Episode 59: Hand-to-hand combat (DIS 5×10 Life, Itself)

Kevin: Hello, and welcome
back to Subspace Radio.

It's me, Kevin Yank.

Rob: And me, Rob Lloyd.

Kevin: We're using our full names
today, Rob, because it's a special

episode, it's a season finale, we
want to remind everyone who we are

before we disappear for a while.

Rob: Damn right, damn right, it is
the season finale, uh, and a show

ending of Discovery, so why not
formalize this whole process and, and

give it the reverence it deserves.

Kevin: It's a surprise every time
I'm reminded that this is the end

of a Star Trek series, cause I
have to say, Rob, it doesn't feel

like the end of a Star Trek series.

I'm used to being full of wistful
nostalgia about what might have been if

they'd gotten another year of stories
or, where will the lives of these crew

members that I've fallen in love with go?

And I don't know if I'm tipping my
hand about how I feel about this last

episode, but, um, yeah, I, I kind of
feel like, uh, I won't miss it much, Rob.

Rob: We are definitely in a new
world and a new age of Star Trek.

We're gone of the, you know, the
golden era of three shows running

in the 90s and early noughties,
where you could, you know, really

build into this type of stuff.

We're in a new era of shorter seasons,
shorter time with these characters,

more arcs need to be resolved in a
shorter amount of time, and there

is that danger of us not connecting,
uh, completely with these characters

as we would have in the past.

Kevin: Yeah, it's, uh, I think I've
pointed it out before, but I'll say it

again now that it's official in, in 50
episodes, Discovery is barely longer

than half of the original series.

Rob: Mm hmm.


And especially, um, you know, I, I
pretty much skipped an entire season.

So I'm even further.

Kevin: Well, there you go.

You've got it in reserve.

If someday you, you know, maybe it's you
don't know what you got till it's gone,

Rob, and you will be regretting that
you gave Discovery the short shrift, and

you've got a whole year of it in reserve.

Rob: And if ever I reach that point,
you'll be the first to know, Kevin.

Kevin: Well, let's talk about,
uh, Discovery Season 5, Episode

10, Life, itself, and then maybe
we'll have some, some parting

reflections on the series as a whole.

And then we're not going to leave you
without, uh, a topic that we will dig

into, and the topic this week is biffos,
punch ups, hand-to-hand combat, because

that's really what the action came down
to in this episode for me is, is Moll

and Burnham in the hallway of infinity,
punching it out in spectacular form.

I dare say this is maybe the
most visually arresting fistfight

we've ever had in Star Trek.

Uh, I don't know what that says about
the end of a, of a series though

to end on that note, but uh, Rob,
what did you think of Life, Itself?

Rob: Um, uh, yes, I'm coming from
a point of view where I've never

really connected with this show.

So for me, it was an interesting
experience to walk through and reflect

on while it was happening in real time,
how do they decide to walk through this,

these, this final hour or hour, nearly two
hours of, um, time with these characters?

Well, especially as we've talked about
many times before, and you've, and, and

you've been very good at reminding me,
this show is built around one character.

It is, and that's been something I've
been really finding it hard getting used

to even over four seasons of watching.

Yes, in all the Star Trek shows there
is a captain, a lead character, but

there is still, you know, a certain
amount of time and effort put into the

supporting characters of certain levels.

You can always look at Deanna Troi
not getting as much time as she

should or other type characters
within the, the whole franchise.

But this has definitely been a
show where we have noted supporting

characters' development has been put
on hold, so as to fully flesh out

Kevin: At least at times, but yes, yeah.

It has been explicitly part of the
envisioning of the show and implicit

in the choices they've made in the
storytelling at different times.

I dare say here in the last season
they put more effort into giving

everyone a story than they ever have.

Rob: Yeah, I wouldn't go so far as to
say everybody, but certainly a lot more.

They've been doing a lot of emotional
catch up, is what we've talked about a

bit, about going with, we're sacrificing
a character, and we need to go back

and make you care for this person even
after they're dead, type of stuff.

But yeah, there was, A lot of
time spent with things that were

visually exciting but no real
development or pushing forward.

Um, the conclusion for me was
very much a case of there was no,

really there was no other option.

There was no way they could really
use this progenitor technology

in any way, shape or form.

It had to be, you know, given up.

And I guess that was the journey of
enlightenment to get to that point

where this is too big for any of us.

Kevin: Yeah.

I've been thinking of other stories
that have ended in that, like, for some

reason my mind goes to Indiana Jones and
the quest for the Holy Grail, you know?

Rob: I was just about to say that

Kevin: the entire promise of
the movie is they are going to

find the key to infinite life.

And in hindsight, the fact that that
cup, if it did ever do anything, is left

to tumble down a crevasse and never be
seen again, kind of had to happen all

along, otherwise Indiana Jones would
be a very different kind of story.

And I feel like even here in the 32nd
century where nothing matters and anything

is possible, you'd be changing Star
Trek pretty significantly to hand the

Federation the keys to creating new life
and to pay that off in some way, which I

guess would mean they'd have to use it.

And I'm not sure anyone is
interested in seeing that story.

Or I guess the writers must
have at least considered it

and thought, too big a swing.

That would break the franchise.

Rob: Yeah, it was that very much a case
of us talking about it so long, who's

gonna be brought back from the dead?

Who's gonna be brought back from the dead?

