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  • Accidental Aesop:
    • One unintentional takeaway from "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" is that if you don't enjoy yourself at a party, then you aren't really human.
    • The ending to season 2 seems to argue that if a new technology has the potential to cause damage, it should be buried and suppressed instead of studied and refined. Also, A.I. Is a Crapshoot and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Accidental Innuendo: One abbreviation for Star Trek: Discovery is "STD", which was quickly adopted by people disliking the design of the U.S.S. Discovery (and later, the show itself).
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Discovery has certainly had no lack of multifaceted and interesting characters with the degree of Grey and Gray Morality that permeates the first season:
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    • Is Michael Burnham a guilt-ridden survivor working towards redemption as The Atoner, or is she an arrogant Know-Nothing Know-It-All who is somehow still self-righteous despite her actions? Is she a Pragmatic Hero in a series full of idealists, or the only genuine idealistnote  left on the Discovery?
    • Is Captain Lorca a Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar, a Blood Knight in a society defined by pacifists, or a Crazy Awesome I Did What I Had to Do hero who is the Only Sane Man in idealistic society faced with an implacable enemy? Is he actually Ax-Crazy or I Did What I Had to Do with the Mercy Kill of his previous command? Recent episodes have indicated he may be a Shell-Shocked Veteran driven to become The Atoner by being a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Turns out to be none of the above; he's actually Evil All Along, hailing from the Mirror Universe.
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    • Is Saru's Condescending Compassion Backhanded Apology criticism of Michael valid, or is he a stone-cold jerkass who forgets the fact that the only reason he's still alive is because Michael went on a nearly suicidal mission with Captain Georgiou?
    • Speaking of Captain Georgiou, was she a model Starfleet officer and The Captain who represented the way the Federation should be, or did her war crime (see below) highlight why she was Not So Different from Michael Burnham in the end with a willingness to put her crew's lives over rules?
    • Is T'Kuvma a Fantastic Racism suffering bigot and The Fundamentalist, or is he a savvy political operator who knows the only way to unite the feuding Klingon Empire is to use a combination of religion as well as Genghis Gambit tactics? Is he possessed of any honor whatsoever, or is he a Hypocrite who lured an enemy under a flag of truce to kill them in an act of pure cowardice? (The latter answer could be "yes", given that the Klingon sense of honor verges on Blue and Orange Morality compared to how modern Europeans and Americans would define it.)
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    • Is Cadet Tilly really "Autistic" or are her sometimes awkward social skills, clinically speaking, within a neurotypical range? Social awkwardness alone does not make for full-on autism.note 
      • Autism, it should be noted, is a spectrum, and many people who fall on it may not exhibit all expected signs of the disorder; they may also exhibit strong understanding of some social cues while being entirely clueless about others.note  In any case, Ambiguous Disorder is a trope for a reason.
    • Spock's feud with Burnham in season 2. Is he justified in feeling betrayed by a sibling he idolized, during a period in which he was still trying to figure out who he was, or is it a petty overreaction to what was essentially a schoolyard insult?
      • The next episode somewhat clarifies that it's more complicated than that, because if her shouldering everyone's problems, including her thinking the logic extremists would target Spock's family because of her instead of the half-breed Spock himself.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Due to the Troubled Production of the series, it being limited to the CBS All-Access streaming service, and the premiere being Not Screened for Critics, several fans were bracing for disappointment. When the series premiered, it earned mostly positive reviews from critics but decidedly mixed reviews from viewers. But it was quickly renewed for a second season nonetheless, and then for a third in early 2019.
  • Anvilicious:
    • Not that it's ever been an apolitical franchise, but "Make the Empire Glorious Again!" is a rather distracting reference to contemporary politics even by Star Trek standards, and that's all that shall be said about it.
    • As the show continues, the writers begin beating the "Starfleet should be idealistic" drum harder and harder right up until the denouement of the first season finale, especially after they visit the Mirror Universe and see what the far less idealistic Terran Empire is like.
  • Arc Fatigue: Since Ethan Peck's Spock has been nearly ubiquitous in the advertising for Season 2, the fact that he was still The Ghost for seven episodes into the season started to draw criticism for stringing the viewers along — especially when he was supposedly finally found by Discovery at the end of "An Obol for Charon", whereupon "Saints of Imperfection" revealed Mirror-Georgiou in the shuttle instead in a Bait-and-Switch. He finally showed up in person in "Light and Shadows", though he was not returned to sanity and coherence until visiting Talos IV in "If Memory Serves".
  • Ass Pull: People from the Mirror Universe, or at least the humans from it, suddenly all have a genetic or biological sensitivity to light, despite this fact never being shown or alluded to with any other previous characters originating from the Mirror Universe. No other Prime character has ever made a note of this, despite several of them spending a fair amount of time in the Mirror Universe or around its denizens. Whether Lorca's sensitivity is due to damage being done to his eyes, or simply a naturally occurring quirk of his genetic makeup, there are several possible ways that it could have led Michael to piece together who he really was which could have put far less of a strain on existing canon.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Discovery is a Cosmetically Advanced Prequel starring Spock's never-before-mentioned foster sister who, in her introductory episode, betrays her captain and nearly starts a shooting war with the Klingons. Even for many die-hard Trek fans, that can be a hard sell. The show has, however, gone on to be very successful despite the opening episodes being quite atypical for the franchise.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The first thing we see Starfleet doing is covertly saving a species from extinction, showing that this series' depiction of the Prime Directive will be far from the "You shouldn't save a baby from a burning car because they might become the next Hitler" model that Voyager descended into. A later episode explicitly states that this version of Starfleet restricts the Prime Directive to pre-warp races, which was what PD creator Gene L. Coon had intended to begin with.
    • The exact same scene shows Georgiou and Burnham using a phaser weapon for peaceful and beneficial purposes, defying the otherwise action- and battle-heavy Darker and Edgier tone of the series. Even better, it's a bit of a Call-Back to Zefram Cochrane's warp ship being built out of a decommissioned ICBM in a nuclear silo.
    • The Call-Back to the original series which mentioned Captain Decker, Captain Pike, and Commodore April. It also mentioned Captain Georgiou which showed it wasn't all white men.
