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91. Bad Paramount, No Biscuit (Prodigy 1.05 and Disco 4.01)

we have a running list of characters who need a cat, and it’s getting longer

Anika and Liz are UNDEFEATED by Paramount’s shenanigans! We are HERE to talk about the fifth episode of Prodigy and the season 4 premiere of Discovery, and no one can stop us!

  • Paramount has pulled Discovery off Netflix around the world, and in doing so has squiddled all its goodwill in one move,
  • It’s possible that two new Star Treks in 24 hours is too much
  • There was not enough kissing in any of these episodes!
  • Is Murf a person or a pet? (And if they’re a pet, that is TOTALLY valid but we think Rok-Tahk might also like a puppy.)
  • Does Michael Burnham need to be put in the James Kirk box?
  • “And that’s why we have to destroy capitalism.”
  • Book is Princess Leia (yes, this does make Michael Han Solo)
  • We discuss our least favourite characters on Discovery; their identities may shock and enrage you.
  • We don’t love that someone is questioning Michael’s capacity yet again, but that aside, we LOVE President Rillak and offer her the highest possible Antimatter Pod compliment: she reminds us of both Seska and Kai Winn.
  • We have hair, make-up and costume notes.
  • Saru is in this episode.

As a protostar is born, a planet is asploded. Or something.


Liz: Yarrrrrrr, welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext and subspace, and legally acquired episodes of Star Trek, hosted by Anika and Liz. This week, we’re discussing Star Trek: Prodigy episode five, Terror Firma and Star Trek: Discovery‘s season four premiere, Kobayashi Maru, because in your face, Paramount Plus.

Anika: Oh dear, Paramount Plus, could you have handled this any worse?

Liz: If you weren’t paying attention, and if you listen to us, I assume that you’re fairly up on the social medias, but two days before season four of Discovery was to air, Paramount announced that it would not be hitting Netflix in the territories outside the US and Canada, and indeed, the whole of Discovery would be removed from Netflix.

Anika: Immediately.

Liz: Yes, like a day later. And the rest of us plebs in the other 190 countries, would get Discovery sometime in 2022.

Anika: Maybe.

Liz: Needless to say, we were displeased.

Anika: It’s a mess. It’s a mess.

Liz: It just seems so poorly handled. I think we all assumed that at some point, it would go over to Paramount Plus and we’d all have to sign up. And yes, there’d be grumbling, and whatever.

We assumed that it would be a smooth transition, announced in advance? With even a little bit of warning? The fact that just last weekend, the cast were in the UK promoting the premiere that is no longer available in the UK … It’s just a shemozzle.

Anika: It makes no sense to me. No sense. And I mean, of course I get it, they didn’t want to announce it during or before that con. Because then that con would just be about that. But also, that is really shady.

Liz: What I’m hearing is that the announcement came literally hours after negotiations finally ended. The word is that Netflix really wanted to keep Discovery, they wanted a six month renewal, and Paramount took its toys and went home. So. Yeah. That’s nice.

Anika: None of that makes sense to me. I mean, I knew it was about money and that it was about the two companies just not being able to negotiate because neither of them wanted to miss out on dollar bills, or, I guess, euros. It’s the UK, pounds.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Whatever, money. But if it’s really that close, and they couldn’t just shake hands – like, even Sony and Disney eventually shook hands and said, “You can put Spider-Man in your movies.”

It’s just bad. It’s just bad all around. It’s not about Star Trek. It’s not about the fans or the fandom.

Liz: Paramount seems bad at capitalism. And, going back to the early 2000s and the heyday of CSI, or the Avatar finale, they’re really bad understanding that, when it comes to the internet, national boundaries are kind of fake?

I recall that they withheld or postponed the Avatar series finale in the US, but then they aired all four episodes in Canada. So the Americans just torrented the Avatar episodes.

We have this whole generation of viewers who basically never needed to learn how to pirate. They’ve just been introduced to the wonderful world of BitTorrent and illegal streams. All of these things that Netflix had rendered obsolete are suddenly back. So well done. Paramount, you are bad at capitalism.

Anika: Who in those territories is going to want to sign up to see something that they’ve already stolen, because that was the only way to be on time, you know, to be watching it as it was being released.

Liz: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like that I’m pirating television. I am going to buy the physical media when it comes out. I may one day sign up to Paramount Plus again. But in one stroke they’ve alienated their hardcore fans and made it much more difficult for casual viewers to–

Anika: Right?

Liz: –start watching. I realize that a lot of this is stuff that American fans have been saying about CBS All Access and Paramount Plus all along. And maybe I was a little bit too smug in going, “Oh, but the rest of the world has Netflix,” but yeah.

In conclusion, keep investing in physical media because you never know when your favorite thing might leave the most convenient streaming service in the world.

Anika: In conclusion, destroy capitalism,

Liz: That, too.

Anika: That’s where I’m at. I don’t want all of that physical stuff.

Liz: No, that’s fair.

Anika: I have purchased one Blu-ray in the last three years, I would say.

Liz: I had actually started purchasing albums for my favorite artists, purely because I know what they get from Spotify is so little. And so I figured, I’m still going to use Spotify, but at least I can give them this extra money. And, you know, a nice CD or even a record is something attractive that will look good on my bookshelf.

Anika: Let’s move on to the actual shows. [overtalk] Go ahead. You can have the last step. You can have the last best laugh.

Liz: My brother, who became a Trekkie a week after I did, this whole thing has left him so soured on the franchise that he’s decided, actually I’m going to put my fannish feelings in storage for a few years and come back to it later.

Which (a) I think is brilliant. If a fandom no longer sparks joy for you, you don’t have to force yourself to watch it and participate. You can go and do something else for a while and come back when you’re ready.