It's been teased, and

Kevin: Well that's what I was
betting on is that there would

be some moral dilemma decision or
you get to use it only just once.

Or they would use it once and
then it would be destroyed

by the bad guys in some way.

Um, but yeah, we didn't even get that.

It was completely cancelled as a promise.

Rob: Yeah, yep, and L'ak's gone.

Kevin: Yeah, L'ak never came back.

They even showed the, in the teaser, they
were like, Our story doesn't end this way.

And I was like, watching it the second
time today going, Yes, yes it does.

Ha ha ha ha ha That

is the strangest thing, yeah, and,
and, I think I said last week that what

was most disappointing to me about the
culmination of this season was that

Moll and L'ak's story, ultimately,
didn't amount to anything other than

motivated competitors in a race.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: A race to nothing, as it turns
out, but, you know, they were competitors

with a motivation, but their character
arcs kind of ended in a dead end.

One of them died off and the other one was
convinced to give up the hunt at the end.

And watching it a second time today,
looking for something satisfying

in it, because I don't want to
give up hope on my Star Trek, Rob.

I am always looking through those
rose colored glasses for the thing

that is, that makes it worth watching.

And the final moments where, in
that infinite hallway where Burnham

and Moll are face to face and
they've had their fight, and Burnham

is saying, No, just trust me.

Don't, you don't have
to trust the Federation.

Just trust that I, Michael Burnham,
will do everything in my power to bring

back your true love, because I know what
it's felt like to lose your true love.

And I got him back, and I was so lucky,
so you can trust me that I'm going to try

and make the same thing happen for you.

And that is what finally convinces her.

And I suppose, the fact that Moll met
Book, and experienced him as someone

worthy of that unconditional love,
that, you know, she would have to meet

him to understand why Burnham might
go above and beyond in order to save

their relationship, in order for her
to believe that Michael's commitment

to her and L'ak is worth a damn.

Uh, so there, that is the, the thinnest
of threads that I can connect that makes

Moll and L'ak's uh story have a, an ending
that is at all satisfying, but again, the

only reason Burnham has to talk her down
is because she's there in the first place.

Rob: Yeah.

And even right at the end, after
it's all done, there wasn't any, the

writing of Moll and Book together was
a hint at a potential of a possibility,

but there, it was just him coming
in going, I'm here if you need.

Kevin: And she goes, I still hate you.

Rob: Heh heh heh!

Kevin: Which I believe,
look, I take her at her word.

I don't think there is any happy,
happily ever after for them two.

I think she, she goes off and
finds her own purpose in life.

Rob: Yeah, yeah, very much so.

So it comes as a bit of a nothing,
uh, resolution of a nothing

story arc that we've found about.

But, um, we had one last, let's solve this
scientific problem in a short amount of

time and do something we've never done
before and wave it away of using, you

know, Discovery split to be able to jump,
uh, another ship, but not themselves.

Kevin: Yeah, that was, that was
preposterous, but I was, I was, I

sat back and laughed in, in a like, I
surrender to the insanity at that point.

Like, I was like, well, it's
something, it's spectacular,

something I've never seen before.

It's your series finale,
I'll give it to you.

Um, I, I was kind of okay with the saucer
separation and, and jump, I guess, cause

I had given up caring in some way at that
point, that I was, I was buying in for

pure entertainment value at that point.

Rob: That's how they get ya.

Kevin: I don't know if that's what
you were referring to with the, the

scientific conundrum, but the puzzle
with the triangles that really bugged me.

Rob: Yeah?

Kevin: Yeah,

Rob: It was a little bit
too simple for my liking.

Kevin: Yeah, it was very simple so much
so that I paused it and I went, look,

I'm going to draw you what the answer is.

Because it is, it is so obvious.

Moll was like, staring at it, and her
brain couldn't compute the answer.

And I was like, this is ridiculous!

Are we meant to believe that
Moll, in her desperation, is not

smart enough to figure that out?

It's a pretty obvious clue.

And of all of the, of all of the tests
that they have had to clear on their way

here, to put the dumbest geometry puzzle
right here at the end, seems ridiculous.

And then, she didn't even get it!

So yeah, I paused it, and I
drew the big triangle in between

the nine little triangles.

I was like, that's what it's gonna be,
and sure enough, that's what it was.

And the fact that Moll
wasn't smart enough, ah!

Star Trek fans are nerds.

If you give them a math puzzle and it
stumps the baddie at the last moment,

and it's meant to be a meaningful hurdle
for your hero to overcome as the last

step in a season long treasure hunt,
you gotta make it a good math puzzle.

That was not a good math puzzle.

I feel like they were talking down
to their audience with that one.

Rob: Out of, out of all the franchises
that exist, um, Star Trek definitely

does attract those people, um,
who are, you know, academically,

you know, or scientifically or
mathematically, uh, you know, inclined.

And so that type of stuff you're
there going, ooh, read your audience,

read your audience, Discovery.

Kevin: Yeah.

I'm gonna make a big triangle triangles.

Oh no, I got zapped on the ground.

Uh, all of that stuff.

That is when my soul left my body,
and I was like, okay, I'm just here

for the visual effects at this point.

Rob: And we had Saru do his bit to stave
off the, um, the Breen for a little bit

Kevin: the high stakes bluffing gambit.

Rob: You know, diplomatic
chicken, as I like to call it.

Kevin: Yeah, uh, yeah, it was,
what did you think of that stuff?

Rob: Um, again, it's like.

