Spoilers The return of the "reset button"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Discovery' started by eschaton, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    Way back in the day, one of the biggest criticisms of Voyager was the use of the so-called "reset button." Basically due to pressure from the studio, the show studiously avoided any sense of serialization greater than a two-part episode. Unless the writers eventually decided that a given show would have a "sequel" it was unlikely the events would ever be mentioned again. Thus the ship could go from trashed in one episode to brand-spanking new in the next. Or Neelix could have an existential crisis around death, Torres could be "born again" or Janeway could have salamander babies with Tom Paris and no one ever remarked upon it again. The stakes for the series as a whole were thus lowered, because we knew that no matter what happened onscreen, it didn't really matter in the longer run - it was just there to entertain us for 40-some odd minutes.

    I would propose that with the season finale, the reset button has been effectively dusted off for Discovery. I am sure that there will be some callbacks to the first two seasons here and there, but not all that many more than Voyager had from episode to episode.

    The last act of the season finale pretty definitively closed out every single arc in seasons one and two, provided Discovery does not eventually return to the 23rd century.
    1. Control is dead as a doornail. Not completely clear based upon what happened onscreen, but Kurtzman has confirmed.
    2. Everything related to Discovery, the Spore Drive, and Michael Burnham has been classified. Of course they still had a within-universe impact, but in terms of the "internal lore" of Trek history, they are supposed to have been totally forgotten.
    3. We are likely never seeing Ash Tyler, Pike, Spock, Amanda, Sarek, L'Rell, Siranna, or Mudd on the show again (even if we see them elsewhere). Oh, and Cornwell and Leland are dead. It's pretty unlikely that PU Lorca will ever raise his head either come to think of it. Basically half of the established character relationships are totally
    What that leaves us with is character continuity. However, even here we have thin gruel.
    • Michael has the most obvious existing hook, as her birth mother should be in the time frame in question, and they should be reunited. However, basically every other element of her backstory has been rendered largely irrelevant by the time jump. It can still inform who she is as a character now, but unless they really want to go down the excessive flashback route, her relationships with Spock, Amanda, Sarek, etc just won't have any relevance in the next season.
    • Saru's character growth in terms of his "evolution" (in a pokemon sense) remains in force. However, the personal link to his sister is gone. Unless we rediscover his people in the far future, there doesn't seem like any existing personal hook that can be investigated here.
    • It was nice (though a bit forced) to see Stamets and Culber reunited at the end of the last episode. However, in a lot of ways their relationship has just been re-established at the point it should have been to begin with - a healthy, functional one which happens to be the first same-sex couple in Trek history. I don't think belaboring the drama they had in the second season too heavily into the third would work well from a story perspective, meaning a "reboot" of their relationship to some extent seems likely. Beyond that, I guess they could do more with Stamets being the "spore guy" - though honestly figuring out how to be something else besides that might be the more compelling story.
    • A number of characters have only been fleshed out in a cursory manner, to the degree that what happened in the first two seasons barely seems to matter. This includes Tilly as a main character, recurring characters like Reno, and the bridge furniture (even though they got a bit more of a place in the sun this season).
    • Oh, and of course there is MU Georgiou. Her unique backstory is what helps to define her...erm...perspective on things. However, even in the second season, there were relatively few callbacks to her actions in the first. She doesn't appear to have any notable dangling plot threads (other than her continued feelings for Burnham) and we know that she is off the show after the third season, even if the show continues on past her, meaning she has an expiration date.
    Regardless, the conclusion I have come to is that while the amount of time the "story" of Discovery had over the last two seasons was significant - a bit longer overall than any single season of an earlier Trek show - fundamentally it appears that that single story was just as self-contained as any earlier Trek story, just longer - and that the reset button was still, for all intents and purposes, pressed.
     
  2. Alan Roi

    Alan Roi Commodore Fleet Captain

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    As compared to most of the past of the Franchise, when the reset button was effectively pressed at the end of every single episode, with little carryover to future episodes if any regarding the consequences in each ep?
     
  3. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    I explicitly said that Voyager was notorious for it. I think all Treks have been guilty of it to a degree, although DS9 mostly eschewed it, save for some early-installment weirdness.

    DIS embraced it however with their choice in the finale. And if they jump back after only a single season, they'll embrace it again.
     
  4. Alan Roi

    Alan Roi Commodore Fleet Captain

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    Voyagers was the worst possible expression of this in Star Trek as it had many episodes which simply never happened to the characters at all by the end of the episode, and one of the prime reasons I stopped watching it, as if you saw anything off, you could be almost guaranteed to be watching some kind of Voyager fanfiction. That, however, hasn't happened at all in Discovery, not even Magic, the time loop episode.

    So, no, Discovery didn't not embrace this in any way. There isn't one character who's experiences have been at all erased. Each and every experience all the characters who continue on with the show will get carried to and developed in the next story, Season 3.
     
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  5. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    It honestly didn't bother me at all when Voyager threw out the self-contained timelines, like the "silver bloods" one, or Year of Hell, or Living Witness (probably the best episode Voyager ever did). They often explored interesting sci-fi ideas that the "main continuity" could not. It was much less forgivable when interesting things happened within the main continuity which had an effect on the characters and/or ship, but were either never mentioned again or explicitly "fixed" for some arbitrary reason in the final act.