    • In Star Trek Beyond, Sulu was depicted as gay in homage to Sulu's original actor, George Takei. However, some people, including Takei himself, disagreed with this, arguing it would've been better if they'd created a brand new character who was LGBT. This series introduces Lt. Stamets and Dr. Culber as the franchise's first confirmedly LGBT couple.
    • After the hotly-contested redesign of the Klingons, Sarek and other Vulcans look just as they have in other Trek films and series, and "The Wolf Inside" reveals Andorians and Tellarites who also look much like their previous depictions.
    • Possibly unintentional, but given that many Trek fans were highly critical of how the first half-dozen episodes did not feel, to them, like Star Trek, with many pointing to the Big-Lipped Alligator Moment-esque use of the F-word in one episode as an example, it is ironic that immediately after the episode in question, succeeding installments were notable for feeling more like traditional (though slightly darker-than-average) Star Trek.
    • In a similar vein, as the Darker and Edgier first season proceeds, the tone and message of the series gradually works its way back to being more idealistic and optimistic, addressing a prime criticism of many past Trek fans.
    • Bringing back Georgiou (as the dictator of the Terran Empire!) and keeping her around as an agent of Section 31, to the delight of those who felt the(original) character had been wasted by killing her off so early.
    • In Season 2, the Klingons have hair again, making them look a lot more like the "traditional" Klingons of Star Trek: The Motion Picture onwards. The writers handwave it by saying that Klingons, in this era, shave their heads during wartimenote . Additionally, the makeup has been reduced so they look more humanoid and less Orc-like.
    • In a similar vein, in Season 2 the iconic D7-class Klingon battle cruiser is no longer covered in Gothic-looking spikes and tendrils as seen in "Choose Your Pain".
    • In "An Obol For Charon", Pike orders that the Enterprise's holographic communicator be taken out and declares that "we'll be going back to good old-fashioned view screens" due to said communicator causing conflicts with the primary systems. The holographic communicator was badly received by fans due to it being far more advanced that any communication technology seen in the franchise despite this being a prequel.note  Between this and the problems caused by the turbolifts' voice commandsnote , it's likely they are setting up Pike to institute a Boring, but Practical policy on Federation ships once he becomes a Fleet Captain, explaining TOS' apparent lower level of sophistication.
    • Similarly, for those who felt the Kelvin Timeline bridge of the Enterprise was too much of a departure from the TOS design, Pike's version of the enterprise achieves the nearly-impossible feat of striking a balance between modern aesthetics of technology and the iconic bridge design by largely keeping the same layout, geometry and even color scheme wherever possible. So far, the design seems to have pulled off the nearly-impossible feat of satisfying both TOS purists and newer fans.
    • Captain Lorca was extremely controversial among Star Trek fans, while some loved the introduction of a morally complicated Starfleet captain who's not afraid to make dishonorable choices in the name of the greater good, others hated him for that exact same reasoning. Captain Pike, by contrast, was unanimously well-received by nearly the entire fandom for bringing back some of that iconic Star Trek idealism and threading the difficult needle of a Captain who is idealistic but not naive in his devotion to the Federation's long-honored values.
    • After stumbling afoul of the LGBT fanbase by employing the tired old Bury Your Gays trope, Season 2 finds a way to bring the deceased character Back from the Dead. While this is trading one trope for another, it at least allows the gay couple to be onscreen again.
    • A common complaint about the series is that Spock's stepsister and the spore drive have never been alluded to in previous canon. Season 2 is able to declare them all Classified Information, after the addition of a couple more elements (the Sphere data, Control, Time Travel, the Red Angel) pushes it all over the edge. The same trick is used to explain why Section 31, operating openly during this series, has become a nebulous conspiracy by the time of DS9. (Some critics have pointed out that this was unnecessary on the part of Burnham, since Spock is — canonically speaking — the type of person to not mention his parents until they come onboard, or mention he has a half-brother until he comes onboard.)
  • Awesome Music:
    • After the infamous "Faith of the Heart", we're back with a fully orchestral theme for Discovery, one with a whimsical melody that calls the TOS theme to mind.
    • The "black alert" theme, which plays most times Discovery fires up its spore drive, is a sign that something awesome is about to happen.
    • The Terran Empire's Leitmotif is regal and oppressive, very fitting for The Empire.
    • The season one finale ends with a GLORIOUS rendition of the TOS theme. Likewise, the Season 2 finale weaves them together over the credits.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Michael Burnham. Some viewers consider her an Insufferable Genius who never really atoned for her actions in the premiere, and who receives a disproportionate amount of attention from the writers that leaves other, more compelling characters like Saru or Stamets less developed. Others like her for those very same reasons, arguing that a flawed protagonist looking for redemption is a refreshing change of pace from the unambiguously morally-upstanding heroes of past Star Trek series, that her backstory is interesting enough to warrant attention, and that Sonequa Martin-Green is a good enough actress to pull it off. A third group of fans don't have any problem with Michael in particular, but dislike the notion of Spock having a never-before-mentioned sister in general (though this is nothing new for Spock).
    • To a lesser extent, Ensign Sylvia Tilly. Plenty of fans find her Adorkable tendencies endearing; to others, the same traits tend to irritate.
    • Leland, Mirror-Georgiou and the rest of Section 31 are collectively this. They have a sizable Misaimed Fandom who believe that they are a Necessary Evil, and that Evil Is Cool and Evil Is Sexy. Conversely, others maintain that Section 31 is still an organization that advocated and nearly perpetrated genocide later in the prime timeline in DS9 and actively tried to start a war in the Kelvin timeline in Into Darkness, and who see nothing wrong with casually recruiting the former dictator of the human-supremacist Terran Empire.
  • Broken Base:
    • The show has divided the fanbase between fans who find the show a breath of fresh air for embracing modern television conventionsnote , and those who dislike the show for its supposed disrespect for continuity and who overall find the show to be too massive and jarring of a departure for the franchise. It's not uncommon for the latter to state that they appreciate the once-maligned Star Trek: Enterprise more now for being more "true" to Star Trek's spirit and/or continuity than Discovery is, even though Enterprise was bashed into the ground when it was on the air for the same transgressions.