It, they, they split their focus in
so many different areas and we always

knew that Michael was going to be
the main focus so it did sacrifice a

little bit of time with trying to get
Saru in there somehow, trying to get,

you know, the Discovery crew involved
somehow, trying to resolve the Doctor's

arc, and he just needed to be on a
shuttle, in, in, in the middle of two

black holes, just to be there, that
was his big revelation, I'm going,

Um, okay?

Kevin: I mean, better than Stamets who
just kind of got left behind, I suppose.

He did the cool math last episode
to crash into the shuttle bay.

So I feel like that was
Stamets's big finish.

Oh, and I guess he, he, he did do the
super jump that, uh, got rid of the Breen.

So there's that too.

But yeah.

Um, yeah.

Hugh Culber kind of
going, I know the number!

And I can't explain why.

Isn't that spiritually significant?

I don't know.

I feel like in any other episode
of any other Star Trek series,

he would have gone, Try this.


I guess it was Jinaal helping
me out one last time, shucks!

And it would, like, that,
that beat would have worked.

But the fact that it was
built up all season to, to

be more than it was, did not.

Rob: There was a big reveal of Dave
Cronenberg was actually a character

we have seen before from Enterprise.

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Rob: Daniels?

Kevin: Daniels!

He was Crewman Daniels,
yes, the time traveler.

We've talked about him recently when I
talked about Archer being transported

into the future to visit the Enterprise J.

The time traveller who was transporting
him around and feeding him information

from the future, that was crewman Daniels.

And he started on Enterprise as
just kind of like a regular crewman

who was, you know, Johnny on
the spot for one too many times.

And it raised suspicions and they
realized he was, uh, kind of a time

cop or a time traveler from the
future who was here to make sure that,

that things unfolded as they should.

Or he was kind of playing the Dr.

Sam Beckett of making sure that things
that once went wrong were put right.

Rob: Thank you for making that reference.

Thank you for making that reference.

Kevin: So yes, I don't think anyone ever
particularly cared for Crewman Daniels.

Like, he was annoying at best.

And the whole function of Crewman
Daniels was to tell our heroes, no,

you can't solve this the easy way.

You need to solve it the hard way.

You're like, come on,
Daniels, give us once.

Give us it once.

Tell us the answers once.

And he was always like, I can't tell
you why, but you can't do it this way.

And so, yeah, Daniels was annoying.

He kind of, uh, from memory, he kind
of exploded into Uh, uh, an explosion

of light, like he got shot by a, by
a beam of some kind and, and exploded

and someone made a knowing remark like,
Oh, don't count them out just yet.

These time travelers are wily.

They don't work linearly.

We might just see him again.

And uh, this is, uh, the first time we
find out what the future held for Daniels.

Rob: It's definitely a deep cut, I mean
that is the definition of a deep cut.

Kevin: Yeah.

I, I mean, I, when he, when they said I
squinted, squinted and went, all right.


Like, yeah, it connects.

No one was, no one was still asking
the question, what about Daniels?

Whatever became of Daniels?

Rob: And there's been no reference
or any acknowledgement of him within

Discovery at all, or any type of, yeah,

Kevin: has been some air of mystery
around Cronenberg of who is this guy?

Will we ever find out?

But I don't know about you,
Rob, but I was very happy living

in the mystery indefinitely.

Rob: Yeah, and so, luckily, I was aware
of it because we talked about it a couple

of weeks ago, um, but, like, when the
name was dropped, I'm going, if I had not

been doing a podcast about Star Trek, I
would have gone, uh huh, and then I would

have looked up online and gone, oh, okay,
it's the actor who was in Galaxy Quest.

Kevin: That's right, he was
the actor from Galaxy Quest.

You're absolutely right.

That also was Daniels, by the way,
we, we, that's, that's what we have to

Rob: It, he's a Thermian as well
as a Federation time traveler.

Kevin: "Mmmmmwe need your help."

Rob: Urf!

Weeeee put right what once went wrong.

Kevin: But, uh, as far as like answering
questions in dissatisfying ways, the,

uh, the final epilogue of this episode,
which we, we have heard online, uh,

was actually filmed after the fact.

That originally this episode and season
ended with them running off on the

beach, uh, onto their next mission for
Cronenberg, or Daniels, or pick your name.

That was going to be the end
of season five, when they

thought they had a next season.

But when they came back, and were told
that this series was ending here, they

were given a little money to shoot
an epilogue, and what we got was, uh,

the, the final ride of Burnham, Admiral
Burnham, taking the, uh, the Discovery

de, de upgraded down to its, uh, pre A
state with its engines reconnected, um,

sending it off into a nebula to wait
for Craft in Calypso, the Short Trek.

Did you ever watch Calypso, Rob?

Rob: I still haven't watched Calypso
because they mention Craft so many times.

And Craft is the, is the guy?

Kevin: It's the guy.

So, Calypso, I mean, I do recommend
you watch it because it is kind

of the canonical end of Discovery.

And having watched it today, it is!

It does capture a little bit of
that, um, nostalgic, uh, ending,

sense of an ending to Discovery.

In the way many Star Trek finales
kind of jump into the future and

show you a satisfying end, I don't
think Admiral Burnham taking the

ship out is satisfying, but seeing
where the ship ends up, in a way, is.

But yeah, in Calypso

Zora, the, the sentient computer of
Discovery, is the only person left on

board, and an escape pod, with a soldier
inside, is, uh, kind of happens by,

just as its life support is failing.

