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105. The Fourth Doctor Walks Into A Ridley Scott Film (Disco 4.10)

Discovery enters the Galactic Barrier, and while real world physicists weep, Anika and Liz turn down the saturation and discuss:

  • Just when we thought Disco had mastered pacing…
  • The Tarka problem endures
  • Saru! T’Rina! Their love!
  • “Insecurity is universal.” Discovery is a deeply insecure show.
  • Is MURF Species 10-C?!
  • Translation, alteration and unconscious bias
  • Liz’s next door neighbour does a bit of yard work, which is great
  • We have started shipping Vance/Rillak, which means we are also VERY concerned that Rillak’s gonna go get herself blown up or something


Liz: 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 the Star Trek: Discovery fourth season episode, The Galactic Barrier, which ironically came out the day before Sally Kellerman, who starred in Where No Man Has Gone Before, died. Just a fun little coincidence.

Anika: Fun fact!

She lived a good long life and left an impact. So she’s good.

Liz: She did. And she was truly wonderful in The Original Series’ second pilot. And I was thinking of her and her character, who is very dear to me, as I watched this episode. But the other thought that went through my head was, go home, pacing, you’re drunk.

Anika: I struggled with this episode for a few different reasons. That I think are mostly me. I don’t know. I don’t think it’s taste. I think it’s …

Definitely the pacing was off. The stuff with Tarka’s backstory, they were doing fun camera angles of, you know, Tarka in the past, and then it zooms and Tarka’s back here and stuff like that. That was a little too gimmicky for me. I like fun camera work, but it was … I don’t know, it was weird.

And especially in this particular episode, where there was also the lighting, and there was also the shaky camera, cause we’re in the barrier stuff. I had trouble.

This episode made me ill, is the truth. And I thought it was content, but I watched it a second time and I still got ill. And when I looked away, and just listened for a few seconds, I felt better. So I really think it was actually motion sickness.

Liz: Oh, okay. That’s good. Because you know, I was joking in a Slack that we’re not too thrilled with this episode, and someone was like, “But Antimatter Pod is where I go for positive Discovery opinions.” So I’m glad that we’re not leading with, “This episode is so bad, it made Anika sick!”

Anika: Yeah, it was not the episode content, it was the effects.

Liz: My beef with this episode is largely about pacing and structure, for the episode and the whole season, because it feels very much like the same problem that The Book of Boba Fett had, where I love these characters, except Tarka, and I care about this story, and I’m interested to see how the plot unfolds, but (a) it doesn’t feel like the writers are necessarily interested in that plot, and they’re just sort of going down little side streets, and exploring other characters, and here’s a whole episode where Mando learns to use the Darksaber. And here’s a whole episode about Tarka’s backstory, which really needed to come much, much, much earlier in the season, because at this point I’m like … it’s not cool story, still murder, but it’s, cool story, I still don’t care.

Anika: Yeah. And also, he told this story in words.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: So it wasn’t a surprise. There was nothing that happened in Tarka’s backstory that I hadn’t already imagined. There were no revelations. The best thing I can say about it is that it reminded me of when Gaius Baltar is on Kobol, and he’s stranded with various Marines, and then he sees Six and she brings him to the temple. And I love that stuff, but Tarka actually has nothing to do with it. So it made me just wish I was watching Battlestar Galactica.

Liz: But no, it’s funny, you mentioned this, and you described Tarka as a cut rate Gaius Baltar and I was like, yes. And that’s the problem. It’s partially Shawn Doyle is such a solid physical presence. It’s why he’s so wonderful as the crooked bureaucrat, the guy you overlook until it’s almost too late. But he seems too solid to be a frail scientist, as he’s meant to be in these flashbacks. I kind of wish that they had cast James Callis in the role because he is much better at that sort of twitchy untrustworthy genius. I love Shawn Doyle, but I don’t think he’s right for this part.

Anika: Yeah. I mean, like I said, I was like, I wish I was watching James Callis. So yes, exactly. I agree.

It’s not Shawn Doyle’s fault that he’s not who I want him to be, but he wasn’t selling it to me. I didn’t feel any of the ‘oh, you’re a slave, and this is terrible and you’re a prisoner.’ And I didn’t have any of that.

