Michael, Spock, and a hero complex

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by Groppler Zorn, May 8, 2019.

  1. Groppler Zorn

    Groppler Zorn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So at a couple of points in season 2, Spock admonishes Michael for essentially having a hero complex and taking on responsibility for everything (most often alone) when she doesn’t have to.

    Michael seems to acknowledge this and even agree with this assessment, showing a little more personal growth (that began in season 1 with her telling Tilly she’d given her really bad advice).

    My questions are: does the resolution of season 2 undo this revelation for Michael, and how might it affect her character in season 3?

    Remember that Michael is literally the centrepiece around which all the events of season 2 revolve given that she is the Red Angel and that she must send the signals that retroactively make the whole season happen. She is also the object of some martyrdom by sacrificing her life in the 23rd to exile Control in the 32nd.

    Isn’t that enough to give anyone a hero complex? She literally saved the prime universe probably.

    Can we expect that Michael’s latent tendencies towards carrying the weight of the universe on her shoulders will flourish in season 3? And who will keep her grounded like Spock did/tried to? I’d like it to be Tilly - she may grow out of her hero worship of Michael. Possibly Georgiou, but she may have her own megalomania issues given that she’s the former empress of the prime-mirror universe. Maybe Saru? Although Michael never seemed to respect Saru (at least not in the same way she respected Spock). Season 3 may be Reece’s time to shine - assuming he knows how to play chess.

    I may be reading too much into this, but it’d be nice to see some of these issues resurface in Michael during discovery’s time in the 32nd.
     
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  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Michael's still gonna be the main character in season 3. I suspect she's gonna take it upon herself to do a Dyllan Hunt and rebuild the Federation.

    I think Saru and Tilly will be her Spock and McCoy, keeping her grounded and same. At least until she's named President of the New Federation in the season 3 finale.
     
  3. SJGardner

    SJGardner Captain Captain

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    I think a good way to have Burnham's rampant guilt complex and the hero syndrome that results from it still drive her character development would be if the future they've found themselves in is a dystopian one. The Federation is gone, unreachable or totally unrecognizable, there's no safe haven for Discovery, they constantly have to run and/or hide from dangerous enemies way out of their league. Maybe we could even have a disaster no one could've foreseen that leaves some of the crew gravely injured or dead and the Discovery damaged, maybe even severely.

    If something like this happens, I can totally see Burnham fall back into a Battle of the Binary Stars-style "it's all my fault" mode, convinced that the blood of her dead friends is all on her hands because she brought them here. Something that's completely irrational yet makes perfect sense for her in the mindset she grew up with, reinforcing all the bad things she believes about herself.

    And totally, when Tilly of all people starts chiding her about that, bluntly reminding her that it's not always about her, that everyone on this ship is here because they wanted to be here of their own free will, it would be a huge wake-up call for her. Come to think of it, Tilly is going to have her own huge set of problems when she realizes she won't ever make a Starfleet captain with Discovery being the only 23rd century ship around; she'll have to let go of her dreams and find a new path for herself in a world completely alien to her... if Burnham starts blaming herself for that too, it could drive a wedge in their relationship as well.
     
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  4. Groppler Zorn

    Groppler Zorn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I actually wouldn’t mind if they took this approach. I really enjoyed andromeda (even the last season which was admittedly a bit weird). I honestly hope they go down the “lost federation” route and the disco is the last bastion of the old ways.

    Or, if they’re going to go super duper ultra future on us, then have everyone be an android and the disco crew are seen as weird and unclean because they’re “organics” (like they did on voyager a bunch of times with superior holograms and such)

    See, at first I thought this was tongue in cheek :lol:

    But then I remembered the end of season 1 where Michael Burnham - a *mutineer* - gave a speech to Starfleet about Starfleet values. Dsc has form when it comes to this sort of thing so, let’s assume that dsc only has one more season (3). Let’s also assume that they hold their nerve and keep the crew in the 32nd and don’t bring them back to the 23rd (which I bet they will). Given that they may well cast Burnham in the role of saviour of the federation in the 32nd it makes total sense to have her ascend to the presidency. If she earns that position over the course of s3, I’m ok with it. That being said, we’ve seen some shady federation presidents - Jaresh Inyo and the dad off that 70s show* - so Burnham fits the bill even as she is now...

    *the president in TUC was complicit in sticking so rigidly to the letter of the law in the Kirk/McCoy “assassination” trial. Colonel West shoulda been allowed to clean the Klingons’ chronometers.
     
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  5. Groppler Zorn

    Groppler Zorn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Totally agree. I really hope they go down the dystopian route (maybe the Borg something something). I got definite BSG vibes from s2 so it be cool to see them go down that road.

    I’d not considered the guilt angle either - given that Michael is wont to take responsibility for things that aren’t entirely her fault, she may revert back to thinking “I’ve stranded all my friends here”. Unless that’d be too much like Janeway in “night”?