And Discovery tractor beams
it in and nurses Craft the

man on board back to health.

And in the process Craft falls in love
with Zora, the, uh, the computer of

Discovery, until at the last minute
he remembers he's got a wife and

child waiting for him at home and
feels guilty about this almost love

affair that he had with a computer.

And it is well written, well acted.

It is sweet and, and, uh,
I think it's a good watch.

Does the fact that Burnham and Starfleet
know that that is all going to happen

and that Discovery has to be there
for it in the future make sense?

Not really.


I mean, I guess Daniels had one last
trick up his sleeve about knowing the

future somehow, but other than that, I
can't explain to you, uh, why Discovery's

last task is to save the life of Craft.

We never find out what happens to
Craft other than he's a, he was a

soldier fighting in a war not by
choice and Discovery saved his life

and helped him find his way home.

Rob: Hmm.

Well, there you go.

So, well, it was definitely, you know,
to have a bit of money to go back and

do an epilogue that is solely focused
on Burnham and the only time you see the

old crew all together is in a flashback

Kevin: The slow motion hugging
memories on the, on the bridge.

Rob: of how they used
to be in their prime.

Um, I mean, it was, it was great to see,
you know, a very positive, you know,

happy, successful future for a female,
black character in a, in a TV show.

Sci fi is always great at being on the
forefront of acceptance, diversity,

equality, all that type of stuff.

Um, and, uh, you know, having their
son beam down, who's just about to be

a captain of his own, and, it was very
much a, a, a good, you know, Book stays

at home while Burnham goes off to do
this, like, Burnham's place on Discovery.

And for me, a little bit of it went,
you know, you know, her there being

at the end, and they maybe could
have played up more earlier in the

season, her being there at the start.

Um, That's just possibly me looking for
an arc that didn't really need to be

there, but, but yeah, it was, overall
I went, this is how Discovery should

end, whether I like it or not, but it
definitely felt it was true to Discovery

to be where Burnham is and what Burnham
is at, and the other characters are kind

of given hints at at the wedding, um,

Kevin: I loved the wedding.

Like that ending on the beach actually
worked for me as they in the transporters.

I quite liked it.


Rob: Yeah, I like them finally resolving
to try it again and go on adventures

and that was a good, you know, hope.

But to, to see it all from Burnham's
eyes and she looks back on her crew

from her point of view, it was a case
of, of course it's gonna end that way.

Kevin: If you are looking for a
bookend, uh, it, it has been pointed

out in fan circles that the, the
series started with the Battle of

the Binary Stars and ended with the
battle at a pair of binary black holes.

And so there is a bit of

Rob: You go.

There is some symmetry there.

Thank you very much.

That makes me feel very, very content.

Kevin: I don't have much else
to say, uh, about Life, Itself.

It was, it was well made, well acted,
but, uh, what I've been saying to

folks who've asked me this week, What
did you think of the end of Discovery?

I've been saying, it ended as it ran.

Like, was a true Discovery ending.

Discovery, for good and for ill,
was about season long arcs, no

episode ever stood alone, really.

Rob: Not really, no.

Kevin: And, and so we were not going
to have a movie length finale that

kind of stood alone as a completely
satisfying story, the way we

have had with many other series.

Um, and so, yeah, this, I think, was the
ending that Discovery was always going

to give us, and I enjoyed the ride.

I, I, I wish it had been more satisfying,
but I, without changing what this final

season was, I can't see any way to,
to resolve it any more satisfyingly.

I think this was the end of the story
they set out to tell in this final season.

Perhaps if they had known they were
telling the final season of Discovery,

they would have told a different story.

But I also think it, that this season
was kind of a uniquely Discovery story.

As, as the harbinger of modern Star
Trek, Discovery has always been, um,

diversity forward, and, and the value,
like highlighting, exploring and

celebrating the value of diversity,
uh, in infinite combinations.

The fact that we look back into Star
Trek and looking for what is one

story we can tell with our final
outing here about diversity, I think

this story that we are, we all come
from the same stuff, the same source.

We are, in a sense, no matter,
uh, what species we're from, we

are all connected in a way, um,
is a uniquely Discovery story.

So I'm glad they went
back and grabbed this one.

I think it is fitting for the series.

Unfortunately, like, The Chase, the
original Next Gen episode about the

Progenitors, kind of already did that
race for the answer, and so this was

always going to be a retread in a sense.

Um, we, it, it did explode it up into
season level grandeur, and I enjoyed

parts of this season very much.

Um, so yeah, it's, I think Discovery
has always been a flawed series.

It would almost seem wrong if it
didn't give us a flawed final season.

Rob: Yeah, very much so.

I mean, yeah, it's weird to see an
ending of a show that I've seen most

of, um, that was really trying to,
you know, pull on the heart strings.

And me watching it from the outside going,
I see what you're trying to do there.

It has completed it.

It got to complete it pretty much on
its own terms in way, shape or form,

despite the fact it was taken away.

They've been able to establish it,
you know, as you said, they ended

as they've, as they've existed.

Kevin: And as far as knowing the ending
of Book and Burnham's story, but everyone

else is a little left to the imagination,
I think we will likely see those

characters return in cameos in the, uh,
in the Starfleet Academy series that's

about to be set in the same time frame.

Rob: Yes,

Kevin: Uh, I, really hope they
get Tilly at Starfleet Academy.

