With only two episodes remaining this show is wrapping up fast and it seems it is hitting some bumps along the way. Lets discuss tonight’s episode, Through the Valley of Shadows.
With the Red Angel’s identity and mission revealed we now have Conrol/Leland determined to recover the Red Sphere data from Discovery and destroy the future. Burnham and crew head to the Klingon planet Boreth to investigate another signal, Pike is on a timely mission of his own.
Is it a ‘Good’ Episode?
I really don’t know how I feel about this episode so lets break this down.
Once again there are two (or two and two halves?) stories running in this one. Story A.1 deals with Burnham and Spock seeking out the new signal only to run into a derelict Section 31 ship with a ton of dead bodies. Finding one she recognizes Burnham discovers what Control wants with her and it is not good. This part of the story was pretty solid and really would have worked as the main plot without any additional subplots however…
Story A.2, We find Pike going to the Klingon planet Boreth to find…wait for it…Time Crystals. Yes, they actually call them Time Crystals. A little on the nose there guys, I mean if Time Crystals existed in the other series, think of how much easier it would have been to manage the who save the whales story? Hey Scotty, pop in a time crystal and let’s go! Maybe the Temporal Agents did away with those. Anyhow, his mission leads him to find the monastery and ultimately learn of his own future fate. This too was a solid story although a little on the nose.
Then we had stories B.1 and B.2. B.1: Voq/Taylor and, that woman they insist on calling a Klingon, L’Rell plus (B.2) the continuing adventures of Stamets/Culber’s will they wont they get back together nonsense. Both of these stories felt so forced into the episode that they practically screamed that they didn’t belong. The only reason story B.1 was there was to serve as a deus ex moment for Pike to get to Boreth and that was bad enough but there was no reason for B.2 to be there in the least. Don’t get me wrong, I love Stamets and Culber but their love story, or lack of love story, really would have made a much better Short Trek episode than a sub plot. It is annoying and just throws off the pacing which brings me to why I am so torn on this particular episode.
So far the writers of this season seemed to have a great thing going. We had a good mystery, great character development, great plotting but then they toss in these multi arc shuffle episodes these really just come off as a mixed bag of nonsense. Unlike series like Game of Thrones that excels at the piecemeal storytelling, every time Discovery does it, the episode just feels…off. I likened it to shuffling a game board in a previous review. These shuffles are never meant to be seen by the audience and, like the black cloaked stage crew in a live production, you should hardly notice that they are there. Sadly, in this stage production, the stage crew for Discovery seem to be wearing neon orange outfits detracting us from the action going on in front of them. For some reason, even after years of very solid story telling and pacing in Deep Space Nine and even Enterprise to an extent (even though that wasn’t great), this writing crew can’t seem to get the knack of it. Are they telling an intriguing story, yes, but are they telling it well? Well, that’s debatable.
I have a feeling that the writers of this season really didn’t have a definitive ending in mind when they started out or, if they did, they don’t quite know how to get there. With only two episodes remaining it feels like they are just tossing things at the screen in hopes that something sticks and we can all keep our suspension of disbelif for just a little longer. I am beginning to have my doubts that even though they had a great launch, they might not stick the landing. Boy I hope I am wrong but as they said in this episode, Only time will tell.
All in all, this was a real jumbled mess of an episode. I really hope the next two pull themselves together and wrap this season up in a solid way.
Gleanings, Questions and cool bits: (slight spoilers here)
- TIME CRYSTALS?! Oh geez really? I’ll just stop there.
- L’Rell and Tyler/Voq’s relationship makes no sense. First L’Rell hooks up with Voq, then she alters Voq and arranges to have him show up on the USS Discovery, she tries to reunite with him and mess with Burnham. Soon after they split up again only to reunite over a child he didn’t know they had only to put said child in a monastery where the child grows up really fast. Then they split up and she tells him that she isn’t in love with Tyler because he’s not Voq. Um, YOU did that too him you crazy Ha’DIbaH, you kinda need to own up to your responsibilities. Rant over….I swear.
- So Pike knew about his own future fate to become a wheelchair bound vegetable and voluntarily accepted this fate to save the universe. Cool moment but damn, it seems like they just wanted an excuse to show the accident that caused his debilitated state in The Menagerie. I gotta admit, it was really cool to see but, sadly, this makes me fear that we will not get an Anson Mount Enterprise series after all as they probably would have saved that for later.
- Was it just me or is Control literally a T-1000 minus the Robert Patrick looks? I mean, that is some Liquid Terminator shit right there! (sadly I still think this is the Borg origin…)
- So they are going to destroy the Discovery….who is betting that they are going to use the Time Crystal to launch the ship into the extreme future to get the info away from Control only to be stuck there. This will be how the series explores post Nemesis timeline (before the Picard Series does) AND how it will tie in to the Short Treks episode Calypso. I mean, the Discovery was some 1000 years in the future adrift… just sayin. Either that or we will see Discovery vanish and next season will take place on Pike’s Enterprise. Now that I could get behind!
As usual, a sneak peek for the next episode below. Till next time!
Thanks for reading the SciFi TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you! Some teasers of next weeks episode below!
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Late To The Game 4/4/2019