Discovery ending with Season 5

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by The Habs Fan, Mar 2, 2023.

  1. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    Burnham arc:
    Season 1: betrayer/prisoner/living with guilt/redemption
    Season 2: reconciliation/trust/sacrifice
    Season 3: freedom vs responsibility
    Season 4: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ some stuff.

    the Mary Sue thing should have been retired years ago, but you can tell a lot by people who use it now. Regardless, it doesn't describe Burnham
     
  2. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I am pretty sure @Lord Garth made this point years ago now that it says more about the poster using the Mary Sue argument than it does about the actual show. I'd dig back in to the posting history but honestly the argument is so trite and tired that I am just passed it.

    I'll just say "Good luck; we're all counting on you."
     
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  3. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Michael has flaws...oh boy does she have flaws. The show even starts explicitly lampshading them in the third season. That means she's not a Mary Sue. That said, I feel like the show failed to deliver a fully-realized character arc for Michael in any of the seasons.

    To broadly simplify, this is a sketch of a character arc:
    1. Character makes a "bad" decision
    2. Character suffers from the consequences of said decision
    3. Character grows and learns from their mistakes
    4. Character makes different decisions.
    Discovery didn't really do this in any of the seasons, though it made attempts.
    • SoSeason 1 attempted this classic character arc, but some combination of sloppy edits/rewrites make it unclear. Like, Michael is absolutely blamed for "starting" the Klingon War, but it's completely unclear what decision she made which causes her to be blamed. The Klingon ships only begin firing due to actions taken by Georgiou, not Michael's attempted "mutiny." Murdering T'Kuvma was a clear mistake, but somehow the show never brings up Michael's choice to kill in cold blood again. Still, if nothing else her attempted "mutiny" does cause great personal consequences, having her stripped of rank, sentenced to hard labor, and having to slowly claw her way back up to respectability. The build-up - putting her life back together - is the best part of Season 1. But then the show faps around in Part 2 of the season torturing her for no good reason/with no character growth. Where it really fails though is it's completely unclear how her decisions at the end of the season (to save MU Georgiou, to disobey Starfleet's wishes to blow up QonoS, to trust Georgiou not to kill her, and to give L'Rell the hydro-bomb controller) actually flow through from the lessons she learned from her earlier mistakes/subsequent growth. Michael just comes across as a woman who makes seat-of-pants, gut-reaction decisions, from the beginning to the end of the season. Her spidey-sense helps her in the 11th hour because she's the protagonist, has plot armor, and the good guys have to win.

    • In Season 2 it's really hard to decipher any character arc at all for Michael. Oddly, the season (particularly in the back half, once Control came to the fore) sort of treated Michael as the subject of the season - had the whole universe revolve around her - but her actual choices/reactions were far less important than in the first season. Honestly Season 2 was the most strongly plot-focused Discovery season by far, which along with the semi-episodic structure, left little place for solid character development. I suppose the theme of family is explored. Michael starts out the season with a shit relationship with Spock, and mends it just in time to say goodbye to him, so I guess that shows growth, though it doesn't really inform her decisions.

    • In Season 3, Michael has no character arc to speak of, and is always right. She ends up in the 32nd century and is like "hey, we should do something about The Burn" and remains a monomaniac regarding it for the remainder of the season. The season is explicit regarding Michael's savior complex being a personality flaw, and there's one crowning moment - in Unification III - where Michael shows tremendous personality growth, realizing that her quest to find the cause of the burn isn't worth causing a civil war on Ni'Var. The writers totally ruin the impact of this character growth, however, with T'Rina deciding to pass her the needed information in private, meaning she made no sacrifice and suffered no consequence. Her monomania is vindicated in the end, of course.

    • Season 4 is set up, right in the first episode, with the premise that now that Michael is in command she'll have to consider there are times that she'll not be able to save everyone. The season builds up towards this idea, putting numerous people in danger in the finale, and setting up a choice between Michael saving Book or completing her mission. Ultimately, she chokes, and is unable to help cause Book's death, but she gets it all - her boyfriend back (with nothing but community service!) and everyone else saved, along with Nhan telling her she made the right decision in the end. I have lots of issues regarding the lack of consequence in the Season 4 finale in general. I feel like the season worked great as a first contact sci-fi plot, but it absolutely failed as a study in character growth of Michael under command.
    The common theme through all of the seasons is though Michael has flaws, the writers are afraid to let these flaws have any lasting consequence which will impact the forward movement of the plot. They might even just be concerned with the possibility of the series lead being 'wrong." This is an older issue within Trek as well. Berman famously thought that the captain always had to be proven in the right by the end of every episode, which screwed up elements of both VOY and ENT.
     
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  4. Commander K

    Commander K Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The clear difference was there was a subtlety to the storytelling, it was natural, it didn't feel forced. Discovery feels like everyone is always on caffeine, less episodes + underdeveloped characters + mediocre scripts = a mostly broken show.

