked flat, not very believable to me. First I thought that the Orion guard was an Android, the makeup just did not sell it to me, not to mention that hideous hair. But I might be just nit-picking here and again, this is just my personal taste and I know we can argue on aesthetics of the 60's Tellarites compare to 2020, but that's really not a fair comparison.
The Burn is definitely one interesting elements of the story so far and the fact what Book said about it made me shocked inside. When he said that all the ships and stations using dilithium exploded in a massive chain reaction I could not help but thinking about all of the shows and crews we got to know from the 54 years of Star Trek. Started thinking about the Voyager, Defiant, all of the Enterprises and suddenly made them feel like they were playing arrogant Gods using a dangerous element as a driving force for exploration.
In a sense I can see the sentiment and the parallel between this future in Discovery and also our current state of being reflected back to our life in the 21st century. We burn carbon to move our "civilisation" forward while we slowly - or rather rapidly - destroying everything we been working for as Humanity. Climate change and fossil fuels were a part of Star Trek before as a metaphor and I appreciate the fact that this parallel is being drawn here showing us a future that our negligence caused. Of course this is just one expect to this story, but certainly something I wanted to point out here as I believe the message is there and damn it needs to be there. I do raise my hat for this to the writing team, giving us a reminder yet again. If you remember in TNG they have implemented a regulation once for all ships not to go over Warp 5 as higher speed with those old engines damaged sub-space which was a great reminder of fossil fuel consumption in the 90's because of the fear of the global temperature rise. Just as they slowly started developing electric engines, starships got their engines updated as well to be able to run in an "eco-space-friendly" way.
There's not much movie or TV show that brought the extinction paradox in a way that "we have been doomed and this is what we have left." Only the Disney movie UP comes in mind and also documentaries such as the "Age of Stupidity" - if you have not seen it, please do watch it, it's amazing an eye opening - that shows us a future that we basically ruined our world and have nothing or very little left!
OK, I know that I did sound a wee bit pessimist or negative about this episode - well, Discovery is certainly not my cuppa Earl Grey - but there are good things to say about this episode too. Iceland is definitely one of those things. :) I have been thinking about going there a few times to visit, have seen many videos and pictures, my wife has been there too and she loved it... and Discovery certainly made it look really special in the "big-small" screen for sure. Amazing landscapes, loads of remote land and just a beautiful natural world. I imagine that the butterfly eater bug is not indigenous there though... :)
The "Burnham-laugh" was certainly something I've found adorable. That whole scene where she got that gas inhaled and messed up her emotions were funny. In some moments she reminded me of Spock from the episode "This side of paradise" but in other cases she looked like she was drunk or high on something. Never the less, her character was fun to watch in that crazy situation, that was a good move. :)
Book is an interesting character and his involvement with the show is certainly a good one as well. As I mentioned before he does feel like a Han Solo of the Star Trek universe for me as of now - would that make Michael a Leila? - but he certainly has a good heart. His ability to talk to nature is an interesting feature and again, just comes back to the "Burn" as well. Him being able to talk to nature and seeing that communication is beautiful that we don't do in our present days. People are destroying our natural world and very little of us actually cares to listen and work with it. So in a deep level I believe that his character serves as a reminder to focus and keep nature close to us instead of harvesting and destroying what little we have left.
Well, this episode for me felt nothing like Star Trek. I'm sorry if you've been waiting for my big surprise after all this mumbo-jumbo, but there's no surprise... this is not Star trek to me. This does feel like a good sci-fi series that my good friend Sean would recommend to watch that I would fall out after one or two episodes. The episode has good elements and again I love the notion behind the Burn and Book's character, but other than that this episode earned a solid 1/5 stars in my eyes.
As a season, Discovery cannot be judged after this episode and I will not make any final conclusions just now. I will be here and watching the episodes every week and writing my thoughts down whether that will be positive or not, but it will be mine. I still hope that the following episodes will be better than this one and we get some sense out of this new future. This will be an interesting 13 weeks for sure. :)
What did you think of the first episode of season three? Did you like it? Did you feel it was not as good? Let me know below. :)