    I’d actually enjoy it if Michael and Tilly had a fall out over something like this. It’d be a realisation for Tilly as she’d see that Michael isn’t the hero, and important for Michael to learn that Tilly has her own voice and that voice may often be correct where Michael is not. I got the sense that Tilly is cleverer than Michael in season 1 (a bit like Wesley in terms of being a genius level prodigy), so maybe we could see a battle of wits and intelligence rather than just an actual row.

    Definitely. If anything, that might be the catalyst used to take the crew (if not the ship) back to the 23rd.
     
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  6. SJGardner

    SJGardner Captain Captain

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    I don't think they should worry about similarities to Janeway too much. It's a really common reaction among Starfleet officers, and I think it's one of the reasons that training exercises like the Kobayashi Maru test exist - you have to prepare for the eventuality that your decisions lead to the death of the people following you. But of course, given that the Discovery is going to be stranded alone in an unfamiliar land, comparisons to Voyager and Janeway will be inevitably made anyway.

    I've always loved Michael and Tilly's friendship, as they always seemed to complement each other very well with Tilly's honest emotionality and Michael's stubborn, focused resolve, but there's only so much they can teach each other. Tilly inspired Michael to be more open about her feelings and Tilly learned to trust her skills and abilities much more in turn. They still have much to learn, but not necessarily from each other anymore. Especially if Tilly gets more confident and stands expressing her own voice more... now it goes into full-on speculation mode, but if she actually found a new niche for herself, something that makes her happy and fulfilled, then hearing Michael constantly angst about how she crushed all her dreams of becoming a captain by stranding her in the future would surely make her feel upset and unappreciated. Michael would be basically invalidating her life choices by making them all about herself... and, if the depiction of Tilly's mother as a textbook narcissistic parent in the tie-in novels is of any indication, that's something that would hit very close to home for her.

    Wow, this went a bit off the rails somewhere, I think :lol:
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  7. Groppler Zorn

    Groppler Zorn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That’s probably true - unless the writers create a 32nd century that’s different sociopolitically than the 24th century delta quadrant. The discovery could be adopted by a Starfleet esque faction maybe, so they’re still part of a fleet - just with different values to the Starfleet of the 23rd...

    I’d love that for Tilly. I love seeing clever people be clever (especially on Star Trek) so it’d be great for her to find her calling and seriously excel at it. Given that Michael may well go off the deep end emotionally that could juxtapose Tilly finding her voice in quite an interesting way.

    This conflict could also be reflected in the disco attempting to resurrect traditional Starfleet values in a broken 32nd - the old ways are personified in Tilly, the new, miserable ways are personified in Michael...
     
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  8. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    With the themes they've been using from "Into Darkness," the idea is that the hero is learning dependence on others - but still the hero. The cooperation aspect was seen throughout the season, and seems to borrow from ID as well as Beyond.
     
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  9. Groppler Zorn

    Groppler Zorn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, Beyond was the only good one, so this may not be a bad thing.

    So if they go with the themes you suggest we could we’ll see Michael having a problem depending on others as far as taking responsibility for the Discovery crew’s own collective decisions to exile themselves in the future.

    Thing is, given that she was XO of the Shenzhou for some years, shouldn’t Michael already know how to depend on others? She frequently seems rather green in that sense and it makes me wonder whether Prime Georgiou was a dreadful captain. I guess the new setting of the 32nd (if they stay there - and I’m not convinced they will) should give the crew a whole load of new issues to deal with, possibly putting their existing (and rather young) personal relationships to the test
     
  10. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dependence is one thing, leadership is another, and it can be hard for many folks to blend the two effectively. Riker was under Picard for a long time before getting close to achieving any balance of the two. Burnham is the Kirk of this story. He was always the hero, and the spin they're putting on it here is that you don't have to be a captain to make an impact. But it's still only achievable when we work together.
     
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  11. SJGardner

    SJGardner Captain Captain

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    Now that would be a beautiful concept. Back in the thread about whether the crew should still wear uniforms, I've said I'd love it if the state of the crew's uniforms reflected how they thought about Starfleet, its ideals, their roles and places and so on, and they'd slowly get progressively laxer on protocol the more disillusioned they become, with only Saru and Burnham clinging fully to everything... after reading this, now I think it would be a much better idea to turn it on its head. Have Tilly, the most idealistic and optimistic member of the crew leave the uniform (but not necessarily the crew) behind and realize that participating in something new and different that still embodies all the ideals and values of the Federation of old is what truly matters. And then we'd have Burnham cling to the trappings - her prim-and-proper Starfleet image, her spotless uniform, every little bit of protocol... while she's also completely disillusioned with all the chaos and ruin she sees everywhere.