I would love her in a
starring role of that series.

Hasn't been announced
yet, one way or the other.

Rob: They seem to be pushing hard,
you know, Tilly and Rayner, so it

could be a Rayner return as well
of sort of like that, you know, you

know, mum and dad on different levels

Kevin: cop, bad cop, good
teacher, bad teacher.

Rob: Yeah, hehehehehehe…,

Kevin: He's the hard ass teacher and
she's the one who has the deep and

meaningfuls with all the students.

Rob: Yep.

Perfect balance.

Kevin: I hope they can get Tilly.

Something tells me they can't afford her
anymore, that actor, but uh, we'll see.

We'll see what we get.

Rob: The future's so bright, we
shall see where they're going.

Kevin: So let's talk about, uh, punch ups.

Rob: Punch-ups, fisticuffs, hand-to-hand
combat, um, a rare thing within the world

of, uh, Star Trek, but if you look deeper,
is it as rare as I just said it was?

And I just contradicted myself.

Kevin: Yeah I had the
same experience today.

I was like, oh, stories, stories
where, which are fist first, I can't,

um, there's probably not that many.

And now, I start, I
was like, I'll get one.

I just want to bring one that
I really want to talk about.

And then I ended up with four.

But, I'll I'll focus on one and I'll give
you a runner's up list at the end, maybe.

Rob: Wonderful.

Kevin: But yeah, you're right, it has
been, like, Star Trek has always been

not just sci fi, but action adventure.

And this dates back to its second pilot.

When they made the first pilot, The
Cage, the studio notes famously,

infamously, were, it's too cerebral.

What they wrote for the second pilot
was a story that ends with a punch up.

And, uh, yeah, so if you want to see
the first punch up in Starfleet, or

in Star Trek history, go back and
watch Where No Man Has Gone Before.

But something tells that you
brought something else today, Rob.

Rob: I have.

We have already talked about that episode
before in a previous, uh, Subspace

Radio, so go back and have a tune in.

There should be a reference
to it in the notes because,

uh, Kevin's very good at that.

So yeah, well I, I found two and
they're both from my, my series,

because of course they are, because
would I do it any other way?

Kevin: We might have a
match this week, Rob.

Rob: Heyyyy.

Well, let's, um, oh gosh,
let's start with, uh, the one

I just recently discovered.

I'm going Season 4, Episode 2,
Way of the Warrior, Part II.

Kevin: You picked the same one as me, Rob.

Rob: Yeah.

Yeah, I did.

Kevin: I am really looking forward
to talking about this because yeah,

this fight in Ops was different in
my memory than in the actual episode.

So this is your pick, tell us about it.

Rob: It's the grand entrance of Season
4 of uh, Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

We have the, uh, return of Michael
Dorn as Worf into Star Trek TV

shows, he comes and becomes a new,
uh, cast member of Deep Space Nine.

Uh, the Klingons have entered the fray,
and they are wanting to assert their

dominance within the Alpha Quadrant,
uh, during this Dominion War, and

they're just playing straight into
the hands of the Dominion with the,

uh, going up against the Federation.

And hopefully they destroy themselves
so the Dominion can just sweep in.

Kevin: I had to refresh my memory about
the moving forces of the Dominion War

that were in effect at this point.

So, season three, towards the end of
it, had a great big showdown where the

Romulan Klingon fleet, in alliance,
uh, under the Obsidian Order's command,

swooped in on what they thought was the
Founders homeworld to obliterate it.

And it ended up being a trap,
and the fleet was demolished.

And so Cardassia in particular was left
in tatters after the end of that episode.

And what we see at the start of season
four here is the slow rebuilding of that

shadow of its former self, Cardassia,
under Gul Dukat, who is helping the new

interim government pick up the pieces.

And, uh, the Klingons don't trust them.

Rob: No, they believe the, uh,
the new council are filled with

changelings and they want them, so
they could, uh, uh, get rid of them.

And of course the Federation, uh, the
ebbs and flows of Deep Space Nine,

god, I love it, this is a point where
they're helping the, uh, Cardassians.

Dukat is trying to protect his
council and he's being saved by,

uh, Sisko in the, in the Defiant.

Kevin: Golly, they knew, if they
knew, if they could look ahead at what

the future held for Gul Dukat, they
might have made a different choice.

Rob: Only a couple more
seasons down the track.

Oh, the arcs.

So they race back to Deep Space
Nine, and it is prepared to go.

It is loaded for bear.

Kevin: Yes, this is the episode
where, uh, the new phaser turrets

and photon torpedo points pop up out
of the surface of the station, and I

remember as a young lad being very, very
tickled by all of these pyrotechnics.

Rob: Oh, the, the, the circle,

Kevin: gatling circle thing,
yeah, whoever designed that should

have been paid double that week.

Rob: Some truly epic space battles
of exploding Klingon ships and

phaser fire and photon torpedoes
going in every which way direction.

Uh, then Klingons transport onto,
uh, the bridge and on the promenade.

So we have, uh, two battles.

We have a battle in ops, we have a battle
on the promenade, Odo and the security

team going up against Klingons down there.

Kevin: And the third battle in space
going on all around them at the

Rob: Battle on three fronts,
on the promenade, in ops,

and uh, in space itself.

Um, we've got, you know, phaser
fire matched with Bat'leths, and

daggers, and hand to hand punches,
and Odo with no weapons at all.

