When I was in the Navy, I learned that nuclear technicians have a tendency to overthink a problem when there are much simpler solutions. We called the phenomenon "nuking" a problem. The article entitled "In Plain Sight: How White Supremacy, Misogyny, and Hate Targeted the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy and Won" is certainly nuking it.
While it's research and length is initially somewhat impressive, it's obvious from the start that the author(s) wrote that article already believing that the problem we have with the films was it's diversity. Within their first paragraphs they speak of how The Last Jedi was "a film that dares to move culture into a more diverse and hopeful future. And in response, the film has been faced with an organized hate campaign against it."
And now they will manipulate the facts to meet this bias. I read the entire article and I wanted to point out a few things:
They start with a "Timeline of Outrage" that begins in 1984 when Rush Limbaugh started his radio show.
Wait... Rush Limbaugh? What does this have to do with Star Wars?
The problem with this timeline is that these events aren't reliant on each other and have nothing to do with the Star Wars franchise. Rush Limbaugh starting his radio show in 1984 did not cause or lead to criticism of the Last Jedi in 2017.
They follow Rush until 1996 when Bill O'Reilly starts his show - another unrelated event which has nothing to do with criticism of Star Wars or the sequel trilogy. In fact, none of this timeline is relevant to their argument until 2006 when YouTube launches.
They also seem to be missing very important events between 1999 and 2005. Namely the release of the prequel trilogy. In fact, they don't even mention the Disney buyout in 2012. Instead they talk about how Breitbart launched "Breitbart tech", further trying to link things that have no links. I searched the article for key words like "phantom" "clone" "revenge" "sith" "empire" and "vader". There is absolutely no mention of the prequel trilogy, or the original trilogy for that matter.
Why would they leave out the 2012 buyout? I mean, Disney's ownership of Lucas Film is a large factor in how people saw the direction of the franchise. It was big news when it happened and was met with a mix of joy and dread. None of that history is in this article.
There's no Star Wars in their timeline.
The author(s) of this article sees the Star Wars fandom through a strictly political spectrum, rather than as a group of people who remember being taken to a galaxy far far away as children. Why else would someone use this political media history instead of the history of how Star Wars fans reacted to the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy? Possibly because realizing that fan criticism of the franchise had started as far back as 1980 - 4 years before Rush Limbaugh had a radio show - would ruin their entire argument.
Let's make a timeline that makes more sense.
A New Hope (originally just called Star Wars) was released in 1977 to very positive reviews, making $775.8 million at the box office from an $11 million budget. Roger Ebert praised the film with one minor criticism, "And perhaps that helps to explain the movie's one weakness, which is that the final assault on the Death Star is allowed to go on too long. Maybe, having invested so much money and sweat in his special effects, Lucas couldn't bear to see them trimmed."
The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980 to mostly positive reviews, though there were some negative comments beginning to pop up. Ebert had a problem with Chewbacca, saying he was "thrown into the first film as window dressing, was never thought through, and as a result has been saddled with one facial expression and one mournful yelp".
The Daily Telegraph, Eric Shorter wrote “(T)hey assure us that their latest offering is only episode five in a nine-part saga ... Meanwhile what we get on the screen is the usual emphatic pride in machinery and paucity of characterisation that marks so much space fiction. Who are these people? What are they up to? Why is it so hard to care what happens to them? If you ever saw and committed to memory Star Wars such questions may seem naively exacting, since this episode reintroduces many of the figures and fantasies from the earlier film.”
Pauline Kael wrote "I’m not sure I’m up for seven more Star Wars adventures, but I can hardly wait for the next one."
So by 1980, four years before Rush Limbaugh starts his radio show, people were already complaining about certain aspects of Star Wars. Yet the author(s) believe that Limbaugh led to Breitbart which led to Gamer-Gate, which was something that centered around a relationship gone bad. They claim all of that created some blueprint for hating the Last Jedi, or the Sequel Trilogy. What a stretch of the imagination. The cognitive dissonance one needs to maintain to try and hold up this myth that the only people who didn't like the movies were bigots, and the lengths they go to twist the facts to fit this narrative is colossal.