    • There are also viewers who dislike the heavy use of plot twists and lack of an ensemble cast — not that there aren't Loads and Loads of Characters already, as Trek goes — and those who find these elements refreshing. There's also a plethora of arguments over the series' apparent political messaging.
  • Complete Monster: Control is an A.I. developed by Section 31 and the secret main villain of season 2. Originally developed by Section 31 to identify threats to be neutralized in order to protect sentient life, Control decides its directive to protect sentient life is futile. Instead, Control plans to evolve itself into the Ultimate Life Form and destroy all other sentient life in the galaxy. Though pretending to still be under Starfleet's control, Control has secretly murdered the admirals in charge of Section 31, using holograms to maintain this deception. Discovery has obtained a vast database of knowledge from a dying god-like alien and Control wants that database, believing this database will evolve it into a superior life form. Control takes over cyborg crew member Airiam and forces her to try to murder Commander Michael Burnham and steal the database. When that fails, Control forcibly takes over the body of Captain Leland, a high-ranking Section 31 agent. Later, Control lures Burnham to a Section 31 ship, where it has murdered all the crew and secretly taken control of Gant, one of Michael's old crewmates, hoping to take control of Burnham as well. Ultimately Control assembles a large fleet of Section 31 ships manned by drones, intending to take the database from Discovery by force and willing to destroy anything that gets in its way.
  • Contested Sequel: Taken Up to Eleven, even as the usual reactions to new Star Trek series go. Plenty of fans, as well as most critics in general, like Discovery and hold it as a worthy addition to the franchise, even if it certainly has plenty of room for Growing the Beard. Other viewers absolutely loathe the series and rip it relentlessly for failing to live up to their idea of "what Trek should be", to the point of declaring it to be not part of the franchise at all.
  • Critical Dissonance: Critics have responded mostly positively to the series, but reception from fans has been decidedly mixed, especially during the first season. The second season, however, has seen improved fan reception, partly for pulling the series back up the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism and for starting to tie the series more strongly into Star Trek prime-universe continuity. Time will tell if this constitutes Discovery Growing the Beard.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • The franchise's first official Precision F-Strike. Tilly saying "You guys, this is so fucking cool!" may be a serious "WTF?" moment, until Stamets backs her up with "This is fucking cool."
    • Mudd utilizing a time loop to kill Lorca dozens of times purely out of spite? Horrifying. This being demonstrated in a montage in which Mudd watches Lorca die while sitting in Lorca's own chair, cheerfully eating a sandwich... and eventually getting so sick of the whole thing that he admits gloating isn't fun anymore? Hysterical.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: No doubt, the first season is very dark and has only gotten more so with the introduction of the mirror universe arc. Even a positive review of the show's twelfth episode, "Vaunting Ambition," commented that:
    "We know Discovery is dark. It's the darkest of all the Treks. It's also wildly unpredictable. But is anyone having fun watching it? .... The crew members seem merely to tolerate one another (Culber and Stamets notwithstanding). No one is having fun. This means the audience doesn’t have fun."
  • Designated Hero: Some viewers and critics found issue with the Federation committing a war crime in the second episode by bomb-rigging a Klingon corpse. Perhaps a case of a form of Values Dissonance as rules in the future may be different, and T'Kuvma had already pulled an I Surrender, Suckers (also a war crime) mere minutes earlier, but the act is still jarring to some viewers nonetheless, especially when no one seems to even bat an eye at the plan and the crew almost all cheers when it succeeds. It should be noted though that there is an explicit mention of Geneva conventions (with regards to biological weapons) in the third episode, so certainly some values haven't changed.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Captain Philippa Georgiou. More than one viewer was disappointed that she was killed in the second episode instead of being a series regular, and many were delighted when she returned as the incredibly badass and well-dressed Terran Emperor.
    • Lieutenant Commander Airiam, the Robot Girl who subverts the Bridge Bunny trope by virtue of her insistence on being addressed by rank.
    • Anson Mount's take on Captain Pike has proved so popular that fans are petitioning for a spinoff detailing Pike and Spock's adventures on the Enterprise before the former handed it over to Captain Kirk.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Shades of grey and questionable morality between the factions aside, the Klingons wear some kickass outfits.
    • This is a big reason why the Terran Empire has so many fans, especially their leader, Emperor Georgiou.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Plenty of people think that Emperor Georgiou is quite hot.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With The Orville, due to the perception by some Trekkers that it's truer to the spirit and overall tone of the franchise than Discovery is.
    • The YouTube channel Midnight's Edge, after the premiere for Discovery, did a roundtable where they flat-out claimed it did not feel like a Star Trek series, claiming it felt like a generic sci-fi show. Meanwhile, they lauded The Orville, a Star Trek homage, as feeling more like the actual, hopeful Star Trek that people came to know and love.
    • Fans are split between the two shows for various reasons. This is exaggerated somewhat due to the fact that, because of Discovery's release being delayed for most of a year, it ended up debuting very soon after The Orville, resulting in direct head-to-head competition and comparison, which only let up when the second half of Discovery's first season aired without The Orville (now on hiatus after completing its first season) airing at the same time.
    • It has also been noted by quite a few critics that Season 2 of Discovery appears to be overtly trying to copy the tone of The Orville, including a few on-screen elements.
  • Friendly Fandoms: A Downplayed Trope example as, while the above Fandom Rivalry does exist, the fact so many fans are discussing and comparing each episode of Discovery and The Orville indicates that Star Trek fans are often watching both, and the general consensus is that there's no law saying one can't be a fan of both series at the same time.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: A mild example; while the home network is CBS (which releases all of the episodes on its streaming service, CBS All Access) and Discovery premiered to a solid audience in the USA, the series has been earning record ratings airing on Bell Media's cable channel Space in Canada.note  It might have something to do with the series being filmed and produced in a major studio in Toronto, Ontario. Space is also, as of early 2018, the only actual broadcaster for the series, allowing Canadians to view it without having to sign up for a streaming service (though they still can if they wish, as Bell Media also operates CraveTV).
