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Reflections and questions after traveling and living in my car for 3 weeks
I'll give a brief introduction of how I got to where I am, what my experience has been so far, and questions for some of you more experienced travelers.
I am French citizen who studied in Arizona for 4 years, and worked there full-time for 2 years under my student visa optional work extension. After those two years, I got absolutely fed up with my job due to a craving for freedom, stability in my career (which is hard when you're on a timed visa), and a need for adventure. So on July 21st, I quit my job and didn't renew my lease. I had planned this since January 2020. I was about to cancel in march 2020, but closely following the covid pandemic that is a month ahead back home, I thought that 4 months would have been enough for the US to weather through it all. I know, how naïve. But it was too late, I had already trained my replacement, already lost my visa and started my two months grace period, and gave a notice to my landlord in April.
I had $4,000 saved up for the trip which is supposed to last 7 weeks. But by the time I really left, I actually had $3,000 due to some bills and initial fees to pay for various services I set-up. I have an old 2000 Chevy Blazer 2-doors (2x4) which is okay, although the wheel axil is broken (too expensive to fix) and requires new tires every two months.
I left Phoenix on July 28th. My itinerary was Cottonwood (AZ) -> Flagstaff (AZ) -> Bryce Canyon (UT) -> Canyonland + Arches NPs (UT) -> Salt Lake City (UT) -> Idaho Falls (ID) -> Yellowstone (WY) -> Grand Teton (WY) -> Twin Falls (ID) -> and now Boise (ID) where I currently am. I plan to continue my travels to Washington, Oregon, and California.
I am actually doing okay with money. After almost three weeks, I have only spent $800 in various stuff (food, gas, the occasional Airbnb). I am confident I can do the rest of the trip on that budget if my car doesn't take a shit on me. I got to visit 7 National Parks (get a pass guys, it's awesome) and have been through 3 news states. While my interactions are minimal, the only 2 people I actually met were very friendly and now follow me on social media. I am able to surprisingly sleep well in my car despite my 5"7 height being slightly too big. No one has kicked me out from any parking lot/roadside in the middle of the night. I have not been infected with Covid (tested negative on July 27th and August 8th). And basically I have no more boss, no more constrain, and can literally can go wherever I want, whenever I want. I got an anytime fitness membership to shower everywhere, and the side effect is that I got to the gym at least every two days now.
I'm bored. My days in Boise and Salt Lake City were pretty much this 1) wake up at the walmart parking lot 2) organize my car 3) try to find a coffee shop or mall that allows you to sit inside or work for more than 1 hour (very hard with covid) 4) try to find solo distractions 5) Hope it's 8pm so I can finally go to the gym to shower and get ready for bed at the walmart parking lot. It's very hard to distract oneself while solo traveling.
I'm lonely. I'm really more of an introvert. I have done tons of solo travels in the past, and this ain't my first rodeo. But never for this long. I am only now realizing that experiences are only as valuable as you can share them with someone. I've also noticed that the initial excitement that friends/family had for me has faded. I went completely unplugged in Yellowstone and Grand Titan for 3 days, and when I got back to cellular, no one had tried to contact me. I have to say it hurt a little. And with Covid, it is both hard and irresponsible to seek out new connections. I really miss having co-workers or just people to talk to casually.
I'm kinda blasé by all the landscape. I have seen tons of landscapes in such a short amount of time that I feel nothing really impresses me anymore. Whenever I go to a new site, I feel like I only notice the negatives. Such as, time to find camping is running out, I can't find drinking water or a bathroom, it's too crowded, etc. Now I just show up to hikes, do them, but I feel like I don't truly enjoy them. It's like I do them because they're on my itinerary rather than because I want to them.
And finally, I watched too many van-living youtubers. They always find the best camping spots, and I have no idea how they do it. I have maps of land ownership to camp on USFS and BLM land (free dispersed camping), but wherever I show up, the landscape/topography either doesn't allow me to camp, or there are already a thousand jeeps and RVs who raided all the dispersed camping available, even in the most secluded areas I've been to. And I don't even bother looking for USFS or State Park campsites anymore, I have yet to see that doesn't display "No vacancy" on a random Tuesday. I somehow always end up on the walmart parking lot.
