Spoilers Star Trek: Discovery 1x05 - "Choose Your Pain"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by Commander Richard, Oct 15, 2017.


Rate the episode...

  1. 10 - Absolutely fantastic!

  2. 9

  3. 8

  4. 7

  5. 6

  6. 5

  7. 4

  8. 3

  9. 2

  10. 1 - I sling mudd at it!

  1. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Vice Admiral Moderator

    Jan 20, 2016
    Having all human names was very Terrancentric
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  2. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2001
    My mansion on Qo'noS
    Klingon strength has been inconsistently portrayed. They certainly have high tolerance for pain, as demonstrated by Worf's pain stick ceremony. But in TSFS, mindless adolescent Spock threw the Klingons around like rag dolls. The 12-year-old kid at the soccer match was probably killed because of high-speed impact with Worf's exo-skeletal structure.

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  3. Quinton O'Connor

    Quinton O'Connor Commodore Commodore

    Apr 3, 2010
    Durham, NC
    As promised, here's my review for the latest episode. I've copied it over from my other social media channels!

    Discovery hits its fourth episode (or fifth, if you’re counting the premiere as two separate episodes, which… you shouldn’t no matter what CBS claims to the contrary) with “Choose Your Pain”. It’s a title that makes me think of a Pokemon gym leader with two-foot biceps who grunts a lot, which I suppose is fair considering all the male Klingons in this episode could have sent out their trusty Geodudes and I wouldn’t have batted a lash. There’s a lot to like in this episode coupled with one major misstep and a few rather personal quibbles. In other words, it’s one of Discovery’s best episodes yet: a perfect encapsulation of a flawed but richly enjoyable new series still getting its space legs but finding them bit by bit each successive Sunday night.

    The general plot is simple enough: Lorca is kidnapped by Klingons led by L’Rell (Voq’s somewhat steamy first mate, arguably literally) while Saru assumes command and Burnham pushes her shipmates to save the dying tardigrade. The complexity comes with the maturity of these narrative threads’ presentation; like any good Star Trek episode, there’s a depth to the goings-on.

    The majority of that depth stems from Burnham, who is more likable here than at any point in the first four episodes. That’s not to say she’s by any means bad earlier on, but I’ve found her writing somewhat inconsistent. There’s no way to know whether or not that inconstency will continue for a while to come, but I can say with enthusiasm that I greatly appreciate her empathetic struggle this week. There’s an obvious literary connection here between the tardigrade and Burnham herself; it’s served as metaphor for a woman who has suffered and found herself in unfamiliar territory. The anthropologist in me (of which there is plenty) has loved watching her develop this charming affection for the creature. It’s so alien and yet so oddly easy to sympathize with, despite killing Landry. Considering a big part of Discovery’s premise involves identifying with the ‘other’, I dig this all greatly. (And besides, was Landry really all that nice? Perhaps in hindsight it would have worked even better if she had been, since it’s not hard to say goodbye to her at all, whereas if she’d been more nuanced and approachable we might struggle a bit more to stop worrying and love the tardigrade.)

    I’ve written a great deal about the tardigrade gig but I haven’t even touched the fact that Stamets and Tilly both got a lot of very agreeable material this week. The episode seemed to ease back on the Burnham-centric reins despite giving her the best material she’s gotten -- an irony, but a welcome one, as it allowed these two to be fleshed-out accordingly. Tilly continues to be a golden get; Mary Wiseman perfectly encapsulates her nervous excitement and earnest personality. I have to wonder -- and fear -- if she’s being set up to die later into the season. It would certainly be a dramatic blow. Stamets on the other hand is a rough-edged egotistical sort, but like Stargate Atlantis’ Rodney McKay, we’re seeing his self-sacrificial quest for scientific achievement now too. I admit to being played like a fiddle here because the episode opens with Burnham dreaming she’s hooked herself up to the machine and all throughout the hour I had wished they hadn’t shown that because it robbed what I expected to be the climax of some of its power. Then instead Stamets is the one who suits up; clever. Speaking of Stamets, good work revealing he’s got a thing with that Dr. Culber fellow, writers. Subtle and frank. I still feel like this whole “look, we finally have gay main characters!” is very, um, 2006, but Star Trek’s got a lot of ground to make up for, I suppose. I’m surely glad it’s finally happening.

