home Discovery, Star Trek, TV Discovering Star Trek: DSC S01E01: The Vulcan Hello

Discovering Star Trek: DSC S01E01: The Vulcan Hello

Welcome to the first of hopefully a long series of reviews. I always loved reading reviews of TNG/DS9 back in the day on Usenet (Dear Tim Lynch, please review Discovery), so here’s my attempt to contribute.

(Wikipedia summary) Investigating a damaged satellite near a binary star system on the edge of Federation space, the crew members of the USS Shenzhou discover an object obscured from their sensors. First Officer Michael Burnham volunteers to investigate the object herself, and finds an ancient, carved vessel. She is attacked by a Klingon, and when trying to escape she accidentally kills him. A group of Klingons mourn the death of their soldier, dubbed the “Torchbearer”, before the outcast Voq volunteers to take his place. The Klingons, lead by T’Kuvma, reveal themselves in a cloakable ship. T’Kuvma preaches to his followers of the Federation’s attempts to usurp the individuality of the Klingons and their culture, and plans to fulfill an ancient prophecy by uniting the 24 great Klingon houses as was once done by Kahless. Voq activates a beacon that summons the Klingon leaders. Burnham, desperate to prevent a war, attempts to fire on the Klingons first, against the wishes of Captain Philippa Georgiou. Burnham is arrested for mutiny.

Well then. After 12 long years, Star Trek is back on TV. What defines Star Trek to me? The two core components are an examination of the human condition, often thru the lens of a non-human learning, and an essential optimism that no matter what humans are like today, we can and will be better tomorrow.

  • I don’t mind the new Klingon makeup, but I do look forward to seeing other non ceremonial armor.
    The desert scene and delta reveal would have been more awesome if the trailers hadn’t shown it.
    I liked the banter between Captain Georgiau and Michael. A little expositiony in a couple lines, but still felt like an established relationship. I also liked that Phillipa is clearly a Kirk in always finding a way out.
  • I like the opening theme, don’t love the visuals, but that’s after being spoiled by Game of Thrones and Westworld raising the bar very high.
  • The binary star system is beautiful, and Saru is already my favorite member of the crew.
  • The spacewalk was a great visual reminder of why I want to be out there. It may have been dangerous to go for a flyby, but such beauty makes me wish I was more athletic for exploring OUR world. And that is what I want from Star Trek. The desire to see what’s around the corner, just because it’s there.
  • Of course, things have to go wrong or it wouldn’t be much of a story.
  • The time limit on the EVA seemed to be conveniently too close to the minimum time she required. I’d have preferred 30-40 min and let her being knocked out push it close to the time and add the drama.
  • I like that the death is accidental, but a little unsure that she should be able to kill a Klingon warrior
  • (One could say it’s a sign of their decay)
  • I didn’t love James Frain as Stark, but Mark Lenard is so hard to replace. I didn’t love his Kelvin recasting either.
  • I am in the camp that the Klingon attack in her past scarred Michael with a form of PTSD, and her being raised by Vulcans didn’t let her ever come to real emotional terms.
  • If you had told me 15 years ago that we would get a show where all the Klingon scenes were in tlhIngan Hol, I would have rejoiced. Now… I wish it had been in English like before. I still appreciate the attempt.
  • My head canon is that Voq is the Albino from DS9, but that’s probably not likelyey.
  • T’Kuvma is a Klingon Hufflepuff. His house is open to them all.
  • These Klingons care for the bodies of the dead, indicate different beliefs then Worf told us, but that’s fine. An average human from today has different beliefs from an ancestor 100 years ago, and that’s just inside the same culture. I like the idea of different belief systems.
  • The argument of not mistaking race and culture is a decent one, and one I’d like to see more examination of.
  • Klingons are a warrior race. That’s what we have been told for years. Yet not all Klingons seem to be as obsessed with honor as Worf. There are Klingon chefs, accountants, spies, engineers, scientists. What do they believe?
  • Not sure how I feel yet about the holograms, but it’s not violating continuity. Star Trek IV has similar.
    I missed it on first watch, but the beacon is a supspace waveform, which explains Sarek’s line about a new sun despite not being in the same system.
  • We know that Kahless promised he would return and pointed to a star where he would. This seems to be T’Kuvma trying to help prophecy along, or use the prophecy.
  • Now we come to the controversial part. Michael shows that she is not ready to be captain, and deserves all the trouble she later gets in. But. But…
  • Part of being a Starfleet officer, especially a captain is the firmness of your convictions that you will do what you need to do to save the day. Picard disobeyed Starfleet to stay away from the Borg in First Contact. Picard also showed similar emotion issues related to the Borg as Michael does here as well.
  • Don’t misunderstand me. She did the wrong thing, and crossed a line by assaulting her captain. But how much of that is because we saw the results go bad, and not because of the actions itself. If she had succeeded and saved the Federation from war, would she be that different from Picard, Kirk, and Sisko?

 

In summary: A decent part 1, does part 2 live up to it?
My rating: 8/10.