Thursday, January 7, 2021

Discovery, Season 3: There is a Tide...

 Discovery, Season 3
"There is a Tide..."

Airdate: December 31, 2020

41 of 41 aired

41 or 41 produced


The crew of Discovery must retake the ship from the most incompetent bad guys since the Ferengi. Meanwhile, Admiral Vance engages in diplomatic maneuvers designed to make things as uninteresting as possible.


Get ready, everyone! He's going to say a bad word and it shall be HILARIOUS.




Kevin: This isn't a great episode but I like it marginally more than last week. There are only two plots, the action on the Starbase and the action on Discovery. Not bouncing back to the nebula both kept the show a little more on track and it actually came close to heightening the tension since all the "We don't know if they are okay" is actually borne out on the screen since we don't know either. In terms of the action on Discovery, it follows a fairly rote Die Hard-y formula but executes it okay overall. You would think if Ossyra did not intend any harm, she would have told the bridge crew what she was doing precisely to discourage the kind of escape attempt they made. The real turd in the punch bowl is bring back the guy from episode two whose name I refuse to look up. Employing him at all undercuts Ossyra's intentions and was just some needless bloodshed. Also, RIP to the Andorian, again whose name I refuse to look up. The button of "I guess Star Trek has Eva from Wall-E now" was also not great but eh.

Matthew: I agree this was better, but not for anything that occurred on the ship. Here's the deal - I am responding to your review about a week after I watched the episode. I hardly remember it. In fact, I only really remember one scene, which was fairly good, and the rest is a bad action-movie blur. The "heavy" was certainly a part of that. How am I supposed to take Osyraa seriously if she employs such dingleberries? She has already killed an incompetent nephew, now she has incompetent guards, and an incompetent heavy, and a scientist whose loyalty she can't maintain. Did the Andorian die? I forgot. Why did he occupy ten minutes of the season if his fate was just to die unceremoniously? Oh, right - the writers are incompetent, too.

Kevin: The Burnham/Stamets stuff came closer to working than I thought it would. There really was a great moment for Burnham's "I do what it takes to get the job done as I have defined 'the job.'" clashes with someone else who has a different definition of that job. She is, this time, correct, that the risk of Osyraa getting Discovery is too great even if it means the loss of everyone in the nebula, but she really has no leg to stand on to lecture Stamets about making those kinds of risky calls. The "We came here so you wouldn't be alone" line was interesting in that I think Rapp delivered the line well and it landed with something approximating a punch, but it kind of raises a lot of other issues that should actually be discussed. An episode that focuses on whether they regret coming or really exploring why they agreed to come in the first place or if they really feel like they 'agreed' as opposed to it just was happening and everyone went with it. There's a good story in there, but again none of it gets the air it needs to breathe. And what the hell kind of escape pod needs a grenade to  be set off to launch it? If that wasn't an escape pod, what was that room for?

Matthew: The problem with the Burnham/Stamets stuff was that I didn't understand what was at stake on her end of things. I knew that Stamets wanted to rescue Culber et al. But what did Burnham want? I'm sure it was revealed in a half second of dialogue, but like everything that occurred on board the ship, I lacked too much investment to be paying attention.

Kevin: The Osyraa stuff with Vance was good on paper, but again, unsupported by the episodes that came before it. It is a lot of what I have been asking for. The Emerald Chain isn't just a criminal organization like Batman villains are Villains, they are the de facto government following the collapse of the Federation. That's a fun idea, and if stuff like exploding neck collars had been handled with a little more finesse, I could buy that Osyraa at least a little legit things of herself as a leader and not a boss. The back and forth was fine, though I have to imagine having a lie detector sitting there and talking weirdly would be less conducive to a real conversation than more. It's one of those idea that sounds cooler on paper. Vance should not have this job unless he is capable of this kind of assessment, right?

Matthew: This is the scene I actually remember. And I remember it because I thought to myself "God, this show would be so much more interesting if Vance would sign the treaty." Can you imagine? There would be all sorts of ethical dilemmas, greater good situations, challenged to values.... of course, it was all but a certainty that he would not do so, and that Osyraa would go back to being EEEVIL instead of being a competent political leader with a differing value system. C'est la vie. At least we got a gratuitous swear word out of it. Am I really supposed to believe that replicated food tastes bad, or somewhat shit-like? That makes no sense if it is truly being rearranged on the atomic level. But hee hee, he said "Shit!" Edgy.


Kevin: Osyraa trying to paint herself as something closer to a ruthless pragmatist hewed closer to her strengths this time. I particularly bought her frustration at the Federation's insistence she stand trial. It was a mix of not wanting to let got of power for its own sake mixed with what felt like a genuine frustration with the Federation's occasionally naive approach to morality. I think Vance was good too, stoic, but not pompous. If the show had built the stakes for both sides with a little more care, it could have been a great scene.

Matthew: I agree. When she's not trying to be intimidating, but instead is annoyed and defensive, that works with the casting far better. This was a character I actually wanted to know more about. But the episode quickly dispensed with that, returning her to arch-villain status within 5 minutes.

Kevin: Everyone else was fine, but was otherwise too engaged with running and shooting to really do much else.

Matthew: Nothing to add. I was too bored at the time and have forgotten too much since. I guess David Ajala was OK-ish? The rest of the seat fillers on the bridge crew mean nothing to me, and they got nothing interesting to do.

Production Values

Kevin: They continue to make one hell of a video game cut scene. Everything was very bright and blue. Not much to really discuss here. I will say despite being such an actiony episode, I don't recall a lot of camera acrobatics, so that's good.

Matthew: This was a Frakes episode, and his steady hand with the camera was in evidence. So while the story mostly bored me, at least it didn't nauseate me with shaky cam.


Kevin: This is a solid two. There are two basic stories that are told in a relatively straightforward manner that even if I didn't care about them, I could at least understand them. I think the biggest critique I can level is the show continues to believe I will care about things simply because the music cue suggests I should. But still, nothing made me go uggggh the way other episodes have, so that's a two.

Matthew: For me it was one story that I slightly cared about (which was then invalidated) and a bunch of boring crap that I just wanted to be over. But I agree with the two - it's a subpar episode with one good idea. So that makes for a 4 altogether. Can I ask what the hell the title means? It's just vaguely dramatic-sounding word salad.

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