    There’s also the matter of Saru and Burnham, which is very nicely-handled here and feels like a well-earned partial exhalation after all the tension they’ve experienced together. Saru gets some good material here and the Enterprise fan in me smiled at the inevitable Jonathan Archer reference when he requested a list of Starfleet’s most distinguished prior captains. (I imagine more TOS-centric fans were especially enthusiastic about the Pike and April nods.) But the real meat of the episode is of course Lorca’s torture and our introductions to Ash Tyler and Mudd. Well, rather, our reintroduction to Mudd, classic TOS recurring antagonist, now played by The Office’s Rainn Wilson. While there’s a lot to like in this subplot, including some very welcome development for Lorca and a nice brooding atmosphere to the whole arrangement, my issues with “Choose Your Pain” are also all tied to this side of the story.

    First, Discovery has a pacing problem. It just does. More often than not the pace is fine or even good, but on the occasions that it fails this aspect, it really goes the whole nine yards with that failure. This week, the egregious pacing issue rests squarely with Lorca’s capture in the teaser. We’re given a reasonable amount of time following his meeting with Starfleet brass, including newly-introduced Admiral Cornwell, but afterward we jump to some five seconds maximum of Lorca on a shuttlecraft en route back to the Discovery when suddenly, Klingons, everywhere. It was almost farcical how rapidly this occurs. Maybe it’s a stylistic choice -- “keep folks on the edge of their seat!” -- but it doesn’t work. Instead it comes across as breathless in a bad way and I’d really love to see the show improve here because it seems like almost every week there’s one glaring example of this awkward momentum at play.

    I’m also not entirely sold yet on Mudd. To be fair, that’s not really Rainn Wilson’s doing. It’s Mudd’s doing. I have never been a Mudd fan. His TOS appearances are just painfully hokey to me and on the one hand I’m glad to see it toned down but on the other hand I kind of hope Wilson turns it up a notch. It’s hard to explain. Perhaps John Bishop in Fringe is a good example of what I’d like from this guy. Yeah, just give him some LSD and I think I’ll be good. This isn’t to say he doesn’t serve his role well in this episode, but if you’re going to shout “you haven’t seen the last of Harcourt Fenton Mudd”, maybe twitch and flail like a YouTube streamer while you’re at it. I don’t know. I’m a hard sell sometimes.

    We’ll close this week’s review with a nice big four-syllable word called ‘implications’. There’s an implication here that we’ll see more Mudd. Which is fair, because, well, we will. There’s an implication here that Stamets is not quite well; we close the episode with his mirror reflection smiling creepily after he’s left his quarters. Could this be our segue into the Mirror Universe? Very, very probably, yes. (“But it’s too obvious!” Eh, Star Trek’s been off the air for 12 years. What’s obvious to the fans is less so to newcomers.) And my favorite implication of all -- the wild, crazy theory I just knew someone else had dreamed-up, although I must confess I wasn’t prepared for half of r/StarTrek to be dreaming it -- Ash Tyler is a genetically modified Voq. We’re told through Lorca his story’s a bit hard to believe. We’re told through Tyler himself that Klingon captain has taking a liking to him. The Klingon captain is L’Rell. Last week, L’Rell said Voq would have to sacrifice everything. Well, many of us figured that might have meant his Klingon identity, didn’t we? Now, there’s a chance this isn’t what’s happening here, but after seeing how many of my fellow fans are feeling it, I’m thinking it’s at least somewhat likely. The real question on my mind is, could Tyler be a sleeper agent? It felt very much like he believed who he was, especially with his raw attack on L’Rell during the escape. If that’s true, we’re in for some ‘fun times’ ahead. I’m excited.

    “Choose Your Pain” overcomes a hilarious title and some customary mishaps to deliver one of Discovery’s strongest episodes yet. A very solid 8.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  4. GeekUSACarl

    GeekUSACarl The Last Starfighter Fleet Captain

    Dec 2, 2016
    Phoenix Arizona
    Bunch of racists.
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  5. JoeCabby

    JoeCabby Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 31, 2014
    Toronto, Canada
    You know what they call Gagh on Vulcan?
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  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Live from Cerritos Premium Member

    Nov 4, 2001
    Lower Decks
    Or TOS where Kirk was willing to lay waste to an entire planet to save his ship.
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  7. Mad Jack Wolfe

