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S04.E02: Anomaly

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Saru returns to help the U.S.S. Discovery uncover the mystery of an unusually destructive new force. As Burnham leads the crew, she must also find a way to help Book cope with an unimaginable loss.

Premiere date: November 25, 2021

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The anomaly is obviously sentient and searching for something... someone will have to link with it...

[Interior: Paramount Conference Room]

Exec 1: So what is the plot outline for Season 4?

Kurtzmann: Star Trek: The Motion Picture + Star Trek: Generations

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I like Disco for what it is, even if it's different than most of the other Trek shows.

But the most Star Trek thing there is, it's a group of people working together to solve a problem.  And boy, did they deliver on that one this week.

I'm kind of surprised that Adira has their own quarters (albeit shared, likely with another junior crewmember) instead of bunking with their dads.  I guess they're not being treated as any different than the rest of the crew, which I think I like.

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Two merging black holes might have been the dumbest idea I've ever heard, and on this show alone I've heard a million of dumb ideas. When two black holes merge they release a massive amount of energy. No way nobody would have detected that. Why do they always have to go for the flashy bullshit? One massive black hole would have been enough of an explaination and that would have been actually hard to detect. (although if it effects 5 light years it should have been charted a long time ago, but same goes a million times for their two merging black holes)

 

So how did the Stamits Hologram keep continue to function after the tether was cut? They said thay'd send it through the teather to get around the distortions. And Stamits couldn't even send data back, but he could maintain a live stream of his body and conciousness? Yeah, sure.

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5 hours ago, starri said:

I'm kind of surprised that Adira has their own quarters (albeit shared, likely with another junior crewmember) instead of bunking with their dads.  I guess they're not being treated as any different than the rest of the crew, which I think I like.

Adira was assigned their quarters from their arrival on Discovery. There wouldn't be much reason for them to move quarters, especially now that Adira is an officer in their own right. I'm not even sure Discovery would have family quarters, since family travel didn't seem to be a thing in the 22nd century (esp. on an experimental ship), and I doubt they would've gone to the trouble of adding family quarters when renovating the ship into Discovery-A. There likely are some larger quarters for escorting dignitaries (like the President) that could be repurposed into family quarters if need be, but again less need for going that direction here when everyone (currently corporeal) in the family is already an adult and an officer.

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I think it was established that Adira is only 16 when they were introduced, although when you factor in that they have several hundred years of living in the symbiont, I guess notions of adulthood go out the window.  That said, Hugh and (especially) Paul are very protective of them, so I could see about requesting a remodel.

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I noticed this last week and it bears mentioning since it happened this week as well: why are there consoles on the ship that belch flames when the ship is under strain? In previous Treks there were certainly exploding consoles since I guess circuit breakers have been un-invented sometime between now and then. But on the bridge of Disco, columns of fire pouring from the walls. Book's ship has them as well. You can put a private bubble around a person so they can have a conversation but you can't put a bubble around a fire and then suck the air out?

I'm also going to be generous and assume there is some security perimeter at HQ that we did not see Book passing through. Because otherwise he just walked in on a huge meeting that he may or may not have actually been invited to and walked up directly behind the Presidents of the Federation and Ni'Var. Everyone looked at him but no one challenged him. A bingo hall would have better security.

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17 hours ago, Zonk said:

Two merging black holes might have been the dumbest idea I've ever heard, and on this show alone I've heard a million of dumb ideas.

Setting up an alternate timeline crossover event... AbramsVerse created 3 black holes with Red Matter that opened rifts between parallel universes... Eventually, Alt!Spock will show up with more Red Matter to accelerate the merging and stop all the jumping around.

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I can't believe that we got an android Picard mention, which means it becomes public knowledge at some point.

Holo-Stamets should have disappeared the moment the tether was disconnected, so was it just the power of positive thinking that kept him connected ? :)

We better not find out that a Romulan fell down a gravity well and then yelled really loud to create this massive black hole that threatens the entire universe (which makes about as much sense as the cause of 'The Burn').

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On 11/26/2021 at 7:14 AM, ottoDbusdriver said:

We better not find out that a Romulan fell down a gravity well...

All the missing pets from The Blacklist

Edited by paigow
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Yeah, either this black hole thing is sentient or it is being controlled by someone or something.  I do wonder if there will be a firm reason why it's going after particular planets and places.

Suru is already back on board and assuming the mantle of first officer, although he's also kind of becoming Michael's guidance counselor as well.  I do like how you can see how much more relaxed and hopefully the rest of the crew is now that he's back.  I'm not trying to take anything away from Michael (I generally like her despite her flaws), but Saru seems to have built a rapport like that which is hard to emulate.

Not surprised that Booker would be someone who would take the "stoic" approach to loss and try to bury his emotions, until it almost costs him his life (and the mission.)  No real surprises there, but David Ajala did great work with it.

Looks like the process of separating Grey's mind from Adira's body is beginning!  Even name-dropped Dr. Soong and everything that went down with Picard!