I'm sorry for the long list of negatives, I am a naturally pessimistic person, and as I am writing this in Boise, I feel like I'm burning out a little bit. But I do realize that I am very lucky to be able to do what I'm doing, and everyone says they're jealous. Sooooo I guess I got that going.
Now here are my questions for the more experienced ones:
1) What are you favorite places to sit down and work? All the coffee shops/libraries are either closed, forbid inside sitting, or kick you out after a couple hours. Where are your preferences?
2) How do you find good camping spots in the West?
3) Have you had loneliness/boredom burnout? What got you out of it? And generally, how do you distract yourself during your travels?
Sorry for the very long post, but I wanted to give as many details and as much insight as I could. I hope some of you can learn from my experience, and I would love to hear how you relate, or how your experiences differs. Cheers!
Star Trek: For the Shows Are Hollow and I Want to Cry
- Michael Burnham. This is one of the biggest complaints most fans have, but it bears repeating: this is The Michael Burnham Show. Everything in the universe revolves around her. Unlike the show's predecessors, this is not an ensemble cast, or even a Holy Trinity. It is Michael Burnham, and then a group of people who love and adore Michael. These people give her problems, and then she solves them. While she is solving them, she'll make some tearful speech about family and friendship, and everyone else is grateful just to know her. Speaking of the tearful speeches, for more than half her life she was raised on Vulcan. From what I remember, she was comparatively more stoic in S1, and then she expresses her emotions more and more and is now a little too emotional for my taste. So I ask you, what was the point of having a Vulcan upbringing—ignoring Spock, the real answer—if that facet of her personality is now pointless? Is this supposed to be character development, going from an arrogant and unlikable pseudo-Vulcan to an arrogant, unlikable, weepy pseudo-idealist?
- Saru. He doesn't really wow me, but he's got a great design and he isn't an annoying jerkoff, so I like him just fine (Side note: after seeing S3E2, I like him more now). I want to talk about his "character development", and I say that in quotes because the way it happened was lazy as all hell. In the episode where they find the Infosphere, incidentally my favorite episode of this crap show, it prematurely triggers the final stage of Saru's life cycle, where he must die or go insane. But later it turns out it's more like puberty, so that Saru is no longer a little bitch but now self-assured and confident… wow, what a thrilling arc. He was scared, but then a giant meatball made him not scared. This isn't even the first fucking time the writers used an asspull to change a character's personality.
- Stamets. Okay real quick, his name. Paul Stamets. If you didn't know, that's the name of a famous mycologist, so the writers thought it would be cute to name their mushroom scientist character the same thing. What is this, Lost? And that one episode of Hannibal, a show coincidentally created by Bryan Fuller? Anyway, the asspull. So when we first meet Stamets, he is a grade A cunt. Then a couple episodes later, he has to replace the tardigrade as the spore drive navigator. Spliced with its DNA and riding high on the mycelial network, his whole personality shifts to someone kinder and quirkier… wow, what a thrilling arc. I actually preferred him as a total dick tbh. But wait, the writers do something similar again in S2!
- Hugh. I liked Hugh in S1. Why? Because he did his job and acted like a professional. No over the top speeches, no melodramatic tension with other crew-members, he was just kinda there and didn't annoy me. Shit, he isn't even the CMO. Then they killed him. And then because they were accused of "burying their gays", they resurrected him in a rather lame fashion involving the mycelial network. So now he's all tortured and doesn't feel like himself. This is slightly better than the other two, but come on.
- Tilly. She's supposed to be the endearing, adorkable, best friend of Burnham who wants to become a Captain someday. Like a more well-adjusted Barclay, we as the audience are supposed relate to her because she's the most normal person on the ship. I didn't hate her in S1 (except for "This is so fucking cool!"), but they went overboard with her in S2. I don't blame the actress, but for God's sake stop having her say the cringiest shit. THIS IS THE POWER OF MATH, PEOPLE!!! I can't wait to see what she says this season.