So the other thing it reminds me of was X-Men.

Liz: Yeah?

Anika: Magneto and Professor X, and how they’re, you know, besties who – look, they’re in love, okay?

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: But also like brothers in arms, you know, soldiers side by side, but ultimately have a conflict that comes out of their different ways of getting to their goal.

And it was almost like they were suggesting that these two had different ways of getting to their goal, but it was solely because Tarka was potentially spying or what, like he was he was a double cross in some way, in order to presumably get a better position in the slave prison camp. So I can’t really fault him.

Liz: I had trouble with the dialogue in this episode, but I think it was that Osyraa had promised him freedom if he found out what Oros was working on and handed over that experiment.

Anika: And obviously no one should give up another living person, you know, just to save themselves. But also, that’s understandable.

Liz: Yeah. My beef with the Magneto comparison is that Magneto and Professor X have a moral and ethical conflict. And I don’t feel like there was any of that with Oros.

We were talking yesterday, you and I, and we realized that we didn’t have much to say, or didn’t think we had much to say about this episode, and rather than talk about Good Sam for 40 minutes. Although I could.

I hit up my beta reader, the inestimable and wonderful NonElvis and said, “What would you like to talk about?” And one of the things she said was comparing Tarka and Oros to that, relationship you have in college, where you’re physically close and you’re comfortable and you love each other and your relationship has no boundaries and no labels. And so you either grow beyond that, or it becomes toxic.

I feel like Tarka and Oros, it ended before it had a chance to go in either direction. So you have these two grown men sort of stuck in a post adolescent cycle. That’s interesting, but I have trouble caring.

Anika: Where I was going with the X-Men comparison was, first of all, definitely First Class. In my head, I was picturing Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy. But obviously you guys aren’t in my head, so you didn’t know that. [Transcriber’s note: fake news.]

So at the very end of First Class, when they’re on the beach and Magneto’s, you know, chosen his side, they have this goodbye, and it’s very Band of Brothers. So that’s what I was thinking of, because the end of this backstory with Oros is also, Tarka is holding him, cradling his broken body. So that was the imagery that reminded me of it.

But, similarly with the Gaius Baltar comparison, it made me wish that there was that conflict that Magneto and Professor X have, that was absent from this. And I don’t need them to be enemies. I don’t even need them to have that conflict, but they have to have something. And all I got was this very sweet, very young, like, Oros sometimes seems like a child

Liz: Yeah, there were moments where I felt like I shipped it, and moments where I felt like I absolutely should not be shipping it. Like, I’m not entirely one hundred percent certain that Oros is an adult.

Anika: There was that layer of, I don’t know quite what is going on here, I don’t know if they’re peers. I don’t know if they’re… I didn’t quite understand what I was supposed to be getting out of this relationship, other than what he’d already told us in an episode three or four weeks ago. So that was the issue.

Liz: It felt very underwritten. And then, we have Discovery on its way to the galactic barrier, and it’s big, and it’s important. It’s dangerous. And then we keep flashing back to this planet, and then we keep flashing back to Tarka, and just, the contrast between the two in terms of tension and narrative drive was just way too much.

I liked the stuff on Discovery and I think I could have enjoyed the Tarka stuff if it had come earlier. I just want to cut this season into little segments and rearrange them.

Anika: Yeah, it feels a little weird. I don’t know quite why they’re telling the story this way. Cause it feels drawn out and also like we’re not going anywhere.

Liz: Yes. There is a story that in 1979, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward took a break from filming Doctor Who and went to see Alien, Ridley Scott’s Alien. And quite late in the movie, Tom got fed up and shouted, “Just show us the sodding alien already.”

Tom was wrong about Alien, but that is how I feel about species 10-C. Everything in the galactic barrier feels like treading water in order to move all the pieces into place, so that we can start learning things next week.

Anika: I have to believe that next week, we get to see 10-C, because (a) Michael found a magic planet where they can be. And even though they’re not expected to be there, it’s obviously where they’re going to be. And (b) Earth is going to be destroyed in 72 hours, so we don’t have enough time for it to be drawn out another week because they’re not going to destroy Earth. So that’s where I’m at.