    Mad Jack Wolfe Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 13, 2008
    This argument holds up if you honestly think Georgiou was only twenty minutes into her first command. We know Burnham was her first officer for seven years, and she was a captain even before that. We don't have enough information to make a judgement if she was a great captain or not. If Starfleet holds her in such esteem, then there it is. And the tie-in novels have something to work with.
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  8. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Admiral Premium Member

    Aug 31, 2000
    Oddly, I find that she's really growing on me quickly. I couldn't stand her in 1x03 but she has grown exceedingly well in a very short amount of time. Sure there's still the wide-eyed naiive cadet with more of her life still ahead of her than behind, ready to discover and embrace new and amazing things. And maybe that's what irritated me about her early on, because I'm no longer like that anymore and haven't been for a very long time. I'm an uber-cynic by nature and people like that grind my gears these days ("Tee-hee, someone's got a case of the Mondays!!!" Ugh...), and it amazes me how someone incapable of seeing the brutally complex world (or the universe) for what it really is can still survive, but for the charity and pity of others. However, I'm finding (strangely) she's getting an education in reality without loosing her soul and we're getting to see that evolution as a part of her journey. It is a dichotomy that surprises and intrigues me and I want to see more of that journey.

    General Order 24, bitches!!! :D

    Yeah, took me a second for my brain to catch up with what I was seeing. Once it caught up, I was okay with it, but there definitely could have been a little something extra added there to make the scene transition go a little more smoothly.
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  9. Mad Jack Wolfe

    Mad Jack Wolfe Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 13, 2008
    There's gilding the lily. But he was, without question, the greatest punching bag of the 22nd century.
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  10. Leonardo T. Dragon

    Leonardo T. Dragon Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 27, 2002
    Peoria, IL
    There is very little subtlety in the writing in this series. It's like they went to the 2x4 school of screenplays.

    Plus, Mudd was completely gratuitous. He could have been anyone but by dropping the name "Mudd" the writers seem to think it legitimizes this as a prequel to TOS when stylistically and tonally it couldn't be more different.
    Longinus likes this.
  11. Crazyewok

    Crazyewok Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 19, 2013
    I think lorca took a shuttle to divert the Klingons expecting to be captured and tortured himself. The idea buying time for his ship to escape but.....the Klingons did not take the bait and his ship sellfdestructed while lorca got away.
  12. Cox of Seagulls

    Cox of Seagulls Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 1, 2012
    Or, it could be that this is a serialized narrative and Mudd is going to make more appearances and this is just his introduction.
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  13. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007
    Fucking loved this!!! Great episode, characters are starting to become more solid. Oddly enough, Burnham is the one that seems to have the least spotlight here. But that's cool, it was nice to get some more focus on our other crewmembers.

    The ending though....
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  14. David James

    David James Ensign Red Shirt

    Oct 14, 2017
    The less of Michael Burnham the better for me. I would rather know more about the rest of the characters than her.
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  15. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Admiral Premium Member

    Aug 31, 2000
    Probably why it was such a good episode! :lol:

    Poor Martin-Green - I know she's a good actor based on how she did in Walking Dead for years. I'm not entirely sure where they're going with her character but I hope they get there soon.
    Yep. Not quite sure about that one yet.
  16. Kirk the Jerk

    Kirk the Jerk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 23, 2001
    Yeah they should definitely do that, just for me. I guess it was just me then :rommie:
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  17. Ometiklan

    Ometiklan Captain Captain

    Jul 14, 2003
    Silver Spring, MD
    I agree about the blinky lights, but I think it was specifically supposed to be a sonic toothbrush, just a low-key one.

    I think someone else pointed this out, but, Ripper wasn't warp capable. He just accessed the mycelial network and jumped somewhere else.

    I think that an early "Mirror" episode could be done well, even if we don't know our characters well yet, if it is done in such a way as to reveal our characters. Isn't that the whole point? Revelation by contrast?

    I like the thought of getting info from him, but that is only viable if you actually get off the ship. In another scenario, say where you are about to be beamed to safety, sure Lorca would take Mudd with him, but when they still have to fight their way to the shuttle bay, steal a ship, and escape to Federation territory, trying to take Mudd - a known collaborator/traitor with them - is foolhardy.