Cool seeing President T'Rina again!

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Did they ever tell us what happened to the Borg? Did the Burn get them too?

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I can buy that sending and transmitting the amount of data to control Holo-Stamets is next to nothing compared to the amount of data Book's ship (does it have its own name, btw?) would be recording on all spectra as to the black hole. It seems far closer to the amount of data needed to transmit voice messages, which we accept could be done despite the tether being released. 

That said, it would have taken not much to make Holo-Stamets seem more unstable with the tether cut, or to change it so they had been sending a fraction of the data all along but that they really needed to get Booker's ship back to have meaningful amounts. Like they could have simply said, "We've been transmitting what we can, but we don't know how much is getting through the gravimetric distortions 100 percent accurately."

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3 Thoughts on the episode.

1. 5 LIGHT YEARS is such a huge distance that sending Discovery 'there' has almost no meaning, and black holes at that distance would not interact at all. It'd be like going to a spot between here and Alpha Centauri.

2. They really need to lose the flame throwers for the Bridge FX; it looks silly. From a safety standpoint, that would definitely NOT be allowed.

3. After the is Bridge fireworks, why is there 'debris' scattered all over the floor, as if something exploded? Yet there is no visible damage! It looks dramatic, but makes no physical sense.

 

Flames.jpg

FlamesII.jpg

Sparks.jpg

Debris.jpg

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Not digging this ep, unlike the first one. Book has become a stand in for season one Michael. “Are you OK, Book?” “Don’t do it, Book!” Book is sad. We get it.

Losing tether didn’t bother me. They said the tether was an extra step to maintain the hologram, they didn’t say the hologram wouldn’t work without the tether… and they had crept closer to Discovery.

Finding out the anomaly can change direction should be a positive. Now they just need to find its motivation, vs. watching it destroy everything in its path forever. 

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So if Suru is First Officer (and also the ship's Counsellor, apparently), where does that leave Tilly? Science Officer? Unless Adira is the Science Officer? You can have more than one science officer.

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27 minutes ago, marinw said:

So if Suru is First Officer (and also the ship's Counsellor, apparently), where does that leave Tilly? Science Officer? Unless Adira is the Science Officer? You can have more than one science officer.

Adira is still an Ensign... so S.O. is impossible. Tilly is the primary S.O.

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"It will pass in...now." That wasn't a warning so much as a comment.

I think Culber has become even more of a hot piece. With just the right amount of swagger.

This episode seemed unusually talky to me. Guess they needed to lay a lot of remaining groundwork for the season's main storyline.

 

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Are the left and right sides of the uniform tunic different lengths? Is there a functional reason for that or is it just "hey here's a ST uniform design no one's done before"? Maybe because it's stupid?

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I'm enjoying the season, though I do wish it were a bit lighter in tone than PLANET DESTROYING SENTIENT BLACK HOLES. My only real complaint, though, is that Discovery is constantly almost destroyed and taking a ton of damage. Like, can we keep that level of destruction for season-ending cliffhangers, please? Definitely has an "oh, the ship's going to blow again, is it?" numbing effect.

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So they have this wonderful ship with amazing technology, and nobody thought to install seatbelts for emergency situations?  Okay, they might still have been taken unawares with the first time the artificial gravity cut out, but after that they should have been well strapped in. 

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2 hours ago, Ceindreadh said:

So they have this wonderful ship with amazing technology, and nobody thought to install seatbelts for emergency situations?  Okay, they might still have been taken unawares with the first time the artificial gravity cut out, but after that they should have been well strapped in. 

Or mag boots (of course in an elegant futuristic design) - but in ST gravity issues are handwaved and therefore a redundancy system is definitely not needed #not-the-Expanse.

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20 hours ago, marinw said:

So if Suru is First Officer (and also the ship's Counsellor, apparently), where does that leave Tilly? Science Officer? Unless Adira is the Science Officer? You can have more than one science officer.

I was wondering if he would get the Voyager. He may, still.

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On 11/26/2021 at 3:45 PM, AmigaJoe said:

After the is Bridge fireworks, why is there 'debris' scattered all over the floor, as if something exploded? Yet there is no visible damage! It looks dramatic, but makes no physical sense.

TrekMovie.com had a theory about this that I liked: the "rocks" on the floor are programmable matter that has lost its ability to function. That would explain why it comes out of nowhere and also how they clean it up so easily.

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1 hour ago, Affogato said:

I was wondering if he would get the Voyager. He may, still.

Saru declined the captaincy of some other ship to join Discovery as Number One

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1 hour ago, paigow said:

Saru declined the captaincy of some other ship to join Discovery as Number One

I must have missed that, thanks. The number ones always refuse to be captain of other ships, don't they? In the Discovery's case it makes some sense, since they all are exiles in time.

they are certainly showing us that Michael is just wonderfully able to accept support and advice from Saru. Also wonderfully supportive of Book. Leading with your emotional intelligence does seem to distinguish her from some of the other captains.

