Anika and Liz take time out from seasonal festivities to catch up and talk about Discovery 4.06, “Stormy Weather”. And along the way, we discuss…
- This episode was great, yet it’s not our favourite … and that is very much an us problem not a Discovery problem
- Must a Star Trek podcast be full of meaningful insights? Is it not enough that we have some Voyager comparisons and a whole digression about the psychological benefits of procedurals?
- Gray is Kes (this does not mean that Adira is Neelix)
- A little bit of a rant about fandom’s take on found family
- Depictions of anger in Star Trek (and the world)
- A digression about season 4 of Enterprise
- The Bridge Crew Problem (™) (in which we have something nice to say about Nilsson!)
Anika: Welcome to Antimatter Pod, a Star Trek podcast where we discuss fashion, feminism, subtext and subspace, hosted by Anika and Liz. This week, we’re discussing Star Trek Discovery, season four, episode six, Stormy Weather.
Liz: Gotta say, I think this is one of the best Voyager episodes in years.
Anika: Just jump right in there with your hot take. Good job.
Liz: Much like you, last week, I don’t mean that as a criticism. I think this had a really good Voyager feel, while also feeling very much like a Discovery episode. For better and for worse.
Anika: Yes. Yes. I would agree with all of those sentiments. It’s another one of those universally acclaimed episodes, at least in my circles, maybe you go see terrible things on Reddit, but I avoid that.
Liz: I have stopped doing that.
Anika: So I mostly just see, you know, my Twitter feed. And even though I will say that this season has been sort of up and down, even with my rabid Discovery fans, this particular episode, everyone loved, and it’s like their favorite episode ever.
And I mean, it was good, but it wasn’t my favorite episode ever. Sometimes, when I see these universal acclaim things, I really feel like I must be missing something, that I’m doing something wrong.
Liz: You know, I saw someone on Tumblr, someone I followed relatively recently, say, “Who knew back in season one that Discovery could be so good?”
And it was like, I did! I’ve liked Discovery from the beginning. So here I’m like, oh yeah, Stormy Weather is a really good episode. I think it’s objectively a good episode, but it’s not my favorite.
Anika: It’s definitely good. The direction is on point, the storytelling, it was less disjointed than it has been at times. I feel like there was a through line, and I really liked the pacing, because it was pretty much in real time, and I enjoyed that. I thought that was an interesting choice that they pulled off.
But I didn’t have this like warm, fuzzy feeling when it ended. And so I’m just sad. And I worry that my eye is too critical, or something. But I don’t think that’s true, because I enjoy nonsense all the time.
Liz: Sometimes I worry that the pressure to make a podcast every week about that week’s episode of Star Trek puts too much pressure on that episode. I walked away thinking, oh, that was good, and it did some things I really enjoyed and we can talk about the bridge crew problem and all of that, but…
Liz: Much like the great episodes of TOS, I’m like, Hmm. I enjoyed that very much. But do I really have much to say about it, that’s meaningful?
Anika: That might be it.
Liz: And that’s fine! That’s fine. We, as individuals, don’t need to have original or brilliant, or even very insightful thoughts about every single episode of Star Trek. And we certainly don’t put that pressure on the older Treks that we’re not watching week to week. I would never inflict a weekly episode of TOS on you, for example.
Anika: @TrekFan4387 is doing these, you know, ‘grade each episode of TOS’ on Twitter. And I have to say, I really enjoy all of the polls that he puts up. All of them are just so fun and interactive, and I love to do it.
But with the TOS ones, it is hilariously … I am so far off the mean for every single episode, every single one, it’s like, I vote, you know, B or something, and it’s this huge A, and I’m just like, well, yeah. Okay. That’s fine.
It might be that I just don’t have the nostalgia factor for TOS or … I don’t know, but it’s really, really funny to me. And I’m now at the point where I’m just like, well, whatever I choose, the average is going to be the one above.
Anika: I’m never going to be on par with these.
Liz: And I think that’s really okay.
Anika: I think it’s okay, too. Just like it’s fine if people don’t like Discovery or want to watch Discovery. It’s like, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. And that’s okay. Just don’t talk about it.
Liz: I guess we’re sort of outliers, in that what we loved most of all, and what we really connected with, was the war trauma and body horror and twisty turniness of season one. And it really hasn’t been that show since.
And that’s okay, because it needed to evolve. And at the same time we can stay in our corners and write fic that keeps delving into the lingering issues from season one. And that is perfectly fine.