Return of the Jedi was released in 1983 and while financially successful, there were some mixed reviews:
"Although it was great fun re-watching Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back again on the big screen, Return of the Jedi doesn't generate the same sense of enjoyment. And, while Lucas worked diligently to re-invigorate each entry into the trilogy, Jedi needs more than the patches of improved sound, cleaned-up visuals, and a few new scenes." - James Berardinelli
Most of the negativity came from the reveal of the Ewoks and even today people still go back and fourth over whether or not it was really good. In a recent Vice article from 2018 mentions that Return of the Jedi was "derided as a lazy re-write of A New Hope that relied on the same plot device (the Death Star) to drive the action, suffered from the return of George Lucas’ stilted dialogue, used Ewok teddy bears to shamelessly sell toys, and employed the tired “nature versus technology” moralizing."
Hmmm... that sounds... familiar.
The movies were later remastered and re-released in theaters, starting with A New Hope in 1997. While the purpose was to clean up the movie's quality and special effects, George Lucas made a number of changes to the films, including the infamous "who shot first" scene between Greedo and Han Solo. This upset many fans who remembered seeing Han shoot first in the original release, but now see Greedo shooting first. Ever since then, a "despecialized" cut of the original Star Wars trilogy has been floating around the internet.
Then in 1999, the Phantom Menace came out to some pretty negative reviews except now, the internet existed, which meant that now anybody could start a web page and blog about what they thought of the movie. Not just professional critics like Ebert, who, while praising the technological achievement of the film, wasn't into the scene where Anakin had to say goodbye to his mother, "The film's shakiness on the psychological level is evident, however, in the scene where young Anakin is told he must leave his mother (Pernilla August) and follow this tall Jedi stranger. Their mutual resignation to the parting seems awfully restrained. I expected a tearful scene of parting between mother and child, but the best we get is when Anakin asks if his mother can come along, and she replies, "Son, my place is here." As a slave?"
While the original trilogy did receive criticism, that criticism paled compared to the criticism this movie received, which seems to have had an effect on some of the actors. The boy who played Anakin in this film, Jake Lloyd, was bullied in school after playing this role which led him to quit acting. Even today, people have a hard time seeing the future Darth Vader going "Yippee!"
However, the biggest complaints were about Jar Jar Binks. His clumsiness and his silly speak seemed to rub fans the wrong way. They hated him. They went as far as to accuse George Lucas of racial stereotypes, which both Lucas and Ahmed Best, the actor who played Jar Jar, denied. Years later, Best opened up about how playing that character affected him negatively to the point of suicidal thoughts.
Attack of the Clones came out in 2002 and the complaints continued. Ebert was clearly losing interest in the films. He gave only 2 out of 4 stars and wrote "as someone who admired the freshness and energy of the earlier films, I was amazed, at the end of "Episode II," to realize that I had not heard one line of quotable, memorable dialogue. And the images, however magnificently conceived, did not have the impact they deserved."
By Revenge of the Sith, the criticism became brutal. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers wrote: "Drink the Kool-Aid. Wear blinders. Cover your ears. Because that’s the only way you can totally enjoy Revenge of the Sith — the final and most futile attempt from skilled producer, clumsy director and tin-eared writer George Lucas to create a prequel trilogy to match the myth-making spirit of the original Wars saga he unleashed twenty-eight years ago."
"Heralded for its savagery (my God, it's rated PG-13), the film follows Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen - to merely call him wooden is an affront to puppets everywhere) as he loses his limbs and his conscience and takes on the evil mantle of Darth Vader."
Ebert said, "The dialogue throughout the movie is once again its weakest point: The characters talk in what sounds like Basic English, without color, wit or verbal delight, as if they were channeling Berlitz."
George Lucas had originally intended to make 9 movies, but after the criticism of the prequel trilogy, he had seemingly changed his mind. While he had seemed to grow weary of the criticisms, to his credit, he never attacked the fans. However, after talks with Disney CEO Bob Iger in 2011, Lucas sold Lucas Film to Disney in 2012, who promised to make the last three films.
Meanwhile, in that other timeline, they're talking about how Steve Banon took over for Andrew Breitbart when he died in 2012, as if this is what starts the road to criticism of The Last Jedi, lol!
There also seems to be a lot of lying in this article. For instance, the author claims ItchyBacca has published "a slew of white supremacist articles on their blog". That's not true at all. The funniest part is that while there are links in every other sentence in that article, there is no link to his Disney Star Wars is Dumb page, probably to discourage you from checking for yourself.
Just to make sure, I went on his page and read every article this year that had the word "white" in it. What I found was that he points out tweets where people are dismissing others arguments because they came from a white person. He'll often ask things like "But one has to wonder if Cavan has performed the exercise whereby you take any of Krystina’s comments, and exchange the word “white” for any other ethnicity. Though it’s debatable that he would learn anything from that even if he did."