- Airiam, Detmer, Owo, Rhys and Bryce. Who, you might ask? Robot lady, cyborg eye bridge lady, other bridge lady, bridge guy, other bridge guy. I wouldn't even call them secondary characters tbh, more glorified cameos. They're just there to be familiar faces instead of cycling through random nameless helmsman and whatever. It's kinda similar to Sulu, Uhura and Chekov in TOS, except they had personality and would frequently have some real involvement in the plot. The show shines a very bright light on how disposable these people are when there's a whole scene dedicated to telling us their names because they are nobodies. This is further exemplified when we see some of them make videos to their families to say goodbye, just so we could maybe care about them a little. Then the ultimate example is Airiam's episode, where suddenly this background character is at the forefront of the plot in a clear indication that she will die. Her funeral at the end is so phony and embarrassing, having Pike, Tilly and Burnham talk about how amazing and wonderful Airiam was, how special her friendship was, blah blah blah fart noise. Fucking Morn was a more memorable character than any of these paper people.
- Georgiou. Prime one was alright, unfortunately super short lived. Mirror one should never have been kept on the show. She has no redeeming qualities beyond caring about Burnham. I think the showrunners just wanted to keep Michelle Yeoh around to ham it up, so much so that she's leading the Section 31 show. Fucking travesty.
- Spock. Spock is like the ultimate vehicle for references in Discovery. Because Burnham is inexplicably his foster sister, he has an excuse to show up, as well as Sarek, Amanda Grayson, Pike, Number One and the Enterprise (but not Sybok lmao). Because Burnham's mom (who isn't dead but is a time traveling superhero) gives him visions of the death of everyone in the galaxy, this makes him crazy. Because he's now crazy, Section 31 is going to mind rape him, but he escapes with kung fu and is eventually healed by the Talosians. Because we visit Talos IV, we see Vina and are literally shown clips from The Cage. Literally. It's so jarring, and rather embarrassing that they had to resort to that instead of a decent summary. Also for some reason, Spock has space dyslexia. That's integral to the plot: because he is so smart and has space dyslexia, that means he'll be able to understand what the Red Angel visions mean, even though he goes crazy. But come on, was that really necessary? The extent of his dyslexia being critical to figuring things out is that he writes the coordinates to Talos IV backwards. That was it. And you know who figured that out? Michael Burnham, his ultimate inspiration. I think I said this in my previous post, but I'm positive its why the writers did this. For the easiest brownie points ever with disabled viewers. It also sorta feels like its referencing how some people thought Spock had Asperger's, or being Vulcan was an allegory for that? Anyway it was utterly pointless and doesn't even impact TOS either.
- Nhan. Yum yum.
The storyI don't really recall too much about S1's story beyond T'Kuvma started the war and Burnham basically sealed the deal by killing him. Then Mirror Universe detour, then we gotta bomb Qo'noS because the Federation is one foot in the grave. S2 though, despite being more confusing, I remember a little better. Let's see how close I get: 7 red signals appear simultaneously throughout the galaxy so after the Enterprise is mysteriously crippled Captain Pike commandeers the Discovery to use its spore drive to reach the signals where they discover Jett Reno and Terralysium and a temporal anomaly coincidentally above Saru's homeworld and a planet related to the Red Angel project and the time crystal on Boreth and that one queen alien from that Short Trek and then I guess at some point the writers realized that they focused too much on the Control plot because they only had 4 or 5 red signals planned so they decided to Bill and Ted this fucking plot and have Burnham be the source of the 7 red signals so in the middle of this giant CGI clusterfuck she has to go back in time and place the previous 5 red signals so that the plot can make sense but then after Control is defeated they still have to strand themselves in the future... why?