But at the same time, it’s kind of … Like, sometimes when I’m blogging about Voyager, I fall into a pattern of going, oh yeah, this was okay, but wouldn’t it have been better if it was about something else entirely?
And I don’t want to do that to Disco. I don’t want to go, Hey, Stormy Weather was a really great episode, but wouldn’t it have been better if it was … not as good?
Anika: So the thing is that I don’t actually want to change this episode at all. I mean, there’s, there’s my bridge crew problem. I have a real problem with that. So I definitely want to change that.
But the idea of it and the plot of it, and again, the way that it was presented, stylistically, this was a better episode than I would expect.
Liz: This was directed by Jonathan Frakes. And one of the things about him as a director is that he loves unusual angles and finding different ways to tell the story. And this was basically a bottle episode, it was very inexpensive, and yet it looked as cinematic as any other episode of Discovery. And I think that’s down to Frakes and his visual style.
Which is very funny because I think, as a film director, he’s very workmanlike. And then, as a television director, he is just incredibly imaginative. And I’m so fascinated by that dichotomy. Even though I don’t really know enough about directing to talk about it intelligently.
Anika: I don’t either, but I can imagine it has something to do with scope, that he’s better at the small stuff, at making a bottle episode be cinematic. He’s better at that than making cinema be cinematic.
Liz: That’s actually an interesting point. Like, on the set of First Contact, he was called Two Takes Frakes because he didn’t do the endless multiple takes and reshoots that a cinema trained director would do. Maybe he excels when he’s under those constraints of television. Especially because he came up in nineties television, when you were creating twenty-six episodes a year.
Anika: Yeah. And you didn’t have more than two takes.
Liz: Yeah. Yeah. ‘Cos this was a gorgeous episode. And again, it was very Voyager-esque, right down to the captain saving everyone else and then risking her life. And I think the only difference is that Janeway would not have worn an EV suit.
Anika: I mean, the end of the episode was very end of Year of Hell.
Anika: It had that same, I send everybody away and.
Liz: And I will single-handedly … Yes.
Anika: What was twisty and fun and different is that Captain Burnham had the computer, who is kind of the Doctor at this point. And it ended up being, “I have to trust you. I have to trust the emergency command hologram to go down with the ship for me.” And that’s also something that Janeway would be absolutely terrible at. She would not do it. She would be incapable of trusting the computer to take over her sacrifice. This was like three or four different Voyager episodes that were a part of it.
Liz: I messaged you saying, “this is a great episode of Voyager.” And I expected them to duplicate themselves, like Voyager back in Parallax, but I was also like, oh, they’re flying straight into a weird anomaly, there’s coffee in that void.
And then you suggested that the ship has duplicated itself, the way Voyager did in Demon, and that’s where we get Calypso. Which I don’t think is likely, but I love the parallel.
Anika: There’s also the void, an episode of Voyager where they go into non-space. And they don’t lose all sensor data, the way they do in this one, but it is the same sort of, this space is empty and dark and horrible, and you don’t know how long you’re going to be stuck in here.
Liz: Yeah, I really enjoyed that sense, again, of that TOS idea that space is dark and dangerous and unknowable.
Anika: And then we even get the sonar submarine stuff going on.
Liz: You know I love it when we go full submarine movie.
Anika: As soon as he is like, “it’s sonar,” I was like, oh, this is for Liz!
Anika: It’s a nod, it’s like a tip of the hat just to you.
Liz: It’s funny because last gosh … was it just last week? Ruon Tarka was all like, “Anger is a very productive emotion,” I thought there was going to be a rift between Book and Michael. I thought there was going to be some sort of last temptation of Book happening, and it’s like…
Anika: The Book and Michael – it was literally hand waved, like, Book literally went, oh, we’ve already talked about that, we don’t have to go into it anymore.
Liz: I’m kind of glad, because I don’t think that this is necessarily a show that does that sort of relationship conflict well, so I like that they’ve acknowledged that there has been a distance, and now they’ve resolved it, and the rest is up to the fic writers.
Anika: But what I also liked that, as soon as they got into the turbolift, Saru and Michael, and Zora was being weird squirrely again, and it was clear that Michael had already told Saru about her conversation with Zora.
Anika: There these threads, but we, the audience, don’t have to sit through them twice because it’s already happened off screen.
Liz: Which is something that Discovery has struggled within the past, and certainly it has an audience that needs to have its hand held. So I’m really glad that they’ve stopped doing that.