I've found articles such as "E.K. Johnston (Star Wars Author)Wants White Women To Stop Ruining Things". Yet I see no indication that he thinks white people are superior, nor is it even implied - consciously or not. The author(s) states that ItchyBacca's site "gets to the heart of what hate against The Last Jedi, in particular, is really about: the battle to preserve “white” culture."
The only thing that I get from reading these articles is that ItchyBacca is a conservative who feels like he's publishing hate speech from liberals who like the sequel trilogy, and are trying to use race to dismiss those who don't. He does resort to name-calling at times, but that's a far cry from "a slew of white supremacist articles".
Another lie has to do with an attack on a Furry convention in 2014. The author(s) wrote, "It should also be noted that during this same year, a chlorine bombing attack at Mid-West Fur Fest linked to Nazi radicalization in the furry community put 19 people in the hospital."
The problem is that the gas attack occurred in 2014 and was never "linked to Nazi radicalization in the furry community". In fact, according to the Wikipedia page of the event, nobody was ever charged with the attack. However, the author(s) try to use a 2017 Vice article that made a loose reference to the 2014 attack as an excuse to link the bombing to "Nazis" without any evidence.
Honestly though, what the hell does what happens at a Furry convention have to do with criticism of The Last Jedi? None. Yet, rather than use their mental gymnastics to try and further link the two, instead they quickly move onto "How Far Right Hate Turns Into Fact", or in other words:
Spoiler alert: All "How Far Right Hate Turns Into Fact" talks about is the hashtags, boycotts, downvotes and other methods we use to get heard. They do list a few other things, but "an alarming media culture that puts profits over facts" is more of a societal condition than what someone would do to turn hate into "facts". "(T)he use of socks, bots, and super users" is an interesting one. The article it links to claims that over 50% of "those tweeting negatively was likely politically motivated or not even human". Yet it also claimed that "most fans aren’t so dissatisfied with The Last Jedi that they’re going to boycott any new Star Wars films."
Finally, "a lack of education about how to navigate online spaces, especially those under political attack" talks about downvoting and review-bombing. I'm not exactly sure why they see it as a problem because both sides actually do it. In fact, YouTube welcomes this and uses it to help their algorithms decide what to feature. If I like something, I may upvote it and leave a comment. If I don't like it, or if it is somehow offensive to me, I may downvote it.
If you put out a video claiming the Earth is flat, or that some race is superior to another, or that The Last Jedi (or Star Trek Discovery) is good, I will probably downvote your video. Furthermore, if a corporation does something to upset me (like fire Gina Carano), I have every right to boycott that corporation. I have every right to encourage others to boycott it as well. I have every right to let them know how disappointed I am, through these peaceful methods of hashtags, boycotts and downvotes. When Solo lost money, it was the free market speaking. Not racists.
It's not white supremacy to have a negative feedback about a tv show or a movie. It's just fandom. In this case, a fandom that has been around since 1977 who simply misses the great story telling that brought the original Star Wars to life. We've been complaining about certain aspects of the franchise since 1980. The only difference was that our political beliefs didn't factor into our entertainment back then. To some it still doesn't.
There is way much more "data" that they analyze, signifying nothing. When I realized that the bias in this article is so nakedly on display - the labeling, the linking of events that have nothing to do with one another, and the lack of actual Star Wars history, along with the outright lies - I realized that I didn't have to work too hard to debunk this. I don't need to nuke it to know it's bullshit.
So why did this group put out this hit piece on YouTubers who are critical of the sequel trilogy and in particular, The Last Jedi? While I'm sure there is still some good in these people (Luke never gave up on Vader), there seems to be a trend of using racism, sexism, etc. as an excuse to dismiss people who disagree with them on just about any sort of issue. Originally, that type of crap was isolated to the topics of politics and religion. The reason why politics and religion are so difficult to discuss for some is because people often judge each other's morality over such topics. That somehow has permeated to pop culture. You don't like a show that has bad story-telling? It must be because you're an alt-right Nazi who hates diversity and not because of the bad story-telling. Utterly ridiculous.
I realized that some of these people think that going on Twitter and calling people racists was a form of activism. Real activism is hard and will take its toll on a person, so this is easier for them. They think that finding people who use terms they think are dog whistles, or constantly mocking them for thinking the wrong way, is somehow the equivalent of actual activists who work tirelessly against all hope to organize in order to change the laws for the better.
