Star Trek: Discovery S2E6: The Sound of Thunder

I hope Cookie Monster doesn’t mind.  I saw no review went up so I figured better late than never.


So, I’m loving this season of Discovery. After a rough grimdark start in season one, season two is much more about hope and exploration. There’s a reoccuring theme of choice vs. destiny that is a little eye-rolling for me, but it’s very TOS. In fact, I’d say that the defining factor of this season of Discovery is that it is the most in-love with the original series of any revival of the franchise. And I’m not just talking in terms of window dressing and cameos, though there is plenty of that. There’s a very real sense that the purpose of Starfleet (and by extension the purpose of Star Trek) is exploration and transformation. Transformation of self, but also transformation of the places they go.

That’s a problem I always had with the original series — Kirk poking in his head, trying to fix a problem he knew nothing about, and then flying off with never a look back. It’s a style that was critiqued in first in the Wrath of Khan and then later in the early TNG episode “Too Short a Season,” which in some ways seems like a direct rebuttal to the TOS episode “a private little war.”

But like it or hate it, that interference IS part of the Kirk era of Trek/Starfleet history. By Picard’s time, captains were much more cautious about not getting involved in internal disputes (“Symbiosis”), but Pike’s decision to engage in full-blown biochemical revolution feels like a perfect fit for a decade before TOS’ “A taste of Armageddon.” Finally we have a thematic reason why this show had to be set in the 23rd century as opposed to the 24th — this kind of cowboy diplomacy was the style at the time.

That’s why this episode put a smile on my face: from beginning to end, it felt like a TOS episode. And while that series will never be my favorite, having more of it after decades of Trek being less interventionist but also frankly less hopeful is refreshing. The red angel seems likely to be a benevolent force more or less guiding the ship toward these kind of adventures, like an in-universe DM who guides our adventures from adventure to adventure. That’s fine with me. This is TOS 2.0 — still with a little human savior arrogance, but a respect for individuals and a love of being a revolutionary. Set in Picard’s time, I would have all kinds of problems with the decisions characters made in this episode. But for Pike/Kirk times, these are great stories.


random thoughts:

-tell me more about the cool android!

-I’m surprised Saru didn’t at least consider staying o.  We’ve basically got an entire planet going through second puberty at once.  He’s got like a two week headstart on  that stage of life, plus his experience living in a multi-species egalitarian world could be useful.

-The cynical side of me had vision of the Tenpenny Tower missions in Fallout 3