Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by Commander Richard, Mar 14, 2019.
A time crystal. Oh my.
Could have been worse, could have been a chroniton emitter. Like dilithium, time crystals actually exist as a real world counterpart to thier Trek versions.
Now that you mention it dilithium is a very good comparison to the time crystals. Both dilithium and time crystals are things in actualy science (dilithum being the gas Li2 and time crystals a structure that repeats in time and in space, as opposed to only in space [which sounds really fucking cool]), but they are entirely unrelated to their Trek counterparts (dilithium being an element with the same atomic mass as the actually existing element francium that can be found in a solid state and time crystals being crystals that can be used for time travel and loops).
Which smacks of real-world practices: words get redefined all the time, often within the lifetime of the technology or phenomenon they describe. Say, "kinetic weapons" today are nukes rather than just bullets, while "atomic" is pretty much the antithesis of "nuclear" and pertains to nanotech and perhaps chemical weapons instead. So both our time crystals and theirs could exist in the same terminological universe...
If we discount the visuals altogether, dialogue gives us only ambiguity:
- "Lower the shields and take us closer" is what Pike wants. Is that what he ultimately wants (that is, he doesn't want to dock with the station, just to get a bit closer), or how he cautiously wants to start out? The action of getting "closer" doesn't yet take the heroes into the minefield, and Burnham and Spock can bicker in the former's quarters because there is no alert status yet.
- "Scans" are also being performed long before the ship reaches the first mines. Is scanning into a former prison possible at ranges greater than transporting into said?
- After the mines defeat the ship's attempt at reaching her (unknown) destination, the fake Patar says "a S31 ship" will come for our heroes, and apparently perform the "boarding" that Patar threatens the heroes with. If they were within transporter range of the station at that point (a random point in time and space where the mine attacks suddenly ceased because Airiam got through), why are the heroes not surprised that the station will not be the party doing the boarding?
- Pike then orders further "scans", as if they'd work better now - but the end result is "your guess is as good as mine", so perhaps nothing changed there. The ship can't move at warp or impulse, but Pike wants Detmer to "do [her] best to keep us in range", perhaps with thrusters.
And suddenly the transporter raid of the station is a splendid success, although transporter evacuation apparently isn't possible, nor is the insertion of further troops. So perhaps Control just lowered its defenses for a moment to allow Airiam in?
But in that case we could argue that the heroes were always at transporter range, from the moment they dropped out of warp, and this simply was irrelevant because "Patar" wasn't letting them in. Until it did. So perhaps Pike was dismissing the use of transporters from the get-go and attempting forced docking instead, until it turned out "Patar"/Control decided to cooperate and the boarding could be done with transporter after all?
I'd stipulate without objection that Trek has long suffered from an over-reliance on monolithic cultures, and wholeheartedly agree with you that later shows may have gone too far at times in treating the bowl cut as obligatory—albeit with some refreshing exceptions peppered in, such as the eminently logical choice of simply letting Tuvok have Russ' natural hair.
However, just for the record (and the sake of trivia), the notion of 'the Spock' being a haircut common (if not universal) among his father's people actually dates back to TOS, rather than being wholly a bolt-on of subsequent productions. Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry's The Making Of Star Trek (1968, pg. 224) specifically noted of Spock in its chapter concerning his character: "His hair style is in the Vulcan mode."
Of course, this was a production team that half-jokingly suggested "all proper names for denizens of Mr. Spock’s 'PLANET VULCAN' follow a set routine. To wit: all names begin with the letters 'SP' and end with the letter 'K.' All names to have a total of five letters in them—no more and no less." Worse, the very first contender offered up for a potential second Vulcan character name under this scheme was (and I kid you not, even if Justman may have been): "Spook"! So yes, "racially limited view of a fictional race" is certainly apt, on multiple levels.
