Star Trek: Discovery’s Unanswered Scientific Questions…

Star Trek: Discovery’s Unanswered Scientific Questions After Season 1, Episode 9

“But the parallel Universes part is the hardest part for me to swallow. Newly introduced in this episode, Lorca shows Stamets how all the data gathered from the spore drive shows not only the mycelium network, but doorways to parallel Universes. They build off the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics to indicate that Universes where anything and everything that can happen does, only in some other parallel Universe. The problem is, these branches occur at an “event” in spacetime, which means they occur at a specific location in space at a specific time; you can’t simply have a “map” of a place where you can access a parallel Universe. Yet that’s how Star Trek: Discovery chooses to portray the science, and it appears that’s where they wind up at the end: in a parallel Universe that’s nowhere known.”

After nine episodes, Star Trek: Discovery reaches its mid-season hiatus with a visually spectacular battle on multiple fronts at Pahvo. Discovery engages the Klingon sarcophagus ship, Stamets faces his own mental decline to power the spore drive, Lorca orders others to uncertain fates, Burnham engages in combat at the scene of her greatest failure, and Tyler battles his own PTSD. It’s a great stage for some very compelling internal and external conflicts to play out. But it’s also all too easy. The Klingons are one-dimensional villains. There’s no ethical dilemma to obeying/disobeying orders here. Burnham exercises terrible judgment, but gets lucky in the end. And the “Gilligan’s starship” ending seems, at first glance, to be a new twist on an old plotline: Lost In Space. Which is really too bad, because that’s one of the classic counterexamples I use to show what Star Trek, as a franchise, is not all about.

There’s a lot of potential in Discovery, but it has some growing to do, on both the science and the fiction fronts, if it wants to go down as one of the greats.