Feb 13

Saints of imperfection

40 comments

Soo....I was wondering about this title. After digging around found this quote by William Gurnall " Christ bears with the saints’

imperfections; well may the saints one with

another. " Finally found the sermon it was from. I think mostly they are after the premise (though the sermon applies this to Christians at various stages of their faith) that we must bear with each others imperfections. (Indeed the first line of the section is: " Bear with one another’s imperfections. ") But I thought there was a very interesting paragraph late in the sermon that may also have bearing:

 

" And, when love hath once

laid the dust which passion and prejudice hath

blown into our eyes, we shall then stand at

greater advantage for finding out truth."

 

Which is kind of really interesting in today's world where "passions and prejudice" are creating a lot of conflict and obscuring truth (secular). I do not know how much of this will have actual bearing on the episode, but I do know that they are interested in these ideas as we saw it a little in New Eden with the argument between Pike and Burnham on religion vs. Science.

 

Anywho, interesting. I can't imagine where else the name comes from.

To borrow a line from our still yet-to-appear Spock: fascinating. I hadn't realized this was the title of the next episode, and now I'm really excited. I read sermons for a living (from the fifth and sixth centuries) and I don't think I've encountered this phrase before, so I'd be really interested to read this one from Gurnall if you can link to it.

@Glenn @Karen Chuplis Love this! (pun not intended, but welcome) I'll say more when we record tonight, but I think that the quote about moving from prejudice to love is very apt for what happens to May!

So my non-Trekkie friend came over to watch the episode and I was kind of excited because I knew she had zero idea that Culber was coming back unlike me who reads way too much shit on the Internet and because she is SUPER reactive to this show. Like sometimes having to get up and pace around, yelling at characters etc. and sure enough the first shot of Hugh when they find him she GASPS and throws her arm over her mouth. Her eyes got huge. Needless to say I had a blast watching it with her. But after, I was telling her how I thought this was where the title came from and explaining the sermon and well I honestly was like wow. Yeah. This is definitely where the title comes from because it’s all about how everyone is at different points in their path (word that got used a LOT in this episode.) I didn’t even realize how much it coincided until I was paraphrasing the sermon to tell her about it. Someone in the writers room definitely took some kind of 17th century religions class in college or something. And it is definitely applicable in secular senses as well. But it IS rather fascinating how all these themes coincide across the entire series so far. All of the characters that struggle across two worlds with opposing points of view. Human/Vulcan, Human/Klingon, Prime universe/Mirror Universe and now our universe/mycelial universe. People can make fun of this being an “action show” but I’m telling you there are a LOT of interesting philosophical ideas going on here.

This sounds like a blast! I need to stop telling my wife everything I read about the show so that I can have this same experience.

 

There is a lot going on in this show about identities: what they are, how they're constructed, how malleable and changeable they are, and how people respond to our identities or labels versus how they respond to us as an individual. It's much less on the nose than other Trek with it's philosophy, but it is there for sure.

Feb 17Edited: Feb 17

I tend to agree that this was the weakest of Season 2 but I still can’t put my thumb on it because speaking scene wise I loved 80 percent of them quite a lot individually. I think some of the difficulty is too much explaining and I honestly cannot fault the writers for trying because they will get roasted either way. Go the TOS route and really, explain very little (It’s fairly amazing how little actual explanation of technical happenings one gets) or Crazy technobabble Janeway Torres level explaining, which was not a problem for me but many hate it. Here we have an added factor of trying to do something based on a really out there theory of a scientific niche that has it’s own issues. You have to accept that premise or you can’t go with this. But I have my own issues with the whole “science check” thing in Star Trek fandom. I’m sorry but in TOS really very little was known and there were quite a few things that were absolutely made up out of wholecloth and still, people loved it and some of it people made eventually work just because they loved it. Part of it is Discovery *does* tend to go in on the metaphysical aspects of these stories a bit. And they get slaughtered. Which is highly unfair when you consider some of the things dealt with in past shows that are somewhat given a pass. Sparkly beings that have been separated from their bodies to be put in prison can just float into the crew of the TNG Enterprise and take them over but a dying entity setting off Saru’s Vahar’ai is considered weird. Etc. (this is not you guys, but in general complaints I hear.) My point is Disco seems to be held to some different standard for some reason and I just don’t get it.