But (b) I’m going to be losing my Star Trek bro, and I’m kind of sad. You know, he stuck with this dumb franchise through Enterprise, when I didn’t. Look what you’ve done, Paramount. You’ve torn my family apart.

Anika: It’s also the opposite of what Paramount would want. Instead of having two subscribers, now they have zero subscribers in your family.

Liz: I think the other thing that sucks is that a lot of the blowback is on the creators, who had nothing to do with this, and indeed, at both the Prodigy and Discovery end, are trying to tell a really good story. So let’s talk about those.

Anika: Yes, because we should celebrate the art. Cause it’s celebratory.

Liz: I should say, it turns out that having two Star Treks in 24 hours is actually really bad for me. Because I watched Discovery, and I went to bed with a lot of feelings, and I slept badly because I had a lot of feelings, and then I woke up, and I watched Prodigy on the train and I was like, “Oh, this is nice. I love these children. I need a nap.” And whereas you have all of these notes, and I’m like, oh, stuff happened! That’s great!

Anika: I watched CSI: Las Vegas before either Prodigy or Discovery. I was so angry at Star Trek that I just went back to CSI. And then I watched Prodigy, because I was less angry at Prodigy. And Prodigy just makes me happy. Prodigy really just fills me with this little Star Trek glow?

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: And then I watched Discovery and I struggled. I struggled with that episode.

Liz: I actually wondered, because your feelings about Discovery sort of matched my reaction to Prodigy, if you had watched Prodigy first and Discovery second while I was the other way around.

Anika: Hmm. Mm

Liz: Too much Star Trek, guys.

Anika: Too much Star Trek. And, in fairness, I rewatched Discovery today and I liked it a lot more, with rest, with sleep. And also, I often like things better the second time around, things that I love, because I’m not anticipating anything. I’m not scared. I’m the person who likes spoilers.

Liz: You can enjoy the ride, knowing what the destination is.

Anika: Right, yes. So I think that helped as well. Because my biggest issue was that I felt emotionally manipulated.

Liz: Yes. And that is indeed what a piece of television is setting out to do. It wants you to feel things. But if you’re not in the mood to go along on that ride that it’s just like, why are you doing this to me? Stop. Please.

Anika: Yeah. It was a very weird feeling. And so I think you’re right about too much Star Trek and too much drama. And that if you space things out, and you calm down, and you watch things with a clear mind, it works out better.

Liz: It’s impressive that for the first time, since 1999, we had two new episodes of Star Trek in the same week. And just like in 1999, everyone was like, no, no, too much. Stop. Too much Star Trek.

I really did enjoy Prodigy, though. I didn’t have a strong reaction to it, because I was tired, but I enjoyed it and I enjoyed how thoroughly wrong I was, as usual, about how events would play out.

I’m sorry. I thought that they would string us out a bit longer before Gwyn found out that her father did not care about her.

Anika: It did feel a little rushed, but I chalked it up to (a) children’s programming, and (b) they did do this weird scheduling. If it was a cliffhanger–

Liz: Yeah,

Anika: –and it wasn’t coming back until next year, I’d be a little upset. I would be like, no, come on, guys.

Liz: I wondered if it would actually be too traumatic for the young viewers to have this little five episode set end with the kids back where they started.

Anika: Yeah, but it did feel quick for that switch happen. And I’m not faulting it, but I think that it did sort of take me – whew, like, there was this weird feeling that was like, maybe this is wrong, but it’s not, I’ve decided. I’ve landed on the side of, it was good for this particular media.

Liz: No, I agree. I think this is not a show with space to waste time, and it moves along at a fast clip. And to be honest, once again, the only bit where I was kind of like, “Really, are we still here?” was with Murder Planet trying to murder them. And I was like, come on guys, just get back to the ship and get on with the story. But again, that’s me.

Anika: Well it’s because Murder Planet stopped being a mystery. It just became an obstacle. It no longer had a story. There was no purpose to Murder Planet other than, we have to escape it.

Liz: Yes. And I do think that if this had been a full length episode of Star Trek for adults, Murder Planet would have had intentions other than just murder. But the B plot of Gwyn’s father had to take priority here, so it had to be simplified.

And I respect that choice. I don’t think it was a bad choice. I enjoyed the moving scenery. I loved the interlude in the Klingon ship and Gwyn and Dal realizing that they could navigate by the stars, but mostly what I love this episode four was the character stuff.

Anika: Right. The same as last week, this is all about character. Because it’s still the fifth episode. It’s still the beginning, and we need to establish all of these characters, and what they want and what they don’t want, and where they’re going.

The one thing about the intentions of the Murder Planet that I did find interesting is that, if I’m reading the episode correctly, and I could be wrong because it was a little weird at the end, but my understanding was that the ship that her dad chose over her, was fake. Was an illusion, a murder planet illusion. Which sort of means that Murder Planet is kind of on Gwyn’s side, like, Murder Planet did Gwyn a solid. I think that’s interesting. Obviously it was just because that’s what he wanted most, that’s the whole gimmick of Murder Planet, but it was interesting to me, to think about, why did Murder Planet help Gwyn break free from her dad?

Liz: I think Murder Planet just wanted to keep every single person it could, including Gwyn and her dad, but I find it interesting, and I think this is very telling about our Diviner, that the planet didn’t need to give him an illusion of Gwyn freeing herself and coming with him to persuade him to enter its trap. All it had to do was give him the ship.

Also, the bit where we think the Diviner is entering the Protostar, and Janeway is looking at the person entering and it turns out to be Dal, I straight up thought that the planet was giving Janeway an illusion, despite her being a hologram.

Anika: Right. it was a little confusing, but I also loved that entrance.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: It was beautiful. The coloring and the lighting effects are–

Liz: So great.

Anika: –really good.

Liz: No, this is such a stupidly beautiful show. And I really do love this trio we’re getting of Dal and Gwyn and Janeway.