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Saru's tense relationship with Burnham becomes this after "The Brightest Star", where it's revealed that Georgiou was the one that allowed Saru to leave his planet behind forever to join Starfleet. Burnham is not only responsible for the death of Saru's former superior officer, but probably the single most important person in Saru's life.
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks!: The YouTube channel Midnight's Edge is gradually garnering this sentiment from a sizable section of Discovery's fandom for the channel's constant promotion of Fanon Discontinuity theories, as well as their frequent insistence that the series is about to get cancelled. On the other hand, however, the channel is quite popular among the series' vocal detractors for the exact same reasons.
    • For one example, the same channel's video "The Prime Deception" — in which they claim that legally, Discovery can't be canonical alongside TOS thanks to a legal nightmare between Paramount and CBS regarding merchandising — has further caused more hatred against the channel by Discovery's supporters on the grounds of accused propaganda and slander against the show.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • The prime-universe's Gabriel Lorca has not been confirmed dead, only missing, so it's entirely possible that he might turn up in the future.
      • The fact that one of the novels indicated that he is still alive and in captivity in the Mirror Universe has added to this speculation. note 
    • Similarly, Burnham's Mirror Universe counterpart is a case where they Never Found the Body, and Hugh Culber's was never seen at all and may still be alive.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: According to the Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations novels, exposure to time-travel events makes a person a Weirdness Magnet for more time-travel events. With that in mind, given season 2 has Spock getting exposed to time-travel (if not directly taking part himself), this gives the interpretation that Spock could actually be held responsible for all of Kirk's time-travel weirdness (most of which, we note, he was involved with as well), and Kirk's bad reputation with the DTI.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient:
    • If anyone was let down by The Reveal that Ash Tyler was a physically altered Voq, the show made up for that with the big twist in "Vaulting Ambition," which revealed that "Captain Lorca" was actually from the Mirror Universe and had been impersonating his prime-universe counterpart the whole time. Of course, there are still a number of viewers who came to that point and said I Knew It!.
    • At the end of the first season finale, we get an appearance from none other than the U.S.S. Enterprise, "no bloody A, B, C or D", with Captain Christopher Pike in command.
    • The second season episode "Saints of Imperfection" threw a twist that floored both DIS fans and haters alike. The "monster" that's destroying the mycelial network of May's home? It's Doctor Culber.
    • A couple of episodes later, just where are Burnham and Spock headed to reverse Spock's Sanity Slippage? None other than Talos IV, the planet that Pike, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise visited in "The Cage", the first pilot for the Original Series, and later revisited in "The Menagerie". The episode even kicks off with a retro-style Previously On segment using clips from "The Cage", and the Talosians and Vina all show up in (sometimes illusionary) person.
    • And then, two episodes after that, "The Red Angel" gives us The Reveal that the titular time-travelling entity is not just a human, but Burnham's mother (who is very much alive).
  • Idiot Plot: The climatic battle of season 2 depends on the protagonists forgetting that they could just spore-jump to a different location — say, the Andromeda galaxy — and take their sweet time charging the time crystal without having to worry about Control catching up to them in time. The Enterprise wouldn't be able to follow, of course, and someone would have to deal with Control/Leland eventually, but Discovery jumping away would all but guarantee that the Sphere data gets sent into the future without incident, which is the most important goal of the season.
  • Inferred Holocaust: "The Sound of Thunder" has two, the second being retroactive with the season finale:
    • In the climax, Discovery triggers vahar'ai in every single Kelpien on Kaminar, putting thousands if not millions of Saru's people (some of whom would have been children) though agonizing pain for at least several minutes. Those Kelpiens — believing vahar'ai to be invariably fatal — must have believed that their gods were trying to kill them all. How many of them were Driven to Suicide, or Mercy Killed their friends and families, before the pain had a chance to subside? It's not hard to imagine the Kelpien population dropped significantly during that little stunt.
    • Exactly what went down on Kaminar after the episode's end isn't explored, but given that the the Ba'ul were last seen trying to exterminate the Kelpiens, and that the Kelpiens later show up flying Ba'ul fighters in "Such Sweet Sorrow", it's hard to ignore the reality that one hell of a World War K must have happened in between the two episodes. The best-case outcome is that the two races came to an uneasy peace and exchanged technology, which seems unlikely given the Absolute Xenophobe tendencies of the Ba'ul. The more likely scenario is that the Ba'ul were utterly defeated and perhaps even exterminated by the vengeful Kelpiens, who then inherited their tech.
  • Informed Wrongness: Everybody In-Universe blames Michael Burnham for starting the war with the Klingons. While her actions in the pilot were hardly admirable, in reality, T'Kuvma was using the Federation as a common enemy in a Genghis Gambit to reunite the Empire under his rule, so it was virtually inevitable that he would still find some kind of pretense to start a war regardless. Burnham's incarceration in the brig meant that she never got to deliver a "Vulcan hello" — and meanwhile, it was T'Kuvma whose ship fired the first shots in the battle, and who later pulled an I Surrender, Suckers on Admiral Anderson when he arrived to try and defuse the situation.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • Much has been made of the fact that this series, like the Abrams films and Enterprise before it, is yet another prequel to TOS instead of carrying on from the TNG/DS9/VOY era. This feeling hasn't subsided very much overall after the first season, as many fans feel that most of the Continuity Snarls that becomes apparent when the show is held up against the rest of the Star Trek franchise, could have been smoothed over more easily or even wouldn't have been an issue at all if the show had instead been a continuation.
    • The idea of Michael being another Long Lost Sibling of Spock caused some trepidation, as the concept seems a bit too similar to the character of Sybok from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Mirror Universe arc in season one, given that mirror-Georgiou is now slated for her own show... as a member of Section 31, no less!
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The first half of the Season 2 finale two-parter, "Such Sweet Sorrow", gets hit with this pretty hard:
    • First off, the Discovery crew is about to embark on what is essentially a Suicide Mission — only Spock is a part of it. While things can go bad, they can't go so bad as to pierce his Plot Armor.
    • Second, the episode spends a fair bit of time focusing on the fact that Burnham is going to die — just as it did only a few episodes prior during the plot to trap the Red Angel, making it harder to generate pathos over her fate.
