@triseult I feel much the same way and this decision to so quickly take the ship back to Earth further reinforces my sense that the writing team has far too little awareness of the size of bite the showrunners are expecting them to chew. The first two episodes worked because we had zero expectations for what we were being shown. Sure there were a few familiar touchstones to remind us that we were still in the same universe, but mostly we were flying blind in a way that hadn't really been felt since TOS and the first three seasons of TNG. I, for one, was enjoying that and cautiously optimistic that the series had turned a corner and had learned from its earlier missteps.

In this episode they chose to take us to the very place where we have very legitimate rights to a myriad of expectations and very predictably failed to meet almost all of them. Whether you were hoping for the latent spirit of the Federation to reassert itself (even just a little) in response to the earnest idealism of their unexpected guests or to show signs of the abrupt socio-economic regression we've seen so clearly at our first two stops on this journey, I have little doubt that you were equally disappointed. Instead we saw what appeared to be a fairly stable society with ample resources whose response to a widespread crisis seemed to be little more than building a big wall around itself, hanging "No Vacancy," "No Services," and "No Loitering" signs on it in every direction, and turning an intentionally deaf ear to any who dared knock on the door anyway with barely any interest in first learning their intentions for doing so. If that's what I was after I would've just turned on any U.S. TV news channel or picked up a newspaper.

Lastly I want to voice some mounting frustration over the fact that they continue to miss such obvious plot details and apparently think we all must be too dumb to notice. The one stuck in my craw here is from their arrival in the Terran solar system, where we see Discovery re-emerge into normal space at a point that appeared to be just beyond the orbit of Saturn. Earlier in the episode a point of agreement seemed to be reached that in order to attract as little attention as possible they would jump to a point that was outside the range of planetary sensors, which I anticipated would mean somewhere so far past the Oort Cloud that they'd need to use magnification on the viewscreen just to visualize the solar system. Instead we see that it's a spot that's just a few minutes away from Earth on impulse, and to sell that further the captain of the Border Patrol appears completely ignorant of major events that have occurred on a colony located on one of Saturn's moons.

I won't detail how ridiculous that all is to believe for the 23rd century Earth they just left, or even our own primitive capabilities, let alone for a 32ND CENTURY planet with over a millenia of FTL space exploration under its belt. That level of sloppiness would greatly irritate me for a show delivered under the old network television model they was served by a cable/satellite aggregator, but it leaves me just short of incensed for one that now expects cash up front for just its own (currently underwhelming) slate of content. All of this is compounded by things like a protagonist that suddenly seems at best ambivalent towards her participation in the ship's mission and a complete whiff on the chance to build on the curiosity they managed to spark in Episode 1 regarding the Booker character. Instead they went to great lengths to highlight the fact that Burnam has become quite attached to and comfortable around him to a greater extent than we may have ever seen her do so with the crew of Discovery, complete with tactical shorthand for maneuvers they'd done when they were on his ship together to the fact that they made barely a token feint at modesty before changing clothes in front of each other.

The fact that I as a viewer was completely ambivalent about whether she stayed aboard as first officer or left with Booker is ultimately what feels like the biggest failure on display. Even though it would've been unforgivably out of character, I was silently hoping that when she told Saru that she was genuinely (paraphrasing) feeling unmoored relative to their pre-time travel solidarity that he would react by saying "Well, if that's how you really feel, then as Discovery's new captain I'm rescinding my offer and strongly advising you to kick rocks. My crew is having a hard enough time holding themselves together and the last thing they need is a first officer who half wishes she was off doing something (or someone, perhaps?) else. Goodbye and thanks for all the fish."

Son of a b****, it's like watching Voyager for the first time all over again! FML.

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