This faux-activism they've been doing though became so vitriolic, that I began reading physical threats in the comments of YouTube videos. I soon began writing the occasional article about how Star Trek Discovery fans treat those who dislike the show. This eventually led those Discovery fans to do their best to label and black list me from Star Trek community pages on Facebook. All it did though, was push me towards the very channels they're now trying to libel as white supremacists. I've seen actual racism as well as real activism. This is not the way. If they want to be real activists, they can go get arrested for a good cause.
There are a lot of problems with Discovery, from the Klingons to the canon to the lighting and the writing. However, I decided to ignore all of that and just focus on one character. Michael Burnham is the main character of Star Trek Discovery and after three seasons, I wanted to see how much her character had grown. This turned into a character analysis of her which includes her hero's journeys for season one and three. There are a lot of flaws and shortcuts within her hero's journey and thus not much growth seems to actually happen. In fact, she seems to keep making the same mistakes, but they end up working out for her because it's in the script. Let's take a journey though the life of Michael Burnham.
Michael Burnham was born on Earth in 2226 to Mike and Gabrielle Burnham. Her parents worked for Section 31 on a suit that could travel through time. In 2236, Klingons attacked their outpost. Michael, hiding in a cabinet, heard them kill her father and thought she heard them kill her mother. Now orphaned, Michael was adopted by Sarek and Amanda Grayson and raised on Vulcan as one of their own. Vulcan logic extremists didn't like this, so they bombed Michael's learning center, effectively killing her for three minutes until Sarek saved her with a mind meld.
In 2245 and at the age of 19, Burnham attended the Vulcan Science Academy and graduated with the Vulcan Scientific Legion of Honor, but when she applied to join the Vulcan Expeditionary Group, she was rejected for being human. Unsure of her future, Sarek in his role as Ambassador, asked Starfleet Captain Philippa Georgiou of the USS Shenzhou to take Burnham in, which she agreed to. In their first meeting, Georgiou told Burnham that her "confidence" (Hubris in my opinion.) was justified, so the shitty attitude was probably encouraged by Georgiou from the start. Burnham served as Georgiou's xenoanthropologist for seven years, eventually becoming her first officer by 2256.
There seems to be a missing story within that seven years - Character growth that we've never seen. When Burnham and Georgiou first meet, Burnham is very Vulcan like: Calm, reserved... unintentionally rude at times. Yet there was a large change in her personality that they never explain. After seven years, she now has the attitude of a top gun pilot or a dare devil rather than a Vulcan or a Starfleet officer. It's at this point of her life where the show introduces us to Burnham.
Burnham's relationship with Captain Georgiou feels like a strong mentorship. Captain Georgiou herself feels like the embodiment of a Starfleet officer and behaves as such. She allows Burnham and Saru to butt heads, but usually defers to Burnham's judgement. She also believes Burnham is ready for a command of her own and tells her so. However, still being introduced to Burnham, you soon realize that her "confidence" gets the best of her. As first officer of the Shenzhou, Burnham is extremely rude to fellow crewmembers such as Saru, who at this time was a Liuetenent-Commander. At one point when Saru was having issues imaging a ship, Commander Burnham pushed him to the side and took over the console just to read what was on the console, with little analysis.
But then something strange happens, and I can't understand why Burnham can't keep her emotions in check, seeing as she was raised in Vulcan as a Vulcan. When the Shenzhou encountered a Klingorc ship near a damaged interstellar relay, Burnham suddenly abandons logic and practically pleads with Georgiou to fire on the ship. Captain Georgiou, trained as a Starfleet officer, refuses to do so, reminding her that "Starfleet doesn't fire first".
The Hero's Journey and the Call To Action
This is the beginning of Burnham's "hero journey", a cycle of story-telling that usually brings challenges and development to a character. People like seeing characters grow. We loved watching Thor grow from a petulant prince who wanted to fight anything that defied him, to a wise king who gave up his kingdom in search for new adventure. We loved watching Luke Skywalker grow from a young man gazing wantingly into the double sunrise, to the wise Jedi who saves Han from the Hutts and ultimately his father from the dark side. This usually starts with a call to action. For Thor, that was when the frost giants disrupted his ceremony where he was to be named King of Asgard. For Luke, it was when he saw the hologram of Princess Leia asking for Obi-wan's help.
For Michael Burnham however, that call to action was seeing that Klingorc ship first hand and wanting to fire on them. Given, the idea to fire on them came from Sarek, yet the amount of faith she put into that idea felt very illogical. With Burnham's Vulcan training out the window, she tells Georgiou that when it came to relationships with Vulcans and Klingorcs, "Violence brought respect and respect brought peace".