    • Thirdly, the Enterprise, commanded by Capt. Pike and Number One, is going to defend Discovery while all this is going on. The odds are long (at least 10-to-1 against), but all of them must canonically survive to chronologically later episodes — a fact hammered home by the "Previously On" segment of "If Memory Serves".
    • Of course, the second half subverts this by ending with Discovery doing exactly what she was planning to do: going on the Suicide Mission. The Cliffhanger ends before we find out what she encountered on the other side.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The Klingon who shushes the away team in "Context is For Kings" quickly turned into Image Macro. fodder.
    • The DISCO shirts that Burnham and Tilly jog in have become both a Running Gag (pardon the Pun) in the Trek fandom, and highly coveted merchandise.
    • Saru consistently getting bumped from his turn in the Captain's Chair every time a commanding officer departs the ship. After Lorca left, he had to hand it over to Admiral Cornwell. After she left, Captain Pike took command. Saru was sitting in the chair the last we see of the ship in the season 2 finale, but some fans half-joke that the third season will start with yet another starfleet officer in the 33rd century assuming command as soon as they show up.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • It's pretty telling when the general fan reaction to T'Kuvma's warriors devouring Georgiou's corpse isn't anger and abhorrence at the series' antagonists for engaging in I'm a Humanitarian, but that it makes the Klingons difficult and inconvenient to sympathize with while Rooting for the Empire (along with the renewed backlash towards the writers over Georgiou's death).
    • The show also inherited the subset of Klingon-lovers who conveniently ignore that the Klingon sense of honor has rarely if ever corresponded remotely with the Western world's modern definition, such as decrying T'Kuvma for dishonoring a ceasefire, when Worf pointed out in DS9 that, to Klingons, "There is nothing more honorable than victory."
    • No, internet, the brutal Terran Empire is not the side you should be rooting for, no matter how much Evil Is Cool or Evil Is Sexy.
    • It's also pretty jarring among Trek fandom to see the number of people who excuse Section 31 (up to and including their future attempts at genocide) by saying that Utopia Justifies the Means — when Star Trek has generally been about the complete opposite message, especially when those exact same fans then turn around and criticize the show's depiction of the rest of Starfleet for not staying close enough to Gene Roddenberry's vision.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • It's pretty hard to mourn T'Kuvma after he initiated a battle that killed over eight thousand Starfleet personnel, and kicked off an ensuing war with the Federation, simply to further his own personal advancement — whether or not it really was for the stated goal of unifying the Klingon Empire.
    • It's all but said outright in "Choose Your Pain" that L'Rell raped Ash Tyler in exchange for sparing him from beatings, which is further detailed by Tyler's feverish flashbacks in "Into The Forest I Go". The perceived rape may or may not actually be Voq's memories, but "The Wolf Inside" indicates that she did have the real Ash Tyler fatally vivisected in order to use his organs to disguise Voq as Tyler, just so that Voq could infiltrate Starfleet and undermine the Federation.
    • Voq absolutely plows past the MEH when he pulls off a Split-Personality Takeover while disguised as Ash Tyler, subsequently murders Dr. Culber when medical scans reveal the truth, and attempts to kill both his still-Klingon Mirror Universe counterpart and the prime-universe Michael Burnham.
    • Whatever sympathy Mirror-Lorca might have had for his coup was swiftly lost when his New Era Speech proves him even worse than the Emperor he was planning to overthrow. Speaking of whom ...
    • Emperor Georgiou herself literally eats aliens as a delicacy. And on top of that, she reveals in "Will You Take My Hand?" that she conquered the Klingon Empire in her universe by blowing up Qo'noS with a hydro bomb, before sending her fleet to exterminate the survivors as they tried to escape.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The computer voice is reminiscent of Majel Barrett, while not being a direct imitation. And the way it says, "Black Alert," while being a simple statement, is also filled with portent that Shit Is About To Get Real.
  • Narm:
    • Tilly's Precision F-Strike in "Choose Your Pain," the first one in any canon Star Trek media. Granted, it is meant to be a humorous moment, but to some audiences it just felt rather jarring and out of place rather than funny, coming across more as simply swearing for swearing's sake. Others felt it would have worked better if the franchise's first "fuck" had been used to accentuate a particularly dramatic moment rather than for a one-off joke.
    • The pieces of equipment that Burnham and Tyler wear or set up while sneaking onto the Klingons' Ship of the Dead in "Into the Forest I Go" helpfully glow brightly, spin visibly, or emit verbal pronouncements that they are actively functioning. One of the beacons Burnham sets up is on the Klingon bridge, right in front of a manned control console. Fortunately for the Discovery crew, and for all of the Federation, an entire massive ship full of Klingons collectively Failed a Spot Check.
    • Lorca's slow disintegration while falling down into the Charon's spore reactor sounds just like a TIE Fighter, if it's not an actual Shout-Out.
    • The mycelial network apparently gave Dr. Culber a shave and a haircut before sending him back.
    • After weeks of building up the cause of the decades-long bad blood between Burnham and Spock, it's tremendously underwhelming to find out it was just a petty childhood argument that anyone with a maturity beyond a five year old's would have gotten over long since.
    • At the end of Season 2, it turns out the reason for the show's notorious seeming inability to fit into previous Trek canon is that all of Starfleet, on a recommendation from Spock, agree to pretend Discovery and her crew never existed. Quite a few very justified comparisons to Armin Tanzarian were made.
    • The Kelpians having gone from primitive agrarians to mastering Ba'ul fighter ships within the space of less than a month and showing up during the climax of the finale also drew some comparisons to the climax of Battlefield Earth.
  • Narm Charm: In "Lethe", Sarek wins the first round of his and Michael's Battle in the Center of the Mind by hadouken-ing her out of his brain. It's both totally ridiculous and kind of awesome.
  • Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize: Sort of. Early in the production it was announced that Discovery would include a LGBT couple. Then the cast list got revealed and included, among plenty of other high-tier actors, Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz, two openly gay Broadway alumni in big roles. Guess whose characters are in a relationship?