Kevin: Yeah, I was watching this
going, wow, those Klingons, you know,

they're up for, they're up for a fight.

I guess they were overconfident
because they came in with their blades

and not their, their energy weapons.

It might have worked out very differently
if the Klingons had reached for their

phasers first rather than their Bat'leths.

Rob: Yes, they did use some phaser
work, but it's mostly they just

wanted to get in and, and, and
cut open their, their enemies.

Um, so we had Kira being stabbed, we had
O'Brien nearly killed, we had Worf going

off, you had Sisko, um, Avery Brooks
really asserting himself, and of course

Um, Terry Farrell has already established
that Dax is quite the, uh, warrior.

Kevin: Yeah, there's a training scene
earlier in the episode just to remind

us that she's got what it takes.

That, uh, Worf, Worf finds her Klingon
calisthenics training program with

the same skull faced opponent that
we saw way back in Season 1 of The

Next Generation on the holodeck.

And, uh, yeah, so she, she gives
Worf a few, uh, notes on his form,

uh, to remind us that she can swing
a Bat'leth with the best of them.

Rob: And this is all, like, the
first two episodes of a new season.

Kevin: Oh they started with a right
after this there was The Visitor, Rob.

Rob: Exactly, an episode we talked

Kevin: They quit after three episodes and
had the best season of Star Trek ever.

Rob: Take that, Discovery, alright?

Kevin: You mentioned, uh, Kira getting
stabbed and for me, I think that must be

what planted this particular episode this
particular fight in my memory is, it is,

it is still shocking to see one of our
main characters take a blade that size

in the side and, uh, keep fighting for a
few moments and then sit herself down and

lean back and grimace, and later on say
it's not as bad as it looks and you're

pretty sure it's worse than it looks.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: And yeah I was afraid for our Kira
the first time I saw this and now every

time since even though I know she'll be
just fine it is shocking enough that I

think it like burned, it seared this fight
into my memory as one where we almost lost

Rob: Yeah.

Yeah, exactly.

It really elevated the stakes without,
you know, taking away too much

from the fact that these are hired
actors at the start of a season,

and should be there all season.

But it's that case of, that's what I love
about Deep Space Nine is you've got a

range of characters who aren't Federation.

You've got Kira, who's lived all her
life as a resistance fighter, and so

you've got Odo, who has worked for the
Cardassians, and there's all this type

of darkness in his past, and how his
moral code about not using weapons.

And then you've got Worf in there as
well, and the battle he's going on,

so you've got that balance of, uh, of
raw power and, and, and years and a

lifetime of fighting, up against, you
know, Federation trained, uh, uh, people.

It's, it's a, it's a great balance
of seeing where they are at their

levels of their combat skills.

Kevin: The other thing we've got is a
great, uh, face to our villains here.

Um, in the end, the villains end
up being the Klingons this episode.

And we have Martok and Gowron side by
side on the bridge of their flagship,

Rob: The very subtle acting of Gowron.

Kevin: shouting orders
and refusing to back down.

Maybe that is part of what rang a little
hollow in our final showdowns this

week in Discovery is that the Breen
are a faceless enemy by definition.

We got to see one face in L'ak this
season and other than that, the

Breen, the the final villains this
season were faceless and therefore

I feel like a bit a bit bloodless.

Like they didn't have any emotional
resonance in a way that would make me

feel fear or understand their point of
view or root against them or for them.

They were kind of a force of
nature rather than a character.

Rob: Very much so.

They were very much in the background.

We heard about how horrible they were.

Rayner explained how his
whole family was slaughtered.

We hear about all this stuff.

Um, and we, you know, we see
a little bit of going, Oh, but

you promised you'd save them.

Oh, that

Kevin: Yeah.

And fair play to them.

The Breen are the Breen.

They played fair with the Breen.

They've always been that way.

I think if they, if they had unmasked them
all, we would have been complaining for

different reasons as we are wont to do.

But, uh, yeah, as, as coming back to this
episode of Deep Space Nine, villains don't

come much bigger, characters don't come
much bigger than either Martok or Gowron,

and we have them side by side together.

This, this episode, this two
part episode was actually the

introduction of Martok to as well.

So he starts as a villain, and
wow, how far he comes by the end.

Rob: And especially after Um,
last week, where we talked

about, um, uh, Apocalypse Rising,

Kevin: Yeah, sneaky, fake Martok.

Rob: Yeah, sneaky, fake Martok.

Kevin: But, well, yeah, the trick that
is played on the audience is Martok

is obviously a good guy by that point.

You would never suspect him.

Rob: Yes, exactly.

Um, and then when he comes back,
he's lost his eye, and he's a

little bit, uh, worse for wear.

But then you get into the great stuff
in Season 7, where they're all, that's,

and, and I've talked about it many
times before, I love that at the end,

where you've got the Romulans, the
Klingons, and the Cardassians, and the

Federation, all their, you know, different
levels of how they see warfare and

celebrations of war and stuff like that,
but comrades in this kind of weird, um,

alliance, which I love that development.

So it's not just all cowboys
and Indians type stuff.

Kevin: It was surprisingly
brief in my rewatch, this fight.

Like, I think in my mind, it was kind
of, uh, part one ended with a cliffhanger

of the fight is about to start, and
episode two was just all fighting on

the promenade and on the, on ops, and
it was just an episode long fistfight.

It wasn't.

It was really, like half of
a half of an act, basically.

