Star Trek Discovery – Season 2, Episode 6: Growing Pains

For all their attempts the show has yet to convince me it can handle complex philosophical arguments. I love the characters, but my lords, after the coexist episode we are now treated to the writers’ attempt at exploring the nature of oppression.

Star Trek Discovery – Season 2, Episode 6: Growing Pains

(here’s a link for anyone having a problem with the embed)

-To be fair, most forms of media fail to present an adequate facsimile of real world oppression, because they make the oppressed dangerous, thus justifying the oppressors to varying degrees. X-men stories have always had that problem, as well as Rowling’s werewolves -primarily Lupin- and now the Kelpiens post-Vahar’ai. We can still identify with the struggle of the persecuted minority, and root for them despite how dangerous the narrative makes them, but it’s always disappointing to me that in fiction we have to give a reason for their persecution when in real life hate and injustice need none.

-Another problem present, with fiction reflecting real life this time, is an oppressed population having to prove its worth, to earn its free will, to exhibit exceptional behavior and never make a mistake lest it reflect poorly upon an entire group and be used to justify violence against them. Star Trek: Discovery doesn’t question the unbearable weight that is fighting for the right to exist as you are, but instead rationalizes the Ba’ul’s behavior. Saru is a hostage fighting back, yet the Ba’ul get the last word with the revelation that they almost went extinct.

-This approach to oppression has ripples within the show’s narrative and characterization. Pike, instead of at least talking to his commander, dismisses him out of hand in a way I’m sure was meant to seem objective, but instead comes off as petty and callous. Starfleet’s entire handing of the situation on Kaminar is odd and not very palatable.

-There is a brief mention of breaking the cycle of oppression and then the show moves forward instead of examining what could have been the heart of the episode. Why do oppressors view equality as the first step towards the tables turning, and why do they think the oppressed will wish to act as they had? Does giving power to the powerless mean that they will enact the same violence perpetrated upon them? Do hurt people hurt people?

-All that being said Doug Jones kills it as usual, and I love digging into what makes Saru tick now that he’s changed. However, though his reunion with his sister was well-handled and added to his story, I wish it didn’t so strongly parallel Michael’s family troubles, since it seems to be there as a prologue to her meeting Spock again more than anything.

-(Adored the moment where Michael and Tilly simply trigger the Vahar’ai without really running by a Pike who just sees them furiously at work saving their friend and his entire species.)

-I’m glad Tyler’s there to offer some much needed perspective. His common sense approach and non-malicious doubt offers dialogue rather than argument, if only everyone else wasn’t so enraptured with the angels.

-What are your theories on them by the way? Because I have nothing solid yet.

Sorry for how late this is, but work and personal life was overwhelming last week. I still haven’t seen the new episode, but I hear it’s a doozy and hopefully I can have it up before Thursday’s broadcast.

Live long and prosper. <3

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