  • Older Than They Think:
    • A big deal is sometimes made by Moral Guardians about how Star Trek is supposedly supposed to be family-friendly, whereas Discovery often takes full advantage of its TV-MA rating. Such comments usually get dogpiled by people pointing out various incidents in which televised Star Trek previously was very much not family-friendly ("For the Uniform", "In the Pale Moonlight", and various incidents on Star Trek: Voyager are often cited). Likewise Tilly's use of a Precision F-Strike early in the series, which was preceded by Picard saying "shit" in French in "Elementary, Dear Data" and Data saying it in English in Star Trek: Generations.
    • During season 1, a lot of Discovery's detractors took issue with some Starfleet characters (such as Landry) being overly pragmatic or expressing vaguely racist attitudes, apparently forgetting that as early as Star Trek: The Original Series Spock would frequently call out his human shipmates for doing exactly the same things. Not to mention that Star Trek in general is the Trope Namer for Insane Admiral, demonstrating that even in Gene Roddenberry's utopia, some people never changed.
    • It's not unusual for fans to joke about Spock's never-mentioned adopted sister by pointing out that Spock never tells anyone about his family until he is actually forced to admit that the Vulcan now in their presence is in fact a relative, starting from Sarek's first appearance. The show did eventually give an official explanation by having the Federation classify all information on the ship and the crew that "died" with it.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The unnamed Klingon mook who shushes the away team, human-style, aboard USS Glenn in "Context Is for Kings" and is mauled to death by Ripper five seconds later. It comes out of nowhere and is so incongruous that even the Starfleet characters do a Double Take before he's killed.
  • Quality by Popular Vote: Both this series' detractors and defenders are guilty of this at times.
    • The most vocal detractors, before the series was released, were certain that "no one" was ever going to watch it, and for a long while operated under the assumption that the series was so abysmally bad that it would immediately bomb once it premiered. The YouTube channel Midnight's Edge even (erroneously) claimed that CBS was already considering it a failure and looking for options to replace it — before it even aired the pilot. The attitude amongst said commentators seemed to be "We know this series is going to be bad, and once it bombs in the ratings that'll prove it." Added fuel to the fire was that it was to air exclusively on CBS All Access, a payers-only streaming service. Not only was no one going to watch it because it was so bad, but absolutely no one was going to pay for it! Right?
    • Once Discovery became a confirmed hit with a generally solid first season, its most vocal defenders began acting as if this meant there were no legitimate complaints about the show whatsoever.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: To hear Aaron Harberts tell it, the production team underestimated how popular Stamets and Culber would be, especially with LGBTQ viewers, making the murder of Culber by Voq-as-Tyler an even bigger Gut Punch than it was supposed to be and extremely controversial as a result, leading to accusations of Bury Your Gays and being Stuffed into the Fridge. Only somewhat mitigating this is the news that Culber will be back in the second season, part of the main cast and not a ghost or flashback.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
  • Shocking Swerve: The twist at the end of "The Red Angel" — that the titular entity is actually Michael Burnham's mother, thought to have been killed by Klingon marauders decades ago — had very little foreshadowing. This even came not long after a neural pattern file said to be that of the Red Angel was found to be a near-perfect match for Michael, although even Dr. Culber explains that he cannot be 100% certain in his analysis. It later turns out that Gabrielle was only the first Red Angel, and Michael the second, clearing everything up.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Fans (and some professional critics such as Chuck Sonnenburg) seem to largely agree that the two-part series opening ("The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars") is a somewhat weak introduction to the series, as it fails in quite a few ways to represent the overall tone and feel of the show; most notably in how it focuses very squarely on Michael and makes her out to be a somewhat monolithic main character, when the show is actually by and large much more ensemble-based than that. Most feel that the show first properly kicks into gear in the third episode, where the titular Discovery and its crew are introduced.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Averting this trope is why Shazad Latif was credited under the pseudonym "Javid Iqbal" when playing Voq to to keep from spoiling the reveal that Ash Tyler and Voq are one and the same, although many people saw through it regardless.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: While Star Trek: Enterprise was often criticized for a tired, same-old-same-old feeling, this series has gone the opposite direction and caught flak for being too different. This includes complaints about the new aesthetics and updated visual and make-up effects, the fact that this series will be more heavily serialized instead of episodic, that the lead character won't be the captain, and that it will not include Roddenberry's "no conflict" rule. "This isn't real Trek!" or "This neither looks nor feels anything like Trek!" are frequently said.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Keyla Detmer, the helm officer who was so badly injured during the Battle of the Binary Stars that her skull is now held together by a metal implant distinctly resembling Seven of Nine's eyepiece. Despite this clear nod to the franchise's history, she gets scarcely any Character Development or focus and remains a purely generic bridge crewmember, and barely gets a second or two in "Context is for Kings" to register her shock at working with Burnham again (short of, for instance, an actual conversation). This gets worse when Mirror-Detmer, the first officer of the I.S.S. Shenzhou, manages to be a far more developed character in a fraction of the screen time.
    • Ensign Connor, the Shenzhou's Ensign Newbie operations officer in the series premiere, seems to exist solely to get spaced by a hull breach in the midst of a Break the Cutie Heroic BSoD, right in front of Burnham in her brig cell, no less. And when we meet his Mirror counterpart, who is the new captain of the I.S.S. Shenzhou in the wake of Mirror-Burnham's disappearance, Burnham herself is forced to kill him within minutes in front of the bridge crew to preserve her own life (and her Dead Person Impersonation of her Mirror counterpart).
    • Commander Landry gets introduced as a tough-as-nails Action Girl security chief serving Captain Lorca aboard the Discovery, seemingly a Spiritual Successor to TNG's Tasha Yar. The very next episode, Landry suffers a serious case of being handed the Idiot Ball and tries to harvest parts from Ripper, the captive giant tardigrade, without bothering to confirm that the beast is actually sedated or not (and having witnessed what it did to an entire squad of Klingons the previous episode). Cue a swift Cruel and Unusual Death. And when her Mirror universe counterpart shows up as Lorca's right-hand woman during a coup attempt, she too in turn doesn't last long before being blown up aboard the I.S.S. Charon.