Anika: Yes. So I love Janeway by herself, talking to herself. And when she said, “What would the real Janeway do?” So good. It was the first thing that happened that really made me believe that the creators of the show agree with us, that she has to be different from actual Janeway.

Liz: I agree. And on our last week we were talking about Dal meeting Admiral Janeway, but now I want holo Janeway to meet Admiral Janeway. Her big sister, in a sense.

Anika: Yeah. Her role model. Precious. But Janeway is all of our role models.

Liz: Yeah, that makes sense. Even when she’s blowing up the ship. Sometimes, especially when she’s blowing up the ship. When do you think holo Janeway is going to introduce the kids to the self-destruct?

Anika: Hopefully not soon. And hopefully it’s not actually when they’re trying to blow up the ship, but as just a, you know, exercise.

Liz: Yeah. I also thought it was interesting that we haven’t seen the Protostar’s transporters in use yet, because that was the method I expected them to use to save Gwyn.

Anika: Yeah, that makes sense. So that’s funny, too, because we obviously know what transporters are. And I do think that someone new to, again this is for children. And so the children would not necessarily know what a transporter is. Someone who’s never watched Star Trek – transporters are such a – they’re beyond Star Trek, sort of like red shirts or, or, ‘he’s dead, Jim’. There are certain things that have crept into the mainstream.

Liz: But also they’re not really part of other science fiction. A transporter is not something you would see if you watched Star Wars or anything else. So I wonder if they’re withholding that, but I also noticed that our Diviner beamed down to the planet, so who knows? We have months to wonder. It’s going to keep me up at night.

Anika: Yeah. I will say, you know, just another thing about the animation, the Diviner was strangely beautiful.

Liz: Oh, I know.

Anika: When it was really him, there were some closeups and it was it’s like they, they painted – it’s digital animation, whatever, but I’m going to say painted. They painted him in the same brush strokes as they paint Dal. I’m used to the villains and the adults to not have the same – in the intensity of animation, to not be as important in these shows. And he was still very pretty.

Liz: And he is beautiful and elfin in the same way that Gwyn is, which I think is so interesting. And he also, also looks a little bit like John Noble. I feel like if you took John Noble twenty years ago and put him in that makeup, you could have the Diviner. So it’s just a really beautiful piece of design.

Anika: Yeah.

Liz: I want to talk about the relationships between everyone, but first I just want to talk about the mystery of the Protostar’s engine and Zero’s alleged obsession with it. And I say ‘alleged’ because when I’m obsessed with something – like Star Trek – everyone hears about it. Whereas we haven’t really heard that much about the mysterious third engine from Zero.

Anika: In my notes, I didn’t even mention Zero or the obsession, because it was not – it didn’t leap out as super important to me. And I think that’s [for] the same reason. It was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing.

Liz: Yeah. And it’s the first time this show has really done that.

Anika: But what I took it to mean, and again, this is just me explaining things away, that don’t make sense, was that that’s why she was interested in getting Dal to get the ship out in the first place, like, that was evidence of the obsession. But that’s not in the show. That’s just what I made up in order for it to not bother me.

Liz: Yeah. I find it fascinating that you often called Zero “she”, and–

Anika: I know I’m so bad.

Liz: No, but you’ve never, mis-gendered Adira that way. So it’s something about Zero. And Zero’s being non-corporeal, it’s interesting to me that you’re assigning a gender to someone without a body.

Anika: Yeah, it is weird. I do that with, like, droids, you know, I will decide their gender. Which also – like, they don’t have gender,

Liz: No, no, but okay. The first time my best friend saw The Force Awakens, and she was not a Star Wars fan, but the first time she saw BB8, she was like, “Who is she? I love her!”

Anika: BB8 has strong she,

Liz: BB8 gives me she/they vibes. But yeah, I just find this interesting and I thought I would flag it.

Anika: Another t-shirt I want. “BB8 gives me she/they vibes”.

Liz: One day, one day. So tell me your feelings about Gwyn and Dal and conversation under the stars.

Anika: Okay, so that scene was perfect. Apparently I’m going to compare this show to Star Wars Rebels every episode, but it was another very Star Wars Rebels kind of scene, where it was two characters who have separated themselves from the rest of the characters, who are going to have a chat about feelings. That happens many times in Star Wars Rebels, usually between romantic or proto romantic leads.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: But also, like, between Ezra and Leia, in that one episode that Leia’s in. It gave me a lot of that vibe, where it’s two people who are from very different backgrounds, but also the same background. The story beats are different, but the feelings are the same. I think that Gwyn and Dal have that commonality. And the only thing I want to say about this scene is that there was not enough kissing in it.

Liz: I was thinking that I could really like them as a couple, but first I need to see them become friends. And this is sort of the start of that. To have a real friendship between equals, not between a slave and his owner’s daughter.

Anika: guess that’s fair.

Liz: I’m shipping it! I’m just shipping it differently!

Anika: There was also not enough kissing in Discovery. So I was disappointed in both, in both, of them.

Liz: Look, we’ve got two minutes, thirty seconds, before our timer goes off and we have to talk about Discovery. So I want to flag how Rok-Tahk knows that people are scared of her because she’s big and she’s a rock.

Anika: And she said, like, what we were saying, that the little cute little animals weren’t afraid of her and wanted to touch her, and love her and give her what she wanted.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Very sad. But she was carrying Murf around, like, on her shoulders, the entire episode. So as much as she was saying that, it was also like, you’ve got Murf! Murf is, at this point, the same as those creatures. Because we don’t know what they are. They have no discernible like characteristics of any of the things that we – like Murf doesn’t have a gender, Murf doesn’t have an age. I have no idea what Murf is. My note here is, ‘is Murf a pet?’ I cannot tell if we’re supposed to consider Murf part of the crew or a…

Liz: Person

Anika: You know, their dog. I cannot tell what Murf is supposed to be, but–

Liz: I’m prepared to say pet at this stage, but I also think that hugging Murf and putting Murf on your shoulders is a different tactile sensation to a soft cuddly, fluffy animal.

