Whilst watching the first series of Star Trek Discovery last year I formed a list of gripes and observations, namely how the plots of certain episodes were just like what I’d seen elsewhere, from Avatar to Farscape to name just a couple. I think this is becoming an increasing problem in today’s entertainment; obviously, as we get older the more TV shows and films we get to see, and therefore we witness less and less originality. In some ways this is disappointing because you can too easily predict what’s going to happen, but on the flip-side it gives me an opportunity to ponder familiar concepts that intrigue me.
Now onto Series 2. Let’s get Episode 1 out of the way first though; I didn’t do it for me. The pace was too up-and-down; and when it was up it was ridiculously up, like yeah; “let me bring it all up on my computer within a few pinches and swipes whilst hurtling round rocks in space… done, we’re saved.”
Episode 2 was somewhat Stargatey, where they end up at a world that is reminiscent of Earth a few hundred years ago, but has bits of technology that aren’t akin to that time. The people are displayed as somewhat backward because they believe in God. The Star Trek team had to go in and basically claim they were travelers from a distant land, rather than reveal themselves as space travelers. I laughed when they used the term “travelers from the far north” or something to that effect since I had recently finished reading Atlantis of the North in which Jurgen Spanuth points out that his Atlanteans were often described as coming from the far north, ie beyond the Pillars of Hercules/the extremes of the known world; who knows, perhaps Atlanteans were space travelers.
Episode 4 experienced the crew and systems of Discovery speaking different languages and, being au fait with Bible stories, I immediately saw where that was heading, and I was confirmed to be correct when it spelled it out for me on screen [The Tower of Babel].
Episode 5 made me laugh when a couple of times, amongst the midst of a crisis, the lines were “this is a longer conversation for later” and then when there were 3 minutes left on the clock, they stop and have a chat, which I’m pretty sure lasted for a good five minutes.
Episode 6 also managed to slip in the mention of a “longer conversation for later”. Beyond that it was another of those “first contact” plots with Saru’s people being kept in ignorance of Truth and their actual evolutionary abilities, a plot that I recall from Stargate SG-1. There are people who believe similar things about us humans on Earth.
Episode 7 was about time, so I’m assuming that the plasma trails left by a parting shuttle were a nod to Back to the Future because that’s what they reminded me of.
The probe from the future was also reminiscent of a Sentinel from The Matrix.
Just prior to watching Episode 9 I had been reading a book called About Time by Paul Davies, all about time, time travel, and quantum mechanics. Also in a seemingly unrelated incidence a couple of evenings before I read the opening chapter of The Book of Revelation and while I had read it before on this occasion made me consider it along the lines of time travel.
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
When I came to watch Episode 9 of Discovery therefore I couldn’t help but relate each; with Spock being given The Revelation of the End of Times, from the future by the Red Angel (and its seven signals), for sentient beings including us humans. For some reason, for which Spock himself is trying to figure out, he is the one chosen by the Red Angel, just as Jesus was supposedly the Chosen One… no wait, that’s Neo in The Matrix…
(Spoiler alert: Michael becomes the Red Angel, an angel called Michael…)
In Star Trek we have The Federation Council which is made up of delegates from member sovereignties, in Revelation we have the seven churches. In Revelation the Angel sent is said to be “who is, and who was, and who is to come”, therefore someone who exists both in the present, in the past, and also in the future; a time traveller perhaps. In another book I have read recently on a similar topic, called The Physics of Immortality, author Frank J. Tipler puts forward the idea that the future for sentient beings will be a simulation, powered quite possibly by Artificial Intelligence, or the whole thing could be considered A.I.; exactly the threat in Discovery.
One thing that has persisted for me throughout this series is a sense of emotional manipulation. Perhaps this is due to me only watching one episode a week (at best) but I feel very little emotional attachment to any of the characters. Therefore when certain characters are having a heart-to-heart, for example, it all seems somewhat extreme. In some cases we have a view of the crew on the bridge of Discovery observing something upsetting regarding one of their fellow crew members, such as when the android died. It seems to me that only in the particular episode where this happens do we get an insight into that particular character and all of a sudden the crew is being portrayed as a close-knit community who care deeply about one another when you/I get little sense of this from the episodes that preceded it. It’s like an emotional ex turning up on your doorstep and kicking off about something that has been bothering them for ages for which you had no clue about and you’re expected to immediately feel that emotional attachment. At best I might invite them in for a cup of tea and get them to calm down, or at worst I’d close the door and wish they’d go and sort themselves out.
In all the series was fun to watch, and as you can see, thought-provoking.