Rob: Yeah.

about five or six minutes.

Kevin: Yeah, but it was impactful.

Rob: Yeah, and done really well for
a, you know, TV budget in the 90s to,

you know, very bloodless in some ways
but, you know, we're so used to what we

get on our TV screens now and for the
90s it was, you know, quite out there

Kevin: I enjoyed watching so
many of Odo's deputies in action.

Like, so often you forget that
there are other people who

wear the same uniform as Odo.

Cause, so, seems like he's
the only one most of the time.

But they were everywhere.

They were hiding, hiding behind
pylons and jumping out with phasers.

And it was, yeah, great to see that Odo
is in command of a crew of his own, that,

uh, can hold up under, under duress.

Rob: They can hold their own
against Klingon invaders and

that's uh, that says something.

Odo trains them well and they um,
they were cunning and clever and

took some hits and took some falls.

Kevin: In the end, uh, we have Dukat and
Garak side by side defending the doorway

to the, uh, the Cardassian government
and, uh, Garak's like taking out Klingons

with his phaser and they're, they're
trading quips about how distasteful

all of this hand to hand combat is
and how they much prefer the civilized

environment of an interrogation room.

Rob: It's very much a case of, um, Dukat
is making fun of Garak, but seeing Garak

with all these cuts on his face and
blood pouring down, firing his Cardassian

phaser going, This isn't civilized!

is amazing.

Kevin: Yeah, it was great.

Um, it's got it all.

Uh, this pound for pound might be my
favorite episode of Deep Space Nine,

this two parter, because it has the
action and the action has impact because

it matters to the characters involved.

Rob: And, uh, it definitely shows Avery
Brooks in top form as our, as our lead.

Kevin: Oh yeah, this is his first
outing with the bald head as well.

Rob: Yeah, it really is.

He was sort of like doing that
transition at the end of season

three where he started growing
the goatee but still had the hair.

So this is, um, fully much taking on
the same physical appearance that he

had for his famous TV character, Hawk.

Um, but you can tell the tone and
intensity and the, the, the warrior within

him that the Klingons are really, you
know, for Gowron to, take a step back

and go, no, he's not, he's not bluffing.

Uh, I respect this human.

Um, yeah, it's great.

Yeah, Avery Brooks, man.

He's an absolute superstar.

Kevin: Okay, well, let me take you through
my, uh, my also rans, and then we'll

come back to yours to finish it off.

Rob: Beautiful.

Kevin: So, yeah, we mentioned where
No Man Has Gone before, the second

pilot of the original series.

We've also talked before about the
original series episode, The Gamesters

of Triskelion, where Kirk, Uhura, and
who else – I think it's Chekov – are

abducted and forced to fight in this
triangle shaped ring as thralls with,

uh, control collars around their heads.

Uh, we talked about this, I think,
when we talked about Uhura's best

moments, and this is very much as
much an Uhura episode as we ever get.

She gets lines, she gets a bit of an arc.

In the end, Captain Kirk is the
one who saves the day with his

fighting skills, but she does not
go willingly, that's for sure.

Um, and, uh, it's a good one.

This I think conforms to something
that we see now and again is when,

when physical combat comes up, there
is at least a passing acknowledgement

or moment where our characters from the
Federation and in Starfleet go, Really?

Hand to hand combat?

Do we still do this?

Like, what what an unevolved
way to settle our differences.

Like, there is a bit there here, uh, from
my memory of, of Kirk and crew being,

shocked that this is something evolved
lifeforms would do with their time.

Uh, is, uh, is have sentient beings
fight each other for their entertainment.

This motif comes back again in Voyager
Season 6, Episode 15, Tsunkatse, which is

when The Rock guest starred on Voyager.

Rob: That's right.

He goes up against Jeri Ryan.

Kevin: That's right, so yes,
um, Tuvok and Seven of Nine are

abducted and coerced into fighting
in a blood sports competition.

Uh, and The Rock is one
of the early combatants.

He, he fights one bout
and is not seen again.

Again, this episode plays with the idea
that at the start, um, B'Elanna and

Chakotay are in the stands cheering for
the, from the crowd, for the fighters.

And then as soon as it's revealed
that Seven of Nine is in the ring,

and not by choice, they're like,
Oh my, I can't believe people

cheer for this kind of thing.

And Chakotay goes, you know, if Seven
of Nine hadn't appeared through that

door, we would still be there cheering.

So, who are we to pass judgment?

So, that is the moral
message of this episode.

Don't be so quick to judge when
it comes to gladiatorial arenas.

And, uh, then my last one was,
uh, Star Trek 2009, the J.


Abrams film.

Which, uh, just pinged my
radar because I remembered.

Captain Pike on the bridge of the
Enterprise asking for volunteers with

advanced hand to hand combat training.

And Sulu puts up his hand and
in a later scene admits to Kirk

that his training is in fencing.

But he does a good job on top
of that mining rig, fighting

the Romulans with a sword.

Rob: He does very much, very
much stand his ground and

parry-and-thrusts his way to victory.

Kevin: Yes, yes.

Rob: And I'm just going
to mention one last one.

We've talked about this episode many
times before because it is iconic.

But I'm going to talk about
the bar room brawl on K7.

Kevin: could I forget?

Rob: Yes, but not in the original.

We're going to blend it with Deep Space

Kevin: Ha ha ha ha.

Well, I'll pick the original
just to be contrarian.