Even if Vulcan names still ended up becoming somewhat overly homogenized anyway, thank the Great Bird (or rather Ted Sturgeon in this case) that adherence to so ludicrously narrow a mindset wasn't actually attempted! Had it been, I wonder what would have happened down the line, when they ran out of names that met those stringent criteria? The first Vulcan character to break the pattern out of necessity would no doubt be decried a violation of Canon and Gene's Vision™!
(In a related coppery vein, while searching to see if I could find any quotes from Russ or other VGR personnel regarding Tuvok's hair, I accidentally unearthed this little coprolith of a thread. Yikes. Someone's idea of an early April Fool's joke? Poe's Law in action? In any case, it certainly lived up to the descriptor in its title. Ridiculous indeed...)
Please forgive my own racially-limited perspective here, but isn't that rather part of the point with respect to Burnham's character, though? As you yourself seem to have recognized, from certain angles or at a distance, her chosen style conceals her human features and lends her the superficial appearance of being Vulcan:
For me, the way it was done instantly created a striking impression that Burnham at that time in her life had been 'trying too hard' (and in vain) to 'pass' and be accepted on Vulcan. Both her assumed demeanor and 'dressed for success' fashion choices seemed to me directly reflective of that. We know she was indeed groomed in this by Sarek—no pun intended, and no doubt to Amanda's criticism and attempted mitigation, per "Point Of Light" (DSC)—yet it would also be in concert with Michael's own underlying motivations to be a willing participant in the erasure of her humanity, having lost her birth family under traumatic circumstances and struggled to cope with the emotional injury of that, and her own sense of blame for it. Both internally and externally, Burnham felt pressured to 'fit in' and conform herself to Vulcan society's explicitly unfair and racist standards, much as black women in white-dominated societies do today.
To my eye, the implication here seems one more deliberately symbolic of the character's background, and perhaps even an element of intentional allegory, than it does the careless accident of an insensitivity to real-life racial analogues on the part of the production team. After all, they seem sensitive enough that they aren't choosing to maintain the former practice of having white actors don yellowface to play Vulcans, or blackface to play Klingons. And this aspect of Burnham's characterization received acknowledgment not only in the costuming, but in the text itself...
"The Vulcan Hello" (DSC):
BURNHAM: Maybe I can try to learn Vulcan, to be quicker with my answers.
SAREK: Your human tongue is not the problem. It is your human heart.
"Battle At The Binary Stars" (DSC):
GEORGIOU: What an ego I had, thinking I could pick away the shell the Vulcans put around you. I was so sure I could do it.
Per "Lethe" (DSC), at the point Burnham came aboard the Shenzhou, she was facing something of an existential crisis, believing she had been outright "rejected from the Expeditionary Group for being too human" and that her "failure" to live up to Sarek's efforts (and by extension, her own) to carefully cultivate her into "a being of exquisite logic to rival the best of [his] species" had made her "his greatest disappointment" (and thus also one to herself).
Having in a sense now lost her Vulcan family as well, and with the adopted self-image of Vulcan identity to which she had clung for so long in danger of cracking, Burnham was offered a new character template and family unit by Georgiou (much as Janeway offered Seven of Nine), and accepted. Having spent years Vulcan-ing, and proving unsuccessful in her own eyes, she shifted her ambitions toward Starfleet-ing instead, only for this pursuit in turn to come under threat, forcing her to reevaluate and reconstruct herself yet again. Her physical progression of hairstyles reflects outwardly the inner search for her 'true self' and the gradual stripping away of her constructed artifices.
Could they have found a way to accomplish this utilizing only Martin-Green and Arhin's own natural hair? I'd certainly assume so. But would it have had the same impact and illustrative effect on a visual level as what we got, especially given the extant context of the choices made by previous productions? Perhaps not.
[P.S. -- My apologies again for the white-man-splaining, if this comes off that way. Your points are well taken, of course. Obviously, I can't dictate to you or anyone else how you ought to feel about it, and wouldn't presume to. I can only say how I interpreted it.]
