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Star Trek Dis - Season 2 - Episode 0.1

Star Trek Dis - 2x0.1 - Runaway

Originally Aired: 2018-10-4

Synopsis:
Onboard the U.S.S. Discovery, Ensign Tilly encounters an unexpected visitor in need of help. However, this unlikely pair may have more in common than meets the eye.

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 3.42

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Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode establishes that Tilly has a step sister.
- The Xahieans just achieved warp capacity.

Remarkable Scenes
- The food dispenser malfunctioning and chucking random food dishes all over the mess hall.
- It was nice to see the universal translator not working automatically for once. This was very reminiscent of several scenes in Enterprise as well as DS9: Sanctuary, which featured a similar plot in which the usually reliable UT took a bit of time to pick up a new language.
- Tilly: "There is a hormonal space rabbit. He escaped from the lab and then he got loose in here. He's got mood swings."

My Review
Before getting into the story itself, it's worth noting that in season 2, Star Trek: Discovery is now being filmed in a 2.39:1 "true cinematic" aspect ratio, which is even more annoying than the first season's almost as bad choice of 2:1. Like before, this leaves black bars on the top and bottom of 16:9 screens which are the most common screens this series will be viewed on. Again, the producers have said this aspect ratio was chosen to make Discovery "feel more cinematic," which is truly bizarre. Game of Thrones is 16:9 and definitely feels more cinematic than Discovery. A perfect example of how the producers have repeatedly focused on style over substance. Wasting more than a quarter of the screen is not how you make something "feel cinematic." Producing good content is.

As for the story—such as it is—following in the infamous tradition of the horrible Battlestar Galactica "webisodes," this new between-seasons "Short Trek" format delivers Star Trek Discovery's first true filler episode, annoyingly sandwiched between the first season finale and the first "real" episode of season 2 that will eventually get the plot back on track and resolve season 1's cliffhanger. This thankfully short chronicling of Ensign Tilly's mysterious encounter with an awkward alien teenager doubles down on Discovery's preoccupation with targeting the short attention span crowd, delivering story depth roughly on par with a typical episode of The Animated Series.

The narrative's only apparent purpose appears to be celebrating immature anxiety as an identity group. All that happens here is a therapy session between Tilly and her alien counterpart in which the sole moral of the story is that it's okay to feel nervous about things sometimes, especially when you're young because it's harder to control your emotions when you're young. Or something. While it would certainly be nice to see a Star Trek episode that explores anxiety disorders in some depth in an effort to portray mental health problems on TV in a better, more sympathetic light to help erode generations of stigma surrounding mental health issues, this episode misses that mark by far. And in so doing, presents a largely incoherent plot.

How did the alien hitch a ride on a shuttle to Discovery? Why target that specific shuttle or Discovery in particular? Why didn't Tilly call for help when the alien appeared in the mess hall? How could Tilly have possibly gotten away with keeping all this a secret after multiple people witnessed the mess in the mess hall, complete with alien blood? Why didn't the internal sensors detect the intrusion and set off alarms? How did Tilly get away with beaming a living creature off the ship without setting off alarms? Why is it possible for anyone—especially an ensign—to operate the transporter alone without setting off alarms? Where exactly did Tilly even beam the alien to? Where was the ship at this time? When was the ship at this time? Since Tilly was talking about joining the Starfleet Command training program, it had to be after at least some of the events of the previous episode Will You Take My Hand, but it seems hard to believe Tilly would have this entire alien adventure during the cliffhanger between Will You Take My Hand and whatever the next "real" episode of season 2 is which will presumably resolve the cliffhanger. So then the events of this episode take place during the middle of the previous episode somehow...?

Much of that litany of plotting issues seriously strains credibility to rationalize, which is clearly why the episode didn't bother trying. As usual with an episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the writers are hoping to activate your feelings here, not your mind. And as usual with an episode of Star Trek: Discovery, this episode is kind of entertaining, so long as you don't think about it too much. Instead of thinking about totally boring things like plot coherence, you're supposed to feel super moved by such inspiring lines like, "Evolution is about soul," man! Like whoa. Super deep. Almost as deep as Kirk's similarly profound line, "What of Lazarus?" from TOS: The Alternative Factor, an episode that is apparently this show's role model for writing quality.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Rob UK on 2019-01-18 at 12:04am:
    Well i'm sad to say I have decided I am boycotting ST Discovery, speaking with my eyes you could say.

    Anyone out there watching The Orville? I loved season 1 and so far season 2 is even better, makes it all the harder to go from watching a great little piece of sci-fi to trying to watch that contrived drivel replacing Star Trek.
  • From Rob UK on 2019-02-10 at 7:57am:
    Well folks i'm struggling, The Orville is doing that mid season break thing and ST Discovery S02 is sitting there unwatched, I nearly started watching season 2 last night but instead I ended up watching videos from other ST Fans on YT about what they thought of season 2 so far, like a buffer zone if you will.

    Anybody reading out there who has not yet read any of my other mad ramblings on here (Thanks Kethinov) let me explain something, i totally love Star Trek, all through my 43 years so far it has been in my life but i realised just because they call something Star Trek it does not 'make it so'.

    This show is no longer Star Trek, it bears zero resemblance to Star Trek except for stolen character names and ideas, Star Trek should sue this show for copyright defamation! For taking it names and characters and logos and branding and tarnishing a story 40 years in the crafting.

    You are all here for your own love of Star Trek, simply because I have read every single review and reader post on this site so far I know we all totally love it for our own unique reasons, but, we share many commonalities in our love and hate, even the hate is a love/hate kinda hate like you watched it so many times to even get to it kinda love hate, it is through that shared love and hate that we found this blog site and why we contribute and share with each other on it about how and why ST emotes us, I get a little buzz when i pop on to check and see that there is a new fan comment, a juice little mind morsel to consume, i've been reading and posting on here for about 5 years now.

    So then, my reason for commenting again here even though i have not watched anything related to ST Discovery S02 (so far, you guys are telling me how bad it is, i trust i'd feel the same, therefore no need to put myself through it, thanks folks), whilst watching fan vids (as mentioned above) I stumbled upon the legendary Leonard Nimoy RIP from way back when explaining how and why Star Trek is Star Trek.



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFTsctYfWEw

    and coincidentally why Discovery is not Star Trek

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