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8 hours ago, Primal Slayer said:

Adira has to be one of the most boring characters on this show that I just have zero interest in. I much rather have more of Owosekun, Detmer, Rhys, Culber or Stamets. 

Speaking of more interesting characters, where did Commander Reno go ?

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36 minutes ago, ottoDbusdriver said:

Speaking of more interesting characters, where did Commander Reno go ?

Combination of scheduling conflicts and vaccine protocols... she shot all her scenes for several episodes in isolation and will be inserted / composited like she was in Army Of The Dead

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11 hours ago, Primal Slayer said:

Adira has to be one of the most boring characters on this show that I just have zero interest in. I much rather have more of Owosekun, Detmer, Rhys, Culber or Stamets. 

I feel that way about Grey. I just don't get his purpose yet (aside from the greater implications of having a trans actor on the show). He's just so chipper all his time as a voice in Adira's head. Hopefully, once he's separated from them, he might develop more pathos and depth. His aspirations for the synth body sounded primarily like he wants to return to Trill, so it's not clear yet what he'd still do on Discovery once corporeal or how he'd assist the crew, aside from being Adira's love interest.

It was somewhat interesting, however, that he seemed to imply that the synth body could potentially host a symbiont of its own, though I wonder how that'd work... I could see the positronic brain being able to tap into a symbionts' thoughts and previous memories, but I wonder about the reverse--as in how an organic symbiont would be able to connect to a positronic brain be able to experience the present-day world.

 

On 11/27/2021 at 10:04 PM, Starchild said:

Are the left and right sides of the uniform tunic different lengths? Is there a functional reason for that or is it just "hey here's a ST uniform design no one's done before"? Maybe because it's stupid?

I wish the pips were more visible on the non-captain uniforms. Only Saru & Burnham had the more easily visible 4 gold pips. Everyone else's all look so dark in the black rectangle and don't stand out at all when seen from a distance, so I really can't tell any of the bridge crew's ranks at a glance other than when someone else specifically calls out their full title. 

 

On 11/26/2021 at 12:50 PM, marinw said:

Did they ever tell us what happened to the Borg? Did the Burn get them too?

I imagine they'll leave that topic alone for other series to touch on. The Borg have had a notable presence on Picard S1 and have been seen or referenced a few times on Lower Decks (including in their opening credits), so I doubt DSC wants to hamstring either of those shows or other future works by spoiling any climatic endings that would be much more impactful onscreen. 

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On 11/25/2021 at 12:36 PM, Zonk said:

o how did the Stamits Hologram keep continue to function after the tether was cut? They said thay'd send it through the teather to get around the distortions. And Stamits couldn't even send data back, but he could maintain a live stream of his body and conciousness?

The tether was ship to ship, not ship to person. It was a literal "rope" attaching Book's ship to Disco. Stamets could send the data back because the connection was only strong enough to maintain his holo, it couldn't take the added data.

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On 11/28/2021 at 2:48 PM, Affogato said:

I must have missed that, thanks. The number ones always refuse to be captain of other ships, don't they? In the Discovery's case it makes some sense, since they all are exiles in time.

they are certainly showing us that Michael is just wonderfully able to accept support and advice from Saru. Also wonderfully supportive of Book. Leading with your emotional intelligence does seem to distinguish her from some of the other captains.

I like Saru as Michael's number 1, more than I liked Michael as Saru's number 1. He balances her out much better. I also think Saru's skill lie more as advisor or counselor of sort. I know he is on the counsel for Kaminar, but before the season premiered, I imagined him as an Ambassador housed on Disco.

 

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On 11/30/2021 at 1:14 AM, Milaxx said:

The tether was ship to ship, not ship to person. It was a literal "rope" attaching Book's ship to Disco. Stamets could send the data back because the connection was only strong enough to maintain his holo, it couldn't take the added data.

They said they'd maintain data connection through the teather, when it was pointed out that there would be a problem with interference. The writers just forgot about it. The holo should have stoped working after the teather was cut.

There being just enough of a connection for an uninterrupted holo but not for a bit of gravitational data? Buh humbug!

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Even for an episode about dealing with grief and trauma, this was a really talk-y kind of episode where not a lot really happened. I don't hate the big blinking eye anomaly as the seasons big bad, its certainty more interesting then some random crime syndicate like last season, but I was really hoping that we could have a few extra planet of the week episodes, focusing on growing the Federation, meeting new species and checking in on various Trek species on the future (are the Kingons returning the Federations calls these days?) before jumping into the next big season spanning arc, but of course we cant have that, everything on TV is go big or go home. 

So in the future we have spaceships, but not seatbelts I guess? 

It was nice seeing Stamets and Book in a plot together, even if Book is still too grief stricken to engage in much bonding. The mention that they have basically never talked was a bit funny as its very much true, Book really does hardly seem to interact with anyone one on one besides Michael and Grudge. 

I totally expected the giant eye anomaly to wink at us at the end. It seems pretty obvious that its sentient.

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