(Wednesday of Huh, Part 2)
Last night we watched the last episode of Star Trek: Discovery‘s first season. There are spoilers here and I can’t be bothered spoilertexting them so stop reading now if you don’t want to have the show sort-of-kind-of spoiled.
I’m throwing this advertisement for The Final Fall of Man in as a cheap substitute for spoiler space. Buy my books.
So anyway, we finished watching the series. And what do you know, they actually pulled something out of their arses and made the whole thing make sense. Sort of. In a weird way.
But then, as with the Thor: Ragnarok conundrum, you can’t have too-weird and too-formulaic complaints at the same time. And in this case, you can’t level a complaint that the show isn’t Star Trek, and then complain when it explains why it isn’t Star Trek, in a way you might not have been expecting.
As I already concluded, you just have to amend what you think Star Trek is.
Okay, I still think they could have done something cooler with it, something with the Time Corps and Section 31 and the mirror universe, but maybe those things are all played out. The Mycelial Network and alternate universes it represents – basically telling us that this was an alternate Federation-esque universe all along – is at least something new, but still within the brainspace of Star Trek.
I liked their solution. When they started to talk about the different universes that were accessible using the mycelial drive, Mrs. Hatboy and I were like “hhhhhuh.” It’s very clever. It explains all the differences and similarities by an admitted bit of hand-waving “it’s another universe” – while at the same time leaving us with the hope that now, now we will get back towards more familiar Star Trek territory. But maybe not completely familiar: Now, like the crew of the Discovery themselves, we will get to explore a whole lot of bizarro “Worlds of If” variations on the Roddenverse.
Which is fine with me.
What happens next? Not sure. I heard somewhere that this new show was not going to be a seven-season continuity, but seven discrete season-length stories, in the True Detective model. I hope they at least follow the same ship and crew, and just jump to a different universe each season (or something), because I feel like it was a lot of effort to get us used to these characters and I wouldn’t want that to be wasted.
But with this final episode, the creators have earned my benefit of the doubt and I’m confident that they will come up with something.
Of course, there’s always the immediate comment Mrs. Hatboy made, which is that Star Trek: Discovery has just taken an entire season to get us to the point that Star Trek: Voyager took the first twenty minutes of their two-part season one premiere to achieve. The ship and crew have jumped somewhere weird and a long way from home and there doesn’t seem to be any way back (pending their navigator’s revival, which may or may not happen by the end of season two).
Harsh, but fair. And yet … in this case, I think if they were just going for a “like Voyager, but bigger!” it’d risk being a bit derivative. I mean, that is what they’re doing, so they need to do it a bit more cleverly. Because otherwise, you’re just making like Stargate and adding a chevron to the gate address each new show, to send the characters further away. We don’t want that.
I mean, we don’t want a Stargate prequel series either, but apparently we’re getting one so fuck it, whatever.
If they can pull off a series of alternate-universe crossovers on their way home, I will be well satisfied with the Discovery crew and their new frontier. Well played.