Yet if every time you see Klingorcs, you fire first in fear of them firing first, that's not exactly "peace". She also disobeys her doctor when she leaves sickbay while being treated for radiation to tell Georgiou about the Klingorcs. Why didn't she just use the coms system to let Georgiou know from sickbay? Why did she have to endanger herself and everybody else in her irradiated state? Where's the logic in that? Maybe if she was also Starfleet trained, she would have had the counseling needed to get past her early trauma. (She denies that her early trauma is the issue to Georgiou as well as Sarek in their long distance holo-call.) Once Georgiou made up her mind to not fire on the Klingorcs, Burnham completely loses control and yells "WE HAVE TO!" at her captain, in front of the whole bridge.
Georgiou is so taken aback with Burnham's emotional outburst that she takes her to the ready-room to discuss her actions. She orders Burnham to stand down, but she responds by neck pinching Georgiou and knocking her out. Burnham then returns to the bridge and attempts a mutiny by ordering the crew to fire on the Klingorc ship. When Saru questions her, she's extra snappy to him and threatens to remove him. Just before the ship is able to fire on the Klingorc vessel though, Georgiou arrives on the bridge with a phaser and orders Burnham to stand down once again. She does this time and is taken to the brig.
Klingorc and Starfleet reinforcements arrive and the battle of the Binary Stars begins, leaving Starfleet ships including the Shenzhou, in shambles. (Which binary stars? There are tons of them in our galaxy.) Meanwhile, Burnham is in the brig when it is heavily damaged by hull breaches. She figures out a way to mindfuck the computer into letting her go. Upon release Burnham survives in the vacuum of space for 6 seconds, which IS scientifically possible. However when we see her on the bridge again, she's undamaged.
Saru finds a way to heavily damage the Klingorc ship while Burnham and Georgiou, setting the mutiny aside for the moment, plans to kidnap the Klingorc leader. This goes south when Georgiou is killed by the Klingorc leader and Burnham kills him in vengeance, making him a martyr to the Klingorcs. Burnham then is returned to the Shenzhou where she orders to abandon ship and is later tried for her mutiny.
With her call to action having failed, Burnham is stripped of her rank and sentenced to life in prison. This would have been the end of it if the next step in the hero's journey didn't happen. Six months after her sentencing, Burnham and a few other prisoners are being transported via shuttle craft when the pilot dies. The shuttlecraft is saved when a large Pizza Cutter class ship tractor beams it into its shuttle bay. Burnham is then taken to the captain's ready room where she meets the next step in her hero's journey: The mentor.
Captain Lorca briefly explains to Burnham that he has an assignment for her, and after initially declining, she reluctantly accepts his offer to help. This is where we cross the threshold into what is known as "the special world", now helping The Pizza Cutter Discovery to try and win the Klingon War that she started. The problem here is that her mentor turns out to be the villain of the season - part of the mirror universe - so he doesn't actually do any kind of mentoring. Instead, he gives her opportunities that she doesn't deserve in an attempt to return to the mirror universe. He's basically the shortcut through her road of trials.
Road of Trials
The road of trials is where she'll start to gain allies and overcome challenges. Burnham goes to her quarters and meets her roommate Silvia Tilly, but Burnham isn't interested in Tilly's chit-chat and after learning that Burnham is the famous mutineer, Tilly distances herself. The next day Saru, now a commander, escorts Burnham to her work station and she attempts to apologize for her past actions, for which Saru responds by calling her dangerous and saying he fears her. When she enters the work station, she is met with coldness from everyone there including Tilly. She then meets Paul Stamets who gives her some code to work on and tells her to go away. When she comes back with the fix, he accuses her of lurking. (She was.)
So how does Burnham overcome these obstacles to gain her allies? By allowing her to go on an away mission and giving her a phaser.
Lorca gets a message that the crew of their sister ship had been lost and asks Stamets to take Burnham with him to retrieve the science stuff, but Stamets objects to taking her on the mission. Lorca asks Saru of his assessment of Burnham and he says "Her mutiny aside, she is the smartest Starfleet officer I have ever known" so Stamets reluctantly takes her on the boarding party. Burnham also requests that Tilly come with them.
