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1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 0 replies · +8 points

I'll miss Mark Does Stuff -- I started commenting in 2016 but I started reading back in 2012 so it's been, jeez, 9 years for me. I think the first review I read was your review of the Angel episode "Birthday"; I was extremely charmed that you liked Cordelia as much as I did, so I stuck around to see what else you had to say. I'm glad I did! It was great following you through Buffy, Angel, Madoka Magica, Utena, Steven Universe, Person of Interest, Star Trek, and of course Discworld over on Mark Reads. I'm excited to see what you do in the future -- Each of Us a Desert was fantastic and I predict none of us are prepared (so to speak) for what you've got up your sleeve next. Thanks for everything!

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 2 replies · +6 points

I think it's deeply bizarre that the lead-up to Michael becoming captain was basically an entire season about why she shouldn't be captain. Then again, the exact same thing happened in Star Trek 2009 with Kirk. Then again, you can't excuse bad writing by pointing to another example of bad writing, can you? Then again, if Star Trek is going to promote characters to the captain's chair for no reason, then I'd rather they do it with their first black female lead than with the womanizing white man they keep endlessly rebooting. (Sorry. Never been a Kirk person.)

But I have to say I'm glad Michael is captain now even if it makes no sense. Allow me to explain. I think centering the show around a non-captain character to begin with was a huge mistake. I admire the Discovery writers for trying something new, but there's a reason Star Trek main characters tend to be captains. In a televised drama, the best character to center the story around is always going to be the character who has to make the most dramatic choices. This is usually the 'leader' of an ensemble group, whether that means a vampire slayer or a Starfleet captain. If the character is not naturally in the position to make those interesting choices, then the story must adjust to put the character in that position.

The Discovery writers figured out two ways to do this: 1. Make Michael commit mutiny/insubordination, go against the chain of command, and take the captain's decisions into her own hands. 2. Structure the entire plot around Michael so that she is irrefutably the most important person in the story and thus should of course be making all the decisions because all the decisions revolve around her. Both of these strategies worked OK in the first season. But there's only so many times you can have Michael disobey orders without your audience wondering why anyone trusts her to obey them in the first place. And there's only so many times you can have the entire Star Trek universe artificially re-arrange itself to center Michael's family just so she can be the one to solve all the problems before it starts to get tiresome and ridiculous.

Making Michael the captain solves this problem. Now she can make the most dramatic choices because it's her job. And you know what, at this point, I'll take it. I like Michael, even if I don't always like all the choices the writers make around her character, so a writing choice that keeps her in the main character seat while also solving the issues she causes as a main character is a-OK in my book, even if the buildup was questionable.

In other news, I'm glad Book and Grudge are sticking around for Season 4. Book was a great addition to the show. And Grudge is a queen and I can't wait for the Grudge-centric flashback episode next season. <3 (Not a spoiler, just a probably futile hope!)

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 0 replies · +3 points

So I've been super busy (I had surgery a month and a half back and have been in recovery ever since) and kind of stopped keeping up with Mark Watches but I wouldn't want to miss the last run of episodes. And so, in typical medicalducktor fashion, I've popped in to do my obligate kvetching about how much I hated Adira's coming out. The implication that in the future the onus is still on trans and nonbinary people to "come out" instead of on society to stop needlessly gendering babies at birth and assuming people's pronouns is truly disheartening and reflects a sad lack of imagination on the part of the cis people who write this stuff. I'm not trying to take anything away from how affirming I'm sure this scene was to many viewers, or to Blu del Barrio themselves, but it genuinely really upset me the way they handled this storyline and it made me feel like people like me aren't truly a part of the Star Trek universe. In my opinion this highlights why you need to have actual trans and nonbinary people writing trans and nonbinary stories and getting to use their imaginations to create a truly inclusive future instead of one where we're subjected to the same shit that's plagued us our entire lives in this century.

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 3 replies · +3 points

Ah, Captain Pike, the Least Interesting Man in the World! Glad to see you've arrived on our screens safely. [Star Trek franchise spoilers] Frevbhfyl, jul vf guvf thl trggvat n GI fubj? Jung n fabbmr.

This episode irritated the hell out of me mainly on a 'basic physics' level. Look, I know Star Trek is science fiction and there's gonna be some bullshit science in there, but they could at least make an effort to use basic scientific terms semi-coherently. In the course of this episode we have:

1. Mysterious red signals that JUST appeared and that we have to investigate RIGHT NOW!!! ...that appeared across THOUSANDS of light-years meaning that, you know, the light took thousands of years to travel, which means they're thousands of years old. Oh no!!! Such an emergency!

2. An asteroid made of "dark matter" that...we can all see...meaning it interacts with electromagnetic's not dark matter.

3. Tilly claiming something was achieved due to the "power of math" when no math was done on screen. I mean, I'm not saying math is gripping drama, but don't not give us math and then pretend you did.

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 8 replies · +5 points

Can we talk about the fact that this episode is called "Will You Take My Hand?" but no one actually, uh, takes anyone else's hand in it? I feel like we should talk about that.

I did not really care for this finale. I think I see what they were going for, but they needed to earn a lot of the moments here and they just didn't.