 

However, yeah, the way we get Culber back is .... problematic to look at closely. As my non-trekkie friend said though, “I don’t really care though. We get the good guy back”. Lol.

 

I did want to mention we got more Pike church references so I really do think he’s either a man of faith or grew up that way. Interestingly, I saw a bit of video CBS did with him Ethan and SMG asking for Black History month who would you want to spend an hour with and he chose Dr. King. Apparently his father was a Theologian and journalist and knew King. Mount recalled seeing a pic of his much older sister, as a child, sitting on King’s lap and he always wished he’d been able to. So that was interesting. They kind of infused Pike with a bit of Mount’s history in a way.

 

BTW, my big takeaway on this ep was “OMG Pike is like the ultimate captain. He’s everything I would want my captain to be.”

 

I will say I think S31 wants Spock. They seem to have an affinity for snagging people of two worlds. Human/Klingon, Prime u/Mirror u, Burnham is well protected and Georgiou is probably sure she would not even consider it, but maybe Spock is a target for being literally Vulcan/Human? I dunno but it’s a thought.

 

Re: Georgiou and her over the topness....I don’t know. Yeah, a bit but for me it works and the more we see little glimpses of actual humanity the more it works. Yes, we had the cooing at baby and reverting to tough girl the minute she is caught but I noticed in this ep too, she was pretty serious when she got Johnny on the spot with trying to buy DIscovery more time and facing away from Leland, she seemed *sincerely* happy Discovery was safe. It didn’t seem like a sly or smug smile, just a happy smile. Check that out again if you don’t remember seeing it. It’s right after Disco pulls out of the network. (Also man, I loooooooooooved the doorstop effects. That FWOOMP! As it lodged itself half in was awesome I thought.)

 

Also I feel like Georgiou is putting on a lot of front because that is how she has always been. That is how she behaved as Emporer. I think her “you brought me to this insufferable place” is no longer an actual complaint. But she’ll use it. And act like it. She’s never going to be one to pass up a dig. Anyway, it does not bother me. It’s a facade she probably used the higher she got in the MU hierarchy and habits die hard. Plus it can be useful for her. Or at least was. We’ll see.

 

I agree that the rest of the crew didn’t know what Pike was probably talking about , but this is a total TOS call back with the speech. Kirk did it quite a lot really. And it’s just a TOS thing. (Which is why I think the Lower Decks animated show could be SO FUNNY. Ensign McLenney hears announcement and thinks “What the HELL? What are we doing now! Where do I go?“) But I will say I don’t mind the small amount of hesitation here on deciding. It’s technology he has not lived with that long, he must also decide on the lives of his crew and using this plan to get Tilly. I don’t think he’s hesitating over getting Tilly. And I also didn’t feel like this was a long process. He seemed to go in for it pretty quickly. Probably more quickly that putting down shields against the Orb thing.

 

The JahSepp thing was a problem. Lots because we did have May keep Tilly from being broken down. We don’t know is one mote one JahSepp or are they in units or is it kind of a network society? Can May just affect immediate area JahSepp motes, hence Tilly, Burnham and Stamets were protected? My non-Trekkie friend did say “can’t she just tell them to stop eating the ship?” Well that’s the problem. We don’t know anything about how they work really. OTOH, again I can think of a lot of times we used to just accept that kind of unknown without much fuss In past series. So....¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I do truly believe May is affected by being with Tilly. I don’t for sure know her motivations now, but I do believe she has changed and I wonder how well she can fit back in her society.

 

THe one thing I haven’t seen anyone, anywhere address and I am so surprised is that the Tilly May story was important for Tilly in the aspect it was a VERY big leadership experience. This was truly first contact in a hostile environment and once she got past her anger (and I will love forever that scene “And when I do I’m not going to work through my anger, I’m going to let it sit and FESTER for eternity!” Because I just loved her delivery and had at least two people I know who absolutely would say that. Lol) after that, she took charge, she led, she did keep May relatively on point. Did we need the gun steal/talk down? Maybe not. But again, Tilly took charge and handled things. This was IMO a huge Tilly Leader Building exercise.

 

Anyhow, I can’t figure out why I can feel this ep is lacking but still love so many things about it individually. Still, I think it was a super tough story to break and it honestly kept me entertained and interested. to (sorry for the novel again!)