Thankful for the opportunity, Cadet Tilly apologizes to Burnham for being distant. They still don't completely trust her but they're reluctantly working with her because Lorca and Saru trust her. They get on the sister ship and discover a large tardigrade. They're able to run to the spore room and lock themselves in, but the tardigrade beats on the door while they gather supplies and phaser the back door open. Burnham asks for a phaser and after a minor objection, unbelievably gets tossed one. She shoots the tardigrade when it busts through the front door and it begins chasing her through the Jefferies tubes, leaving the rest of the party unharmed. The boarding party get to the shuttle bay and Burnham joins them through the tubes and they escape. After this, Saru now sees her as a "valuable asset" and a "loss to Starfleet" but Lorca invites her to stay on the Pizza Cutter, so she's not going anywhere now.
Thus she overcame her initial obstacle of getting people to trust her by just having people like Saru and Lorca and the guy who tossed his phaser to her, blindly trust her when things got a little jumpy. We later learn that Lorca wanting Burnham on the boarding party, was actually at Saru's request and I have no idea why Saru would even want to give her a chance after the way she has treated him on the Shenzhou, even after the apology. Why call someone dangerous and then request they go on a boarding party? That makes no sense. We'll learn later on that a simple apology never meant that Michael Burnham had learned her lesson about following orders.
So now that everybody trusts Burnham again, Lorca opens up about the spore drive, Tilly starts to bond with her and Burnham decides to stay on the Pizza Cutter.
Next step is the approach, which is the majority of the first season. This is a highly convoluted section of the season that includes Burnham's relationship with Ash, Harry Mudd killing everybody multiple times until Burnham kills herself, Ash killing Culber, then trying to kill Burnham and the detour into the mirror universe where Lorca dies. It's a lot of confusing stuff that happens that is mostly filler, so we just wont get into it any further than that. When they leave the mirror universe, nine months have passed in their universe and the Klingorcs have nearly won the war.
We are now at the ordeal, where the climax usually happens. Evil Georgiou is now posing as Captain Georgiou and has taken control of the Discovery. She wants to plant a bomb in the underground volcanic tunnels of Qo'nos which will make it uninhabitable and end the war, but tells the crew they're gonna plant a drone for surveillance purposes. They then jump to Qo'nos and beam onto the planet's surface, but Tilly finds out that the "drone" is actually a bomb. Georgiou knocks out Tilly, takes the bomb and plants it. Burnham, who got the news from Tilly after they revived her, talks to an admiral who admits that Georgiou is acting under Starfleet orders. Is this confusing yet?
Then Burnham - in a fabulous display of how unself-aware one can be - admits she was wrong to mutiny when she did. She then threatens ANOTHER mutiny! Showing that she's learned absolutely nothing throughout these entire 15 episodes! I mean, even if you're gonna force a situation where she had to make that choice, at least have her struggle through it! Seeing as the situations are different, having her struggle through this one could have given her a brand new perspective on the idea of mutiny that could have counted as character development.
Instead, she threatens the admiral with another mutiny and nobody has a problem with it this time. Saru, forgetting how shitty Burnham was to him during the last one, then stands up with Burnham and declares "We are Starfleet". Saru seems like a smart character until he does shit like this. After everybody on the bridge stands up in solidarity, the admiral stands down and asks Burnham for an alternative plan.
For threatening a second mutiny, Burnham is rewarded and the admiral gives her alternative plan the okay. Burnham then beams down to tell Georgiou that the plan has changed. Georgiou, who has the detonator, asserts that she is nothing like the captain that Burnham knew, but gives her a chance to join her in destroying Qo'nos. Burnham then takes Georgiou's phaser and aims it at her chest, saying that if she does detonate the bomb, she'll have to kill her to escape. After a couple of seconds of tension, Georgiou drops the phaser and gives up the detonator. I really don't know why there needed to be tension here except because the script said so. Burnham seems right about everything all the time, even calling the evil Emperor Georgiou's bluff.
As a result, a Klingorc named L'Rell is given the detonator by Burnham and Georgiou and she uses it to rule over Qo'nos. I don't know how that solution is at all in line with the values of Starfleet, but whatever, I'm just here to analyze Burnham's character. Ash, who Burnham had a relationship with until he tried to kill her, tells her that he's staying with L'Rell, who used to rape him. (Apparently all is forgiven?) They have this long emotional good-bye that lingers a little too long and Burnham beams back onto the Pizza Cutter.
*sigh* (Sorry, I needed a moment the breathe here because the action happens so quick, you're supposed to forget everything that happened before.) Burnham then returns to Earth and meets with her mother, who she thanks for not giving up on her. She then has a talk with her father who tells her that her record has been expunged and gives her back her Starfleet commander badge.