I so enjoyed Zora’s plotline, and the way it gave Gray a purpose. And I just want to float something that I think some people might disagree with.
Gray is Kes.
Liz: He’s young, but he’s older than he seems, but also younger. And he is in this position of meeting a new artificial life form and being the first person to go, oh, you’re not just the computer, you’re not just an algorithm.
Obviously, Michael knows that she has feelings, but Gray takes Zora as she is, and immediately starts walking her through the Trill processes for integration of the body and the mind. And that really reminded me of how Kes took one look at the Doctor and was like, oh yeah, a person.
Anika: Right. And there’s also that sort of extroverted curiosity that they both have, that they’re just so happy to see new people and be out in the world, doing their thing. They see the computer as a person because it’s a type of person that they’ve never seen before.
I love Gray. Gray is my favorite, and I’ve been waiting for him to get something to do that isn’t related to himself.
Anika: Not related to getting his body or related to Adira, that is a plot for him that isn’t about him. And this was such a good one. They’ve been teasing the whole guardian stuff all season, and it was really wonderful to see how he connected with Zora, how he immediately started finding ways to tease that out of her and help her connect to him as well.
Anika: I like the Kes, uh, I like that idea.
Liz: And obviously, I am in no way implying that Adira is Neelix.
Anika: Yeah. Yikes. Absolutely not.
But they’re such a great addition to the cast, Adira and Gray together and separately, and I really enjoyed it. I loved the way that Gray convinced Zora to do something.
And then, as soon as he figured out that external sensors were working, it was like, we have to tell the captain, and he just had no problem jumping onto the bridge and being like, “Hey, I have information for you guys.” There was no hesitation. That’s that extroverted curiosity and the youthful, “I grew up outside of these regulations and so I don’t have to worry about that, because I was already breaking the rules.”
I really enjoyed that entire plot line. I loved that Michael immediately was like, “Gray, you’re the Zora whisperer, so you’re coming with me to go deal with the crisis of confidence.” It’s just, altogether, a really good plot line for all three of those characters.
Liz: Yeah, it was great. I love how Zora is really coming into her own and has an emotional arc here.
I think this is shaping up to be one of Star Trek‘s best AI plot lines, which is funny because I remember watching Calypso and thinking, this has been done, it’s a cliche, it’s a sexist cliche. So to have Zora now separated from her Michael Chabon origins, and having relationships with women, and trans men, and building friendships and acknowledging the crew as her family, it’s very pleasing.
Anika: It’s very pleasing.
Liz: Do you want to talk about the holographic family tree?
Anika: I do! In the previously on, there was a lot, they were like, “here are eight scenes that happens last episode.” And I was sort of like, why is any of this important? I was just convinced that we’re never going to talk about Felix again, that was an ethical dilemma that we’ve moved on from. But the point of it all was this family tree that Michael is initially creating, her family tree
Liz: Do you notice who’s not on that family tree of Michael’s?
Liz: [laughs] Well, yes, obviously. Ash Tyler is not on her tree.
Anika: Yeah. I didn’t even think to look for him.
Liz: I didn’t either. And then someone else pointed it out and I was like, wow, awkward.
Anika: There’s a difference between, I miss my family that I left behind, and I miss my eighth grade boyfriend that I left behind.
Liz: Harsh. But fair. I miss my boyfriend who was the secret Klingon, who tried to kill me.
Anika: I mean, that’s more harsh than what I said
Liz: Yeah. But when I put it that way, it makes a lot of sense, right? I love seeing Tilly on both Michael and Zora’s trees, because she is still very much a part of my heart. If not the show, yes.
Anika: It was sweet. It was sweet because it’s a tree that … One of the… I think it was the Greatest Gen, but it could have been – anyway, were saying that it was weird, the way that the branches were put on so that the woman added herself to her tree, and she was above her parents, or something like that.
And I liked that both Michael’s and Zora’s had no logic whatsoever to it. It was just like, here’s a tree of people that I like. And if you’re making literally making a holographic tree, like, I don’t think it should be…
Liz: This is not your third-grade family tree project.
Anika: It’s not ancestry.com. It’s, I am putting, and I put in parentheses, found family, both because Michael’s and certainly Zora’s, but Michael’s family is mostly found family. Even her adopted family is sort of a found family, in that they literally found each other.
Liz: Sarek found her, yes. He brought her home.