    Look, even Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks et al. played Burnham with those scripts the situation would have been the same.
     
  5. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Admiral Admiral

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    You're switching gears and moving goalposts.
     
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  6. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    Using "Mary Sue" is in the tool bag with feeling smug for typing STD in a youtube comment section, bragging at "owning the libs", playing a Harry Potter game to prove a point, giving a 1000 year stare at the 5000'th bowl of microwaved mac and cheese alone because even the people who agree with you think you're vile, and getting a chubby when something you didn't like but other people did gets cancelled.

    And it's so cliche
     
  7. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Michael Burnham-the most Berman era character to exist outside of the Berman era.
     
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  8. Commander K

    Commander K Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not at all, those are the reasons why discovery is polarising. Underdeveloped characters (i.e. bridge crew), overdeveloped to quickly to become something they shouldn't be (Burnhams narrative over a number of seasons.).
     
  9. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Admiral Admiral

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  10. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Bridge were under no obligation to be developed. They were not main characters.

    Burnham is the main character, the Kirk or Picard of the show. One need only look at TOS for how this works.
     
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  11. Commander K

    Commander K Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That's your interpretation based on you scrolling through the binfire of Twitter and YouTube comments to reinforce your definition of who might use that word.. The word is used in filmmaking and scriptwriting circles all the time, keyboard warriors on YouTube don't own and copyright the meaning of the word.

    And I take no pleasure in discovery getting cancelled but it deserve it's cancellation due to its showrunner not having a tight enough grip on developing the project.
     
  12. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Admiral Admiral

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    I have to get something to eat and get ready for work. It was "fun" to do this one last time, though.
     
  13. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, the memories of nostalgia from 2017...
     
  14. Commander K

    Commander K Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    She isn't the Picard of the show, she is the Kelvinverse Kirk of the show.
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    She's the Kirk of the show. It's just like TOS save more serialized.

    That's it. It's not a Mary Sue, unless Kirk is a Mary Sue; it can be poor writing, though I personally disagree. Ultimately, it's a character that I find compelling, and enjoyable. Not a Mary Sue because of the reasons stated by others at this point, which will change no one's minds and convince no one.

    Thanks.
     
  16. eschaton

    eschaton Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do think that "Mary Sue" has been irreparably damaged in a similar way to "woke" where it's just not worth using the term any longer.

    That said, there does need to be a better term for badly-written "strong" female characters who are constructed by men (to be clear, I don't think Michael Burnham is one of them). But there's this trend in superhero movies and the like to just write a toxic masculine stereotype, and apply it to a hot woman, and call it a "strong female character," when we don't even expect that of male characters any more.

    The term "Mary Sue" completely lost all meaning for me when I saw people attacking She-Hulk as one. I mean, anyone who has watched that show could clearly see she's not cast from that mold. It's just misogynistic men complaining that women exist in lead roles now.
     
  17. drt

    drt Commodore Commodore

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    After Wesley left, TNG used the same actress as the Flight Control officer for 46 episodes, but I bet almost no one who complains about Discovery's bridge officers even knows her character's name.
     
  18. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It has lost all meaning...

    Wait, she has a name?

    How dare they!
     
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  19. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Commodore Commodore

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    I didn’t dodge. Since suspension of disbelief is important in buying into the story and characters. At no point do Kirk, Picard, Sisko, or Janeway behave like they understand technology centuries ahead of them.

    If Burnham being a Mary Sue isn’t a problem, then why did Pike lose his cool with Burnham when she was explaining a solution? Please don’t say anything about him not being used to women on the bridge, since that clearly changed.

    If Burnham isn’t a Mary Sue, why was she the one that physically intervened when it looked like Pike and Saru were about to come to blows? It wasn’t like she was the only officer on the bridge.

    Burnham plugs in a machine that 32nd century Starfleet was having trouble with. Even though 900 years had passed, she assumed she knew how the tech still worked. I wouldn’t expect someone from the Late Medieval period to know how to use a smartphone or what an electric mixer is used for. So why was Burnham written as if she though there was no change in tech or how it was used in 900 years? Even though the floating nacelles were a big sign that things had changed. Her not knowing would not make her stupid. Were the crew of the Ent-D stupid were not knowing how Iconian tech worked?

    If Burnham being a Mary Sue isn’t a problem, then why did Rillak allude that Burnham was one in the S4 premiere? Even though its not abnormal for captains to play the hero, with precedent dating all the way to Archer – the captain she named a spacedock after in the same episode.
     
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  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Say it with me; "Michael is the main character." Some might call her the protagonist. She makes mistakes, she gets in scrapes, she kills people and she grows. That's the show.

    Call it poor writing, because I can see that.

    It isn't a Mary Sue.