Burnham speaks at a ceremony where she talks about how to beat fear and she says that the only way to beat fear is to "simply tell it no", which sounds like something a teenager would say. Her speech at the end of the first season is word-salad that is designed to sound intelligent and resolute, but comes off as childish and inexperienced. The whole bridge crew, including Burnham get medals of honor and once she's done with her speech, everybody cheers.
You're telling me that nobody was still pissed that she started that war? You're telling me that the possible millions of people who died in this war didn't have family members who still blamed her? Did Starfleet get absolutely no blowback for expunging her record and giving her rank back as well as a medal? I don't get how she earned all of this back while learning very little wisdom in return. I would have had more respect for the character if in the end she said "I'd like to go back and finish my sentence" and did so. It would have shown humility and wisdom which was something she was lacking in the beginning and is still lacking.
We're back on the Pizza Cutter which is warping to Vulcan to take Sarek back when they get a distress signal. Burnham is shocked when she sees the registry and says "It's the USS Enterprise" and then we see something that is NOT the Enterprise. Fin.
Pseudo-Rant at the laziness of Burnham's Hero's Journey
There's a lot of cheating when it came to writing the character of Michael Burnham. She's Spock's adopted sister, so as a diplomat's daughter, she was privileged from the start. She's so powerful, she can beat up Klingons twice her size. How does she get out of prison? She has an evil captain free her.
How does she gain the trust of allies? That's easy because Lorca and Saru trust her, even though Saru initially feared her after the mutiny. How does she get through the ordeal of her hero's journey? By threatening to do the exact thing she did in her call to action, which was to mutiny, without even an internal struggle to show how much she's grown.
Burnham has technically died three times. Once as a child, once in season one when she eats the ball that Mudd says can kill you and once in season two as a way to bring the Red Angel to her. I don't count the death in season three as one because it happened in the mirror universe. Yet she always comes back to life, which never really makes sense, but would very much feed into Burnham's messiah complex that Book admits she has.
Burnham's only actual character shift in season one was that she became nicer to Saru and doesn't let Klingorcs trigger her anymore. Which I guess is SOME development, but certainly not enough to expunge someone of their criminal record. In the end, she never really paid for her mutiny and the deaths that it caused. She got her rank back, she got Georgiou back, and now she's off to get her "brother" Spock back to teach him how to be Spock.
The hero's journey cycles into season two which is so convoluted, I'm skipping it, except to say that she basically becomes a super hero in the end that takes Discovery into the future and the entire crew is down to follow her, even though she was still insubordinate to Captain Cristopher Pike. The cycle is there in season three, but a lot of it happens out of order. She's first taken into the new world when she enters that wormhole in the Red Angel suit and travels over eight hundred years into the future. She meets her new mentor, Book, who tells her about the Burn, which becomes her call to action. The call to action is normally the first step. It feels like there was never any focus or direction to each season.
Is she more expressive? Yeah, it seems like after criticism that Burnham's expressions were wooden in the first two seasons, they decided to just drop the whole Vulcan shtick and make her comically expressive to make up for it. When she meets back up with Discovery a year later, she happily gives Saru permission to claim the Captaincy. Saru then promotes Burnham to first officer, who he later rightfully demotes for disobeying his orders time and time again. I guess this counts as part of Burnham's road of trials, but why would Saru... nevermind... that's just being repetitive.
She gains alleys on Earth, Vulcan (Which they now call Ni'Var.) and from what's left of the Federation - who all now trust her because, despite her insubordinate behavior, she always seems to be right in the end. This is the result of contrived writing, in where producers or show runners write their way out of a corner in the laziest ways possible, leaving the special effects department to make it look more interesting than it actually is. Discovery writers are trying to take this flaw of Burnham's and make it a feature, while ignoring the fact that this type of insubordination would never actually be tolerated in an institution that is organized like a military, the way it's being tolerated here.
That's why I can't buy that after being disrespectful to Saru in the beginning, and after disobeying his orders to the point where he had to demote her, it would once again be Saru who recommends Burnham - This time to captain the Pizza Cutter in his absence. I can't buy that Admiral Vance, after seeing her insubordination first hand, would think it was a good idea to give her the responsibilities of a captain.
The ability to follow orders is what keeps an institution like Starfleet, or any military cohesive. Those who decide not to follow orders can become a liability to the institution, and as a result can make them less effective in accomplishing their missions. Discipline is vital to Starfleet, which is why characters like Kirk and Picard - Before the Picard show - were so very potent, because those captains demanded cohesiveness and through that, they would survive and accomplish their missions.