Anika: Like you do. So it felt like more of this, I am, you know, making an artistic representation of people that are important to me for whatever reason. And so they’re on my tree, and I’m going to call it my family tree, but it’s all of the peoples. They’ve said many times, the cast has said this, what’s written about Discovery, have always described found family as a core part of the series.
Liz: Yeah, which kind of annoys me because fandom’s take on found family is so often culty and narrow, and it’s like, is it a found family? Or are they just friends? You can have friends. It’s okay.
But with Discovery, I do feel like they’ve earned it. From the beginning, where they were this sort of collection of misfits and vulnerable young people that Lorca assembled because they were useful to him and he could manipulate them. And from there, they have become closer. And I think that’s great.
Anika: Now I’m thinking about fandom’s version of found family.
Liz: Yeah. I’m sorry.
Anika: I think it’s not … I mean, I think it is a fandom problem, but I think it’s a societal problem, that society wants to elevate family above friendship, and romance above friendship. And so people who are close with their friends don’t want to use friendship to describe that.
Liz: It sounds almost childish. You’re meant to grow out of that. Even though you never do.
Anika: Right. It’s nonsense. Society’s take on the hierarchy of care or, you know, who’s important to you, is absurd and you shouldn’t have one. I mean, that’s what I sort of, what I mean about this tree, that there’s no hierarchy. It’s just a growing thing that goes out in all directions. And that is so much more rewarding than a pyramid scheme of people that matter to you.
And, you know, these people don’t have to be the most important. I’m very close to my brothers and sometimes fandom’s version of found family, like it’s not even just fandom, but like Twitter’s version of family is like, “it’s okay if you don’t get along with your blood relatives, they’re useless.”
And it’s sort of like, well, what if I do? What if I actually do love my family and want to consider them family and important to me? It doesn’t have to be either/or. It’s you, you get to choose
Liz: I love all my siblings, but my brother is also my friend. My sister is also my friend, but in a different way, we have different interests from my brother and I. And that’s okay. You know, I like my siblings, as well as love them.
Anika: I have three brothers, and we did a secret Santa. I got my brother, John, and I made him a WandaVision vid. And at the end, you know, I said, ‘for John, comma, my Pietro.’
Anika: And that doesn’t mean that my other brothers aren’t as important.
Anika: It’s like, Hendrick would be my Spock to my Michael. It’s a different relationship. And that doesn’t mean that we’re any less close. We’re close in a different way. And so this idea that you have to choose your friends or your found family. Or your family or your significant other, or your children or your pets. You don’t. You just get to have a tree of everybody. You don’t have to choose.
Liz: Right. I will say on a design level, I did not love the tree. I think if they had taken a little bit more time and spent a little bit more money to cut out the backgrounds of the screen caps that they were putting on the tree, it might’ve looked a little nicer.
Anika: Also dealing with family was Book and his imaginary father.
Liz: Again, we have these discussions of anger, ‘a very productive emotion.’ And then he’s talking to his dad and he’s like, yeah, I’m angry, and yeah, I’m not going to let you manipulate me. And, okay. Cool. Book is just so emotionally healthy. It’s actually kind of disgusting.
Anika: I mean, he had that scene with Saru at the end, where they were both sort of like, if I let myself indulge in all of the anger that I have, I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning and do anything with myself.
Anika: And yeah, that is a super galaxy brain realization that your anger is holding you back.
Liz: I think it’s interesting that we have Book carrying this anger, and being aware of it, and making active efforts to deal with it in appropriate and healthy ways, when there’s this stereotype of the angry and destructive Black man.
And then we have Saru and the Ba’ul, and he’s talking about how, for him, the Ba’ul’s crimes are recent history. And for everyone else in his culture, they’re the distant past. And he acknowledges his anger, but he recognizes that it would be damaging to others to indulge it. this is.
I think, the second time that Saru has acknowledged his feelings of rage towards the Ba’ul, and that makes me think of, you know, many African-American people still have a lot of anger about slavery, because that is not in the distant past and the effects of it are happening right now.
But it’s hard to talk about that because it sort of gets sidetracked into, “oh, you hate white people,” or, “why are you so angry about stuff that happened a hundred years ago?”
I don’t think that there’s necessarily a right or wrong way to deal with those feelings, but it seems important that Discovery is just talking about them at all.
Anika: So I’m going to bring up Princess Leia again, because as we know, Book is Princess Leia, and I’m going to bring up my theory of Princess Leia. Everybody get excited.
