Thursday, March 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - The Reason for Michael and Spock's Estrangement Is Revealed in 'If Memory Serves'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 2.08 "If Memory Serves"

Spock and Burnham head to Talos IV, where the process of healing Spock forces the siblings to confront their troubled past. Stamets desperately tries to reconnect with an increasingly disconnected Hugh, while Tyler struggles to shed the crew's suspicions of him due to his past as Voq.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery.

"If Memory Serves" was written by Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie and directed by T.J. Scott

This entire season has built up the mystery surrounding why Michael and Spock are estranged from one another. It's what has made it painful for Michael throughout this journey because she wants to help her brother but doesn't know how he'll react to seeing her again. And now, an answer is finally given as to what drew a wedge between them in the first place. It's absolutely laughable and ridiculous. It all stems from a fight they had as kids. It's so completely stereotypical and cliche as well. Michael wanted to run away from the family because of the threat they would be under because of her presence. She pushes Spock away by saying that she doesn't care about him as a family member or as someone capable of human emotions. In the present day, Spock is able to note that this was just a tactic used against him so that he wouldn't follow her into the unknown. As such, there is no reason why any of them should apologize for their behavior or feel at odds with one another. And yet, that tension still exists. Spock claims that he reached out to her because she was the most suitable person for the job. Family was the connection he needed to be brought back to seeing time through a linear way. But that explanation isn't all that meaningful either. Sure, it's great to actually see Ethan Peck perform as Spock. He's perfectly fine and will remain an active component of the season. However, it's all just a whole lot of plot complications for the show to confirm what everyone has been suspecting for awhile now. When Michael goes into Spock's memories to see what he knows about the Red Angel, it confirms that the creature is actually a human from the future trying to change the current timeline to ensure global annihilation doesn't occur. Of course, it's also easy to predict that whomever transformed the Discovery probe during the time disruption in the previous episode is also beyond that future destruction. It's clear that the Red Angel doesn't understand the threat currently poised against his or her universe. But it is notable that the Angel first appeared in order to save Michael's life. That may be an important distinction. Her presence has always been notable because she has never been mentioned before in Star Trek canon. Spock never had a sister who came from Earth. And now, this episode also wants to make a direct connection to the original Star Trek series. It opens with a collection of scenes to fully establish the backstory of Talos IV as well as Pike and Spock's history with the creatures that live there. And yet, all of this comes across as fan service instead of something of actual merit to the current storyline. The show desperately wants the audience to see a connection between Pike and Vina because this was a part of their tragic history together. But it's just so completely meaningless and boring. Anson Mount has been more charismatic than he has ever been in this role. His presence has really lifted up this season. And yet, those moments with Vina mostly provide a convenient excuse to share information across the galaxy. It's nothing more than that. Moreover, the Talosians are just the creatures who can restore Spock to normal. They don't exist outside of that basic function whatsoever. So again, all of this purely comes across as being more important than it actually is. As such, the seams are really starting to show as the season tries to craft its overall mystery. It's just not making any of it engaging. However, it's pretty meaningful and devastating when Culber pushes Stamets away because he no longer feels at home in his new body. He can't go back to living the same way that he used to with Stamets.