At least we’re finally getting somewhere. And the thing is that I think that I could focus on the character building. That is very strong in this episode. Last episode and the episode before, the three episodes since we got here, the character building has been really strong. There’s character continuity. Again, we’ve been complaining about it, and now they’re giving us character continuity, but they stopped giving us story and plot. It’s like they can’t do both.

Liz: Yes. It feels like, maybe not the first draft of a novel, but that point where you really want to give it to an editor and get an outsider’s perspective to say, this is what you need to fix, and here are some ideas for how to do it.

And obviously with television, the writing time is extremely truncated, and so television is an inherently messier genre. But I would have thought with the downtime of lockdown, they would have had more time for revision.

Anika: Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe they had too much time.

Liz: That they started overthinking it? Yeah.

Anika: And, like, putting it all in and then they had to make it fit into a time. Like, this one was 52 minutes, so it was kind of long. And so it does feel like maybe there was more, but they had to cut it and they had to keep, you know, Tarka’s plot intact. I can see where, if they had too much, if they thinking about it too much, like you said, that they could make the wrong choice. If they spent a lot of time plotting it and then had a very truncated amount of time to actually create it. Maybe there are deleted scenes, who knows?

Liz: We have this really long scene where Saru is farewelling Lieutenant Bryce. (It’s not that long. It felt long.) And why was it even there?

Anika: I could not tell you. The only thing that makes sense is that it’s going to be important someday. That whatever Bryce and Kovich are doing is important to something, somewhere. Maybe not even this show, but other than that, actor has it in his contract that, like, all of the bridge crew are required to have 1.75 scenes, or something. I don’t know.

Liz: He has a role in another show now. That’s why he’s moved to the background, why we suddenly have Lieutenant Christopher. But we discussed this back in the first episode, we don’t need an explanation for where Lieutenant Bryce has gone.

I realized while I was editing last week, that our complaints about the bridge crew are starting to get repetitive. So I don’t want to get into that again. I just think you have a very long episode, and that could have been cut.

Because this season … I keep calling it flabby. I don’t like that. I think it has overtones of fatphobia, but I think a story needs a structure, the way, you know, it needs a little bit of tucking, it needs a little bit of pulling. God, my metaphors are actually getting more fatphobic.

Anika: Well, so–

Liz: Save me. Save me.

Anika: –let’s talk about Saru and T’Rina.

Liz: My gosh.

Anika: I love Saru and T’Rina so much. But they also got three scenes, and it’s a little bit like, why? Because it’s another one where it makes sense for this to be a slow burn, because she’s a Vulcan, and this is his first real relationship. So it absolutely makes sense for this to take all season long.

Liz: Two seasons, in fact.

Anika: But this particular episode felt really weird. Again, it felt like they were definitely taking the next step in that push and pull, because he did confess his feelings, but at the same time, nothing happened! He and Hugh, I love their scene but it was the same scene as last week.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: So why?

Liz: I do think we saw something new with Saru and T’Rina, in that, at the end, she comes to him for comfort. Whereas so far it’s mainly been the other way around. And I think that’s great. And I think her low key anxiety and need for support is fantastic. But yeah, we didn’t need the scene.

I just feel like that first scene was set up so that it was artificially truncated, so then Saru would have the surprise of finding T’Rina on board. That, to me, felt artificial. It could have just been, the Vulcan official says to T’Rina, in front of Saru, “Actually you need to go on this trip.”

Anika: And then you do a pan to his surprised, scared face.

Liz: Yes. End scene. This is what I mean about needing an editor. None of this is bad. Not even Tarka stuff is bad. It’s just all in the wrong place.

Anika: While we’re on Saru and T’Rina and Hugh, I’m going to jump down to my quotation here, “insecurity is universal,” which is something that Hugh says to Saru. And I think that it is clear in every relationship that was on screen this week and potentially all of Discovery.

Because Rillak was showing her vulnerability to Michael, and the parental blues of Stamets and Adira, where he basically said, “I’m gonna over dad you, because my dad wasn’t there for me.” So that’s like straight up insecurity, daddy issues.

