[Star Trek: Discovery] S02E06: The Sound of Thunder

IMDb link.

Netflix link.

Watch Date: 2019-03-03

Notes:

  • This was an episode I loved and hated at the same time. Loved because it explored so much and made so many allusions; and hated because of the wild generalisations Star Trek so often is guilty of; and also the Deus Ex Machina resolution (more on which later).
  • So, I realised while watching this episode that the previous episode had a sort of Sandman allusion; which continues in this episode. Saru starts off thinking that the Vaharai is death, but later calls it his evolution. How very “The Lord of Dreams realises that he must change or die, and makes his choice.”
  • The early scene with Dr Culber in sickbay – now there are two characters, Ash Tyler and Culber, who have been through weird changes and aren’t entirely sure if they belong in their bodies. And oddly enough, one is the other’s murder victim (but got better). I wonder if this is set up for a larger payoff or exploration.
  • Saru’s behind-the-back hand flapping – I don’t remember if I’ve seen that before.
  • Saru put a sixty second timer on the transporter beam – why on earth didn’t Michael just disengage it instead of pulling her phaser? Nonsense.
  • The Kaminar worldbuilding was so full of little allusions and touches though. The Watchful Eye was named like the UK CCTV network, and shaped a bit like the 2001: A Space Odyssey monoliths. The overall Ba’ul – Kelpien dynamic had touches of both American South slaveholding (especially the Ba’ul demand that the Discovery return Saru), and Israel-Palestine surveillance; especially how the terrified Ba’ul respond by locking up the terrifying Kelpiens.
  • Another connection I made was ‘the Great Balance’ with the sort of enforced sacrifice that Lotso runs in Toy Story 3.
  • If the Ba’ul and Kelpiens are both dueling predators rather than predator / prey; that finally explains why Saru is so lean and wiry and not a grazer with huge fat reserves.
  • The only thing that prevented a Kelpien genocide was the Red Angel. Talk about your deus ex machina.
  • I realise that if the overall season arc is written well, the Red Angel may turn out to be not a deus ex after all, but the fact that things came so close to genocide validates my exasperation at Saru charging into broadcasting the liberation song without any regard to the consequences. Did he seriously think that all his fellow Kelpiens would pass through their Vaharai the same way he did, and that nobody would get killed or hurt? That way, Star Trek has been happy for decades to generalise over an entire species, and this episode brought it back in a nasty way.
  • To an extent, the dying sphere’s archive of memories is also a sort of deus ex machina; or anyway an incredibly pleasant coincidence that it happened to be monitoring Kaminar for exactly the right five hundred years.
  • For a brief few minutes, I was considering the possibility that the Ba’ul are Kelpiens who have made the prey-predator transition; and now don’t want competition from the others; but, nope, lost out on that, which would have been possibly an even creepier possibility than what we did get.
  • At the end of the episode, I’m wondering if the Red Angel is Spock from the future.

 

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