@Karen Chuplis Really enjoyed reading this! There were a few points in particular that I enjoyed, most of all your reading of the Tilly/May subplot as a glimpse into how Tilly will and can handle first contact. I genuinely missed that aspect of the storyline and appreciate having my attention drawn to it!

 

I am now caught between my anxiety that Spock will get involved with Section 31 and my excitement for the animated show (Lower Decks). You made a convincing pitch!

@Valerie H. Have you guys ever listened to Two Guys One Trek? One experience ST TOS person and his friend who has seen everything but TOS? THey are a writer and a film maker/actor. It's fantastic and one of the things I love best is that the newbie really looks at the series through a "lower decks" lens. They are hilarious but also very educational in that they really experience it with a filmmaker's eye. I used to listen to a pod and then watch the ep to see what they referred to. They are really VERY good at it. I actually learned to love TOS more than previously and I didn't think that was possible. It also made me realize some things I never noticed before. Like for instance, for the longest time the newbie kept asking "Is Spock the security guy?" and sure enough, he really does in a way fill that role a lot in the beginning. Since I've been watching since I was 7, it's really impossible for me to see TOS in particular in any kind of a "new" way. This definitely helped do that.

Karen, you've brilliantly articulated my own feelings. There was a lot that I liked in this episode, but I still just felt that it was bad -- the first episode of Discovery I've felt that way about. For me, as I discovered in conversation with Valerie, it really was the false conflicts. In general something I find exhausting about contemporary writing (screen and page) is the notion that every scene has to have a conflict. This is something that is being taught in writing programs everywhere now and I think it's awful advice (as a writer and reader of stories) because it encourages writers to invent these false conflicts that actually get in the way of the emotional core of a scene ... and then also undermine the impact of the real conflicts in the story.

 

On this note, you are right to point to all the factors that Pike would have to consider in deciding whether to go get Tilly ... but none of that is shown to us. And I would have loved if it had been. This is what I mean when I say that I wish these episodes were split in two: it's so that we could have drawn this scene out more and had a conversation about the stakes. I keep wanting to say: slow down and talk about this, please.

 

I'm with you in wishing that Discovery would take the TOS approach of just having weird stuff happen because weird stuff happens. I have a pretty fine line between how much Treknobabble is cheesy and how much is annoying, and Discovery is crossing it a lot -- and it's no surprise that this episode was written by someone who started by writing Voyager novels.

 

I love your reading of Tilly taking charge in this episode. She is getting awesomer and awesomer. Your idea that Section 31 wants Spock and not necessarily whatever the Red Signals are is interesting. I've been operating on the hypothesis that Section 31 arranged for his escape so that they could follow him to the Red Signals because Section 31 has a better idea of what's going on than we or our heroes do.

 

Can we get a spin-off show about Pike teaching religious studies at Starfleet Academy?

Glenn I happened to watch TOS "Conscience of the King" last night, actually one of my fave TOS eps, and realized the ONE thing that really bugs me about it is the false conflict they give McCoy and Spock. McCoy is adamant that Kevin O'Riley could have been accidentally poisoned (which I have always found crazy). He continues throughout for the most part to push this all in just trying to create doubt and to act as a foil to Spock's insistence this was no accident. If they'd even had that be just a minor argument or off handed theory, I could have accepted it but he really leans on that. In fact, it's often the case that McCoy becomes the "conflict" element in whatever they need him to conflict. If that make sense. I do think at least in TOS this is also something that was used a lot. Not so much in later series.

@Karen Chuplis Oh, it's been too long since I've seen this episode to comment, but there are a lot of false conflicts and also bizarre world-building choices that lead to conflicts in TOS, I think. Really, false conflicts are everywhere (often accidentally) and I certainly don't always dislike them. I think for "Saints of Imperfection" they bothered me because I felt like they were getting in the way of the story rather than driving it.

 

We'll have to put "Conscience of the King" on our list of off-season episodes.

@Glenn There was definitely an air of 'trying too hard' about SOI. I really hope they stop doing that. It seems like someone is forcing their hand a bit. This was the last one for showrunners Berg and Harbarts right? I wonder what it will be like now.

I do get your point about the false conflict, though I didn’t think it was *bad* but it didn’t hang together well. I do hope it gets enough seasons to relax a bit. I do think that they are fighting a fan base, fighting a 13 or so episode season and still wanting to tell the story they want to tell. I also wonder if we’ll See a change with shoes under the new show runner.

Feb 18

My two cents . . .