    - The discovery in this season isn't as much of discovering new worlds as discovering yourself and your opponent.
    - More discovery to come, with new planets, etc. in the rest of this season and further seasons
    - The D-7 only captured Lorca, then he was transferred to a prison ship. We only really see the underside of the D-7 and only close up.
    - Lorca's plan is to get the best tools he can find to win the war. According to Tilly, Burnham was one of the most promising 1st officers in the fleet who Lorca believes is willing to break the rule to achieve the best outcomes. That was/is his plan.
    - Where do you get Godzilla-sized from? Ripper was normal sized, and then he didn't go to warp, he accessed the spore network and jumped.

    - I liked Saru's first attempt at self-analysis, very scientific. I also like that he gives it up at the end.
    - Tyler did not push her at all. He was laying on the ground when Lorca fired.
    - Lorca just missed and hit the bulkhead. No other intention in the scene.

    I thought the BoPs in the "battle of the binary stars" were very bird-like, and doubly-so for the "raiders" in this episode. For the most part, I don't feel we have gotten a good look at the enemy "capital" ships to really be able to tell their design influences.

    Or ENT, where the allowed whole civilizations to be destroyed with a lack of #primedirective ("Dear Doctor")

    - Bingo. Lorca feels the pain from his loss and actions, a lot like Burnham. I also expect we will learn more about what went down on the Buran later.

    We know from their comments that the Klingon war only motivates this first season, and that they have fallout and repercussions that follow on from the war and actions taken that will be addressed in season 2. Fear not, the writers are already planning ahead.

    I watched the scene twice, and I do think they cut away just at the moment of impact. Just like the scene in The Dark Knight with the pencil, you think you see more than you actually do. But they do show more blood than before.

    So many points to disagree on.
    - First, this season is based on a war with the Klingons, so it is the background, it drives the action, it contains a lot of the moral sticking points for our characters. That is the point. But the writers have already said that season 2 will move on from the end of the war, but will include its fallout.
    - DS9 did very well with the non-war stuff. Just because they didn't have as many non-war-centric episodes as TNG or VOY doesn't make them bad or incapable of telling other stories. Those were just the ones they wanted to tell. On that note, TNG did invent plenty of wars for the Federation (vs the Cardassians), they just placed the war in the recent past. So it isn't like the Federation is a stranger to war.

    I think the whole "mind ripper" Manchurian Candidate bit is the key here, and the reason this storyline can work - Tyler doesn't know he is a spy.

    That is if Mudd was working/living/buying within the Federation. He could be living outside it, but still be negatively affected when two of the galaxy's major powers go to war...
    But, despite that, I agree that TOS does use money (based on all the other references). It isn't totally obsoleted in the Federation until the 24th century.
  18. Gonzo

    Gonzo Guest

    Disclaimer after last week: Read or scroll past its up to you. :)

    Heard good things about this weeks episode, here I go.

    Yet another great shot of the saucer section in the catchup at the very start of the episode, every time I see that saucer it looks bigger to me, perhaps its just the angle of the shots I don't know.

    Oh ok we start with a dream sequence, I wondered what the hell was going on, could the dream be an attempt at communication by Ripper?

    Ooh intense Vulcan Admiral, I can only imagine what McCoy would say if he saw him. :D

    Seems Starfleet doesn't give a damn if the Tardegrades are sentient or not, they just want more of them.

    No surprise the Klingons have realised that Discovery is the key and targeted it accordingly, they used it too often and left too many witnesses which is a no no. :devil:

    Good grief its Tilly but where has the hair symbiont gone and more importantly does Tilly realise its gone, somebody should tell her just in case. :lol:

    I know its been said already but that is not a bloody D7, I find it odd that the Klingons would know exactly where Lorca is during a time of war, makes me think there is a spy already on the ship or in Starfleet command somewhere.

    Interesting that the camera pans to the eye instrument on the floor at the end of the capture scene, could it be telling us something, perhaps Lorca is somewhat immune to the sifter due to its use or does it make him more susceptible, it must do one or the other as I doubt they would show it on the floor otherwise.

    All that and only now do we get to the intro.

    Cont'd in new post.
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  19. SpocksOddSocks

    SpocksOddSocks Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 30, 2015
    Indeed. In the thread relating specically to said hypothosis, I ended up posting this video as something similar was coming up (not specifically relating to Lorca though. But it still puts me in mind of the video again.

  20. Apparition B5

    Apparition B5 Commander Red Shirt

    May 21, 2015
    Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
    It's to stay in cannon. After all, it was mentioned in The Undiscovered Country that the Federation was a "homo sapiens only club." ;)