Thanks to some decent hotel wifi in Nepal I managed to download the season finale onto my phone and watched this barnstorming episode in a crowded airport waiting room.
Having spent a few episode spinning its wheels, Discovery goes out with literally all guns blazing. Director Olatunde Osunsanmi has made several Discovery episodes and they’ve generally been the better examples of Discovery trying to do its own thing (as opposed to the actually better episodes that stuck more closely to Trek-style plots). There are no big surprises as the story goes where it had to: resolving all the basic background plot issues with Discovery as a series and tying together the plot coupons of this seasons Red Angel plot.
I think there is a good case for this being the best space battle I’ve seen on screen. There was an excellent combination of external space action tied to multiple on-ship character plots. Aside from Michael, Spock, Saru and Tilly there was plausible chances that any character might get a heroic end. OK, Captain Pike also had to survive but I was strongly expecting him to get his infamous accident. Even Number One could have plausibly been blown up by that stray torpedo as there’s no canonical plot reason why the character was in the pilot but not the original series. In the end the ethically compromised Admiral Cornwell did the noble sacrifice bit and in the process erased her as a symbol of Discovery Season 1.
There were the customary plot weak points, not least of which was the pointless arrival of the improbably spacefaring Kelpians. It seems churlish thought to dwell to much on that as they also arrived with a huge Klingon battleship and a few rounds of TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE Klingon action.
It would have been so much better though if this final battle was with an actually corrupt Section 31 rather than the AI hacked Section 31. The final battle as a conflict of the dark, morally compromised Star Fleet of Season 1
versus the noble and always-striving-to-be-better Star Fleet of the Enterprise epitomised by Captain Pike would have worked both as a story and as self-critique of Discovery’s themes.
Season 3 Discovery will get to start all over, flung far into the future with a ship with a unique spore drive and a treasure trove of alien data.
For all its flaws Discovery has established itself as a significant addition to the Trek franchise. Pike, Saru (especially this episode) and even Lorca are now plausible answers to the “who is you favourite captain” — although I’d worry about anybody who says “Lorca”. Georgiou is a bit short changed in her non-Terran form but the mirror universe Empress turned special-circumstances operative has been a great character.
So erased from Star Trek history by Spock but not erased from our hearts. We’ll see Discovery again when it boldy gets to wherever it is going.
- Such Sweet Sorrow Pt 2 (e14): WOOSSSHHHH Pew BANG zap ARGHH RAISE SHIELDS! [Enterprise alert noise] etc
- An Obol for Charon (e4) – Classic Trek on a magic mushroom trip
- Point of Light (e3) – season one Discovery is back for revenge
- Brother (e1) – an action orientated fresh start for the Discovery crew
- Perpetual Infinity (e11) – Mistakes were made, repeatedly
- The Red Angel (e10) – the cast gets an episode to catch up with the plot and trap the Red Angel
- If Memory Serves (e8) – A sequel to The Cage and a prequel to The Menagerie
- New Eden (e2) – The Next Generation of The Next Generation
- Saints of Imperfection (e5) – Let’s get the old gang back together!
- Project Daedelus (e9) – Airiam we will miss you, though we barely got to know you
- Light and Shadow (e7) – Michael goes one way, Discovery goes another
- Such Sweet Sorrow Pt 1(e13) – Morty, do you know what “wubba lubba dub dub” means?
- Sound of Thunder (e6) – Non-consensual medical procedures on a whole species
- Through the Valley of Shadows (e12) – Pike visits Klingon Hogwarts to get a plot coupon
Bits and Pieces
- Tilly saves the day.
- Also Spock saves the day.
- Michael saves the day without shooting any commanding officers.
- Spock never mentions Michael again, having never mentioned Sybok at all this season for other reasons.
- Saru saves the day.
- Admiral Cornwell saves the day.
- Doctor Hugh comes back.
- Georgiou ends up in the future and presumably has to find her way back.
- Ash Tyler gets to command section 31
- Cora’s review is here http://corabuhlert.com/2019/04/20/star-trek-discovery-boldly-goes-where-none-has-gone-before-in-the-season-2-finale/
- And because we miss him, here’s some gratuitous Jason Isaacs