Anika: Murf looks wet to me. I feel like Murf would have slime

Liz: There are scenes where Murf has left a trail, like a snail.

Anika: Like a snail. Exactly.

Liz: Yeah. And you know, we want Murf slime. We love Murf, but slime and a cat are very different things. Let’s add Rok-Tahk to the list of characters who need a cat.

Anika: Definitely Rok-Tahk needs a cat. Or even a holographic goldfish.

Liz: Just give this child a pet. A different pet. Another pet. A second pet. MORE PETS.

Anika: A pet that’s just for her. And isn’t a weird creature that was also imprisoned with her, that we don’t know anything about, and could be –Murf could be the smartest one there. Murf could be three thousand years old and have an IQ of five hundred, and we don’t know.

Liz: I bet holo janeway has some really good recipes for holographic doggos in her databases.

Anika: Yes. Oh, we should definitely have a holographic doggo.

Liz: Yes. A nice Irish setter. Our timer has gone off. Let’s talk about Discovery.

Anika: Alright!

Liz: We are cooking with gas!

So. I really enjoyed this episode. I thought it was fun. I thought it was devastating. I thought it was a really solid Star Trekky rescue mission that serves as the opening to the bigger story.

And what I’m about to say is not a complaint about the teaser, because I enjoyed it very much. I thought it was a lot of fun. I thought it was easily as funny as bits of Lower Decks, and reminded me a lot of the last two Star Trek movies’ opening scenes.

But I think Captain Michael is better at diplomacy than we see here. I think the first contact specialist of season one would have handled this situation with the butterfly people better.

Anika: Yeah. It was … Like, okay, so you said that it reminded you a lot of what I’m going to assume is Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, and particularly Into Darkness, where we don’t actually see what happened, like, how Kirk screwed up. We just see the aftermath. The aftermaths are identical.

Liz: Don’t get me wrong. Like I said, I really enjoyed it.

Anika: Yeah. Yeah. And again, that’s not a problem, but it forces me, as someone who has seen both, to put Michael into the Kirk role in a way that she hadn’t been before now.

Liz: No. And I thought we got really great character stuff in that scene. We basically saw her whole relationship with Book right there. And I love that they set up a violence problem and solve it with science.

But yeah, it just, it didn’t feel like Michael. It felt like Jim Kirk. And maybe that is fitting for an episode ostensibly about Michael’s inability to face the no-win scenario.

Anika: And then the whole rest of the episode played that out. She was definitely in the Jim Kirk role.

And I love Jim Kirk in those movies. And I think that’s a cool idea, to have the same story beats in Michael Burnham, who is Spock’s sister, who is constantly second guessed by the people in authority above her…

On one hand, I like it, because it’s an interesting commentary on society. But based on the reactions that I’ve seen online, it isn’t coming across that way. It’s coming across as, “Who does this Micheal lady think she is?”

Liz: It’s either, “Who does this woman think she is?” Or, “Why is yet another white person or light colored person complaining that she’s unqualified when she’s proven herself over and over again?”

Anika: Which is one hundred percent my reaction. I really like President Rillak. I like the idea of her character. I really like the portrayal. And I even like her storyline, I like her in that role with Michael. And particularly when she was calling her out for, like, she brought up the psychological profile.

I have a lot of problems with Starfleet’s psychological profiling, but I’m just gonna set that aside for now, and say that I like the idea of President Rillak saying, “You haven’t dealt with your childhood trauma yet. And you’ve just been retraumatized, like four hundred times since then, so maybe you should deal with it so that that stops happening.”

I like that as a story point, but I really do not like her calling out Michael for all this behavior. It is literally the exact same thing that happened last season, and the season before, and the season before. I am done with this. We are in season four. This character should have the respect of the storyline. Like, can we please move on from this.

Liz: The only change that I think we’re seeing is, Michael is not touched by this. Michael knows her worth and she knows her strengths, and I also think she knows her weaknesses. And so Rillak’s doubt is not devastating the way it may have once been in the past.

And I also think it’s different because it is coming from Rillak’s own insecurities about her own capacity to lead. And I think that’s interesting, but I think that’s an interesting story that we didn’t need to tell in this exact way.

And as much as I enjoy Michael as Jim Kirk, Michael Burnham is Michael Burnham. No one was going, “Hey, you know what we really need? We need to see Ben Sisko being James Kirk. We really need to see Jean-Luc Picard being James Kirk.” And I know Janeway and Archer both have a lot of Kirk in them, and Archer is name-checked and his theme is seen in this episode, but they are the past. Michael is the present and the future, and she can build a new path. Let Burnham be Burnham.

Anika: Let Burnham be Burnham.

Liz: If you’ll forgive me for getting all West Wing up in the place, but we have a president here, so I’m all excited.

Also. This is the week that Marvel announced that the next Captain America movie would be about Sam proving he’s worthy of the shield. And I didn’t watch most of Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Anika: There was a whole TV series about that!

Liz: Yeah. And so why do our Black heroes have to prove themselves over and over again, when our white heroes just turn up, and the government gives them a starship or a super serum, and sends them on their way,

Anika: There’s an answer for that. It’s racism. But–

Liz: It’s racism.

Anika: There’s also an answer, in that it’s the fans’ racism, in the fan outcry. Every single time anything happens, people say this stuff.

I don’t think that the Discovery writers pay attention to the fans, or write to the fans, but you can’t ignore it. It’s a part of what is being said about your series, and so, regardless of their intentions, they are creating the new season within that atmosphere.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: So it does get reflected, even if they are outright trying to do the opposite, it still influences what’s happening.

