I HAVE A BIG PROBLEM WITH ASH! Loved the episode, though. And, as always, Lower Decks nailed its discussion! I’ll really miss listening to you guys during the long hiatus. Okay… Ash. Or actually, “Ash.” Because he isn’t Ash Tyler, as much as this individual claims/wants to identify as Ash Tyler. Truthfully, this is a physically altered, severely brain damaged, and psychologically traumatized Voq - who is clinging to a xerox copy of the real Ash Tyler’s memories (either out of said trauma or out of fear; we don’t know yet). The real Ash Tyler apparently died from the Matriarchs’ procedure, and tbh, if I may speak on behalf of his family and friends, it is pretty insulting to his memory that this Klingon experiment with some of Ash’s memories is now walking around and calling himself Ash Tyler - and it’s also insulting that the Disco crew is letting him! And so weird to me that they’d trust him to roam around this ship! It’s the main reason why that mess hall scene did not work for me. It seemed forced, too soon, and a bit unbelievable. My real problem here, obviously, is with the writers. Imho, they did not do a good enough job of explaining exactly what this person is - and more importantly, why we should trust it. First came L’Rell’s unnecessarily confusing account of the Matriarch’s surgical procedure - then came that scene of her massaging his head in Sickbay, which we’re supposed to believe exorcized Voq’s consciousness from Voq’s body, leaving this fake Ash identity in charge of the remaining consciousness? - and lastly, we don’t even see one scene of L’Rell mourning for the Voq she so faithfully loved and believed in, let alone the plan she busted her Klingon ass to make happen. Just that one formal death cry… and then it’s like she was fine moving on with her life of meditation and prison visits. As a result of all this, I couldn’t fully invest in the “Ash”/Burnham breakup scene; I still didn’t fully understand or trust what “Ash” was. I wish we’d seen just ONE beat of L’Rell (with no one else around) mourning Voq and their rigorous, meticulous, long drawn-out plan… or something like that, just to convince me as a viewer that I can move on and truly feel for this new “Ash.” But whatevs, that’s just one quibble, right? Lol I did love what Valerie said about L’Rell - how through her dialogue, we can hear the terrorist perspective of our real world’s violent cultural/religious clashes. And I did love, as you guys noted, L’Rell’s use of the word “assimilation” - a word which sends chills down the spine of any Trekkie - and this idea that the Federation is to Klingons what the Borg is to the Federation. And I also love Glenn’s “Ash/Phoenix” read of the name! I did not for one second think of that - or of Glenn’s other comment about the Christianity of Sarek’s speech, and what Roddenberry would’ve thought of that. (I did pause at Cornwell’s use of the word “souls” to describe those lost at that starbase.) And now: Captain Emperor Georgiou! I dunno where they go with this, but daddy likes. As Valerie said, it’s a lot of fun watching Michelle Yeoh play this character. Yes it’s a stretch to believe this crew would see her as Prime Georgiou (especially after their recent romp in the Mirror Universe) but I don’t think we’ll be asked to stretch for long; I don’t think Yeoh will be with us much longer. Glenn wanted predictions? That’s my (sad) prediction! And now: continuity. Yes, Starfleet could force the Disco crew to sign NDAs about the Mirror Universe - and they can even sign NDAs about the spore drive (though how can Starfleet keep Prime Klingons and Mirror Terrans from talking about it? Lol). But like Glenn brought up, I’m worried that the severity of this Klingon/Federation conflict (even in simply calling it “a war”) does not seem to mesh with how Kirk et al reference Klingons only 8-9 years later. On a mildly related note, I’ve been clashing with some anti-Disco Trekkies on a YouTube thread concerning how the xenophobia of Disco’s Terran Empire was portrayed; specifically, how Disco’s Mirror Vulcans are seen as militant rebels against the Empire, when only 8-9 years later, we see Spock is First Officer aboard the ISS Enterprise. I defended Disco - using the T’Pol precedent from “Enterprise’s” Mirror story, plus Disco writer Jordon Nardino’s Emperor Georgiou title framing Vulcans as the Empire’s pets, plus the fact that Spock is at least half-human - but I admit, the difference does seem too jarring for under 10 years. I hope I’ll be able to sleep, with all that on my mind. And now: a question. Do you think Disco/CBS is confident enough in this series’ own stories to tag its first season finale on them, thinking they alone can bring viewers back to CBS All Access this fall… or do you think CBS will rely on a stunt to leave all of Trekdom abuzz in the meantime? As I asked months ago, do you think this finale will in any way involve an appearance by Pike’s (or April’s) USS Enterprise?