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Recap / Star Trek Discovery Short Treks E02 "Calypso"

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The Discovery recovers an escape pod, but the passenger discovers he's the only person on the ship except for the now intelligent ship's computer, Zora, who has been alone for a thousand years.

Teleplay by Michael Chabon. Story by Sean Cochran and Michael Chabon.


Tropes:

  • Abandon Ship: The crew of Discovery did this a thousand years prior to when the events of the episode are set. Why this occurred is left as The Un-Reveal, but whatever the reason, the ship is essentially unharmed and perfectly preserved over the intervening millennium.
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  • Benevolent A.I.: Thankfully, Zora turns out to be one, being just as kind, empathetic and selfless as any flesh and blood lifeform can be.
  • Bottle Episode: To the point that even the main cast is omitted. The only characters are Craft and Zora.
  • Escape Pod: Craft is adrift in one of these when the episode begins.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: Downplayed, but parts of Discovery have acquired a layer of dust in the millennium since the ship's abandonment, as Craft finds when he starts to explore the ship.
  • Fan of the Past: The V'draysh appear to be an offshoot of humanity, who are at war with Craft's people. Craft explains that the V'draysh are obsessed with anything having to do with ancient humankind. Even their escape pod, which he stole, has a library with a number of old Earth videos. Unfortunately, Craft couldn't figure out the controls, so the pod kept repeating the same Betty Boop cartoon hundreds of times on a loop.
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  • Future Imperfect: It's possible that the name "V'draysh" is "Federation", just warped by 1000 years of linguistic drift.
  • Ghost Ship: Discovery has become one over the course of the preceding millennium.
  • Great Offscreen War: Craft is a soldier, and starts the episode in an escape pod as a result of a battle he was escaping, whereupon Zora and the Discovery pick him up.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Zora reluctantly gives Craft a shuttlecraft so he can be with his wife and child back on his home colony.
  • Improvised Weapon User: Craft grabs some kind of tool that looks like it would make a respectable club when he wakes up.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Given a millennium, the Discovery's main computer has achieved sentience.
  • Love Hurts: Zora is absolutely heartbroken when she realizes Craft can't love her because he still loves his wife, but she nonetheless helps him to at least try to get home.
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  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Zora is very cheerful and delighted to have someone to talk to and enjoys introducing Craft to things like 20th century musicals and Taco Tuesdays.
  • Meaningful Rename: On Craft's homeworld, you are given your True Name by your lover. As Craft departs, we see that Zora has christened his shuttle "Funny Face".
  • Mythology Gag: This isn't the first time in the Star Trek universe that a computer has achieved sentience on its own over centuries in space. And where V'ger had "Learn all that is learnable; return that knowledge to the Creator" as its overriding directives, Zora is still following the orders of the long-departed Discovery crew and awaiting their return.
  • Noodle Incident: Zora doesn't give any details as to why the ship was abandoned, and nothing about the Discovery's current condition provides any clues. The ship displays no battle damage and all of its systems are functional, so whatever caused the crew to leave seemingly posed no threat to the ship itself.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Craft wakes up on an empty, long-abandoned (though not derelict) Discovery.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: After more than a millennium, Craft knows nothing about "Taco Tuesdays" (both parts) or 20th-century Earth films. Zora takes the time to introduce him.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Discovery has gone uncrewed and unmaintained for a thousand years, but still seems to be in relatively good working order. Likewise, the equally unmaintained shuttle works well enough when Craft leaves in it, with Zora's only concern being that it wasn't properly tested before the crew left.
  • Restraining Bolt: Despite being independently intelligent and knowing full well the orders from a millennium before were given by people long dead and for reasons no longer relevant, Zora is unable to move Discovery from where the crew ordered its computer to maintain position. She goes for the Loophole Abuse of granting Craft a warp-capable shuttle to make his way home.
  • Sapient Ship: Zora is the Discovery's computer which has developed into an artificial intelligence after 1000 years alone.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Craft is a mild example, as he seeks to escape from some unspecified conflict to return to his family.
  • Shout-Out: Much like another lonely robot, Zora develops a love of musical theatre.
  • Sigil Spam: Not only does Starfleet put its delta symbol all over the uniforms, it's even on the popcorn buckets.
  • Single Tear: Zora's holographic avatar does this when Craft rejects her.
  • Spaceship Girl: Zora creates a holographic avatar of herself at Craft's urging in order to dance with him.
  • Stealth Pun: In addition to the many nods to Homer, the story has a lone human aboard a starship controlled by an AI constrained by its orders. Making this story... a "Space Odyssey".
  • Time Skip: The episode is set over 1000 years in the series's future. The exact length of time is unknown, because Zora never provides any clues as to when in the Star Trek timeline the ship was abandoned.
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • Zora never states why the crew abandoned ship a millennium before.
    • Craft never reveals his true full name.
    • The shuttle's spaceworthiness is called into question, because it was brand new and had never been tested to see if it worked properly. We never see if Craft safely arrived to his destination.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Invoked by Zora when she and Craft nearly kiss, only for him to stop himself when he remembers his wife. Zora tries to reassure him.
    Zora: Craft! Craft! You weren't doing anything wrong. I'm not really a... person. You know that. It doesn't mean anything.
    Craft: ...Liar.
  • Whole Plot Reference: As referenced in the episode title, the story is a retelling of the legend of Calypso and Odysseus. And in an actual Mythology Gag, Craft never revealing his actual name references Odysseus giving a false name when he encountered Polyphemus the Cyclops.

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