Airiam was corrupted but is now dead. Leland/Control is now dead. So, what's the danger? Is it like, as long as the Infosphere data exists in the past, future Control or whatever will always have a chance to steal it, so then Burnham and Discovery travel to the future to "skip" over future Control? But then what's stopping future Control from waiting for Discovery to reappear in the timeline? We know almost nothing about future Control, all we DO know is that Pike sent the probe into the anomaly, it returned all upgraded, it corrupted Airiam, and she tried to help present Control. If Control is dead, then there shouldn't be a future Control, so no need to get stuck in the future. If there still is a future Control, or even a copy of Control left in the present, then "skipping over" it doesn't 100% keep the data safe. It'd be better to send Discovery to the fucking Big Bang, or the heat death of the universe, or right next to the Romulan sun when it goes supernova, or some other more foolproof method of total destruction. Idk, it's confusing. Or maybe I'm just stupid. Probably both.
There's also just some little stuff to mention.
- Yum yum.
- The backpedaling with the Klingon redesign was pretty funny. "Oh the Klingons shave all their hair during war!" Sure, if you ignore every other time they were at war. They're still fuck ugly, but the hair helps.
- There was absolutely no reason given for why the Enterprise was critically damaged in S2E1. Did Michael do it, so Pike can board Discovery? Who the hell knows? The writers sure don't know.
- Cornwell's death, and how a magic blast door withstood the explosion of a photon torpedo, as well as protected Pike from going blind. DS9 and Voyager both did the whole "undetonated torpedo lodged in the hull" subplot much better.
- Yum yum.
- The Klingon cleave ships. I barely mentioned them in the last post, but seriously. Kurtzman. What the fuck. These things are insanely OP, and there wasn't even an excuse for why they never show up post-DSC.
- Enterprise has drone ships. A lot of them. Too much. Way too much, it's like there's more ships than space for them inside the cargo bay. Blah blah blah Number One added them, it was still stupid, and added to the mind-numbing battle in the finale. Oh and those tiny little repair bots, gee I wish something like Voyager had those, if they were so useful 100 years ago.
- The gag order. How fucking lazy, is this really the best the writers could come up with to explain why Burnham, Discovery and the spore drive aren't ever mentioned ever? The reasoning doesn't even make sense (what a surprise), it's so nothing like this could ever happen again? Aside from the fact that the whole Control situation didn't really relate to the spore drive, did no one ever hear the phrase "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"? But I guess compared to all the other orders we see broken every now and then in Star Trek, this one really stuck.
- Yum yum.
- L'Rell and the hydro bomb. I don't like that Starfleet okayed this genocide plot, although something similar did occur when they didn't try to actively stop the destruction of the Founders in DS9. But anyway, they left the detonator in the hands of L'Rell, who made herself the Klingon Chancellor. And everyone rolled over for this dishonorable Federation puppet? How the fuck did she survive all the way to the end of S2, was there literally only one coup? The way she seized power is way worse than anything that duplicitous taint Duras ever tried, and his entire House was filled with Romulan stooges. I wouldn't put it past these new shows to reveal that the bomb is still there, and every Chancellor since L'Rell keeps it as the ace up their sleeve. If that ever happened, talk about mad disrespect to my boy Martok.
- You know what would have been a more satisfying ending to the threat of Control? The classic TOS trope of "talking a computer to death." DSC is already using Spock, Pike, etc, why not do something both nostalgic and classy for the finale instead of that shitfuck CGI battle and having Control literally fight Georgiou and Nhan? Jesus Christ, zero tension or excitement on top of a headache.
- Discovery is nothing but loops. What do I mean by this? I mean that Discovery keeps making all these retcons and additions to canon, but then """cleverly""" comes up with excuses for why they're never brought up again. Like the gag order, Pike getting rid of the holographic communications, Section 31 is public but then quietly fades back into the shadows, Pike's fate cannot be altered so him knowing about it changes nothing, etc. So we have a straight line (canon), then the loop (DSC), and then the straight line again. So why have the loop in the first place? Why make the first two seasons a prequel if you're going to keep fucking with what's already established and then dismiss it? Compared to Enterprise and some of its takes on the canon, it is just embarrassingly transparent.