And then Tarka and Oros who – I don’t know about Oros, because I know nothing about him. I know nothing about him that isn’t from what Tarka told me. So who even knows if it’s true? But Tarka, I am fully convinced that Oros is actually the only friend he’s ever had in his life, and that’s why he’s so desperate to get back to him. This is the only person that he’s ever felt something for. Whatever that is.

Liz: I absolutely agree with that take, but I would also say that Tarka regards Book as a friend, and Book absolutely does not.

Anika: No, he still seems to be playing Book. I don’t want to say preying on Book, but…

Liz: Despite what I just said, I definitely would not be hugely shocked if Tarka turned out to be a liar and betrayed Book, or was honest all along and betrayed Book.

Anika: I agree that he’s certainly trying to be friendly with Book. Might even be trying to find another friend, and he’s just terrible at it. Like, he’s horribly bad at peopling.

Liz: It is a bit like mirror Lorca trying to build a relationship with Michael and actually having no idea how to construct a normal, healthy relationship.

Anika: It just feels, you know, it’s sort of like, he’s making friends with Book in order to get back to his real friends.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: That’s not a great basis for a friendship.

Liz: It’s a bit junior high, you know, “You’re cooler than me, so I’m going to hang out with you in the hopes of getting to the really cool kids.”

I like what you said about insecurity being a driving force of Discovery, because I think that’s really true. You know, we have the insecurity of serving under a secretive and treasonous captain. We have the insecurity of Michael’s position in Starfleet and in her family.

And we also have the insecurity of the show dealing with a fan base that’s often not acting in good faith, and launching a precarious new streaming service. Discovery is a really insecure show.

And that’s kind of why last year we thought that they had finally figured out the pacing, but it feels more like now they figured out a formula and now they’re trying to apply it again. It’s not working this time.

Anika: It’s not working.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah. I really recommend the TrekCore review of this episode, because the reviewer basically says that this is trying to do a season three style mystery box and failing.

I really like the TrekCore reviews, and I like their comments. Their comments are usually much better and more constructive, and less racist, than over at TrekMovie. So check that out. Cause it was a really thoughtful review and it has the same feeling that I do, which is, Discovery, I love you, you are such a good show, but you could be better.

Anika: Yes.

Liz: So my very favorite part of the show was the opening scene with Kovich and his fellow linguistics nerd being extremely geeky about universal translators and unconscious bias. It was great. I love that sort of stuff. That’s both very true, and deconstructing tropes that have been built into Star Trek from the beginning.

And it makes me think about the “interpretation is different from understanding” line in Prodigy, which I think is going to be important for 10-C, not in a literal “Murf is species 10-C” way, but as a theme that carries over.

Anika: It reminded me of how they still can’t communicate with Murf, because he communicates on a different level and in a different way.

Liz: Right. And I just watched a bit of Enterprise, so I was thinking about Hoshi and the creation of the universal translator, and how much of humanity is changed and its relationship with the universe is changed because this one individual did so much of the foundational translating for Starfleet.

I feel like there are linguists out there in the 32nd century writing papers about how Hoshi Sato invented the Federation, because she created the language with which it communicates.

Anika: Right. The way to really be more than just one culture or one language, you know, you can’t have a United Federation of Planets if the planets can’t speak to each other.

Liz: Right. But also, an act of translation is an act of alteration. We had the very interesting idea in season one that the universal translator was regarded by the Klingons at the time as a cultural insult.

I just finished reading a really amazing novel called The Yield by Tara June Winch, which is about an Indigenous Australian woman coming home after her grandfather’s death – I should say the author is herself Indigenous – and finding that he has created a dictionary of his people’s language. And throughout the book, it’s broken up into sections with the dictionary itself and musings on how, as I just said, translation is alteration, and to understand a language is to understand a people.

So as much as I think that they’re holding off on the 10-C thing for stupid reasons, once we get there, I think it’s going to be potentially a really interesting and complicated story. Star Trek does Arrival, as my flatmate said, before she moaned that it’s going to be four more episodes before we see 10-C.

Anika: I mean, there’s only three episodes left,

Liz: That’s what I said. And she looked at me, wide eyed and scared and said, “But Liz, then there’s Picard.”

The other thing that I really enjoyed about this episode was every single thing with President Rillak.