The best example of this is probably Michael's big speech in this episode, about how Principles Are All We Have, etc. I understand that they had an idea for the arc of this season, where Michael would kick off the season by betraying the principles of the Federation to attack the Klingons, and would end it by sticking to Federation principles and thus saving the Klingons. And that's not a bad idea! It has real potential. But, like, when did she actually learn this lesson? I feel like so much of this season has been spent on Things Happening To Michael that we haven't actually gotten a chance to see Michael's character arc unfold. Because, you see, we can't watch her reflect on what she's been through, because more things must Happen To Her.

Other people have discussed the problems with handing L'Rell the detonator better than I could. I will add however that I think it's disgusting that none of the characters spare a thought to the fact that they're handing a genocide device to Ash Tyler's abuser. He's supposedly their friend and no one has a problem with this?

And I am SO fucking sick of the "all the evil Mirror Universe people are bi" trope. I understand Mark's argument that it's tempered somewhat by having other queer characters who aren't evil, but...both of them are gay men and one of them is dead. Neither is a bisexual woman. And even if there were positive examples of bisexual women on the show...the fact that Original Flavor Georgiou's sexuality is unconfirmed means that this, combined with DS9's nonsense, still has heavy implications that being from the Inherently Evil Universe literally makes you bisexual, which. Yikes. I'm sorry but if you're going to employ a damaging trope then you need to earn a little trust from your audience and Star Trek has earned exactly NONE from me in regards to LGBTQ+ characters.

Things about this episode I liked: Sonequa Martin-Green's performance; Shazad Latif's performance; Tilly being hilarious; the awesome jackets everyone had when they went down to Qo'noS. Loved those jackets.

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 1 reply · +9 points

I'm glad Mark liked the episode. I did not, but I'm glad that it could bring someone joy even if that person isn't me. ;)

My problems with the episode are threefold:

1. The continuation of the flattening of Lorca's character. This episode confirms he was literally just completely evil and xenophobic the whole time and so all his suggested nuance was an act, and he has learned nothing from his time with the Disco crew. Which is boring.

2. They spent all season building up this Lorca twist and then waste it in one episode. It's an exciting episode to be sure, but after all that buildup it feels like an anticlimax.

3. And finally: why are we supposed to think Lorca is worse than Mirror Georgiou? His whole "Make the Empire Glorious Again" shtick (which, cue eyeroll) is based on the idea that Mirror Georgiou is letting too many aliens into the empire. But...the way she does this conquering them? And enslaving them? And EATING them??? So...if he wants to STOP doing, maybe we should let him???

They could've very easily fixed this by having his plan be that he wanted to kill all non-Terrans in the empire or something but, no, that wouldn't be enough of a hit-you-over-the-head social commentary I guess.

(This doesn't even get into the fact that if you take the events of DS9's Mirror Universe saga into account, Lorca's probably right that the Terrans are better off keeping to themselves. Whoops! Some real weird implications there!)

This episode also contains the extremely funny moment where Saru says that Discovery isn't Lorca's anymore, "she's ours," and then the camera pans to a bunch of people we've literally never seen before. Oh, Disco, you are nothing if not a show chock full of unearned emotional beats.

I did like the part where a dying Lorca went in for a hug and Michael fully swerved to avoid it. That was funny.

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 0 replies · +1 points

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1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 3 replies · +4 points

In my comment on the Tyler twist I wrote: "In my opinion one of the key differences between a good twist and a bad twist is that a good twist makes the story more interesting going forward, while a bad twist might make for an interesting moment but overall makes for a less interesting story." And, yeah. That still stands, and honestly it applies even moreso to this twist. Lorca being genuinely evil instead of just morally ambiguous both flattens his character and also, I'd argue, is massively intellectually lazy, because it provides a convenient scapegoat in the form of the Inherently Evil Mirror Universe for all of his questionable behavior. Was he a man deeply traumatized by his experiences who became single-minded in the pursuit of his goal to end the war regardless of the cost? Could Michael, and by extension the audience, become like him if circumstances led us down that path? Or on the other hand, could Lorca heal, and learn to channel his determination more positively? Nope! None of the above! He was just evil, because he's from the universe where everyone is evil, and he was merely pretending to have nuance. How dull.

And don't get me started on how this is literally the second episode in a row that's revealed that someone is not who we think they are. (Technically "Despite Yourself" suggested the Tyler thing but it was the last episode that confirmed it.) I admit I'm biased because Michael, Lorca, and Tyler were the only characters I was really invested in on my first watch, which, uh, whoops, but I really do think every TV show should only get to do that kind of reveal once in their run. And Disco does it twice in a row in the first season. How exhausting!!!

Also, the bit about the Mirror Universe people's eyes being sensitive to bright light was deeply, profoundly ridiculous.

All that being said, I actually like the lion's share of this episode. Mirror Georgiou being the Emperor is the only twist this season I actually like, because it gives us some great potential for character and relationship work as seen in this episode. And, it has to be said, the Mirror Universe is pretty fun. [S1 spoilers] Guvf vf, va snpg, gur ynfg F1 rcvfbqr gung V yvxr; gur arkg 3 onfvpnyyl ehva gur frnfba sbe zr.

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 3 replies · +10 points

Now, do we suspect there may be some kind of connection between Ash and Voq?

1 year ago @ Mark Watches - Mark Watches 'Discover... · 1 reply · +2 points

[Re your S1 rot13] V'z cerggl fher ur qbrfa'g erzrzore vg? Ohg ubarfgyl gur Glyre cybgyvar jnf jevggra fb pbashfvatyl gung V pna'g fnl sbe fher.