Many aliens didn't have unique hairstyles and even those played by black actors used the actor's own hair texture. For those that did have their own hairstyles, their styles and wigs had nothing to do with the "ethnic origins of the actors" and everything to do with artistic expression. From slick changelings, to tufty Talaxians, to chunky Kazon, to frizzy Nausicaans, no one considered the actors. Let's please stop contriving issues where none exist. There is no reason to conclude that Vulcan hair was any less of an artistic choice that matches the overall concept of Vulcan-ness. I'm all for Trek developing its races to be less monolithic, but deciding that we should throw away artistic choices because of imagined eurocentrism is swinging to another extreme and a step backwards. Especially when it comes to the character of Burnham, who had every reason to stick to the traditional style even if other Vulcan characters don't.
Can someone help me out here. New to the forum and just getting around to watching 2x9 Discovery. When Burnam, Nahn, and Arian are on 31 hq and Tilly discovers there is an issue with Ariam why didn’t Discovery simply beam them back immediately? Could have even beamed Ariam back into a force field. Pike even mentions something to the effect of keep a close lock on them in case we need to get them back. Further, after Burnam locks in Ariam why isn’t her immediate action to go help Nahn who was suffocating to death? Finally, after Ariam was blown into space why didn’t Discovery beam her on board?! We already saw this could be done when they did it with Ash in a previous episode. Any thoughts here are welcome. I was dumbstruck wondering why Discovery didn’t do more.
You can't beam Airiam back to the Discovery because then Control would have had an easier time of getting the sphere data, she could have hacked any containment they put her in and caused problems on the ship. By this point the whole plan was busted so Control had nothing to lose by using Airiam directly.
What's sad for me was Airiam was still aware of what was going on but unable to do anything about it. Poor girl.
To me it's a huge gaping plot hole. Control was already somewhat sentient so didn't really need the sphere data as it had acted in a manner that indicated free will and thought over several weeks / months. All those people it had already killed on the base like the Vulcan admiral who had been dead for weeks maybe longer.
It's the usual "Star Trek Time Paradox" in that:
Yes, Control from the future came back to the past; BUT, if that version of Control didn't succeed in making the 23rd century version fully sentient, HIS future would be changed and the future version of Control wouldn't exist to come back, etc.
(Yeah, don't you hate Trek temporal mechanics )
Yes, but that's not just a Star Trek thing. That type of paradox is used quite often elsewhere.
Supposedly beaming is difficult overall, this being a former prison and all. Our heroes beamed to location X rather than to their intended destination (the "data center") for some reason - the implication here is that transporters cannot reach into this actual destination.
Is this solely because Control has shields up around the data center? Or also because beaming next to the data center is difficult, too, and Pike therefore beams the boarding party to a less risky, more distant location? We learn Pike wants Airiam to beam in only after the data center is secured, in a second wave of sorts - is this because he thinks the assault team will be able to lower the shields, or because he thinks the assault team will make attacks against Airiam less likely?
If we choose the latter answer both times, then it's clear Pike can do nothing to help the boarding party once they move deeper into the station; the transporter cannot reach that far.
The alternate explanation is that Control sprang a trap on the boarding party, blocking transport. Either approach works. Neither of them is explicit in the writing, though.
Which might better support the latter theory... Or then Pike was really saying "we'll stand by to beam you out... For as long as we can, and after that you are on your own".
I gather she assumed Nhan was already dead; the shipside team certainly seemed to do so. But there also was a door between the two, now wasn't there? Control loved to lock doors. It locked the door opposite Airiam's, to stop Burnham from accessing... I guess the data center. This ought to have locked out Nhan's cooling corpse, too, considering this is the very direction into which Airiam kicked her. But of course we already learned that Nhan is very good with doors... (And with staying alive.)
Why would they? They wanted to kill Airiam. Airiam wanted to kill Airiam. That was the whole point of the maneuver, making sure she would be dead dead dead.
Bringing Airiam or even her corpse aboard the ship would jeopardize everything. Heck, in the next episode, we learn that it still took special measures to completely shut her down; she remained a deadly threat despite being dead as a dodo.
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