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- Picard. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is just the best. The man commands the flagship of the Federation, the best ship with the best crew. He is a wonderful mix of an intelligent diplomat, and a savvy risk-taker. An idealist who does not give up. JL on the other hand, is someone who gave up. He abandoned some kid, he left his friend out to dry, and after all his promises to do everything in his power to save as many Romulans as he could, instead of finding another way to help them, he just crawled back to his vineyard to die. Damn, what a fucking legacy to leave behind. But hey, after hitting rock bottom like that, the show is gonna pick him back up, dust him off, and bring back the Picard we all know and love, right? Right? Please? At best, I would call JL a messy mix of TNG Picard and movie Picard, sorta romanticized but not really. His Picard speeches aren't as hard-hitting, his attempts at TNG style hopefulness feel weak, and he comes off more melodramatic than serious. At worst, he is an utter shell of his former self, and not in an interesting way. I feel heartsick watching this man on screen, because this isn't Picard. It's Patrick Stewart playing a sad old man in an action show.
- Soji/Dahj. Soji is the real protagonist of the show, and she's so bland. I get nothing from her, anything interesting stems from her being "Data's Daughter" and "The Destroyer" and that's it. It doesn't help that the actress isn't very good either, she's CW tier. And yet, in addition to having the show revolve around her, she does multiple roles too: Dahj is the fake-out protagonist, who sets everything up only to die so we have to spend half the season watching Picard slowly make his way to her twin. Then in the last two episodes there's Sutra, who wants to murder the galaxy because we need a bad synth to contrast with Soji and the hippie androids, plus the irony of Soji being "the Destroyer" is sort of true. Also Soji and Dahj are dumb names, I say that with no knowledge of linguistics or phonetic patterns or whatever.
- Jurati. I like Alison Pill, and maybe in a different story I would like Jurati, but here? Ehhhh. I thought she was going to be this show's Tilly at first, but then she kills Maddox and is almost exclusively depressed for the remainder of the show. Her jokes don't land, and then her whole "tortured soul" bit doesn't really hit home either. As far as any punishment she might receive for killing Maddox, I'll give her some leeway because of how Oh pushed her into doing it, but she shouldn't get off scot-free.
- Seven of Nine. She doesn't feel like the same character from Voyager at all, and I don't mean her lack of Borg-iness. It's like the writers wanted a cool badass bounty hunter character, and just wrote a quick little outline, and when they began the casting process, they had the idea to have it be Seven and tossed in the appropriate connections. I'm not opposed to her being a bounty hunter or Fenris Ranger or whatever they hell she is, because honestly idk what I would have preferred her as. Starfleet officer? That's uninspired. Borg expert like Hugh? Not bad, sorta predictable. A normal life as a wife or mom, just happy to be human again? Too "boring". I'd be fine with any of these, or a mix, but it really felt pointless for her to be a bounty hunter, except as an excuse for her to dual wield phaser rifles like a brain-dead action hero. I will say though, I'm glad they didn't keep her with Chakotay or even acknowledge that relationship at all.
- Raffi. I like Michelle Hurd, and maybe in a different story I would like Raffi, but here? Ehhhh. Oh wait I already said that. Yeah, Raffi... The way the show uses her is really demeaning as hell. She loses her job just for being associated with Picard, all her conspiracy theory shit breaks up her family, she lives in a trailer getting drunk and stoned all day, and when Picard comes to see her, she gets all catty about his fancy vineyard and antique furniture and other shit. Aside from making Starfleet extremely petty and having humanity feel 21st century style dirty, the writers are reveling in melodrama here. Star Trek is typically above melodrama, and at the very least makes it not trashy. There's a scene later in the show where Picard needs to gain access to the Borg Cube, so he has Raffi totally humiliate herself by forcing one of her last Starfleet friends into giving them credentials, which leads to a burned bridge between them and Raffi promptly (and comically) starts drowning her misery in booze. The writers are really adept at subtle nuance in character interactions. They also gave her the most adorable nickname for Picard ever, and it totally did not get old after the 2nd use.