So, in Star Wars, the Jedi are very preachy, and they basically say, don’t ever be angry, because anger leads directly to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, leads to hatred. It leads to suffering. Right? It’s bad. It’s always bad. Never, ever feel those things. Or don’t indulge them.
Anika: If you start feeling them, suppress them immediately.
Anika: So there’s this meme that goes around, that’s like, you know, Princess Leia lost her entire planet and everyone important to her, and was never attempted to the dark side. And so it shows that she’s the best Skywalker, or … I don’t even know. Whatever. I disagree with this meme because my take on it is that Princess Leia is angry all the time. Like–
Liz: I was going to say, that’s her secret, Cap. She’s always angry.
Anika: But she funnels that anger into her fight and into what she’s doing. And she allows herself to feel that anger. And she allows herself to be angry at people, but she doesn’t allow herself to only feel that anger, that she turns the anger into action.
Her secret is that she’s the healthiest Skywalker and the healthiest Jedi type of person, I guess, Force sensitive person, she’s the healthiest Force sensitive person, because she doesn’t try to suppress any of her emotions. She doesn’t give them free rein, like the Sith and she doesn’t suppress them, like the Jedi. She just treats them as a part of her, which they, spoiler alert, they are.
I feel like that’s what they’re trying to do with Book, too, where it’s like, I have had this horrible thing happened to me, and it’s perfectly reasonable, every single person on this ship and in this galaxy would understand if I was just angry all the time. If I was just crying all the time, if I was just devastated and unable to function, that would not be an inappropriate response.
But he’s working through it in his way. And that is also valid.
Liz: I also want to contrast that with the treatment of anger in earlier Star Treks, particularly Voyager, because Book is Princess Leia, but he’s also kind of a bit Chakotay, in that he’s this angry warrior type, gag, who meets this woman and sort of pins his flag to hers and finds service through her.
And obviously the Book/Michael relationship is a lot more complicated, but the whole Chakotay thing is that he was angry, and now he’s left that behind because anger is bad.
And then you have B’Elanna, who is full of rage and resentment. And a lot of her story is about repressing that and being a good little half- Human and a good little Starfleet officer…
Anika: And not letting her Klingon side out because her Klingon side is problematic.
Liz: Yes. And it’s not just that her anger comes out in self-destructive ways. It’s that she has no other outlet, and she’s not allowed to have any other outlet.
Liz: This just feels like a much more sophisticated and thoughtful version of those stories.
Anika: And I am hopeful – again, these are sort of things that I pay attention to, that I study. It’s another meme that millennials cry too much, or are too emotional, or care about things too much and show their feelings too much, like Michael Burnham. Yes.
Liz: Okay. Okay. Sidebar, sidebar. Sorry. Sorry. But I just finished watching the Syranite trilogy of Enterprise and like, I’m well into season four of Enterprise…
T’Pol cries so much. I reckon if you did a count over the four seasons of Enterprise, she would be crying way more than Michael Burnham and she is a full-blooded Vulcan.
Anika: I don’t remember what people’s reaction to T’Pol was during Enterprise. I think I tuned it out
Liz: I think you were probably right to do so. I definitely feel like there’s a level of sexism in the fact that the first female Vulcan regular is the one who struggles with emotional control. Thanks, Rick Berman.
But I just think it’s notable that we have all these complaints about Michael, and no one talks about T’Pol. Anyway, I’m sorry to have interrupted. I just had to get that off my chest.
Anika: No, I’m just saying that I think that society is slowly changing. We are slowly coming to realize that suppressing emotions is actually bad for us.
Anika: That we want people to have access to mental health care. And you should be allowed to show like, obviously don’t go punch people,
Liz: Unless they’re Nazis.
Anika: But we should be allowed to show our anger, to express our anger, to express our sorrow in a public setting, and for it not to be the worst possible thing that ever happened.
Liz: And also, anger is not intrinsically harmful or dangerous. Anger expressed through violence or cruelty is, but those are not – you know, there are healthy ways to express anger as well. And I think that’s what Disco is depicting. And I’m really happy.
Anika: Again, go, talk to your therapist and come up with a list of the healthy ways for you to express your anger. It’s possible.
Liz: Like, have an argument in your head with your dad, who is actually the particles from beyond the galactic barrier.
Anika: Yes. It was not the best depiction of Book working out his anger with his dad, who was very … what’s the word? Convenient. It was very convenient. It was like, oh, it’s my dad’s birthday, the same day that this weird anomaly thing is happening, and I get zapped.
