Star Trek finally has a Christmas episode as Georgiou is haunted by the ghosts of series past and series yet to come. Star Trek Discovery S3E10 Terra Firma Part 2 Review

Star Trek Discovery S3E10 Review

*SPOILERS*

I mean, when you think of “Star Trek”, you think of torture porn, right? It’s the purest expression of the Roddenberian vision to embrace the cartoonishly superficial trappings of fascism for shits and giggles, right? “Terra Firma Part 2” picks up where the previous episode left off, with Georgiou and the audience trapped in the nightmarish subversion of everything “Star Trek” stands for but only after having reminded us that there are still other storylines ongoing, storylines this episode has little interest in furthering until the very end.

Star Trek Discovery Terra Firma Part 2 Review
Too late, Burnham realised she hadn’t switched the controls around in the Fortress of Solitude after all.

Can we accept redemption of a character who’s had no redemption arc? Who’s shown little in the way of contrition for a lifetime of murder, genocide and sentient cannibalism? Although she’s reigned in her worst instincts during her time in the Prime universe, it’s clearly been a survival strategy to enable her to keep her freedom. This is evidenced by her willingness to joke about how much easier things would be if she could just murder and brutalise people to get whatever the crews’ objective is. At some point, you have to question the fundamental wrongness of treating a psychopathic killer as a petulant teen who just needs a hug and some understanding to be brought back into the fold, something the showrunners are, by this point, willfully ignoring.

Star Trek Discovery Terra Firma Part 2 Review
Dude, you’ve totally been lied to about puberty…

The worst of it is: the episode itself isn’t even very good. It so desperately wants to be “Game Of Thrones”-in-space but it’s all so tediously predictable, bluntly edgy and stabbily violent that it comes across like a troubled cry-for-help fanfiction that should earn its parents’-basement-dwelling author a regular appointment with a psychotherapist. There’s no tension in the betrayals and double-crosses and as the body count rises, so too does your awareness that this can’t possibly be ‘real’. One familiar face that doesn’t reappear – despite being mentioned nearly constantly – is Jason Isaac’s Lorca. A cameo reappearance from him would have given this underwhelming wannabe landmark story an actual sense of event but as it is we’re left with Mary Wiseman’s ability to be about as fearsome and intimidating as Care-a-Lot’s Grumpy Bear.

Star Trek Discovery Terra Firma Part 2 Review
Hold still, I just need to check your temperature before you can come in…

By the end (and by ‘end’ I mean fifteen minutes short of the episode run time) verges on the ‘fuck it – anything goes’ attitude to offing familiar characters that “Dallas” had after they’d made the decision to bring back Patrick Duffy and consign the whole season to being Pam Ewing’s nightmare because Georgiou is about to get a wake-up call: a reminder that she’s due to headline her own series.

Star Trek Discovery Terra Firma Part 2 Review
If you want a clue to Georgiou’s fate, I suggest turning to the TV listings…

You know how Will Ferrel reacts in “The Lego Movie” when he discovers his kid has been playing carelessly with his precious toys? That’s kind of how I feel when “Star Trek: Discovery” reaches out and clumsily grabs an iconic piece of lore to use as a narrative crowbar to prise themselves out of a jam of their own making. Admittedly, the explanation of how and why the Guardian of Forever ended up on this world is a neat one and the recreation of the look of it is great.

It’s weird, though, that having delivered this ‘big moment’ “Terra Firma Part 2” immediately cuts away to pick up those other storylines that had been dropped so unceremoniously last week. Perhaps it’s another lowkey tribute to Trek series of the past, evoking “Star Trek The Next Generation” two-parter “Birthright” which similarly didn’t have enough plot to fill a whole two episodes so was padded out by a disconnected supporting feature?

Star Trek Discovery Terra Firma Part 2 Review
Say “Hi” to Joan Collins for us!

Does “Terra Firma Part 2” count as Discovery’s Christmas episode? It’s perilously close to homaging “A Christmas Carol” with the Guardian Of Forever acting as the ghost of Christmases past and future. Then again, Scrooge may have been a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone and a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner but he never – as far as Dickens let on – violently wiped out entire populations or dined on his workers (although he did compare the size of a goose to Tiny Tim, so make up your own mind).

The episode ends with a hagiographic eulogy of Georgiou while the pieces are set in place for a resumption of the season arc next week. Hopefully, dilithium shortage or no, the series can recover the momentum it lost during this ‘Space Hitler Holiday Special’.

trek score 5

5/10

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2 Comments

  1. Rodney Twelftree December 20, 2020

    I think, at this point, I’m over my investment in Discovery for now. It’s as if they’re making it up as they go along, each episode. Hell, each episode contains a hundred scenes of indeterminate links to the next, they’re so hodgepodge.

    Frankly, aside from the flashy visuals and cool costumes this series bears little resemblance to any Trek I care to consider as worthwhile.

    • The Craggus December 20, 2020

      I’d give it at least next week’s episode to see if it manages to get back on track (although it is Christmas, so maybe give yourself a week off)

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