Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Deep Thoughts With The Discovery Channel

"I'm a symbol for Harvey Weinstein!!!"

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (DS9) became by its third season and remained to its odd, rousing Star Wars Meets Lord of the Rings finale the second-best Trek series of them all, trailing only The Original Series

The above is fact, by the way, and not IMHO.

DS9 also had the funniest yet most respectful homage to the original series with the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations." 

"Do Klingons still sing songs of The Great Tribble Hunt?"

This week's episode of Star Trek: Discovery ("Set ten years before the Original Series!" because "Set ten years after the Earth-Minbari War!" would have got them sued by Babylon 5) ... oh, God, we're back in the Mirror-Universe, made so memorable when it appeared, created by Jerome Bixby, on the original series... Set 11 or so years after this episode of Star Trek: Discovery!

The Pakleds killed everyone in my universe!
Mirror Spock with a goatee! Uhura's midriff! Evil Chekhov! Evil Scarface Sulu! The fight in which Kirk splits his pants! The fight in which one can see clearly for the longest time in Trek history that stunt doubles are fighting because Spock's stunt double has an afro! One of Kirk's most rousing speeches!

NextGen avoided the Mirror Universe, probably wisely, though I assume Mirror-Picard had hair on his head... in the shape of a goatee!
There's more hair in the Mirror!!!

100 Trek years and about 30 real years later, DS9 treated the Mirror Universe seriously, revealing in Kyra and Bashir's first plunge through the looking glass that Kirk's rousing speech had great results for aliens and unintended disastrous results for humans. 

Voted NICEST IN MIRROR U 5 years in a row!
Kirk's speech got Goatee-Spock to successfully make the Evil Earth Empire less war-like. But everyone in the Mirror-Universe was the dick version of themselves except when they were dicks in the original universe, in which case they were either nice or dicks depending on random plot necessities.

The Terran Empire of TOS's Mirror-Universe episode "Mirror, Mirror" was gone. Now all humans were slaves of The Alliance, the Evil Team-up of the Mirror Universe's all-evil Klingons, Cardassians, Bajorans, Vulcans, and so on, and so forth. Everything was just as bad or worse. BECAUSE THE MIRROR UNIVERSE SUCKS!

DS9 would treat the Mirror-Universe seriously for several episodes until someone in the writers' room realized that the Mirror Universe became sillier and more improbable every time one had to think about it to write another episode. So in the last DS9 Mirror episode, DS9's Ferengi characters send the Mirror Universe off with triumph for the Terran rebels and a lot of metafictional snark about how the Mirror Universe no longer made any rational sense.

Unfortunately, Star Trek: Enterprise , ie., the Worst Trek Of Them All (fact and not IMHO), went to the Mirror Universe in its semi-OK fourth season, 200 years BEFORE DS9 and 100 years BEFORE TOS (so I guess... 90 years BEFORE Discovery). In a standalone two-parter, blah blah blah... Oh, right. The Constitution-class Defiant lost into "Interspace" in third-season TOS episode "The Tholian Web." What was I saying? French toast, please!

Jesus, Shatner, you're supposed to wear pants!
We learn that this TOS Defiant whose only real plot purpose was to allow for Kirk's rousing, recorded speech that he left for McCoy and Spock in the event of his death to be viewed by Spock and McCoy on their 17-inch TV before they realize because of a screaming Uhura in a bathrobe that Kirk is still alive and apparently a bit of a Peeping Tom when he's stuck between universes! Oh, Kirk! MeToo! Ha ha!

So the Defiant no one has ever given much of a shit about before now REALLY fell into the Mirror Universe a century earlier than when it left its original universe. A hundred years earlier because this plot-conveniently allows it to appear on Enterprise because, remember, Enterprise took place a century earlier than TOS.

Defiant's century-better technology allowed the Terran Empire to crush the multi-species rebellion then waging and become the Terran Empire we saw in "Mirror, Mirror."

SIGH. They should have called the two-parter episodes 'Ouro' and 'Bouros' but I'm expecting way too much here.

In this week's Discovery, we are in the goddam Mirror Universe again because Trek writers can no longer create new ideas

The New England Patriots NEVER WIN HERE!

Our Discovery lead character, Michael Burnham, is a human woman named for the great American model-actress Michael Michelle who was so great in the last three seasons of HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET... honestly, I don't know. 

Burnham seems to be named 'Michael' so people can comment on how weird it is that a human woman is named 'Michael' even though it's the 23rd century and every second person, human or alien, is named Glorp or Mendacious Orchid or whatever.

Mr. Worf's adoptive parents.
Michael Burnham is Spock's human, adopted sister. She was raised by Spock's parents (Vulcan Sarek and human Amanda) from the age of 6 after, I swear to God, Sarek seems to find her at the same Khitomer massacre that resulted in orphaned Klingon Mr. Worf (DS9, TNG) to be raised by Chekhov's brother Piotr and his half-Pakled wife Mrs. Piotr.  

The massacre isn't Khitomer but it might as well be because it's the same concept, re-used by the new Trek writers because Trek writers can no longer create new ideas. 

Spock's step-sister Michael Burnham has never been mentioned before the first episode of Discovery (2017) because she wasn't created until they started creating Discovery.

I wonder if she ever hung out with never-mentioned-before-1989 Sybok, Spock's half-brother only appearing (or ever mentioned before or since)  in 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. What weird family reunions the Mr. Spock Family must have every, I don't know, 11 years.

Anyway, Discovery is in the Mirror Universe, show and starship (did I mention that the ship on the show is named Discovery?). Discovery's Mushroom-Powered Dizzily Spinning Instantaneous Improbability Drive (R) has malfunctioned and sent them to the Mirror Universe, which at this point is easier to get to than the washroom down the hall.

Michael Michelle of Homicide: Life On the Street is so excited at meeting members of the  multi-species rebellion against the Terran Empire that she nearly gets everyone from her Discovery (show and ship!) killed so she can give a rousing speech to the Klingon who leads this 'good' rebellion. 

Lead the War of the Rings Rebellion I do!
I will call this Klingon 'Bitey.'

So, finally.

Is this Discovery episode meant to be ironic to all of us who've watched Trek for a million years and know just what that multi-species rebellion has become by the last time we see the Mirror Universe in a 1999 DS9 episode?

Is this Discovery episode meant to be taken at face value, which is to say, are we supposed to ignore DS9? Have the makers of Discovery ever watched DS9? Are they just ignoring it? Or, as noted above, is this a case of metafictional irony?

Do the writers of Discovery remember the two greatest lessons about the Mirror Universe taught to us by Discovery's superior forebears TOS and DS9?:

1) The Mirror Universe only makes sense when you don't try to make any sense of it.

M) Everyone in the Mirror-Universe is the dick version of themselves except when they were dicks in the original universe, in which case they are either nice or dicks depending on random plot necessities.

I'm betting against irony, but one can dream.

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