Star Trek - Discovery - 3.11: Su'Kal

Dave

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This was a weird and quite bizarre episode to put out on Christmas Day, and a cliff-hanger too!
Discovery ventures to the Verubin Nebula, where Burnham, Saru, and Culber make a shocking realization about the origin of the Burn; the rest of the crew faces an unexpected threat.
Hardly an unexpected threat! It's been signposted for most of this Season.

It was also most peculiar that Saru suddenly realised that the marks on the forehead of Dr. Issa were not radiation burns, but instead meant that she was pregnant. I mean, where exactly was he during the briefings about this. We are told that she cannot be the survivor because she would be too old, so the survivor must instead be her child. No one cares to ask how the child survived the radiation, was nurtured alone, or even that the child itself would be almost as old. Instead, they rush headlong into the Nebula without any real forward planning.

Inside the nebula is a planet of pure Dilithium, except that Discovery cannot penetrate far enough into the nebula without her shields collapsing from the ionizing radiation storm. So, Book takes his ship into the storm to find a safe position for Discovery to remain. His ship can also do the disassembling thing to avoid asteroids and all the pieces fly at the same velocity, in the same direction, with him in full control. You can tell this is the future, because that is indistinguishable from magic.

Burnham tells Book that she's worried about Saru. She says she thinks he cannot be objective with Kelpiens involved, and worries how he'll handle it if he has to make a hard call. From what we've observed so far in this series, he'll do so a lot better than when Michael has been called to do so, so this conversation just appears odd. She has resigned, was court-marshalled, and stood down from command.

Michael, Saru and Culber beam down to the Khi'eth but appear as different alien species: Culber has become Bajoran, Burnham is a Trill, but Saru is human. Burnham immediately recognises Culber is a Bajoran. Bajor First Contact has never been mentioned but would need to be no earlier than the 2290's and probably much later. Contact with Cardassians was certainly very much later. How does Burnham know what a Bajoran looks like? (Maybe it was the year she spent as a courier before Discovery arrived?)

They find the grown up Kelpian boy existing within holographic simulations that partly symbolise his trauma and his fears (including creepy forest and MC Escher ruin) and were constructed to educate and amuse him, but have malfunctioned for some considerable time. They also provided life-support and “preparation for arrival of anticipated input,” or rescue, to you and me! The boy, called Su'Kal has been in his holo-castle in the cloud for 125 years, 3 months, 17 days and 4 hours. We then get several surrealistic sequences, "fear demons," and stories from a old wise Kelpian.

When Su'Kal lets out a scream it begins to destabilise Discovery's Dilithium. They quickly realise that Su'Kal has fused with some technobabble subspace radiation/Dilithium planet during his in utero gestation resulting in more technobabble (possibly explaining his age) and also pointing to him technobabble triggering the original cause of 'The Burn'. You wanted Turkey for Christmas? They supplied it!

Meanwhile, Osyraa is back! She uses a Borg Transwarp tunnel, attacks Discovery with ease, and despite Tilly saying that it isn't over yet, it is all over, and she takes control of the ship pretty quickly. They deploy some snake-armed tentacled thing around Discovery, and some mind control tiaras to the crew. They then Spore Drive back to attack Federation HQ.

It beats me! They lost me with the fear demons.
 

farntfar

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I have a theory about the
The fear demon is almost certainly the real child and the Su'Kal they're speaking to a projection of his more rational self into the holomatrix. Or if you prefer he has split into 2 physical personalities
 

Alexa

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Weird episode indeed. If they believe Su'Kal is the source of the Burn, why not leave him behind ALONE ? All this save survivors at any cost beats me up.

Interesting that Saru wanted Michael to remain with Su'kal. Maybe he finally realises Michael cannot be saved from herself.

And why the hell Michael said Saru had to stay behind and the good doctor sacrified himself too ? They know they cannot survive in there. And save who ? That's not a child worth saving anymore and without anti radiation protection, they are doomed to die soon. (Hmm. Spock died in The Wrath of Khan because of his exposure to the dilithium crystals on the Enterprise, so the producer wants to kill somebody else in this series ?)

We expected Osyraa's atack for some time, as Dave said. However, I was under the impression everybody was looking for Dilithium. So why bother to take Discovery and leave so much Dilithium behind ?

Captain Tilly was great. I loved how she answered and tried to save Discovery. Not so bad second in command choice after all.

Book and Micheal will most probably save Culber, Saru and intrepid Adira. They cannot stay behind when the crew and Discovery have to be rescued.

Only the cat was missing from this episode. Is it still on Discovery or Book took it back on his ship ?

They better keep the promise and give us episode 12 next week. There will be no surprise if this season ends up in another cliffhanger and keep us busy gusesing what next in season 4.
 

Dave

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Only the cat was missing from this episode. Is it still on Discovery or Book took it back on his ship ?
The cat had to take the same radiation cure that Booker did. It's probably in hiding now, and Booker has been reported to the Intergalactic Society for the Protection of Animals.
 

Alexa

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But if Booker is out of his cure, the cat has to be too, hasn't it ?

No one from the Protection of Animals will have time to hunt Booker in the next episodes with Osyraa out there in charge of the spore drive.
 

REBerg

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Su'Kal has fused with some technobabble subspace radiation/Dilithium planet during his in utero gestation resulting in more technobabble (possibly explaining his age) and also pointing to him technobabble triggering the original cause of 'The Burn'. You wanted Turkey for Christmas? They supplied it!

An elderly child's emotional outburst as the cause of the burn? As an explanation for an extended mystery, this was a decidedly less than satisfying explanation.
The hologram set was spectacular, but the showrunners could have put a little less of the budget into the scenery and a little more into the writing.
Maybe they'll redeem themselves by making Su'Kal some sort of dilithium conduit between the planet and Starfleet. Nothing is impossible from the inventors of a mushroom-powered starship.

Captain Tilly was great. I loved how she answered and tried to save Discovery. Not so bad second in command choice after all.

The showdown between Osyraa and the untested Captain Tilly was the episode highlight for me. I was afraid that she would crumble, but she did an admirable job of defying the surly Emerald Chain commander. She just couldn't buy enough time to restore the Discovery's shields before it was boarded by the chain gang.

They better keep the promise and give us episode 12 next week. There will be no surprise if this season ends up in another cliffhanger and keep us busy gusesing what next in season 4.

Yeah, why the cliffhanger here when they still have episodes slated for Dec. 31 and Jan. 7?
 

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