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Star Trek Dis - Season 2 - Episode 06

Star Trek Dis - 2x06 - The Sound of Thunder

Originally Aired: 2019-2-21

Synopsis:
When a new signal appears over Saru's home planet, Burnham, Saru and the crew embark on a perilous mission that puts Saru in danger and raises questions about the Red Angel's intentions. Hugh struggles to come to terms with his new reality.

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.5

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Problems
- Saru beams off the ship while the shields are up.

Factoids
- David Benjamin Tomlinson, who plays Linus in this episode, also plays a Kelpien Villager.

Remarkable Scenes
- Saru being reunited with his sister.
- Pike ordering disruptive Saru off the bridge during the confrontation with the Ba'ul.

My Review
In the classic tradition of bad Star Trek episodes, our heroes swoop in and force massive societal change on an entire planet this time by forcing precocious puberty on the Kelpiens causing their danger noodles to "evolve" into danger needles to cure them of their Irritable Ba'ul Syndrome. They don't give a second thought to what side effects there might be to forcing this medical intervention on a whole society of people. They just toss a whole civilization a laxative to force them to have a Ba'ul movement against their will, then give them a nice pat on the ass, wish them well, and fly off into the sunset, leaving the Kelpiens and the Ba'ul to sort out their own isuses, clean up their own messes, and flush their own toilets.

Meanwhile it's completely unknown why the Ba'ul didn't just exterminate the Kelpiens ages ago if they were so willing to do it now if the "Great Balance" were ever even mildly disrupted like what happened here. Or if they're so afraid of the Kelpiens, why didn't they just leave the planet with the warp drive they recently invented? But you see, in comic bookish stories such as this we're not meant to consider such questions. We're supposed to react with shock and horror at the menacing black alien goo that looks and sounds scary rather than think of them as a society of people. Besides, scary black alien goo killed Tasha Yar in (a particularly awful episode of) TNG, so it's automatically bad, right?

And like any good comic book story, our heroes need ever escalating superpowers. In this episode Saru implausibly dismantles a machine of oppression by getting angry, becoming The Incredible Hulk, and doing some Hulk Smash. Who knows if that's even his Final Form? Will Saru go Super Saiyan someday? There was some potential for real personal growth for his character in this story that was totally wasted here. Instead of showing us a new Saru that is more confident and outspoken, he just starts fights with Pike. Instead of showing us a Saru who has to work hard to prove to his people that Kelpien puberty need not automatically mean death, the deus ex machina of the red angel just magic wands away their entire religion in one fell swoop. Handy.

Speaking of superpowers, Airiam is starting to get annoying. She appears to be able to absorb information quickly in the same way that Data was able to do a century later, an ability which during Data's time was regarded as novel and impressive. But a hundred years before Dr. Soong created Data, we've got something that strongly resembles an android with apparently all of Data's abilities. They'd better clear this up soon.

On a positive note, what's going on with Culber is incredibly touching and very well-acted. His posttraumatic stress disorder is well earned by the plot and convincingly portrayed. Stamets' denial about it is too. It's quite unfortunate that more of the episode wasn't that good. This much-anticipated sequel to the prior much classier Short Trek episode The Brightest Star ended up being a real stinker.

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