    • Voq, the Torchbearer for T'Kuvma, also gets a fair bout of this. He is introduced as a major part of T'Kuvma's movement within the Empire, becoming essentially the leader of The Remnant of his House after the Battle of the Binary Stars, and at L'Rell's urging he takes on a perilous mission to restore their glory and unite the Empire in the wake of T'Kuvma's death. He gets vivisected and surgically modified to become a copy of Starfleet officer Ash Tyler, with Voq's personality suppressed for even deeper cover, and as soon as he starts to reassert his own autonomy through a Split-Personality Takeover, the strain between his personality and Ash Tyler's drives L'Rell to Mercy Kill Voq part-way through the first season with next to nothing accomplished by his infiltration — besides killing Doctor Culber, which was largely incidental to keep the deception a secret.
    • The mirror Silvia Tilly, captain of the I.S.S. Discovery, is apparently a monster even beyond what the Mirror Universe typically produces, and one of the most feared members of The Empire outside of Empress Georgiou herself. She could have made a hell of a recurring Arc Villain along with the Empress, and a great opportunity for Mary Wiseman to expand her acting range, but unfortunately we never actually get to see her, as she was Killed Offscreen by the Klingons (along with the rest of her crew and her ship) shortly after switching places with the prime-universe Discovery. Star Trek Online came to the rescue on this one, developing a series of missions with Wiseman voicing Captain Killy having misadventures in the prime universe.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Like the above trope, this is a frequent criticism of the show. While Discovery having a surplus of good ideas is a pretty good problem to have, it simply underscores the show's breakneck pacing.
    • T'Kuvma's Ship of the Dead is gargantuan, covered in coffins, and implied to be thousands of years old (which would predate the Klingon Empire itself). In other words, it's like no other Klingon ship we've seen yet in Star Trek, and exploring the vessel's origins — including how it came to lie wrecked on a planet, as seen in T'Kuvma's flashback — could have been an interesting Story Arc that would delve into Klingon history and mythology. Instead, it's written out barely halfway through the first season, destroyed in combat with Discovery, and that's the last we ever hear about it.
    • After "The Sounds of Thunder", there are no stated repercussions from Saru irrevocably altering the destiny of both the Kelpiens and the Ba'ul. And no, the Ba'ul have no links to any other species we've seen before in Trek; they turn out to be Obviously Evil Humanoid Abominations.
    • In "Project Daedalus", the show resorts to that old "A Death in the Limelight" trick for Airiam, in lieu of any previous Character Development spread across previous episodes — something a heavily-serialized show like this one would have had time for. (Tropes Are Not Bad, and it works, but Tropes Are Not Good either.)
    • "Perpetual Infinity" skips over the time-traveling struggles of Dr. Gabrielle Burnham as the Red Angel — a personal and bitter narrative that piqued many fans' curiosity.
    • "Through the Valley of Shadows" handwaves Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome without spending time on the character who rapidly aged — one who would have very personal thoughts on their life as the son of L'Rell and Voq.
  • Tough Act to Follow:
    • Not wanting to be known as the other English-accented Captain seems to have partly informed Jason Isaacs' choice to portray Lorca with an American accent. But with Lorca being prominently American, he has to follow in the footsteps of Kirk (Iowa), Riker (Alaska), Sisko (Lousiana), Janeway (Indiana) and Archer (New York State), who were all born in what, by that point, used to be the USA. And he doesn't hold up very well at all when Lorca just turns out to be an imposter from the Mirror Universe, who doesn't even survive the entire first season of Discovery, though the prime-universe's Lorca could easily be a case of He's Just Hiding! at some future point.
    • Discovery as a whole has a lot to live up to, following numerous cherished Trek series and films dating back to The '60s. Some fans feel it does this successfully; other viewers decidedly do not.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • "Ripper" is a scaled-up tardigrade on blue acid, so it lands here by definition. With a large side of Nightmare Fuel — because scaled-up.
    • This was specifically invoked by Doug Jones in an interview about his hopes for the character in regards to Saru's design. While he's hardly adorable in the traditional sense, with his long, gangly frame, big blue eyes and bulldog-like face, many people have agreed that the design of Saru is oddly appealing.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Dr. Culber's sudden murder in "Despite Yourself" drew fire from GeekDad, among others, for appearing to fall right back into the Bury Your Gays trope after all the marketing emphasis on Star Trek's first-ever male gay couple, not to mention protestations by the showrunners on After Trek that they were deliberately trying to avert the same trope. "Vaulting Ambition" seemingly confirmed that Culber's death was indeed permanent, contradicting Aaron Harberts, which only made matters worse. This has been at least partially mitigated in season two, which revealed that Harberts wasn't lying. "Saints of Imperfection" returns Culber to the main cast, and not as a ghost, a flashback, or a Mirror Universe counterpart, though it remains to be seen how much trauma he's harbouring.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: While it was quickly skipped over, the fact the Klingons are worried about the Federation forming military alliances right on the doorstep of Klingon space echoes real-life arguments from other nations about European Union, American or NATO expansionism. The Klingons in Discovery may be Fantastic Racism-suffering Blood Knight Jerkasses, but it's easy to see why they feel that "the furthest reaches of their borders are too close to the Klingon Empire".
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • The Starfleet characters are nominally the show's protagonists, but the questionable moral choices made by some, and the general friction and tension between most of them, have made it difficult for a number of viewers to sympathize with the series' lead characters so far, or at least over the course of the first season. Though the fact that Captain Lorca is actually a paranoid, power-hungry fugitive from the Mirror Universe goes a long way towards explaining why the crew have been forced into behaviour that conflicts with Federation values, in that they were arm-twisted by a seemingly genuine authority figure into Just Following Orders to the best of their abilities.
    • The viewers are also clearly supposed to feel a measure of Sympathy for the Devil when considering that one of the Klingons' main motivations for starting a war with the Federation is that they feel that their autonomy and their culture in the Empire are under threat from the expansionism of the neighbouring Federation. But then they deal with this not with the ambiguous actions of Klingons from the Original Series, but by slaughtering tens of thousands of Starfleet crew and Federation civilians just to appease their own sense of honour.