 

I've noticed in the last few years that plots have been become overly complex - there's always some new hurdle popping up for the characters to jump before they can get on with their main goal. I've heard this called "video game plotting". Presumably the suits, showrunners, and writers are all responsible for this to some degree because they're all trying to give the audience what they think we want - and they think genre fans all play RPGs. Your false conflicts reflect this, I think, Glenn. I find I can no longer summarize the plot of a film in a few sentences the way I could in the old days. And the popularity of recaps and "unpacking" is also indicative of narratives that take lots of twists and turns. I don't think this is going toI change any time soon as I've heard that Kristen Beyer is the star of the writer's room.

 

Just think. Last season we got the Klingon War, the Mirror Universe, a visit to the planet Paavo, and Harry Mudd thrown in for good measure. I just saw an interview with Anthony Rapp and company in which he commented that he couldn't remember what happened in which episode. On the bright side, all this complexity provides lots to discuss.

 

Karen, are you reading "Drastic Measures"? Its jumping off point is Kodos the Executioner.

 

 

@pauladz Yes I read it. Of the four books I like it and Way to the Stars best. Makes me want Prime Lorca. Who is not so very different from MU Lorca. Just motivations from a good place instead of a bad one.

Feb 18

@Karen Chuplis Yeah, me, too. I was looking forward to Good Lorca because I suspect he's going to be very, very good. ;)

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Feb 17

I have one thing to say: Wow!

 

And since you've mentioned it, I've been thinking a lot about Treknobabble, which I think of as those things which have been invented by the writers, and tecnobabble, which refers to real scientific concepts.

 

I spent some time trying to figure out exactly how the fungal mycelial network was supposed to work, how exactly did it enable the ship to travel faster than the speed of light when spores were injected into a living thing, be it the tardigrade or Stamets. Frankly, I gave up, deciding that it all was just a fiction and not worth wasting brain cells on. I accepted it for what it was worth and moved on. After all, the fungal drive was not destined to part of the narrative for long. I fell in love with TOS without knowing how the warp drive or transporter worked, but then again the characters did not spend a lot of time discussing it either.

 

But then in the last couple of episodes the mycelial network is back with us in all its glory. I was curious to discover that the ship could land half in and half out of it, and that it was possible for humans to enter it for a short time, though they had to very careful, of course. Amongst the oddities was the yeel tree whose bark excreted poisonous sap. That was the point at which I sat back and sighed. A tree growing inside a fungus. Hmmmm. Leave it.

 

It's what you call the technobabble that I really object to. A few short examples:

 

Stamets says: "Yesterday's solar panels are today's fungi."

Problem: Solar panels gather the sun's radiation for us to use as energy. Fungi, not being plants, do not photosynthesize, so they do not use the sun's light to produce energy in the form of food.

 

Reno says: "If our oxygen ignites, we'll cook like french fries."

Problem: Oxygen itself does not burn, so it can not be ignited, They were in no danger of becoming fried potatoes. P.S. The process by which things burn is oxidation; oxygen or another oxidizer is required, but as we are all aware of, air does not burn.

 

Burnham says: "It's not logical for a virus to kill its host." Except that any number of people die from viral diseases from the flu to cholera.

 

It's statements like these that take me out of the story. I wish the writers would resist the urge to include them and devote more time to what I really miss . . .

 

. . . the moral of the story. That's what I really loved about Trek.

 

 

P,S. Alex Kurtzman was heavily involved in the first two Kelvin movies. One thing I do like very much is the experimentation with different lengths and formats. Fundamentally, though, I want to see Discovery continue to be the flagship, and to be the very best it can be. This can be Trek's heyday and we're lucky to be experiencing it firsthand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes! As much as I love this show, I have absolutely rolled my eyes at all of the "myceliobabble" in Discovery. It contains scientific words but is completely nonsensical if you have any idea of what those terms actually represent. And in most cases the analogies they are trying to draw through this dialogue are just not even wrong, so I just close my ears for the 16 seconds it takes them to get through it and then I can continue enjoying the generally awesome characters and visuals of the show.

@pauladz I'm in the middle of a Voyager rewatch, so Treknoabble is very much on my mind. How do you think DISCO compares to VOY in that regard?

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The most important unanswered question of this episode: Who picked up Georgiou’s apple‽

(Anyone recognize? Or am I the only old fogey.)

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