Anika: It was great. It was a wonderful bookend to the way the season started, with Rillak coming and being a presence and something that they didn’t want. And they started, you know, partnered at the beginning of this particular journey. And they even discuss that.

I love how Michael consistently reinforcing her boundaries has been a theme this season. I really, really appreciate it. So good job, Michael.

Liz: I love that all along the way this season, we have seen Michael applying the lessons that she learned in previous seasons. And there have been a couple of blips here and there, like Choose to Live and the premier teaser, but overall, the lessons that Michael has learned has been really consistently applied. And I love that.

Anika: Yes. And Captain Michael is so good. So good, Captain Michael.

Liz: I really was afraid that once she achieved the captaincy, she would stop growing as a character. But no, she is consistent, but not stagnant. And I love that.

And I think we saw that in both her conversations with Rillak about telling the truth about Earth and Ni’Var, but also in the final scene where she says, “You’re my president.” And I just – you know, I don’t really have any sentimental feelings about presidencies, but I got all warm in my chest.

Anika: I think in both cases, Michael understands what people need.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: Taking it back to her cultural anthropology

Liz: They have remembered she is a xenoanthropologist.

Anika: She’s using her PhD, you guys! I really feel like Michael, as Captain Michael, as leader, really been about listening and understanding what the people around her need in order to be the best crew possible. Do they need a rousing speech? Do they need the truth? Do they need a hug or, you know, in that scene with Rillak she understood that really needed validation.

Liz: Yes. And Rillak’s need for validation doesn’t weaken her. It doesn’t make her a bad leader. It just means that she needed Michael’s outside perspective. And I think that’s great.

I think this show is ultimately so respectful of both women and their positions, their strengths and their weaknesses and their regard for each other.

Anika: So I have a bullet point here that I added, Michael’s anger.

Liz: Oh!

Anika: Because that was, I think, my favorite part of the episode, was Michael giving bullet points of what she’s angry about. Because she has a lot to be angry about!

Liz: She does. And I think she’s very restrained in how she expresses it. Certainly I was surprised to learn that she is carrying this with her, but she’s Michael. She chooses very carefully what emotions she expresses and what she keeps to herself.

And this is one of those cases where I think she has looked at her crew and decided they don’t need her anger. And I want to go, “Hey, Michael, it’s okay to let this out, it’s okay to have this feeling,” but I kind of think she knows that. She’s doing the Vulcan thing of going, “I am feeling this emotion. I am feeling this emotion because of this, this, this, and this. And it is not going to be a driving force, but I acknowledge that it’s there.”

And I love the way Sonequa’s voice broke, ever so subtly when she says she’s angry at Book.

Anika: So that is the moment that really drove it home for me, because it reminded me of my favorite Sarek moment in season two, when his voice breaks, when he’s saying he would lose both his children.

Liz: Yes.

Anika: That’s why he’s being so terrible, and why he’s lying and bad. And I love Michael as Sarek’s daughter, as opposed to Spock as Sarek’s son. I really, really like the Sarek and Michael relationship. And again, it sort of ties it all in.

It absolutely felt like a Vulcan way of dealing with her emotions, even though her emotions are totally human, and she wasn’t being a Vulcan. She wasn’t saying, “I’m going to Vulcan this.” She was just being Michael about it.

And while I loved it and I really appreciated it because the entire episode, exactly like last episode, I just kept wanting someone to scream and yell and have a tantrum. And this is another thing that is just me because people don’t do that in Starfleet, which is why I could never be in Starfleet. Because I just really can’t take constant restraint.

Liz: It’s so hard.

Anika: It’s hard for me to put myself in a place of, I’m supposed to worry about Earth blowing up in 72 hours without anyone reacting in a loud way.

Michael’s anger was very powerful. Rillak’s sadness was very powerful. Her voice broke, too, when she was talking about her people back home. And also when they did make the announcement to the whole crew, they pan to Detmer and she looked … In that moment, I was like, man, this is like in the pilot, when we lose Georgiou, and when everything’s blowing up.

And Detmer’s been there for the whole thing, and she had her depression arc last season. And so it just really felt like they panned to her last on purpose because they were saying, remember how much this crew’s been through?

Liz: Yes.