Liz: That’s the thing. This is still a majority white writer’s room, and with the best will in the world, we are still steeped in a white supremacist society. And without other voices in the room, we’re going to keep telling these stories.

Anika: And so you’re going to make Michael Burnham into Jim Kirk and think it’s good.

Liz: Yes

Anika: That it’s a progressive thing to do.

Liz: And we were talking … oh, I can’t remember how recently it was, it might’ve been in regards to Lower Decks, but the fact that women of color can get the Jim Kirk story — oh, we were talking about it in regards to Dal! But giving these characters those opportunities, that’s great. But they don’t have to actually follow the Kirk playbook.

Anika: Yes. There’s a difference between getting the story and the plot line, and mimicking the character.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah. I will say that, other than the opening scene, and the presence of Book makes it less Kirky than normal because when would Kirk ever take his boyfriend? Unless it’s Spock on a mission–

Anika: Uh, excuse me, Dr. McCoy was on the planet at the beginning of Into Darkness.

Liz: Okay. I am completely wrong. Kirk would always take his boyfriend or boyfriends on a mission. Yeah.

But other than that, the episode did feel very, very Michael, and it was a great Michael story aside from her proving herself again. But again, I think, like Adira says, Michael is so confident now, maybe even overconfident in her approach to the butterfly people, cause honey, you don’t use idioms when you’re speaking to unfamiliar — season one Michael would never. But.

Anika: This is the first episode. So you don’t know what’s happening, and we don’t know where we’re going. And it was sort of like, this is Michael 3.0. And I’m interested in Michael 3.0. I think that last season was, like, michael, 2.5. Like, it was Michael 2.0, but in a new place. And now it’s Michael 3.0,

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Speaking of using idioms, that there is mine,

Liz: Well also, I think that the teaser gave us a look at how Michael and Book were during the year she was a courier, and that’s the pattern that she’s following instead of her extremely by the book Starfleet first contact training. Which I think would have be more appropriate in this situation.

But I assume that there were other contacts with former Federation worlds that needed that looser approach. Sometimes you misread it, and you have a happy ending anyway, because you’re thinking on your feet.

Anika: I just want to say that, in my second viewing, I laughed for an embarrassing amount of time over the monarch pun.

Liz: Oh I know!

Anika: And I totally missed it that the first time!

Liz: No, same!

Anika: I didn’t think about it. I died the second time. It was really very, very funny.

Liz: I was like, do you guys know what cats do to butterflies? It’s not pretty. Grudge will eat you!

Anika: Someone said that Murf would eat Grogu, and I was like, Yeah, probably, but also Grogu would definitely eat Murf. So it’s just bad all around.

Liz: Yeah. Everyone’s eating everyone. It’s very disturbing.

You asked down below, I noticed, what is the alien that Michael smiles at in the halls, and I’ve seen the theory that it’s a hyper evolved tribble. Because at their rate of reproduction, they evolve really fast, and so now they’re ambulatory. And so while we’re, on the subject of animals, eating animals and so forth… I mean, possibly…

Anika: When I saw the episode, both times, I thought it was a tribble. Then I saw people talking about it as a Horta online. And I was like, really?

Liz: I wondered about that, but it’s too small.

Anika: The theory was that it was a cadet-aged Horta.

Liz: Oh, I hope Diane Duane has heard this and she’s happy.

Anika: I think it was actually her that I saw this from.

Liz: Oh, oh good, good.

Anika: So yes.

Liz: And I’m sure, sooner or later, someone will actually give us the official word, but I’m trying not to let onto the official Paramount affiliated accounts that I’m watching their show.

Anika: But what did they want us to do? We have it literally in our ‘about our show’, that we’re weekly and do these episode recaps when there are new episodes. So you can just tell them, they can do one of two things. They can give you accessin Australia, or they can give you a – you know, a – what do they call it?

Liz: Screeners.

Anika: Freebies There’s two options. Paramount.

Liz: And frankly, if the Greatest Gen guys can’t get screeners, then no one is giving me anything. And actually they’re the ones that I feel bad for, because a lot of the big podcasts, and the podcasts that earn income, are going to lose a big chunk of listeners until next year.

Anika: Yeah, I mean, we’re not big and we don’t have an income. We don’t make any money–

Liz: We pay to do this.

Anika: I would say at least half of this audience is international.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: That’s why we have to destroy capitalism. So that we can all do our fun little side projects.

Liz: Yup.

Anika: And not worry about these things.

Liz: Yup.

Anika: Can we talk about how Book is Princess Leia now?

Liz: He was a Disney princess last year, and his planet just got blown up. And I actually said to my flatmate as we were watching, “Oh, no, Alderaan.” And then it cut to the screen and it was Alderaan.

Anika: It was extremely Alderaan the entire time. But then – so, again, I watched it the second time before I wrote my notes. And so, the first time they have Book’s brother and nephew…

Liz: Yes.

Anika: And so I was like, oh, yay. I’m literally the only person who cares about his brother, but this is just for me, I feel so happy. But then they got to the scene of them with the tree. And they were like, this tree has been here for millions of years. And I was like, “Oh no,” I immediately knew they were going to get destroyed.

It was like, that’s it, Kyheem and his cute little kid are not going to make it out of here alive. And I was pretty upset about it. And I think that, again, this is what I mean when I say that I felt emotionally manipulated. The fact that I knew from that moment of what was going to happen. And I was like, why should I be paying attention to this cute little kid, if he’s just gonna die horribly within half an hour?

Liz: When the camera follows the kid, and the light turns golden and there was a bit of slow mo, I was like, wow, I almost think they’re going to kill him, but no, Discovery is playing it so safe these days, they’re not going to kill a child.

Anika: Yeah.

Liz: Once again, I was wrong.

Anika: I like how you were like, “They’re definitely not going to kill this kid.” And I was like, “Oh no, the kid is dead.”