    The final act of the finale of DIS felt like this to me. Much like how Janeway decided Tuvix had to die in part to restore the dramatic status quo, the showrunners decided to have a debriefing which rammed down our throats that "everything is back to normal guys." I didn't like every decision that Kurtzman & co made, but IMHO it was better they just own those decisions and let the chips fall as they may.

    Obviously even the writers don't really know what they're going to do quite yet, but given half of the "extended cast" has been jettisoned and the character arcs of the remainder are mostly so incompletely drawn (I mean, what would you do with Tilly - have her see May again?) I don't expect a ton of callbacks in season 3.
     
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  6. Serveaux

    Serveaux Tasteless and unnecessary Premium Member

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    No, I don't see any sense in which the events being described here can be called a "reset button."

    I gather that they did not erase any events from the show's internal continuity. And, as they apparently are running a thousand years into the future, arguably the things that happened to them are having a greater impact on their lives going forward than on any previous Trek series.

    So, "reset button" is entirely inappropriate in this case.
     
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  7. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Doesn't surprise me that you thought you saw a reset button hit. In fact, by the end of your post, it looks like you kinda forgot some facts about the finale and thought you'd actually seen a Berman era reset.

    However, a reset erases all that came before the reset including any memories of what occurred. Everyone, humans, Klingons etc., are aware of DSC and everything it accomplished. It's just that no one is allowed to talk about it. The fact that the universe exists is proof that there was no reset.

    Also, next season, the Disco will open in the future and the crew will recall all that came before.

    This is not a reset.
     
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  8. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    No, that was not what Voyager was criticized for in particular. As I said upthread, in many cases the "reset" in no way claimed that what was showed onscreen wasn't within the main continuity of the series. Instead, it was about either immediately discounting the effects of the plot developments of the episode by returning them to the status quo by the final act, or just completely ignoring anything which would have had a longer-lasting impact on the characters or ships.
    • A good example of the former is Tuvix, who has to die in order to ensure two main cast members return.
    • A good example of the latter is Deadlock, where Voyager is trashed, then completely repaired the following week, or Barge of the Dead, where Torres rediscovers Klingon religion only to promptly forget it again. Or hell, just the endless supply of shuttlecraft Voyager seemed to have.
    • A good example of both is Threshold, where Janeway and Paris are restored from salamander form quite easily, but their offspring are left on the unexplored world for no good reason, and for some reason they decide not to use Warp 10 to get home immediately even though The Doctor now has a cure for the side effects.
    Regardless, I'm not saying that the show has had a hard reset. Maybe a reboot - we will see next year. I'm saying however that it appears that the writers basically decided their existing story arcs really weren't worth continuing to build and essentially set up a scenario to ignore almost all of them now if it is advantageous.
     
  9. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Since I don't think things were restored to "status quo" at the end I am hard pressed to see reset button here.
     
  10. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As a Voyager fan it amuses me no end that Discovery is going down this road. Maybe it will be worth watching again now :guffaw:
     
  11. Spider

    Spider Dirty Old Man Premium Member

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    I suggest we outlaw ever mentioning Discovery or it's exploits. Now that sounds like a big red reset button to me. A very poorly done and cowardly way of writing your way out of what you wrote yourself into.

    "We're just not gonna talk about it no more." LOL
     
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  12. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I'm sure glad you aren't calling it a hard reset because that certainly isn't what happend, although that's what your previous post indicated.

    It's not a reboot either, since that would entail a reset. You keep forgetting that the crew and everyone else we've seen in the first two seasons, are ALL aware of Disco's previous adventures. A reboot would mean that those adventures never occurred and no one is aware of them.

    Keep this in mind; they just can't talk about it.
     
  13. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd call what happened a re-tooling, not a reboot.
     
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  14. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Given how propaganda can spread misinformation I don't think it is as far beyond the realm of possibility.
     
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  15. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Might make a good poll. Reset, retool, or reboot. Choose your poison.
     
  16. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Admiral Admiral

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    Let's call the whole thing off.
     
  17. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You like potato and I like potatoh
     
  18. KennyClaus

    KennyClaus Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Gotta agree with Dennis here. This is about as opposite of a Berman era reset button as you an get.
     
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  19. donners22

    donners22 Commodore Commodore

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    What you're describing is the conclusion of storylines, not a reset.

    By this logic season 2 is a reset itself, because it didn't feature the season 1 arcs of the Klingon war or mirror universe, or characters like Lorca, Mudd, that moronic security officer, etc.

    A reset would be if Michael went back to when she was a child, saved her parents and prevented all this from happening (which was my fear).

    Now it's something of a creative clean slate in terms of the plot, much the same way Enterprise was from episode 2 of season 4, but it hasn't undone anything which has happened to date. If anything, the stories could and should build on what has happened to date in terms of characterisation.
     
  20. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    They're doing a Section 31 show set in the 23c, which will star Michelle Yeoh (who presumably returns to the present next season) and will likely continue Disco's 23c threads.

    If Disco were a standalone show, you'd be right. But in 2 years it'll be one of 4 or 5 concurrent series. It's like plot threads jumping between Marvel shows or movies.
     
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