Anika: Do they really need this?

Liz: Oh, look, I was like, do we, the audience, really need this? Because of course Earth and Ni’Var are threatened. Of course. It’s very much every Doctor Who finale it’s Earth that’s being threatened. Every Christmas special, Earth is threatened. It was just tiring.

And then the bit where they go around the bridge and everyone’s like, “I’m going to go on my holiday here on Earth.” And I’m like, really you’re all from Earth? That just seems so unlikely to me.

Anika: They’re all from Earth and mostly from America.

Liz: Yes. It felt silly to me.

Anika: Did it have to be Hawaii? Couldn’t have been any other tropical place?

Liz: Any tropical place whose Native people are not literally asking that tourists not go there right now? I know that right now is not the 32nd century, but it’s just something that jumped out at me. That scene was silly and I didn’t like it.

But I liked what was around it, the debate between Rillak and Michael about whether to tell people. It did feel like a retread of the Nahn-Michael discussion last week, but … I don’t know. I think it’s, again, we didn’t need that scene with the crew to show that Michael was right. Michael could have made her argument and Rillak could have accepted it.

But the writers don’t trust the audience to trust Michael, probably with good reason, but that means they have to talk down to us with this silly holiday planning scene to show that Michael is right.

Anika: It was so weird. It was such a weird scene. I was like, I guess we are doing this because otherwise, we’re … I don’t know. And it felt a little infantilizing, I guess, which is the same thing that you were saying. They don’t trust the audience to do it without this slideshow.

But specifically, because it was like, oh, Christopher’s the new guy, and so he hasn’t been here for all of our other universe ending crises, so we have to distract him with the Alps? I don’t — like, it was, like, skiing? I don’t even know. I don’t remember what this was.

Liz: It’s silly enough that you think you have to threaten Earth to make the audience care, which is a problem we had back in season one with the destruction of Starbase One and all that.

It’s even sillier that you need to persuade the audience who live on Earth to care that Earth is being destroyed … Okay. Now I said that aloud and thought about climate change. Maybe we do need to persuade the audience to care that Earth is being destroyed.

Let’s talk about something which makes me a lot happier.

Anika: Okay.

Liz: Do we think that Rillak and Vance used to be a couple?

Anika: Yes! Okay. So the way he said her name, I had to pause and calm down. I was just blown over by just that one word, her name in his soft voice. And then, after they leave and they disappear, and it’s just his reflection in the window, and he says, “Godspeed, Discovery.” I was like, I can’t. This is way too much for me.

Liz: There was this moment where she looked at him and I was like, oh my God, she loves him, and she will never tell him. And then we learned that she has her own partner and I’m like, okay, so they were a couple once, and they have loved each other for years. And now they are happily partnered elsewhere and they would never betray those relationships, but at the same time, their love endures, even if it is just now platonic.

Anika: Right, yes. One of my favorite relationship dynamics is, we could be this other thing, but we’ve chosen to be this thing, and all of the silent negotiation that happens–

Liz: Yes.

Anika: –with emotions in those cases.

Liz: It’s sort of the flip side of what we were discussing with Gwyn and Dal a few weeks ago. That was, we have been friends for years and just realized that we love each other. And this is, we have been in love and now we are friends and we love each other.

Anika: Yes. Right. Then they’re both based in that love. Not only are there different kinds of love, obviously. But there’s also different ways to love the same person.

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: At the same time, I mean. Or, separated by time or at the same time or both. You don’t stop having these feelings, even if they change.

Liz: No. No, exactly.

Anika: I was just so, so, so pleased with it. It’s like, it’s amazing how one word can change. That was — I take it back about the anger. That was my favorite part of the episode. And then the anger.

And the thing is that there were, like, you know, twenty minutes of Oros and Tarka that I was supposed to have that reaction to, and I didn’t. And five seconds of Rillak that just totally sold me.

Liz: So is this time to mention my fear that, now that I love Rillak, she’s going to sacrifice herself for Discovery and the Federation?

Anika: Exactly.

Liz: Hmm.

Anika: I’m a little concerned that–

Liz: Yeah.

Anika: –they had that whole scene about, you know, you have to support the vice-president, whoever that is. And last season it was, I have to support the president, whoever that is, and then it was her, and I’m concerned.