Liz: Yeah. Well.

I sort of missed the explanation of what happened to the planet. Their moon was knocked out of orbit? Is that…

Anika: I didn’t even know there was an explanation for what happened to the planet. I thought that that was the anomaly that we’re going to learn about next week. I thought it was just an anomaly.

Liz: I think, because the anomaly is gravitational, it did something to the orbit of Kwejian, or its moon, or both. And then the planet could no longer sustain life and was being pulled apart because it’s out of orbit or whatever.

So if Dr. Erin Mac can give a better explanation, that would be great, because, like, I can’t watch a horror movie, but give me some kind of unspeakable stellar phenomenon, and I am there. This ties in nicely with my childhood terror of black holes. I’m not interested in the anomaly, as such, but I’m interested in how it will affect and planets.

Anika: Yeah. I only care about how it affects people. Again, I didn’t know there was a reason, I don’t know. I didn’t know they said a reason because that was unnecessary to my interests. They could’ve had a whole scene about it and I would forget it immediately having watched it, because I don’t care.

Liz: I was distracted by going, “Oh my god, they actually killed the child!” to listen what Owo was saying.

Speaking of killing people. You have this note here,’ do we need to learn the new guy’s name or is he a red shirt?’ His name is Lieutenant Christopher, and I am one hundred percent certain he’s been brought in so they can kill a bridge officer without killing anyone we actually know and care about

Anika: Exactly like Airiam.

Liz: And fake Airiam, yeah. Nilsson.

Anika: So I agree with you because that’s another – he’s introduced and I was like, yeah, I don’t need to care about, because he is he’s dead, man. That is a dead man walking on the bridge crew. It’s blatant at this point. And I don’t know what to do or say about that, because it’s just sort of the way it is. I don’t know.

Liz: At this point I wish they would kill Keyla, except then I would have to sit through scenes of people being sad that Keyla has gone. And the more focus we get on her, the less I like her. She is my least favorite character in this show, and that includes the terrible people like Lorca.

Anika: So I want to say – I do want to get back to Princess Leia.

Liz: Yes. And I’m sorry that I got you off this important topic.

Anika: But first, because I do also want to talk about the bridge crew. The bridge crew were much more prominent in this episode. Which is fine. I’ve decided to have my peace with it, or whatever.

But in terms of killing off someone that you care about versus killing off someone that they bring on to kill off, not only did they do that with Airiam and fake Airiam, but they also only made you care about Airiam at all in her final episode.

And they did it again with Nahn, like, we’re gonna give you the backstory. Of this character, and then we’re going to immediately get to get rid of that character. I’m on the record saying I don’t like either of those things, that it was the bad way to do that.

Liz: Consider, you know, in general, looking around social media and outside of our own bubble, there are still more people who are bummed that Admiral Cornwell died than Airiam. There are a few diehard Airiam fans, but she doesn’t, like–

Anika: Didn’t make the impact.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Did not make the impact that they wanted her to. She was a mystery, she was an interesting background figure that you wanted to know more about. And then they got rid of her. And it didn’t matter that you found out more about her while getting rid of her because what matters is you got rid of her

Liz: But also they still kept the actress. So effectively, in a sense, it’s like she never left. We just have Nilsson being this pretty blonde white lady–

Anika: I hate her.

Liz: –who’s in the back. You feel about the way I feel about Keyla, but I think it’s both this this thing where this white woman with no personality is put in front of us, and we’re told to care about her just because she’s there and she’s pretty and she’s white.

Anika: I cannot handle — the more screen time that Nilsson gets, the more I want to punch her in the face. Like, nothing against the actress, again.

Liz: I’m just amazed because I’ve never heard you have so much dislike for a character in my life!

Anika: She doesn’t have a character. She has no personality whatsoever. And I loathe her.

Liz: No, look, this is fair. Keyla has personality, it’s just that I don’t like it. Whereas Nilsson has nothing.

Anika: She has nothing. And she has – I have to – I’m going to talk about her wig in this episode. Oh, it is so bad. I can’t handle it. Alderaan was blown up, and I wanted to be upset about that, and all I could think about was how bad her wig is.

I do not understand how would they can, in the same episode where – like, Tilly had great hair, Michael had great hair, Saru had the best costume I’ve ever seen on the show, other than the mirror universe stuff…

Liz: I said to my flatmate, “Don’t judge me, but I really want Saru’s coat,” and she was like, “No, same.”

Anika: And yet this wig! And why is she wearing a wig? I was mad. I was mad about it. And so it just added to my ire about how much I never want to see Nilsson again.

Liz: We did not see much of her at all in this episode, except for that one shot where her wig is destroying the pathos of the destruction of Kwejion. And I do think it’s because they knew that was a bad wig. Oh my goodness.

I have notes to give, later, on Tilly’s makeup, but I’m going to let you talk about Princess Leia.

Anika: So what I was saying, like, twenty minutes ago, now, is that, after having seen it the first time and seeing his planet blow up, then, when I was watching that first scene, the teaser scene with the butterflies that we’ve discussed in depth, I was like, oh wow. He’s been Princess Leia the entire time, because he one hundred percent was being Princess Leia to Michael’s Han Solo the entire time.

He was like, “No, that’s a bad idea. Let’s do the realistic, practical approach.” And Michael was like, “No, we are doing the ridiculous approach, and you’re going to like it.” And Book, was like, “I love you, so, okay.” And then, even in their little goodbye scene, like – it was just the entire time. And then I was thinking about it, and we decided that he was a Disney princess. So he’s been Princess Leia this entire time.

Liz: Oh my gosh.

Anika: I kind of love that for him.

Liz: He’s even Force sensitive!

Anika: Yes!

Liz: Absolutely, a Jedi could use the spore drive.

