And so it ends… or rather perhaps and so it begins? This finale to the second season was certainly a visual feast and a rip roaring action adventure but where exactly does it fit in the Star Trek opus.
It would be fair to say that Season 2 has been a vast improvement on Season 1 in terms of story and character, but even saying that some problems have still crept in. I will not discuss the visual reboot of the series as that is something one can debate forever and a day. I am more concerned about character and story.
This episode tied up the twisty wisty timey wimey plot well and in doing so pressed the reset button for the rest of the Star Trek universe. We know now why S31 is goes underground, why Spock never speaks of Burnham and why the spore drive is never mentioned. They were disavowed, all information restricted. This is an interesting approach but one does wonder how something so big can be covered up so well. It does however mean future in-universe continuity is maintained and the Discovery has a chance to forge its new future in the far future.
The time jump is large enough so that during season 3 Discovery effectively has a blank canvas upon which to work upon, a future that Calypso eluded to, a time when the Federation is very different.
I think something has to be said about the space battles. I liked the fact that they used shuttles and fighters. It makes sense that at a push ships would augment their defences with auxilary craft, I have always wondered why this was never done in other series, however, where on earth… space did they get them all. Two starships with so many support vessels, I don’t think so. It was a visual treat but far too busy. I loved the battles of DS9 which seemed to capture the essence of starship combat so well. This was all explosions and lights. At least we got the blue phasers.
I also had a problem with the torpedo in the Enterprise. It seemed to be the only one used in the whole battle! and it malfunctioned. Why did Cornwell, a Counsellor in a previous life go to fix it. Number One I could understand. Secondly why could that one door survive its detonation but the rest of the saucer not. It made great visuals and a touching farewell between Pike and Cornwell but lost meaning in its silliness. It is like the writers had a great idea for a plot point, formulaic some might say, but failed on execution.
Star Trek Discovery has benefited from intelligent writers and creative people but they have always lacked the input of someone who really understands the Trek universe and would allow those beats to really land. Now in the future I have no problem with their direction of style, what they create will be the new Star Trek. Discovery should have started here and rid themselves of the problems of fitting into a well established canon. As Star Trek fans we did not need to hook of time period to get us to watch, we would have watched anyways and you could have ploughed a new furrow to attract the new viewers.
It might seem as if I didn’t like the last episode, but I did, I really did. I was on the edge of my seat. I do not have a problem with Burnham. Why can’t someone other than the Captain be the hero? I liked their handling of Spock and the use of Pike. I liked the very ending where we saw Starfleet HQ and that we never saw where Discovery ended up, it adds more to the intrigue and suspense for next season.
I am however going to end on a plot hole, and its a big one. Georgiou, excellent again in this episode got to Kung Fu it with Leland and lead him to his doom. She traps him in the spore drive and kills him, at that point all the S31 ships stopped. Hadn’t they just won? Did they now need to jump to the future, Control was dead, the threat over? Perhaps it was still important to protect the data by sending it into the future, a decision founded on the idea that even the Federation could not be trusted with the sphere data or that another rogue AI could emerge from it, either way something kind of rung wrong here.
All in all a good run. Pike was amazing, Tig Notaro was was a breath of fresh air and the season now feels like Discovery is a crew. I feel I can see them gelled together as a unit in way we see in other series. I will write on this in another blog though.
So for now, so long Discovery, its been a blast and I look forward to the next season.