- Rios. The only interesting thing about Rios is how La Sirena's holograms reflect different parts of him, and even that isn't really good. Feels more like an excuse for the actor to do more than be gruff, and so we can have that one scene where all the holograms interact. Anyway, Rios kinda reminds me of Wolverine. Has a traumatic past, becomes cynical, sort of drifts around, falls under the wing of Patrick Stewart, finds meaning in life again by serving this geriatric bald fuck. Throw in the hair, drinking and chomping on cigars and SNIKT you got Logan. Except Rios is lame. His introduction scene literally had me go "oh NO", the whole shrapnel in the shoulder, disinfecting it with whiskey, lighting up his cigar all in the effort to look super badass. Han Solo WHO, amirite? Like Raffi, his backstory also shits on Starfleet with the "black flag directive". That's Section 31 level fuckery, not something any captain worth his salt should obey. Rios chooses to finish the job "so it wouldn't be in vain", wow. "Starfleet to the core," indeed.
- Elnor. I would call Elnor the most pointless character on the show. I just don't see any purpose to him, other than as a Romulan swordsman for bloody fun action scenes. If it's to be a surrogate son to Picard, that failed considering how little time they spend together outside of the flashbacks. All he does is behead people, says his badass line "Please friends, choose to live", and employs the Liar Liar technique of saying truthful stuff to garner laughs from the audience. Also he failed to save Hugh, so fuck him.
- Narek and Narissa. I mentioned in my last post that these two are heavily inspired by the Lannister twins, because they definitely have an incestuous relationship. In a way, it's almost creepier than GoT because we don't see the fucking. Narissa also feels a little like Cersei, a cold psychopath who will kill scores of people just to get what she wants, while Narek and Jaime are the more compassionate ones. But other than that, they're both pretty bland. Narek honeydicks Soji, pumping her for information (haha gross) about the synth planet. That's about all he's good for, that and playing with space Rubik's Cubes. All Narissa does is molest her brother, kill xBs and monologue. If she survived the fall and shows back up in S2, I'm gonna barf.
The storyThe plot is somewhat disjointed and the connections are tenuous at best. Let's go through it all. So we have the Zhat Vash, a Romulan group thousands of years old and dedicated to wiping out synths to prevent the Synthpocalypse. Because of the Romulan supernova, the destruction of the Romulan Star Empire and countless other systems is imminent, so the Federation dedicates Utopia Planitia to churn out enough rescue ships by using synths. If the plan works, then everyone in the Quadrant will see how valuable synths are and will no doubt mass produce millions for their own use. To prevent this, the Zhat Vash manufactures a synth uprising to destroy the shipyards and set Mars on fire, ensuring that synths are banned... as well as doom the majority of their own people. The supernova is only in play because of the reboot movie, and really has nothing to do with the rest of the plot. It easily could have been a plague, or new enemy, or anything else not even related to the Romulan people to prompt a huge synth workforce. But of course, ZV's big opportunity has to come at the cost of their brothers and sisters. Tangentially related to this problem is Data. Data was in Starfleet for 38 fucking years, showing everyone how useful he is, and ZV never took him out or discredited him. Maybe they tried and failed, but if they had gotten rid of him, there wouldn't have been a synth workforce in the first place and thus no need to bone themselves. Good job guys! Back to Picard's
More complaints here!
- Icheb. The show did Icheb so fucking dirty, all for some cheap motivation for Seven. The writers couldn't come up with a more clever reason for her to go after Bjayzl and her dumbass name, so they resorted to this hack crap. And the eyeball scene, good god they reveled in its gruesomeness for the sheer shock value. Hey remember the kid from Voyager? Let's have him scream in pain for 5 minutes while we see his eyeball removed in visceral detail and then laugh our asses off at "Hey where's your cortical node buddy?" Everything involving Icheb was tasteless and macabre. I know there was some mild controversy about the original actor's views or whatever, but if this was supposed to be the response to that, then just don't use Icheb in the first place.
- Hugh and the Borg Cube. The Borg Reclamation Project was the only thing that had my interest in this pitiful excuse of a show, and the show did nothing with it. It was a little bit of flavor for the Borg part of the story, as well as an excuse for Hugh to show up. Oh god, Hugh, his death was so mishandled. If you don't want to give him a heroic sacrifice, that's fine, but don't make it utterly worthless. Just like Icheb, it felt cheap as fuck. Don't bring back characters if you don't know what to do with them.