Anika: He is definitely a Jedi. He’s definitely a Jedi, but he left being a Jedi to be whatever the hell he is now. And, like, the scene where – in that first scene where she says, “Use your empathy.” He’s like, “I can’t just use my empathy like that.” That was so Han and Leia. I wanted to cry. I was like, this is post Return of the Jedi Han and Leia perfection. And it just made me really happy.

Liz: For the record, this makes me really concerned about any children that Michael and Book might have, but you’re right. You’re right. The parallels are so hilarious, and I really hope someone draws them as Leia and Han, and I think Michael would look really cute in a little black vest and some pants with a strap down … Anyway.

Anika: So, yes.

Liz: I’m pretty sad about the destruction of Kwejion, but also I think that we did need someone to lose something for this loss to mean anything.

Anika: I’m sad about his brother, because I wanted to see him more and I wanted to know more about their family dynamics.

Liz: I think we are going to learn more, and sometime this season, we’re going to learn why Book left, and why he’s in some way estranged from his culture, why he changed his name to Cleveland Booker. These are all really interesting questions. And losing a home from which he is somewhat estranged, it’s a little bit like Spock losing Vulcan, in that there’s probably not going to be a New Kwejion, but he still has all of these unresolved feelings. And now Discovery‘s his home. More than before.

Anika: And it also, it, brings Book into the Discovery bubble

Liz: The orphan family.

Anika: Now he has lost his childhood and his upbringing and his past in the same way that they have.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: And they didn’t do enough with that last season. And I feel like, I think that’s where Tilly is going. I think that Tilly’s storyline is at least going to be partly about how she had to give up everything to get here.

Liz: Yeah. Certainly, when the President is thanking the crew for what they sacrificed in coming to the future, their reactions were so mixed that I feel like we’re going to hear more about that.

And I also loved Tilly’s reaction to the presence of the president on the bridge, because Tilly was like, oh cool. And yeah, her mother was a diplomat. She probably knew the Federation president, she is not anti-politician the way Michael, for some reason is, even though she was raised by Sarek, the ultimate politician.

Anika: This is my other moment of emotional manipulation, that because we know Michael, and we don’t know President Rillak, the way that the story is presented, we’re supposed to be on Michael’s side. And so we’re supposed to distrust Rillak before we get to know her at all. And that was weird. I do not understand why, all of a sudden, Michael doesn’t trust the Federation president. I don’t understand. Where did that come from?

Liz: Because, again, she was raised by Sarek!

Anika: Right, it makes sense for Han Solo to distrust politicians, but Michael Burnham, the Michael Burnham that we know – like, what about Georgiou? I don’t understand how, now, Michael doesn’t trust politicians. It was very strange. It did not make sense

Liz: I am going to headcanon that, in her time as a courier, she learned enough about Federation politics of this era that she is wary of anyone who would put their hand up in this specific ring.

And I love President Rillak. I messaged you before you watched the episode, with spoiler bars, to say that she reminds me of Seska and Kai Winn, and you are the only person who is going to understand what a compliment that is.

Anika: It’s definitely a compliment.

Liz: She’s like Seska in that she can spot Michael’s weakness and go for it, and speak it out loud. And she’s like Winn, in that she’s relentlessly political, but in this nice soft-spoken way, and she has this very rehearsed line about being the daughter of a freighter captain, but also this very upper middle-class presentation. She really feels complete character after less than foftu minutes.

Anika: And it might be because of that whole Seska slash Winn vibe, I believe that she’s telling the truth about her father’s freighter captainhood and that she that’s where she grew up, but it also, the way she said it, especially the second time, I was like, there is more to that story. That’s the beginning of what this has to do with this character, because we did not know enough. Like, did Osyraa and her minions go after them? Something happened to her people, that shaped the way that President Rillak is. And that’s interesting. I’m excited to learn more about her. I’m excited for her to be a foil for Michael. I like that. I just wish that it wasn’t about Michael’s readiness.

Liz: No, I agree. And certainly I think, because of the Seska and Winn vibes, and the questioning Michael, a lot of people are assuming she’s going to be the quote unquote villain of the season. I am prepared to keep an open mind until she actively does something villainous. And just as a warning, I’m probably going to love her anyway, because I enjoy an antagonist whose sincere priorities just happen to be different from the captain of the show.

And, like Picard, Michael is at her best when she has some authority figure to argue with.

Anika: Mm. Yes. Or like any captain in Starfleet that we have seen.

Liz: Yeah. We have a couple of minutes left. Do you want to have a quick feel about the Archer space dock and the Enterprise theme?

Anika: I do. As we all know, I’m like the biggest Jonathan Archer fan. And despite also believing that he is the worst person in the galaxy. He is terrible, and I love him. So space dock being named after him is adorable, because it goes back to the beginnings of Starfleet, and the beginnings of the Federation. And that is like super cute. And it’s also like, so it’s my personal theory and headcanon that everything wrong with the Federation is because of Jonathan Archer.

Liz: I thought of that as the music played. And I was like, is this really the Federation you guys want to rebuild?

Anika: Exactly. Again, this is like super realistic to me, but they were like, we are going to – it’s like how the pandemic proved that jobs could be done from home, and also that like every conference in the world could be made accessible very easily…

Liz: Yes.

Anika: Stuff like this, right. But then we quote, unquote, went back to normal and they were like, yeah, we’re not going to do that anymore. We’re no longer going to make anything accessible. We’re going to go back to the way things were because of, like, I don’t know, the nostalgia factor, or some weird ideal that the way that it has been is better.

And that’s what it felt like. That’s what I thought when I heard the Enterprise theme, was, we’re going back to the Archer way.

Liz: Yeah,

Anika: Instead of examining the problems with it. Like, because we are more comfortable there, we are more comfortable staying in the Archer way. And that is wrongheaded, it is the bad choice, but it’s also poetic and I – again, it’s sort of like, is this a satire–

Liz: Do the writers know what they’re doing?

