It’s getting hard to write about this show because it’s kind of a prank show, now.
Everyone knows that Bad Robot is running this, and JJ is well-known for his “mystery box” style of storytelling. Everyone has their themes, of course. M. Night has the dark twist; Jim Krueger writes about the divine. I’m a big “one man with a vision” guy. Themes are good.
But Kurtzman and the Bad Robot guys working on this show are like drive-time DJs pulling the Prank of the Day. Somebody gives them the phone number of a friend and some pertinent details and the DJs riff on it to the detriment of people who care and the glee of mildly interested observers. Like, Steve’s friend Mark knows he just paid five grand to put a fence around his yard and he calls the DJs and tells them Steve had a pain in the ass with this fence thing. So Mark gives the DJs Steve’s telephone number and they pretend to be from the city planner’s office and tell him his fence is two inches too high and he has to tear it down and start over. Steve freaks out and they yell PSYCH! and YOU’RE ON THE RADIO! GOTCHA! and that’s how I feel about a show called Star Trek where the writer’s room comes out and tells you “Discovery’s very existence is the problem.” I mean, really? Are they that self-aware? Spock doesn’t talk about Michael because she doesn’t exist because of events we haven’t written yet? Nothing about this show matters? Story threads aren’t worth the payoff?
What used to be spectacular technobabble in other Star Trek shows so much that there was actually a word coined to describe it is just dismissed with “time crystal,” now? Star Trek isn’t Doctor Who; you have to come up with something besides “wibbly-wobbly; timey-wimey” to satisfy those still paying attention.
Man, that Stamets/Culber relationship stops the narrative flow of the episode dead every time. They don’t know what to do with Jett Reno, as obvious as it is. Having ancillary crew members say goodbye to people the audience doesn’t know about as character short-hand is like the writer’s room watched a few episodes of M*A*S*H once and learned the wrong lessons. And it’s not like the Disco crew is going anywhere so it just feels like filler.
But having Georgiou say, apropos of nothing, “I’m a Terran, by the way. From the mirror universe.” to Captain Pike as he’s about to beam out and have him answer: “What ‘mirror universe’?” and then wink at her is the biggest amount of garbage in a garbage show.
It’s getting so I’m running out of ways to say what a trainwreck this show is. They burned the first two episodes of Season One on backstory that didn’t matter, or could have been perfunctorily dealt with in a few lines of dialogue, and predicated the entire season-long arc on the audience knowing what a parallel dimension is without first making you care about new and unfamiliar characters. Then they have the second season spine be a time travel motif, without first offering up the rules under which time travel operates. It’s like they have borrowed the JJ “mystery box” without telling you what a “mystery” is or explaining what a “box” conveys.
But, yeah. Pike knows all about the mirror universe before the Halkan dilithium outreach. OK, everybody. WINK.