Liz: I thought it was cheesy in a way that Star Trek at its best embraces instead of pushing aside.
Anika: Right, yes. It was heartfelt and his resolution, like, Book’s conclusion, he was sort of like, you’re still yelling at me, but you’re here. And I lost my entire family and my entire planet and everyone that I grew up with, but you’re still here and talking to me, so that means that I didn’t.
And that was just really sweet. It was, again, super convenient and super cheesy, but it was like a Netflix Christmas movie version of cheesy, you know?
Liz: Look, if this is Discovery‘s take on a Christmas special, I’ll have it.
Anika: Right, exactly. I mean, it kind of felt like that, because it was very heartwarming. Even the bridge crew stuff was, in the end, overtly heartwarming. And so at least they embraced it all.
Liz: I do kind of feel like, as this is the first season written in the pandemic, it’s a little too self-consciously aware of the need for comfort. And I get that a lot of people need that, but I’m the person who has spent the pandemic reading about the history of disease. So a little more horror and tension would be okay by me. But I understand that I might be the minority.
I feel like this season of Discovery is the flip side to the upcoming grimdark AU that we’ll see in Picard. And I am more of a grimdark AU person.
Anika: Me too. I literally took a course on plagues.
Liz: So I couldn’t get home for Christmas. At the last minute, I didn’t get my test results in time. It was a whole saga.
Anika: I’m so, so sorry.
Liz: Thank you. It was disappointing, but my friend, Amie Kaufman, messaged me and she was like, “My sister has COVID, she’s not coming to Christmas. Would you like her seat at the table?” And so I went, and I had a chill day with Amie and her husband and her toddler and her mum and it was a really nice day.
And we ended up talking about a book called … I think it’s Finishing the Stress Cycle, something like that. And Amie was talking about how there’s research to show that when you’re anxious, it’s valuable to consume a narrative that has catharsis and an ending. So that’s a movie, or a piece of procedural television with a self-contained story.
Anika: This explains a lot about how I’ve spent the pandemic!
Liz: She said this to me and I was like, I need to tell Anika right away!
And that made me think that catharsis is what we’re not getting yet in Discovery. We’re building up slowly to it. But I do think that the lack of catharsis so far is maybe why I haven’t yet connected with this season.
Anika: Yeah, like I’ve been saying, this episode was great, but I didn’t have the emotional connection that everybody around me had. And that made me feel like there was something wrong with me. But maybe it’s just that I emotionally connect in a different way, and they’re not giving me that.
Liz: No, I think that’s it. I sort of got partway there with Michael being horribly burned and then being rescued. That hurt/comfort itch, I think, is part of it. But I’m curious to see what this mid-season finale will bring us, because I do think…
Anika: There’ll be a cliffhanger?
Liz: Oh God!
Anika: I don’t know if I’m ready.
Liz: No, no. Since I had that conversation with Amie, I watched a bunch of movies, and actually my anxiety and my feelings about the world have improved. This probably explains why I’ve been enjoying Enterprise so much lately.
Anika: I mean, everyone says that Enterprise season four is good, is when it gets good.
Liz: I didn’t believe that at first, but then we got into the Vulcan nonsense, and I am totally on board.
Anika: And it’s funny because the Vulcan nonsense was definitely there from the beginning, but it was sort of like, they let themselves go. They like, oh, this could be our last season, so we might as well just do all the Vulcan nonsense we can, and really explode it and just be ridiculous.
Liz: There’s that, but they’ve also done it in a way that feels like they’ve been organically building up to it from the start. And I’m like, oh my gosh, it only took 10 years, but nineties Trek learned how to tell a story over multiple episodes. I’m so proud.
Anika: In their last season. That’s so funny to me. That’s hilarious. And yet, now people are get so upset that Discovery and Picard tell stories in that way, in that multi-episode way. It’s just really funny.
Liz: By season four, Enterprise was embracing the Farscape-style three-parter, and I do think that that has an appeal that, you know, these shorter arcs, and they’re not precisely self-contained, obviously this Vulcan nonsense is going to continue through the rest of the season, but it’s a little easier to take in. And unlike Discovery, this season is not postponing climaxes.
Anyway. Do we have any theories about the alien, uh, 10-C coming from beyond the galactic barrier?
Anika: This is the other thing that I’m just really not connecting to, is, I don’t care.
I don’t care who made the DMA. I’m sort of like, I know that they’re gonna figure it out and fix it, and it’s going to stop planet eating. So who cares? I don’t know.
