Monday, June 21, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery Review: 3x07 "Unification III"

 Once again these reviews are coming a little out of order. I filmed a review about episode six earlier today, so it will be up in a couple of days. For now, let's talk about episode seven.

I'm aware that the title of this episode is a reference to episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation that were titled "Unification" and "Unification II." It's also entirely possible that I've seen one or both of those episodes before. Before Discovery, Next Generation was the Star Trek show I'd seen the most of because it was always on in our house when I was younger, but most of the time I wasn't paying that much attention to it. So I can't say anything about how this episode works as a continuation of themes in those. Thanks to the internet, I am aware that those episodes dealt with Spock uniting the Vulcans and Romulans, so I do have some sense of the connection. Still, I can mostly just talk about this episode on its own.

In this episode, the Discovery learns that the Vulcan and Romulans have united, and because of this, the planet formerly known as Vulcan is now called Ni'Var. Romulans and Vulcans being the same people was actually a piece of Star Trek lore that I knew thanks to the bits and pieces I absorbed over the years, so that wasn't a big shock. What I really enjoyed was seeing Michael's reaction to learning that Spock worked to make that happen. It was done so well, especially the scene were she watches a recording of him speaking, which I believe it actually from the Next Generation episodes.

We learn that Ni'Var considers itself responsible for the Burn and that's why they've left the Federation. It's good to have an explanation for that, and I like this development. Michael's personal connection to the planet provides her with an even stronger drive to find out what really happened in order to show Ni'Var that they're innocent (something which she fully believes).

While I knew that Michael's mom would have to come up at some point, I wasn't expecting her to be living on Ni'Var. It seems like such a random (in the universe, very much not random for the story) place for her to end up on.

Tilly is asked to be Saru's Number One. In a move that's very in character, she's not sure about taking it at first, but Stamets gets the whole crew together to encourage her. Even Michael wants her to talk it, and it's such a heart warming scene. With all the emotional heaviness in the rest of the episode, I enjoyed getting something as warm as that, and it makes me excited to see how Tilly does in the position.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Mandalorian Review: "Chapter 5: The Gunslinger"

In this episode we meet Toro Calican, who wants to join the Guild but must capture Fennec Shand first. He asks the Mandalorian for help with capturing her, so we spend the entire episode with a character who might be the most annoying one on the show so far. I'm going to be honest with you: I'm kind of glad he dies at the end just so we don't have to see him again. While some of his confidence might be an act to cover up that he doesn't know what he's doing, his arrogance (despite being the least experienced one by far) throughout the episode led to me face palming repeatedly. Was it believable that someone like that exists? Yes. Did I want to see more of him in the future? No.

Shand, on the other hand, I found very interesting. We don't learn much about her in this episode, but she's clearly experienced and an important target for a reason, The episode ends with a mysterious figure approaching her body, which I'm assuming is foreshadowing for something, and I'm excited to see what comes of it.

By far my favorite new character in this episode, though, is Peli Motto, a mechanic who ends up becoming a babysitter for the Child. She's brash, but she comes to like the kid. It was fun seeing her not know what to do with him but also arguing with the Mandalorian about how he doesn't know how to take care of a child. It added some lightheartedness and fun to the episode. I don't know if we'll ever see her again, but I'd be excited if we did.

In terms of the larger story, I'm assuming that the big piece of foreshadowing we got was Shand and that figure we see at the end. That's definitely hinting at something, and we got so little about Shand besides her being a high profile target. With Calican dead, that's the only thing I can think of that will play into the later story, and I'm curious about the figure and what will happen. 

Book Review: You Will Get Through This Night by Daniel Howell

Published: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Read from May 18-21, 2021
Synopsis from Goodreads:

There’s a moment at the end of every day, where the world falls away and you are left alone with your thoughts. A reckoning, when the things you have been pushing to the background, come forward and demand your attention.

Written by Daniel Howell, in conjunction with a qualified psychologist, in an entertaining and personal way from the perspective of someone who has been through it all—this no-nonsense book gives you the tools to understand your mind so you can be in control and really live. Split into three chapters for each stage of the journey:

This Night - how to get through your toughest moments and be prepared to face anything.
Tomorrow - small steps to change your thoughts and actions with a big impact on your life.
The Days After - help to look after yourself in the long term and not just survive, but thrive.

You will laugh and learn—but most of all, this book will assure you that even in your darkest times, there is always hope. 

You will get through this night.


You Will Get Through This Night is a self-help book designed to give strategies to help people improve their mental help. It's separated into three sections "This Night," "Tomorrow," and "The Days After That." Each section focuses on different kinds of strategies: ones you can do immediately when your mental health is bad, ones that come after that, and ones you can continue over longer spans of time to improve your mental health. I thought that dividing the book that way was very clever.

I'm not sure if I would have picked this book up if I didn't subscribe to Dan on Youtube and watch his videos. While I read self-help books on occasion if they come across my radar, they're far from being a go to genre for me. Still, I think it's great that Dan wrote this, and he's doing great work in general with spreading awareness of mental health. I know there's a lot of cynicism when it comes to Youtubers writing books, but it's clear that Dan put a lot of work into this book. I was particularly happy that it was written with a professional psychologist who fact-checked everything that went into the book. And it's mentioned several times that these strategies aren't a cure all and to seek professional help when you need it.

Throughout the book, Dan brings up details about his life, a lot of which will be familiar to people who watch his videos, but these details always related to the message he's trying to send in a particular section. The introduction is by far the most personal section, where you get the most information about his life, and after that, the focus is on the strategies. It was nice to get those details because I think they make the book feel more accessible. Reading it, you know you're not alone, and it provides encouragement that things can get better. If someone were to pick up this book without knowing who Dan was, it would still feel accessible.

I think this is a great book to have. Everyone has moments were some or all of the strategies included could be useful. While I had heard of essentially all of them before, it's handy to have them laid out in a book like this and explained in such an easy to read style. I know it could be useful to a wide variety of people.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Mandalorian Review: "Chapter 4: Sanctuary"

We're doing the thing again where I write a post about an episode before editing and uploading my video about the episode that came before it. The video about "Chapter 3: The Sin" will be up in a couple of days! For now, I'm going to talk about chapter 4.

The Mandalorian and the Child end up on Sorgan. Because it's quite isolated, the Mandalorian thinks they'll be safe there, but it's too early in the season for that to be true. Something is obviously going to happen on this planet.

While this is a bit of an aside, I can't help but mention: Julia Jones guest stars in this episode as Omera. This is the only thing I've ever seen her in aside from Twilight, where she played my favorite character, so that made me especially curious about this episode and her storyline in particular. (Ironically, this episode was also directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, another Twilight actor.)

The Sorgans are being attacked by Klatooinians, so they seek help from the Mandalorian. Over the course of the episode, the Mandalorian and Cara Dune, who's also hiding out on the planet, teach the Sorgans how to fight and protect themselves. Overall, it's a nice, heart-warming story. It was especially cute seeing the Child interact with some other kids, and it's probably the most we've seen the Mandalorian actually connect with anyone (aside from the Child) since the start of the show.

However, this episode does still feel like it's progressing the story very slowly. At the end of the episode, someone has successfully tracked the Child to Sorgan, so the Mandalorian realizes they aren't safe, so they leave. Other than that, not much seems to happen that advances the plot. From what I've heard, Cara Dune will continue to play a role, so I suppose her introduction is important to the ongoing story. But other than that, this episode feels quite episodic, with most of the story's events being concluded at the end.

That's not bad, but I'm still fascinated at the slow way this story is progressing, and I'm curious about what it will lead to.