- The hippy synth planet. Speaking of bringing back characters just to kill them, Maddox. It was a nice touch to have him be the creator of the new synths (even if it isn't the same actor), but then there's another Soong? I guess that's fine, although Juliana Tainer is probably not his mom. But anyway, through pure, weapons-grade bolognium called fractal neuronic cloning, they made flesh and blood synths by utilizing positrons they found floating in the debris cloud once known as Data. The process is never adequately explained, or even inadequately, and for some reason results only in twins. Idk why the writers made up this bullshit, even for Trek its dumb. Just use Lore, or B-4. The nonsense doesn't stop here, there's some magic multi-tool that does anything you want, because the writers thought it would be slightly better than a straight up Deus ex machina. I'm shocked no one tried to cure Picard's illness with it.
- Riker and Troi episode. This was my favorite episode, and it wasn't even that good. The rest of the episodes set such a low bar, that the nostalgia was enough to coast by. Riker and Troi themselves are more or less fine, their daughter Kestra (I get it) wasn't obnoxious, and oh dang a Kzinti reference? Too bad the rest sucked. First, the Rikers had a kid before Kestra, who died from a disease that could have been cured if not for the synth ban. That's just cruel, especially for Troi, who already lost a child before. Jesus, can no one be happy after all these years? The dead son doesn't really add much, so why do that? Blah, moving on. There's this little subplot of Picard trying to connect with Soji, but because she's a young adult and he's an old man, obviously he sucks at being a parent, and Riker even acknowledges this. I guess all those years with his family from The Inner Light didn't count... Oh quick note, Riker aged much better here than he did in All Good Things.
- Data. The show wanted to give Data a better sendoff then he had in Nemesis, and I guess they succeeded? His scenes were certainly more heartfelt than anything else in this shitshow, but it was 100% fan service rather than an organic part of the story. The circumstances surrounding Data's continued existence is contrived too. Apparently Maddox and Soong Jr. recovered his memories from B-4, and made a simulation of his consciousness. Stored in a little hard drive, I guess it sat on a shelf all these years, with no attempts made at actually "resurrecting" Data? B-4 failed, but again there's Lore. Lore is almost virtually the same as Data, and yet the show didn't even bother trying to handwave away that option. Or how about use this fancy new method of creating synths, and make Data human? That would have been better than Soong Jr. At the very least, say this recreation of Data somehow refuses to be transferred to a new body. Oh and unlike Riker, they did a terrible job at de-aging Brent Spiner. Data's face is a little bloated, and the color of his skin and eyes look off. It's mean but true, sorry Brent.
- Raffi and Seven. Remember earlier in my post where I talked about easy brownie points? Yeah, we get that again here but for the LGBT crowd. There was no setup for it, no hint or indication at any kind of relationship blossoming. I'm not even sure they interacted before they suddenly started holding hands. Go ahead and make Seven and Raffi bi, but don't make it feel like pandering. I know it was sort of alluded to in Voyager that Seven didn't want to be restricted to only one partner, and I think they vaguely hinted at her sleeping with Vjayzl, so her being bi makes sense. But dear god, do more work next time, Seven spent more time talking to Rios than Raffi.
- The legal status of holograms. The synth ban is very, very vague: we see it apply to androids and positronic matrices, but we already know that holograms can be just as advanced as a synth like Data, and therefore would pose as great a threat. We see only a few holograms in Picard, the holo-greeter at the quantum archive and Rios' holograms. The holo-greeter is a glorified librarian, and the ships holograms represent rather broad interpretations of Rios' own personality, so I wouldn't count them as advanced enough to be affected by the ban. The real problems are the sapient ones like Moriarty, the Doctor, and maybe Vic Fontaine. They have developed personhood through various means, and have a right to life like any organic being. We don't know how the ban affected them, because the show never got into it. Maybe they couldn't afford to get Robert Picardo, so they didn't bother with it.
