Star Trek #1473: New Eden

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Discovery follows another anomaly's signal to a far planet impossibly populated by humans.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Captain Pike continues to be very cool.

WHY WE DON'T: Can't get behind Disco-Spock's voice.

REVIEW: What did we know about Christopher Pike from the original series? Well, if his only story is The Cage (The Menagerie is just a by-product of The Cage), then it makes sense to make him an expert in first contact procedures. New Eden provides a set-up that isn't unlike The Cage's, in fact, with stranded humans being cared for by god-like entities. Pike's speech on Clarke's First Law makes me think he's thought about this a lot since Talos IV. Because the inhabitants are descendants from World War 3-era humans, and therefore technically pre-warp, it causes complications and debates about the Prime Directive, and Pike is on top of it. Open to Burnham's interpretation, but he won't go down with a debate. In the end, he strikes a compromise with his science officer, one that serves the moment. (For once, the society isn't run by an evil computer.) And while he's down on the planet making sure his people don't stray, the crew up top is responding an extinction-level event without TNG's hemming and hawing in Homeward (I guess that episode still sticks in my craw). This is General Order 1 used to push the drama, but not to impede on the heroism. Good show.

So yeah, I do love Anson Mount's Captain Pike. A great addition to the cast and he doesn't steal Burnham's thunder to make his mark. (Not sure about Ethan Peck's Spock though, I don't hear a particular Vulcan quality in his voice - too early to tell, I guess.) I'm generally very happy with the way the characters are juggled. If Pike leaves room for Burnham to be the main character, he also lets Saru do a lot of captain stuff (up to and including a nice pep talk to Tilly - this is the first captain we've had who's been the "outsider character" and they're doing something with it). My prayers that they would develop the ancillary cast in the season opener have been answered as well. We learn that Owosekun grew up in a Luddite collective and knows her way around low-tech cultures. She goes down to the planet and proves useful by McGyvering the group out of a makeshift prison. She's also the first one to wake up from a stun grenade - not Burnham nor Pike. Above, Detmer does some crazy flying based on Tilly's crazy plan, putting her in a class similar to Sulu or Paris (she got her license when she was 12). And hey, I'm also liking Dr. Pollard's one sass per episode.

Tilly's in charge of the B-plot, and like the Red Angel A-plot, it's an ongoing concern. Whatever she does, as Stammets earlier said, it's out of love. Pushing herself, taking risks, landing in sickbay, it's all out of love. In this case, FOR Stammets. She doesn't want him to have to bear the idea of meeting Hugh "on a highway made of mushrooms" (his role is small in this episode, but poignant - is he upset because he saw Hugh or because he didn't?), so is desperate to find a new way to make the spore drive work. And so she seems to saddle herself with the ghost of a school friend, though the jury's still out as to whether she's a brain parasite (May speaks like a child and thinks Tilly's mind is fun) or an actual ghost speaking through the mycenial network like Hugh has (Tilly did not know she was dead, nor what she might look like today). And since the dark matter asteroid that seems connected to the network was found at a Red Angel sighting, could she also be connected to that entity? Too early to tell. It would certainly seem at this point that the Red Angel is benign, and leading Discovery to places where they need to help people (speaking of which, where was Jet Reno?).

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention Tilly's mention of "Yes, and", wishing Stammets was there with her to "yes and" her as she furiously tries to think of a way to help Discovery. That means Tilly is an improvisor, and not just in engineer. I bet she played in school. It totally fits her character, and I feel forever bound to her now.

LESSON: Why read when you can just look at the pictures?

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: I'm loving this season. Problems to solve, but no villains. Levity and action to balance out the serious dilemmas.

4 comments:

Madeley said...

I think the Prime Directive was first referred to as General Order 1 in the animated series, was it referred to as General Order 1 very much anywhere else?

Siskoid said...

They use it in this very episode. I think it may have been used once or twice in-canon elsewhere (The Omega Directive and The Drumhead maybe... sources are unclear).

Radagast said...

All the planetside stuff was just so Canadian! Sheila McCarthy and Andrew Moodie in the lead roles, and exteriors filmed at one of Ontario's ubiquitous pioneer villages.

Siskoid said...

Certainly makes a change from Vasquez Rocks :).

 

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