    Basically, Tilly would see Discovery as the torch of hope that would relight civilization from its embers, and Burnham would see it as the last weak, flickering light of the old world in the sea of complete darkness and despair. That would be a beautiful contrast and source of conflict between them.
     
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  12. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Given Burham's childhood--traumatized survivor of a Klingon massacre, blaming herself for her parents' death, it makes sense that she tends to think in terms of worst-case scenarios--and see disaster around every corner.

    And, yes, Starfleet officers coping with guilt and the weight of responsibility goes back to Pike in the very first scenes of "The Cage," blaming himself for the massacre of a landing party under his command . . . .
     
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  13. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If they find her mother in the future then she might help her with her (anti)hero/blame complex.
    I would be surprised if the Federation has not evolved or splintered beyond what it is in the past, not many empires last 1000 years and not drastically change. Perhaps a Federation civil war, by then most people should own personal transwarp beaming devices, ships would be obsolete just as in RL not many people use horse and buggy for personal travel any more.
    Jumping so far in the future was a silly mistake IMO
     
  14. Jackson_Roykirk

    Jackson_Roykirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've mentioned before that the way the writers generally isolate Burnham's actions from the other characters has been my biggest gripe. As you so rightly put it, that amounts the the character having a hero complex.

    By the writers having Burnham shoulder all responsibility, mostly alone and by herself, for solving all problems, that isolates her too much from the other characters. And since she is the main character, and the story we the audience sees follows her, and that means we won't see enough of the other characters and all-important character interactions.

    I understand that her background story might make it logically follow that she feels she must shoulder burdens alone, but she should begin getting over that by now -- seeing we are now entering the 3rd season. They should have used that for character growth in season 2 -- i.e., have her begin relying on others for help solving problems.

    Burnham can shoulder all the responsibility the writers want her to, but have her do so while interacting with the other characters by having her go to the other characters help with problems. Picard shouldered all of the responsibility, but he used the crew as tools to do so, thus interacting with the other characters...

    ...And it is good character interaction that makes for an entertaining story. The most interesting plot is wasted if we don't get the characters interacting with each other on a regular basis to move that plot along in a fun way.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  15. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    The interesting thing about Spock in all this is: While he rails against Micheal's "Hero Complex" - he has had one hell of a hero complex over the years himself, where he's taken it on hiimself teh "Save" everyone:

    - His action of illegally commandeering the 1701 and the deformed Captain Christopher Pike in TOS S1 "The Menagerie I & II"

    Edited to add (I missed this one, but it's true):
    - His sacrifice at the end of STII: TWoK

    - His unilateral choice to have a dialogue with Chacellor Gorkon and volunteer Kirk and Co. to ferry the Chancellor to the Peace Conference in STVI:TUC.

    - His unilateral attempt to re-unite the Vulcan and Romulan people in TNG's S5 "Unification I & II".

    So yeah, after the events in ST: D; it seems Spock doesn't practice what he preaches. ;)
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  16. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It runs in the family. ;)
     
  17. SJGardner

    SJGardner Captain Captain

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    Well, don't forget they both had Sarek for a father.
     
  18. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    His unauthorized attempt to mind-meld with V'Gr, which even involved using a nerve-pinch on some random crew member.
     
  19. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Man Premium Member

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    Well, I did watch the last episode of the year and I rolled my eyes at lines like Pike's "Our only job is to protect Michael Burnham." Laying it on with a trowel, there.
     
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  20. Groppler Zorn

    Groppler Zorn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I love this idea - this is what should have happened on Voyager (way before Galactica did it...!)

    Thinking about it, this is *exactly* what Michael would do. She’s a creature of habit almost to a fault - she can change but at a glacial pace. Removed from the one thing that was an anchor of her identity (the same thing that was taken away from her following her mutiny) she would cling to the old ways for dear life. I love the idea of Tilly embracing the new and flourishing in a new environment too - that would be cool.

    Put us on the writing team, coach, we’re ready! :guffaw:

    Shame they didn’t invent counsellors until the 24th century. DSC should have had a Dax host on board as a precursor to Ezri

    See I love the future jump - for all the reasons you suggest. Federation civil war leads to stagnation of technology meaning that the disco isn’t a millennium out of date tech and weapons-wise when she gets to the 32nd

    The kinda did this a bit, but not quite enough to make her avoid carrying the weight of the multiverse on her shoulders alone it seems

    This was an emotional thing - or loyalty for his old captain. Spock puts logic on the back burner for that one.

    This was pure logic. He figured the crisis out and didn’t have time to explain through Scotty’s incoherent jabbering about radiation so he just got the job done. Like a boss.

    These, to quote Captain Picard, are pure “cowboy diplomacy” (also the Gorkon thing was Sarek’s idea) This was influenced more by what happened with Kirk and Bones during their “assassination” trial (it seemed in TNG) rather than anything to do with Michael - although it is a curious parallel...
     
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