- Laris and Zhaban. Two of the best characters on the show, and they never show back up after leaving Earth. What a goddamn shame. I assume they'll be back for S2 where a lot more can be done with them, maybe as the show's version of Garak. Plain, simple Garak.
- Oh. Real quick, I want to mention that dumbass scene where she wears sunglasses. First, she just looked stupid as hell, reference to Anna Karina be damned. Second, she should have an inner eyelid to help protect her eyes. If she didn't, and it really was just bright that day, why doesn't she wear sunglasses on a planet that has 8 fucking suns? Third, they really accentuated her elf ears. She looked more like Yoda than a Vulcan. Anyway, Oh is like the most incompetent villain yet. Her little hit squad royally fucked up with Dahj, trusting Narissa to take care of Soji utterly failed, and then when she brings a genocide fleet with her to the synths' doorstep, she just monologues. She blathers on and on, taking forever to fucking fire and save the entire galaxy. Like ignoring how it's her fault, shit is now 100000000% real, the synths are summoning Techthulu right this second. I can't believe I'm saying this, but she should not have listened to Picard's gay little speech. She should have bombarded the planet right then and there. This woman sacrificed billions of Romulans to try and stop synths from being positively received, and when she has the chance to literally, LITERALLY save the galaxy, NOW is when she suddenly develops a conscience? This a quote from Michael Chabon on why Oh didn't kamikaze the synths. I'd like to think she was listening to Picard and Soji, but maybe that's just because I believe in Star Trek. Perhaps she thought it would be more effective to live and fight another day. Get the fuck outta here.
- The golem. That entire plot point was just terrible, and reeked of "having your cake and eating it too." So all throughout the show, they keep referring to a fatal "parietal defect" that Picard has, an obvious reference to Irumodic Syndrome. It hardly ever manifests itself, but conveniently acts up during the final battle, so much so that Picard actually dies. But hang on! Soong Jr. just happened to be working on a way to transfer one's consciousness into an artificial body, and just our luck, he uses it on Picard! But before that part, we get to spend 5 minutes watching the main cast cry and mourn Picard. Boo hoo, poor JL, I'm gonna miss–oh he's back. Well cool, now we get Robo-Picard, he probably has super strength and will live forever and–wait, you didn't give him super strength? He's only gonna live to a natural age and then still die? Wait, well then what the fuck was the point of all of this? This is Discovery looping all over again, why give him a fatal illness if you're gonna immediately revive him? Why put him in the golem if you functionally make him a mortal man? I know why, it's for those few minutes where they cry over his death, and so the writers can change their mind at any time and make Picard strong or immortal or even change his face if need be. Shameless, disgusting hack writers.
- Transwarp beaming. They kept the supernova from Star Trek 09 but conveniently forgot this, something Prime Scotty developed that would have made the Romulan evacuation much more feasible. I guess dump it with Lore in the pile of "canon that ruins the bad story we're telling."
- Lal. Speaking of that pile, what about Data's real daughter, Lal? They referenced Spot, but not Lal. She existed, fucking explicitly acknowledge her. If the show was trying to say that the Daughter painting that the Soji androids were based off of is actually Lal, then they did a piss poor job. They barely look alike.
All of it.I said it before and I'll say it again. References are not jokes, and that's more than half of what Lower Decks is. Half the time it feels like they're just hitting the random button on Memory Alpha. I don't give a fuck how deep a cut Xon is, tell real jokes. While you're at it, write better characters too. Mariner is insufferable, Boimler is annoying, Tendi is like Tilly cranked to 11, Rutherford is basically male Tendi but gets a boner for engineering, and the bridge crew are terrible parodies of good Trek characters. When we do get good Trek characters, they're flanderzied to hell. Q, Riker, and Troi probably won't be the last to cameo on this garbage cartoon, I bet Shatner will want to use this as an opportunity to bring back Kirk. One more thing. This is from the latest episode of Discovery:
Regulation 256.15: Starfleet officers shall show professional behavior at all times.ಠ_ಠ
I hope these shows don't live long and prosper. Star Trek joke!