Liz: I’m one of those Expanse fans who really loves the Protomolecule subplot, and the weird alien stuff, and the ancient civilizations, and all that. And so I kind of like the DMA in the same way. It’s completely alien. It’s unknowable. I don’t want to, you know, cross the galactic barrier and pull a Gary Mitchell, and then we meet the aliens, and their names are Steve. And they wear silly forehead latex and they’re just out to have a good time, or whatever. So I don’t expect a satisfying ending, but I’m curious to see what it is, regardless,
Anika: I still think the DMA is a pet that is being misused. That’s where I’m at.
Liz: The extra galactic factor is a red herring, and it’s being controlled by someone in our universe, in our galaxy?
Anika: Yeah, it’s an extra galactic animal that in our galaxy has stolen and put a collar on, and is sending around to do things. It’s a ridiculous theory, but that’s just where I’m at. So I would love, and again, it’s just weird and silly of me to be convinced that it’s a whale’s eye, but I would love for like the aliens from Star Trek IV to be somehow involved.
Liz: I think that is a little too neat, but something like that. I don’t know.
I’m excited to think that next week we’ll be seeing the galactic council, and all the planetary leaders and everyone back together, because that’s really my jam. And if we get some really cool alien protomolecule stuff along the way, that’s good, too.
Finally, in our last 10 minutes, let’s talk about the bridge crew problem.
Anika: I can’t with this. So all season, the bridge crew have been getting these weird little mini monologues where they, like, stand up and tell Michael some traumatic event that happened to them when they were a child.
Anika: And I’m not into it at all.
Liz: It’s just so artificial. And we have been complaining for a long time, now, that the bridge crew are not integrated in organic ways, and this is even less organic than before.
Anika: They went the wrong direction. So I’m going to be nice about Nilsson for moment.
Liz: I was going to say, I really enjoyed Nilsson this week, and without trying at all, they gave her a personality.
Anika: Exactly. Solely because she cared about the DOTS, that she was … I still do not even know what her job is.
Liz: I think she’s like DOT control.
Anika: She was in charge of the DOTS, and so she was sending them out. And she reacted to what happens to the DOT. And it was really … I cared, I cared about the DOT because she cared about the DOT. I cared about Nilsson because I cared about the DOT.
And it was completely, like, just normal interaction with Michael and with the rest of the crew, it was just doing her job. And I cared about her. And, you know, I didn’t care about her wig. I wasn’t angry at her. I wasn’t, like, “Nilsson, go away. I don’t want you on my screen.” And that was organic.
Meanwhile, Owosekun, who is my favorite bridge crew person, because she is the most interesting. And yet I hated her plot line with a passion. I was so annoyed the entire time.
Liz: I’m so mad that my Owosekun has been touched by this bad writing. How dare they?
We did not need to hear that Nilsson had a traumatic incident in her past watching a robot die, and that’s why she feels bad about the DOT. She’s just a person who empathizes with a robot the way most people do.
Anika: I don’t even remember what Owosekun’s traumatic backstory is, because I wasn’t, I was just standing there saying, how are you possibly having this conversation now, when you’re supposed to be getting in the buffer?
Liz: I think it must’ve taken a lot more time to get everyone in the buffer than we see, because we don’t see the forty-five minutes it takes Book to get Grudge into her carrier.
Anika: Okay. I can accept that, but it was also, just, this is not the time. If it was because she was afraid that she wouldn’t have another time because they were all going to die, or whatever, then she has to say that. There has to be some sort of acknowledgement that that’s the reason.
Instead, it was just Owosekun apologizing to Saru, and Saru being like, it’s totally great. And I understand, now that I know your tragic backstory. And the camera kept focusing on Detmer in the background being like, oh, my girlfriend is, sad, but it’s okay. And I was like, I hate all of you. Get the buffer, don’t come back.
Liz: Owosekun can’t even have a poorly written moment without it being all about Detmer.
Anika: Right. Exactly. Without the focus being on Detmer’s reactions. It was so bad. It was so bad. And the earlier scene, that set up that scene, was [Owosekun] arguing with Saru and him putting her down on the bridge, which is also not a great look!
She was basically being Michael and the entire time, I was like, if Michael were here, she would have let her go. And I don’t want it to be angry at Michael or Saru for that decision. And I’m angry at everyone now, because I don’t want to be comparing Saru and Michael, I don’t want to be thinking about what would have happened, if it would have been the right decision, or if it wouldn’t have, like, I don’t want that to be getting in the way of me experiencing the story that’s being told. I don’t think that’s what they wanted me to be doing. It was just … oof.
