A Waterskiing Dog — Star Trek Discovery’s “Will You Take My Hand?”

Star Trek: Discovery episode Will You Take My Hand

At one point during “Will You Take My Hand?”, the season finale of Star Trek Discovery, Tyler is explaining the ease with which he is able to chat with Klingons in the vicinity of the Orion embassy—which, the Orions being glorified pirates, means it’s pretty much space Vegas—to Burnham. “I’m a human who speaks Klingon. To them, that’s like a dog that can waterski.”

I really doubt that executive producers Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts, and Akiva Goldsman, who among them wrote and directed the episode, meant that line to be a metaphor for the episode, but it totally fits. Because a dog that can waterski is actually really really cool and would probably be fun to watch. But it’s also something that you kinda stare at and go, “Hang on, why exactly did that just happen?” And there’s a lot of both those reactions in ...

Star Trek Discovery Enterprise NCC-1701

Moving Forward — Star Trek Discovery’s “The War Without, the War Within”

Star Trek Discovery The War Without the War Within

One of the constant complaints about Discovery that I have seen online is that it isn’t “real” Star Trek. We’ve been down this road before, of course. In 1979, people wrote letters to magazines about how they had “Star Wars“-ified Star Trek and how this couldn’t be the same universe as the beloved TV show. Gene Roddenberry spent much of 1982 telling fans to boycott The Wrath of Khan because it wasn’t “real” Star Trek and it violated his vision. Fans howled in 1987 at the notion of a Star Trek TV show that didn’t have Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and how it would never work and it wasn’t “real” Star Trek, and then again in 1993 at the notion of a Star Trek TV show that wasn’t on a starship. And many of the complaints levied against Discovery now were also levied against Enterprise seventeen-and-a-half ...

Star Trek Discovery The War Without the War Within mess hall
Star Trek Discovery The War Without the War Within Tyler and Burnham gaslighting
Star Trek Discovery The War Without the War Within Georgiou assumes command

“We will not accept a no-win scenario” — Star Trek Discovery’s “The Past is Prologue”

Star Trek Discovery The Past is Prologue

My introduction to Michelle Yeoh was when Jackie Chan’s third Police Story movie was released in the United States in 1996, retitled Supercop. It was released here to cash in on Chan’s newfound American popularity following Rumble in the Bronx. I went to see the movie for Chan, but was completely captivated by Yeoh, who was as good as Chan as a choreographed fighter and as an actor. In fact, she was a better actor, and Chan’s actually quite good…

I’ve followed her career with assiduity ever since, from her amazing turn in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to her being the primary reason why Tomorrow Never Dies is the only Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie I like. Her movements are elegant and beautiful, and ones I’ve grown to appreciate more the last thirteen years since I started training in martial arts.

So I freely admit that my second-favorite moment in ...

You Can’t Go Back to the Way Things Were — Star Trek Discovery’s “Vaulting Ambition”

There are three separate-but-connected things going on in this week’s Star Trek: Discovery, and the heart of each and every one of them is embodied by the line of dialogue I borrowed for the headline, a line spoken directly by both Emperor Georgiou and by Lieutenant Stamets. Everyone wants to go back to the way things were. Stamets wants Culber to be alive and the two of them to be happy. L’Rell wants Voq not to suffer (for all that she insists that Voq’s sacrifice was voluntary and necessary). Georgiou wants her foster daughter back. And everyone on the U.S.S. Discovery just wants to get home.

The one person who does get things back the way they were? Lorca. Go fig’.

Lots of things are pulled into focus this week, which is good, as we’re running out of episodes.

First off, we find out why Stamets has been ...

Star Trek: Discovery Vaulting Ambition Stamets Culber kiss
Star Trek Discovery Vaulting Ambition Emperor Georgiou and Burnham
Star Trek Discovery Vaulting Ambition eating Saru

“We are still Starfleet” — Star Trek Discovery’s “The Wolf Inside”

Star Trek Discovery The Wolf Inside

It really does suck to be Michael Burnham.

I mean, first you had the whole thing with her parents being killed, and then she was raised on a planet that isn’t exactly kind and benevolent toward humans (or much of anybody), she got screwed out of going to Vulcan Space School, and then she got her captain and about 8000 other people killed in an incident that started a brutal war. And then she got herself assigned to a ship run by a loony with PTSD whose first officer is her former shipmate who hates her living guts.

And all of that is as nothing compared to the crap she goes through in “The Wolf Inside.” I got dinged last week for not putting up sufficient spoiler alerts, so SPOILER ALERT! LOTSA SPOILERS FOR “THE WOLF INSIDE” IN THIS POST! ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE!

The ...

The Shape of Water Frames Communication as a Revolutionary Act

The Shape of Water, 2017

Watch a Guillermo del Toro film, and chances are you’re watching a story about communication. Some of his stories are fairy tales, some are epics, some are horror, but they all revolve around this central theme—who gets to communicate, who doesn’t, how important it is, and what it costs when you’re denied that ability to connect with others. But The Shape of Water takes this theme farther than any of del Toro’s previous works. In fact, this homage to Creature From the Black Lagoon makes it clear that communication is a matter of life and death.

[Contain spoilers for The Shape of Water]

The particular oeuvre of Guillermo del Toro turns on many themes, but communication is often the spoke of his wheel. Pan’s Labyrinth is the story of a little girl whose inability to communicate her feelings amid worldly horrors leads to her retreating into a different realm. ...

The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017
The Shape of Water, 2017

“Everybody comes home” — Star Trek Discovery’s “Into the Forest I Go”

And so Discovery reaches its “mid-season finale,” a recent phenomenon of television to make sure that people tune in for the last episode before a break, and also to reassure folks that yes, we’ll be back in a few months, don’t go away and never come back, pretty please. While it’s true you never saw this in the old days, said old days involved somewhere between three and ten sources of new programming at most. Now there’s hundreds. One can’t really blame the producers for being gun-shy about losing viewers because they took a few weeks off.

Anyhow, the storyline comes full circle, putting Burnham back on the bridge of the ship of the dead, with a chance at redemption for getting her captain killed. And it’s quite a ride.

First of all, though, mea culpa: I was wrong, and every single person (practically) in the comments was right ...