Liz: I just feel like Discovery has not earned my trust when it comes to older women in positions of power.

Anika: They can’t kill off T’Rina either, right?

Liz: No, I feel like Rillak is in more danger than T’Rina.

Anika: I don’t want anyone to die except Tarka. Tarka is allowed to die. He can sacrifice himself for whatever.

I don’t want Rillak to die because she’s super interesting. And because there’s a lot, there’s a lot of there, there. And they mentioned her twenty years as an ambassador, which I was like, yes, good. Everything is great. Everything is great about that scene. It was so good.

Liz: It also means that her blue collar background on freighter ships was indeed more of a stump speech concept, then an accurate reflection of her entire life.

Anika: Right. She grew up like that, but then she was an ambassador for twenty years.

Rillak is out here living the Archer life, which is scary, but also I kinda like it. Because Archer, too, had a dad who never got what he wanted, and so he grew up with a chip on his shoulder and he was going to go get it for him. And he was an ambassador for a number of years and then president of the Federation. So…

Liz: Okay, you’ve put it that way, and now I am concerned that Rillak is also George W. Bush.

I feel like Rillak and Michael have the relationship that I wanted for Michael and Kat, in that they are colleagues and there’s a rank difference, but they’re not necessarily in a mentor protege situation, but a professional relationship of mutual respect and admiration and occasional disagreement. And that’s great. So if they blow her up, I’m just going to be really, really mad.

Anika: Right. Stop blowing people up, I’m going to preemptively say, stop blowing people up.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah. Or at least like, you can maim her a little, I don’t mind, like, if she loses some limbs or whatever, but…

Anika: She’s not allowed to fall down a shaft, either.

Liz: Yeah. Yeah. She’s not allowed to die. I’m just saying. Hmm.

Anika: Okay.

Liz: I think we’ve said it all.

Anika: I do just want to say that I think I’ve convinced myself that most of the issues I had with this episode were either, I have physical problem, or a taste issue.

Liz: Absolutely.

Anika: So I don’t hate it. I never hated it, but I was kind of upset about it last night, I’d have to say. I definitely had to rewatch it, too. Like, I definitely liked it better the second time, but I also had to mitigate my reactions, both in the — like, honestly, it made me sick.

But also, I had to really, really pay attention to the Tarka scenes to care. I had to force myself to want to watch them. But that’s why I say taste. I think it just wasn’t for me,

Liz: And that’s fine.

I think I would say my problems with the structure are objective, but I also think that, viewers are not structure nerds the way I am, and will probably go, Oh yeah, that’s a bit messy, I really wish they’d let us see the aliens already, and then not worry about it again.

Anika: Right.

Liz: It’s frustrating to me that we basically can’t decide until the end of the season whether or not this is a good season, whereas I think by this point in season three, we were like, okay, this is very, very solid, they’re going to have to mess up very badly to ruin it. But, you know, I guess I can live with a little bit of uncertainty. I don’t have enough of that in my life.

Anika: Just don’t do those effects again. I totally — again, other people loved it. So that’s just, that’s a me problem. I can’t go to Universal Studios, either, so.

Liz: Do you struggle with laser tag? Cause some of my friends with visual processing issues don’t do well.

Anika: I’ve done laser tag, maybe twice. I have no recollection of even really like how I felt during laser tag.

Liz: We should go to laser tag and find out. We’ll, add that to the list of things we’re doing at the 2024 convention.

Anika: We better get phasers. Phaser tag.

Liz: You heard it here first.

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 write to us at

If you like us, please leave a review wherever you consume your podcasts. The more reviews, the easier it is for new listeners to find. And join us next week. We’ll be discussing the next episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Maybe a little Picard.

Liz: I am really concerned about my ability to mute all of Picard.

Anika: I know.

Liz: Yeah,

Anika: I know. I know you want to just pretend it isn’t happening. It’s already become hard to pretend that Picard isn’t happening. So.

Liz: I saw the sneak peek in The Ready Room, and I was like, oh no, I’m excited. Oh, no, screeners are going out. And critics are saying, it’s good. Oh, no.

Anika: We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.