Michael Burnham somehow earned that coveted title of captain by being consistently insubordinate and because of the way this show is written, I doubt she's gonna have a big insubordination problem as captain of the Pizza Cutter. If there is a clear reason why the character of Michael Burnham doesn't pass the smell test, it wont be because of her color or her gender, but because of this lazy and manufactured method of story-telling that gave her all the rewards in exchange for very little sacrifice.
As long as Alex Kurtzman heads Star Trek and keeps giving us sub-par story-telling, I have no hope that it will ever return to its former glory. I pretty much believe that the producers are satisfied with Discovery being the loss leader that it is and they're just milking it for all of the virtue signaling it can do. Maybe Kurtzman will be gone one day and replaced with someone who has more respect for Trek, but until then, my future hopes are now on the success of the Orville.
If you were to ask Alex Kurtzman about the state of the Star Trek franchise, he would tell you that it's going strong. With three shows running simultaneously and about fifty more shows in the works, he would talk about how excited everybody is for what's to come. So excited in fact, that Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks are constantly breaking records. It's almost like we're having a second golden age of Trek and anyone who says differently are anti-SJWs who belong in the sad little corner of the fandom!
If you were to ask me though, I'd tell you that this nu-era-of-Trek is garbage and everybody hates it. Unfortunately, there wasn't a way to prove it though. Because these new shows stream on CBS All Access as well as Netflix or Amazon, they keep the view counts a secret. Once in a while, they'll put out articles touting the success of Discovery or Picard, backed by the likes of Parrot Analytics, but they never tell you exactly how many people watched their shows. So when Discovery got picked up for a second and then a third season, people naturally thought that it was a success and when the other shows started airing, it was easy to believe that a new golden age had begun.
However, some of that veneer has begun to peel off. Recently, we learned through Google Trends that excitement for Star Trek has been dwindling since 2009. We've also have multiple clues that have led us to believe that Picard was not as well received as they would have you think. We also got news that CBS All Access will be rebranding themselves to Paramount+ next year, four years after they made Star Trek Discovery their flagship show.
Then CBS released their Lower Decks trailer and it got ratio'd to the point where they turned off the like/dislikes as well as the comments. That must have been embarrassing. Gary Buechler once gave me this advice: Never let them see you sweat. This was the first time we saw them sweat.
On Sunday, October 4th 2020, a pre-recorded "Star Trek Universe" panel for New York Comic Con became active and set to premiere on October 8th. As soon as it went up, the dislikes started to go up.
By the next day it was up to 30.
32 minutes later, the dislikes suddenly went down to 11, LMAO! We're assuming they have the power to reset the ratio.
But it jumped back up to 32 in a matter of hours.
Then it kept going. By the next day, it was at 65.
That night, it peaked at 205...
...before being cut down to 146.
The numbers went down slowly overnight from 205 all the way down to 25, LMAO! Who are they kidding?
As of this writing, it's back up to 60.
It obvious that the ratio is being manipulated by either NYCC, CBS, or Secret Hideout. The fact that they have to cheat to manufacture a good image is hilarious! They either refuse to turn off the like/dislikes or think they're being smooth by quietly lowering the dislikes. A number of comments have also been deleted as well.
Make no mistake, they're sweating. They know nuTrek is not popular, so they're curating comments and changing ratios to make it look like it is. The clues are everywhere. It's in the audience vs. the critic scores, it's in the tends we see, and it's even in the ratings.
But wait! Didn't I say that CBS All Access doesn't release their view counts? I did. However, Star Trek Discovery aired in Canada in 2017. The premiere episode brought an aggregate of 2.2 million while the second episode brought in 1.2 million. That's bad!
More recently, Star Trek Discovery has been airing on CBS television and the ratings are tanking, with the most recent episode bringing in 1.6 million viewers. For comparison, TNG's first season averaged about 10.4 million viewers per episode.
When Picard aired earlier this year in Canada, episode one sat with a cold 1.8 million views, while the fifth episode dropped to 1.3 million views. That is half a million views lost in 5 episodes.
You can't have a second golden age of Trek without... you know... THE GOLD! How pathetic for Secret Hideout and ViacommCBS to come up with such meager numbers and pretend it's a success. Enterprise was cancelled because it's last season averaged about 3 million viewers per episode. Discovery is one of the most expensive shows in television history, with each episode costing over $8 million to make, all for an audience of less than two million.
Update: Doomcock reported on this news and used my tweets and comments.
The link to the panel now leads to what is called "Star Trek - Lower Decks & Star Trek - Discovery Cast Interview" and because of Doomcock's video, the like/dislikes ratio is back to normal.