home Discovery, Star Trek, TV Discovering Star Trek : DSC S01E06 : Lethe

Discovering Star Trek : DSC S01E06 : Lethe

Wikipedia description:
On his way to broker a peace deal with two renegade Klingon houses, Sarek is injured when a “logic extremist” attempts to assassinate him. Burnham senses this, and Lorca agrees to help rescue him. Admiral Katrina Cornwell questions this decision, and others that Lorca has been making. Burnham enters the nebula in a shuttle with her roommate Sylvia Tilly, a cadet, and Tyler. Burnham attempts to connect with Sarek’s mind, and finds him remembering the time that her application for the Vulcan Expeditionary Group was rejected. He reveals that the VEG would only admit one of his children, and he chose Spock, his half-human son. Spock ultimately chose to join Starfleet, rendering Sarek’s decision futile. Burnham helps Sarek gain consciousness and activate a locator beacon. Lorca and Cornwell sleep together, but she is concerned by his paranoid behavior and plans have him stood down. With Sarek unable to meet the Klingons, Lorca suggests Cornwell take his place; the peace talks are actually a trap, and she is taken captive.
Notes while watching:
  • Vulcan has no moon (Charlie X), but has been seen to have large moon-like things in the sky. (TMP). In most secondary sources this is usually rationalized as a close planet, T’Khut, “The Watcher”.
  • Convenient that Ash Tyler has no immediate family.
  •  The training simulator isn’t that advanced, and the Enterprise has a similar rec room in TOS.
  •  First time through, my wife thought Tyler’s score was 26, making his lie more of a white lie. 36 however is sloppy because he should expect his Captain to know if he shot 50% more.
  •  “You fight like a Klingon”
  •  “My last chief of security and I went through a lot together” – at one point in the writing Lorca and Landry were together.
  •  Vulcan terrorists seem illogical on the surface, but have a long history in the canon. (See discussion below)
  •  The use of the LLAP hand gesture could have been an ironic middle finger to Sarek, or a sincere desire for Vulcan to prosper.
  •  The computer is sassy when dispensing food.
  • Part of me would love an explanation for the Vulcan haircut someday, but I’d rather not know it I think.
  • Sarek was a jerk in telling her that Starfleet was less demanding.
  • The martial arts to knock her away was odd.
  • Sarek mindmelded with Michael at a young age. We know from *Sarek* among others that it’s a two way process. How much did *that* make her more Vulcan.
  • Was Sarek trying to negotiate with the Klingons out of guilt for nudging Burnham on her path to begin with?
  • Stamets is very different from previous weeks. The mushrooms are having an effect.
  • So a katra is part of a network across the universe not unlike the mycelium network in subspace…
  • Lorca was very warm to Burnham. I really liked the scene with Tyler.
  • I wish we saw the Admiral’s ship.
  • Lorca is good at changing the subject.
  • The admiral says he’s back in the chair, but we haven’t actually seen Lorca sit in the Captain’s chair yet.
  • I liked stylistically the way that each mind visit we see a little more from a different perspective.
  • When the leader of the VEG was talking, I was reminded of Admiral Fitzwallace’s speech from West Wing:
    Major Tate: Sir, we’re not prejudiced toward homosexuals.
    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: You just don’t want to see them serving in the Armed Forces?
    Major Tate: No sir, I don’t.
    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: ‘Cause they impose a threat to unit discipline and cohesion.
    Major Tate: Yes, sir.
    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: That’s what I think, too. I also think the military wasn’t designed to be an instrument of social change.
    Major Tate: Yes, sir.
    Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: The problem with that is that’s what they were saying about me 50 years ago – blacks shouldn’t serve with whites. It would disrupt the unit. You know what? It did disrupt the unit. The unit got over it. The unit changed. I’m an admiral in the U.S. Navy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff… Beat that with a stick.
  •  Just as the episode is showing us the same moment again and again, Rashomon style and adding more each time, it is also doing that to Spock and Sarek’s relationship from TOS. It deepens the story and adds a lot to it.
  •  Most Star Trek has a crooked admiral brought down by heroic captain. This is the flip side.
  • I still think things are going bad with Lorca, but he’s doing a great job of making following him seem reasonable.
  • Sarek is good at pushing away his children. I wonder if he blames himself so much he believes he is unworthy of being her father.
  • Michael has come a long way in 6 episodes and seems to have reached a leveling point in her character.
  • If Sarek had died on this mission to the Klingons, he couldn’t have helped with the peace mission in STVI.
  • A charitable person would say that Captain Lorca was just following the Admiral’s orders and following the chain of command more. Ironic that…
 Discussion:
Each episode keeps getting better. I was skeptical at first when the show was announced and recasting Sarek is always questionable.
This episode finally sealed the deal. James Frain did excellent and the episode managed to take a known data point (Sarek and Spock’s estrangement) and add so much amazing context.
There has to be so many feelings Sarek is going through.
-did Sarek not telling his family the truth lead to Spock’s choice?
— Spock could have decided that if Michael was rejected, then he would likely be as well (in part thanks to the bullying he grew up in.)
—Perhaps Amanda was afraid of rejection and steered Spock to Starfleet.
-by making this choice, and denying Michael her path in the Vulcan fleet, does Sarek feel responsible for putting her in a place to start the war.
-Michael thinks Sarek is disappointed in her, So when he converses with her in the Vulcan Hello, she overreacts to prove him right
Sarek is in a dark place at the end, with one child not speaking with him, and the other mad and wanting him to speak to her. (The third off in the desert laughing. )
No longer is he *just* the father disappointed that his son didn’t follow his career path, or the path that the father wanted the son to take. No, instead Spock managed to silmutaneously rebel against his father, make Sarek have thrown away Burnham desires for no reason, AND as the leader points out, “ruined” Sarek’s grand experiment, proving Vulcans and Humans can live together.
(Except he actually proves it, by coming at it from the other side as a Vulcan among Humans instead of a Human among Vulcans. Adding even more meaning to the great friendship between Kirk and Spock).
Vulcan terrorists and/or separatists:
  • ENT: Major arcs, including Romulan manipulation of and the bombing of one of the Starfleet buildings.
  • TOS: Sybok stages a coup of the planet of Intergalatic peace and commandeers the USS Enterprise. Valeris is part of the conspiracy to assassinate Gorkon.
  • TNG: *Gambit* has Vulcan separatists, and a Vulcan mind weapon.
  • DS9: One of the Maquis is a Vulcan weapons dealer.
  • VOY: The idea that Tuvok would join the Maquis was unremarkable enough that Starfleet used him as a spy.
As Spock tells Valeris, “logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end”.
Logic does not mean, and never was meant to mean perfection. Different Vulcans can still come to different conclusions, but do so logically. Neither is logic naturally pacifist. If the good of the many is truly in danger, it is logical to do what is nessecary to protect them. It is logical to remove a cancer, or amputate a infected limb before the infection can spread.
The Vulcan separatists and the T’Kuvma cult are both nationalistic groups, that believe racial identity and purity is better for their own kind then the homogeneous nature of the Federation.
If Lorca had actually done anything to sabotage the Admiral’s ship or mission, he would be done and fully a bad guy. Since all he did was step aside and follow orders, he still did wrong but is redeemable IMO.