I think

Rob: Beautiful.

And we can CGI and FX
ourselves, our together.

So yes, Trouble with Tribbles, the
original, uh, series episode, blended

with, the Deep Space Nine crew for their
30th anniversary special Trials and

Tribble-ations where we have Bashir,
O'Brien, Odo, and Worf in the middle

of a barroom brawl as Chekov, Scotty,
and the rest of the crew get into a

fistfight with Klingons that don't look
like Klingons, but that's something

we don't talk about with outsiders.

Kevin: The art of the barroom brawl
is, is fast becoming a lost art.

I cannot get enough of them, Rob.

Every time a movie remembers, that
is something we can do with our

time in front of a screen, uh, I
am, I am cheered to see it again.

Rob: It is very, it's very much laced
with a lot of nostalgia because it is

very much of a bygone era and a bygone
genre that we don't really do that much.

The Western, which of course
dominated American television at this

time, that idea of, uh, you know,
that was American culture's, you

know, mythology was the Wild West.

And so every, uh, every TV show was a
western and always had barroom brawls,

so that was, everyone talks about
the original series being, you know,

stagecoach, wagon train in space.

This is one of those clear, direct
references of going, it's not just

a fight, it's a barroom brawl.

It's at, it's in a bar on a space
station, sure, but it's a barroom brawl.

The only thing we're missing is
saloon doors and spittoons being

thrown in each other's face.

Kevin: I, uh, just because you reminded
me of it, I'm also going to put in

the show notes for anyone who has
not seen it or has not been alive

long enough to see it, there, there
is the underwater bar room brawl

fight, uh, from the movie Top Secret.

Do you remember ever seeing that?

Rob: Val Kilmer,

Kevin: Val Kilmer at his best.


Rob: Yep, yep, yep, yep, um, hilarious,
a great film, good choice, good choice,

Kevin: Not much to say about this other
than, it's good to see, especially

Scotty, I think, get some punches in.

He's, you know, he talks a big game,
but rarely does he actually get to,

uh, put those words into action.

In this episode, a lot is made of the
fact that he snaps under pressure.

And, um, we get to see what
Scotty is made of when, when the,

when the, uh, chips are down.

Rob: Especially when you've got hot
headed Chekov there going, But you

heard what he said about the Kiptyn.

And then you go, Settle down, laddy.

And then for that to snap,
you go, Oh, it's great.

It's great.

And then, of course, them standing quite
sheepishly in line as, uh, Kirk walks

up and down like a disproving dad going,
All right, who threw the first punch?

Come on.

Kevin: So good.

Rob: Great stuff.

So I thought that'd be a great
one to finish off when it comes to

fistfights, the ultimate fistfight,
barroom brawl, across space and time.

Kevin: Oh, well, thank you
for reminding me of it.

It's a great note to end on
before we take a little break.

But, uh, Prodigy is not far away, Rob.

Rob: July!

We're hitting into July,
so less than a month away.

Kevin: Yes, indeed.

We'll have to, we'll have
to figure out what to do.

I, for me, I don't know yet what kind of
season Prodigy Season 2 is going to be.

Will there be meaty Star Trek
topics for us to talk about?

Season one was actually a great
springing off point for Subspace

Radio because it was very much
that introduction to Star Trek.

The episodes of Prodigy basically
had those topics baked into them,

that we were there to introduce the
Borg, introduce an away mission,

introduce the Prime Directive.

Like, all of these things were
there on a platter for us.

And I'm really curious if Season 2 will
continue in that pattern, or whether

this adventure to go find Chakotay
and Janeway leading the crew, whether

that is going to take the show in
a new direction or reformat it in a

way, in almost a Discovery sort of way
where every season is its own show.

Rob: Well definitely we talked about
it a lot when we were reviewing it

is the case of Prodigy is a great
show about Star Trek because it's the

outsiders and they're learning what the
Federation is and what the ethos of Star

Trek is without having that ingrained
in their upbringing or who they are.

So they're the most Federation
of Federation members that,

uh, that there really is.

Their, their whole philosophy was based
on we've got no skin in this game, but

we will believe what you say and what
you teach and how you explore the galaxy.

So to see that within a Federation ship,
with a Federation crew, with a Federation

captain, is either going to enhance the
show and take it in new directions, or

make it just another, maybe the fault of
what happened with Voyager, it had these

grand ideas, but it relied too much on
the inherent formula of what that brings.

So there's a lot of hope in my
eyes, because I loved season one,

but also a lot of trepidation in
my heart going, don't lose what

was so special about Prodigy, yeah.

Kevin: I'll say what it has going
for it is characters that I like.

Like, I am bought into this set of
characters, so I'm, I'm kind of up for

whatever they do with those characters.

As long as they serve those characters
well, as long as they stay true to

them and continue to tell stories
that come from the characters.

Rob: And Robert Picardo coming back.

There's never a bad day when you
know, Robert Picardo is going

to be involved in something.

Kevin: Golly, yes, there will be,
the, the level of sarcasm is going

to triple on this show overnight

Rob: So, yeah, uh, that's
us for now for a little bit.

Um, keep in touch and, um, I'm
looking forward to seeing what,

uh, the future of Star Trek
brings in just a few short weeks.

Kevin: Same here.

Until then, I'll see
you around the galaxy.

Rob: See you around.

Episode 59: Hand-to-hand combat (DIS 5×10 Life, Itself)
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