Liz: I know that nineties Trek got dinged a lot for wrapping episodes up with a nice scene in Ten Forward, or wherever, where people talk about what they’ve learned. But that is where Owosekun’s monologue belonged. She gets a drink in the Forward Lounge. She sits with Saru and she tells him her story.
Anika: She could have been inserted into the scene with Book and Saru.
Liz: Yeah. Yeah.
Anika: Like here, also, is Owosekun, who also is feeling these same feelings. The end.
It was so grating the way – because it meant it ended up being like she was going out of her way to, again, disobey orders in order to apologize for disobeying orders.
Liz: It is very much, “I am Michael Burnham’s crew member.”
I understand that Discovery is very much a show where people take time out from crises to have these emotional conversations, but I just wish they were a little better integrated. And I realize, like in terms of writing quality, that is nothing compared with my feelings about season one, where every single week I was like, “this is amazing. I love it. I want to rewrite the entire script.” But it’s just
Anika: I’m just angry at the writers for – every single episode, we’ve had one of these nonsensical, I’m going to, like, regurgitate my backstory at you, and you’re supposed to feel something for me. It is not well done. It’s not well done.
And Bryce, who already had his surfing moment a few episodes ago.
Liz: You only get one, Bryce, come on.
Anika: But he got up and was like, I’m gonna explain sonars to you.
Liz: Which is honestly pretty great, cause apparently people did not grow up watching SeaQuest.
Anika: That part didn’t even annoy me as much. It was less annoying because it was almost like this is for the audience. He wasn’t like, a dolphin killed my mom, and so I’m going to tell you about sonar.
Liz: No, that’s it, it was relevant to the plot, and it also went by very fast, in that I didn’t even have time to think, man, have none of these people heard of sonar? Really? Before it was over.
Anika: It’s just so funny to me that the parts of this, the Nilsson and the Bryce parts, that were not about anything, were good. And then the Owosekun part that was supposed to be about something, was supposed to make me like her more, and relate to her or care about her or be invested in her, had the opposite effect.
Liz: Yeah. Yeah. It’s just, I don’t know. I think we’re going to be complaining about this for as long as the series runs.
Anika: It’s just weird to me.
Anika: It’s a very, very weird thing.
Liz: Yeah. Shall we wrap up? We’re at an hour.
Anika: Okay. That’s I don’t want to go out on a negative, though. I feel badly.
Liz: I really enjoyed the sense of horror at being trapped in a dark place, like being trapped in a room that’s completely dark and not being able to move for fear of hitting yourself on something. That was really evocative.
And Zora feeling like there’s something on her hull was, it was creepy. They really could have leaned into the horror more.
Anika: Also, Dr. Pollard was in this episode. And she didn’t get to stand up and give a speech about the horrible things that happened to her that is the reason that she joined Starfleet. But she was totally competent, and I was totally invested in her reaction to losing that crewman. She was upset, and that was entirely the acting and the direction. It had nothing to do with the story. There wasn’t even any dialogue. She said something like, “He didn’t make it,” but the impact was so strong, and that’s how you – like, she’s a recurring character that I like, and I love seeing, and that I’m into. And I really enjoy seeing her being competent and being in charge
Anika: She didn’t need some weird hook.
Liz: Like, no, it’s like Nilsson and the DOT. We don’t need to know about their traumatic history. We just need to see them empathizing. And it was enough to know that Owosekun wanted to rescue those crewmen, and that she had an idea for it and that she was willing to risk herself. We don’t need to know why. The why is almost incidental. It’s like, we don’t need to know that Cruella DeVille’s mother was murdered by Dalmatians, or whatever.
Anika: Hey, look I love that movie.
Liz: I know you do.
Anika: Just want to say…
Anika: That movie’s great.
Liz: Okay. We don’t need to know that Ursula is mad at King Triton because he dissed her tentacles or whatever. Okay.
Anika: I read that they’re related.
Liz: Ooh. Ooh. I was about to say I ship it, and now I can’t ship it. Anyway…
Anika: You can. It would just be…
Liz: I don’t think that I’m into fish incest.
Anika: You can definitely finish the episode now. I’m sorry.
Liz: Thank you.
Thank you for listening to Antimatter Pod and our thoughts on fish incest. You can find our show at antimatterpod.com, 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 antimatterpod, and write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org..
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