STD: “Choose Your Pain”

Well that’s easy. It’s this show. I honestly don’t know if I have the energy to keep writing these reviews. I will say that despite doing nothing to address the awful characterization, premise, or visuals of the series, “Choose Your Pain” at least has some more interesting stuff happen. Unfortunately, most of that stuff strains believability, like a Starfleet Captain being separated from his ship to attend a war meeting, just so the plot can have him get captured in a shuttle in open space. Or how Lt. Stamets and Burnham are able to,¬†in only a matter of hours, transfer an alien creature’s ability to navigate the ‘spore drive’ to a Human, using illegal genetic modifications. I guess ‘Star Trek’ has a long history of ridiculous technological solutions, and they’ve always bothered me, but so far STD seems more deus ex machina than usual. The real shame about it in this case is that the plot solves the characters’ moral dilemma for them, by removing it all together. Burnham doesn’t have to follow orders and kill the Tardigrade. Saru doesn’t have to live with a tough command decision. Any dramatic teeth the episode may have had are long gone by the end.

What’s the deal with Saru, anyway? He’s spent the entire series up to this point lecturing Burnham on Starfleet principles, and on his first day as Captain he’s ordering her to torture an alien life form to death just to save Lorca, while Burnham is the one who’s not willing to do whatever is necessary? There are simply no good people in this organization. Star Trek used to be hopeful that one day our morals wouldn’t just bend to fit any situation, but on this show, everyone’s as ethically flexible as the plot needs them to be.

Captain Lorca on the Klingon prison ship: boring. How many times have we seen the ‘running fire fight to the shuttle bay’ escape plan before? Good Lord! Draping itself in tired old sci-fi cliches is not going to help ‘Discovery’ leave the old Trek behind. Also, new addition Lt. Tyler is clearly a spy who was allowed to ‘escape’ with Lorca. I’m not sure they could have telegraphed it any more clearly. He’s the same actor who plays Voq, the albino Klingon, who was told in last week’s episode, by a member of the house of ‘deceivers’, that he would have to give up ‘everything’ for victory. They’re not even trying. If true, it means STD is leveraging the Augment Virus plot line from “Enterprise”, walking in the same footsteps the franchise has already made is not my idea of going boldly.

One other thing about that escape sequence: the VFX on those Klingon guns are a disaster. Entire Klingons ‘vaporize’ by disappearing behind giant green fuzz balls. Even in the 1980s, TNG was able to show skin, then bone, as they burned away from the point of impact. Pick up your game, ‘Discovery’!

That’s about it for now. Oh wait… Lt. Stamets is now from the Mirror Universe. In case that wasn’t obvious enough for you. I’m not talking about Harry Mudd. Just… no.

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