Anika: –or is it a plot? Yeah. Do they know what they’re doing? Is it a plot point or is it, they are also doing the same thing.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: I cannot decide. I do not know. But I’m going to continue having my little headcanons about it, and one hundred percent it made me happy.

Liz: Yup. Yup.

Anika: I also liked the fact that Voyager is the ship that they’re going to – like, we’re going to make new ship to send out, and it’s going to be Voyager. And I was like, that is like, great, because it’s Star Trek and it’s also earth slash America. That was a nice meta commentary.

Liz: Yeah. My final thought before we wrap up, is that the new uniforms – I don’t like them, but I understand from behind the scenes shots that Sonequa Martin Green had just given birth and obviously not lost all her baby weight when they started filming. And I will have ugly uniforms for a season in exchange for an actress, not having to drop a tremendous amount of weight in a few weeks. That is fine.

Tilly’s look this season? I hate it. Her eye makeup is awful. And I don’t understand what it is, because it’s a lot of gold eyeshadow, and a lot of tinted eyebrow gel, and very little eyeliner or mascara. She just doesn’t look good.

And Mary Wiseman is so beautiful and really needs very little to bring out her natural looks. And I don’t understand why they’ve done this to her. I almost wonder if they have someone new in hair and makeup, and that’s why Tilly looks so bad and Nilsson’s wig is so … bad.

Anika: I think that that is probable, because they started filming during lockdown. This was one of the first shows to go back. And if you watch the credits, there’s like an entire, you know, like a whole page of covid people.

Liz: Yeah. I also noticed that Sonequa’s braids, Michael’s braids, didn’t look as good as they did last year. So yeah, I’m prepared to go with new hair and makeup people, and they’re bad at their jobs and need to either get better or be replaced.

Anika: Right. But they could also have been, like, the only ones that they could get. So I get it. So, yeah, it was distracting, Nilsson’s wig. I agree. Like, Michael’s hair, when it was pulled in, when it was down, there was something weird going on.

And I love her hair. I love that look on Michael. It’s like the anti-Vulcan and I just – I really liked that choice for her style. So I’m sort of willing to let the issues go. And also, I’m glad that Nilsson has a terrible wig, and that Tilly’s hair is a little bit weird, because then they’re not just screwing up Michael. They’re not just screwing up the woman of color with natural hair there. They’re screwing up everybody. I was like, okay. At least everyone is in the same boat.

Liz: Certainly, Sonequa’s was makeup was amazing. So they’re not ruining everyone. I also noticed Owosekun’s makeup, her eyeliner was not as well done as it was last year. So yeah.

Anika: So something’s going on?

So my final comment, before we wrap up, and it’s a sentence, is that Saru was in this episode.

Liz: Oh yeah!

Anika: It’s like, I don’t care. All I care about is, I want that outfit.They were all wearing it. Everywhere. They had an awesome jacket that I totally want. But I did not need any of that. And none of that was important to the story, and it really felt like Doug Jones is still in this show and he’s definitely gonna come back and be in Starfleet again, so we have to like start that and we have to tell that story.

And I was like, no, you don’t, you, you could literally just have him show up next week and be like, “I decided to come back because it’s been six months and everyone’s happy!”

No offense to the guy who played – whatever his name is, this, this is how much I care.

Liz: Su’Kal?

Anika: Su’Kal. No offense to the actor who played Su’Kal. It was a very nice reading of his, like, ‘you should go do what you want.’ But it felt similar to Michael’s storyline being the same. That was Saru’s storyline, literally pre series.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: I don’t care. I have moved on.

Liz: I enjoyed those scenes because I thought the set was very pretty and I loved that the, I guess, the Kaminar meeting place is underwater or something, I thought that was really beautiful.

I loved the costumes and I enjoyed seeing how Kaminar has evolved. The problem is that they really broke up the tension of the story. And I don’t know if they could have been held back until next week, because I assume soon the wave will hit Kaminar, but it just didn’t quite mesh with everything else, even though I enjoyed them for what they were.

Anika: Oh man. You think the wave’s going to hit Kaminar?

Liz: I mean, I hope not in a destructive way. I just think no planet is safe, except probably Earth. Cut to next week where they totally destroy Earth because I am consistently wrong.

Anika: I’m sad now. I don’t want it to – but it’s weird. It’s like, I don’t care about these people. I also don’t want them to be destroyed,

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Yeah, you’re right. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those scenes. Again, some of the acting and even some of the lot, like writing was really lovely. It was really, and it was very pretty. So yes.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: I can wrap up now. I’m sorry if I went over the–

Liz: No, no, we both did. And a lot of it will be easy to trim.

Anika: Okay. Just don’t, don’t cut out Book being the perfect princess Leia, because I’m very proud

Liz: It’s the truest thing you’ve ever said.

Anika: Thank you for listening to Antimatter Pod. You, can find our show notes at, including links to our social media, credits for our theme music, and transcripts of our episodes.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, all at Antimatter Pod. And you can write to us at

If you like us, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you consume your podcasts. The more reviews, the easier it is for new listeners to find us. In just ten-ish weeks, we will be recording our 100th episode and giving away free stuff for our audience. So get those reviews in now. I’m going to start posting pictures of what we will be giving away to our Twitter.

Join us next week when we will be discussing the next episode of Star Trek: Discovery, Anomaly, which inexplicably comes out on Thanksgiving. So we may, if things go well, have Anika’s brother, my brother, to discuss it with us.

Liz: So if my brother is having a break from Star Trek, can I borrow your brother as my Trek bro?

Anika: Yes.

Liz: Thank you.

Anika: Yes. you can one hundred percent be a part of our little family.

Liz: BRB, packing for Thanksgiving.