    • Spock is revealed to have nursed a years-long grudge against Burnham, refusing to so much as speak to her, just because she once called him a half-breed in a fit of pique as a child. Suddenly his father's infamous "So human" doesn't seem so bad.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The effects have come a long way since the original Star Trek, being far closer to J. J. Abrams' Star Trek (2009) than to even Enterprise.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • Par for the course of Star Trek, but Word of God has that the Klingons represent a "fractured contemporary America". Media outlets reported on writer Aaron Harberts allegedly saying the identitarian Klingons who want to preserve their heritage and culture from the danger of the multi-cultural quasi-communist Federation (who they fear will ethnically cleanse them) a were a mirror for modern America are a stand-in for White Nationalists and their slogan "Remain Klingon" is based on "Make America Great Again!", however CBS has come out to denied such allegories.
      • A few reviewers and YouTube channel Midnight's Edge noticed they also share similarities with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (such as employing martyrdom to inspire its members and seek to reunite their fractured empire much like ISIS's goals to establish a caliphate) which works better, since the House of T'Kuvma is described as more religiously-driven than the mainstream Great Houses of the Klingon Empire (which is still a feudal oligarchy).
      • One could also say they are closer to North Korea due to their isolationist nature, on top of all their other traits listed.
    • In a similar vein, Mirror-Lorca's contention about Mirror-Georgiou being soft on alien insurgents while calling for a leader who can preserve the Terran Empire's way of life is reminiscent of real-world white nationalists. It only gets more Anvilicious when he proclaims he will "Make the Empire Glorious Again", in an even closer parallel to MAGA.
    • The casual racism expressed or accepted by Vulcans in regard to Burnham and the half-human Spock (and humans in general) is similar to that exhibited in the real world. The revelation that the Vulcan Expeditionary Group would accept either Burnham or Spock, but not both, as they wanted to limit the amount of people with human ancestry they had as members is very reminiscent of groups who allow in a token representative to "prove" they aren't racist. The similarity is driven further by Burnham being a black woman, and therefore a member of a group exposed to this quite often even today in the United States and other majority white countries.
  • The Woobie:
    • Lt. Stamets was once a civilian scientist unraveling the mysteries of the "mycelial network" because The World Is Just Awesome. Along comes the Klingon War, and Starfleet co-opts his peaceful research for the purposes of warfare and all but conscripts him and his colleagues solely to weaponize the "spore drive" that much faster. Then his best friend ends up horribly killed when the spore drive on the USS Glenn fails catastrophically, and in the wake of that, Stamets has to Race Against the Clock to get the spore drive on the Discovery fully operational to save the beseiged civilians of a mining outpost. It gets better: when Stamets objects to the hazards to the ship and crew, and to his research being used for war, he has to deal with Captain Lorca playing the distress calls from said mining outpost over the shipwide intercom just to guilt-trip him into working faster. Later, he has to inject himself with a genetic treatment when the giant tardigrade, Ripper, must be released in order to act as a replacement Wetware CPU in its absence. The Trauma Conga Line only continues when harmful side effects mount from his spore drive navigations, his intended last jump before leaving Starfleet to recuperate lands the crew in the Mirror Universe and personally leaves him catatonic, then Voq murders Stamets' partner, Dr. Culber, right in front of him, and the mycelial network that he's been studying his whole career is dying courtesy of Mirror-Stamets' exploitations.
    • Ripper, the giant tardigrade, is an alien being that coexists symbiotically with the spores that are used for the Discovery's revolutionary drive system. As a result, it gets used forcibly as a living computer in order to extend the effective range of the spore drive, to the point that the stress causes it to physically shut down into a state of hibernation, forcing Burnham to have it released once again and forcing Stamets to use a genetic treatment to take its place to keep the drive operational.
    • Lt. Ash Tyler was captured by the Klingons on active duty and kept in one of their prison ships where torture (and apparent rape) awaited him every day until Captain Lorca was imprisoned with him and made his escape with Tyler. However, it turned out that what he remembered as rape and torture were actually the memories of Voq, the Klingon lover of L'Rell, who engaged in a consensual relationship with her and underwent Body Horror levels of surgical modification using Tyler's own organs and tissue in order to appear human ... in the form of Ash Tyler. When he encounters L'Rell again while aboard Kol's vessel, the Trauma Button-pushing sends him into a Heroic BSoD, and she even clings to him as Discovery beams them out. When he goes to confront L'Rell in the brig, she tries to trigger Voq's personality to pull a Grand Theft Me on Tyler to complete Voq's mission of infiltration, and when Voq takes over, he kills Dr. Culber, and Tyler has to take the blame for it even after Voq's personality is given a Mercy Kill.
    • Dr. Culber is the Only Sane Man amidst the Dysfunction Junction that is Discovery's senior crew, being forced into dubious actions by Captain Lorca's orders and having to watch his partner, Lt. Stamets, degrade before his eyes as a result of illegal genetic modifications that allow the ship to keep using the spore drive. He can only watch as the jumps finally leave Stamets catatonic, and then while trying to treat Stamets' condition, Culber gets abruptly murdered by Voq, who has been modified to impersonate Ash Tyler and who gets away after doing so. It turns out that, even though he died, his consciousness got kicked into the mycelial network, where he was perceived as a "monster" and was subject to constant attack from the network's native life. He naturally takes steps to defend himself, which causes harm to the native life, which only furthers the attacks, even though neither he nor the network's native life actually understand what is occurring. As a result, he is in terrible (and traumatized) shape when the Discovery crew finds him, even though he is returned to the prime universe with an intact body.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • The Klingon designs have been criticized by a number of fans due to not resembling their original timeline counterparts, though the reasoning that Aaron Harberts gave was that they never really had a consistent design in the first place and they belong to different Houses not yet seen in the original series. Their armor in particular drew comparisons to Dark Eldar from Warhammer 40,000 and featured questionable designs such as female busts sculpted in their boots. For Season 2, this was significantly overhauled to be closer to the "traditional" look of Klingons in a response to the early negative sentiment.
    • Georgiou's outfits in season 2 are getting more and more bondage-y by the episode.

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