With Control closing in, Pike takes the decision to destroy Discovery to keep the sphere data out of its hands. However, when the data refuses to let the ship be destroyed, Burnham comes up with a daring plan to use the time crystal to send Discovery itself safely into the far future.
It’s hard to believe that, a scant few months ago, things were looking so promising for Discovery’s second season. Now that we’re here at the penultimate episode, the plot has become so stupid that it’s hard to believe that anything can be redeemed in the season finale.
Before we delve into more detailed nitpicking, let’s look at where we are. Section 31 has been completely taken over by a rogue AI, with just one episode left to resolve the situation somehow. Despite already being powerful enough to assimilate organic life forms and take control of more than thirty ships, Control apparently can’t become “fully conscious” and destroy all life in the galaxy without the sphere data. If you ask me, it already seems to be well on its way without that data, but none of the narrative is about stopping what Control has already become. It’s all about protecting this magical sphere data.
And let’s not forget, the sphere data is only here in the past because Gabrielle Burnham sent it back it into the past to “protect it”. As I’ve pointed out already in a previous blog, all this did was make this advanced future data available to Control earlier in its timeline. Never mind that, as I’ve also pointed out, this is presumably only one aggregated copy of data that could be found elsewhere.
And all this is before we get onto the whole “the sphere data is protecting itself” gimmick. How does that even work? It was already barely credible that the data wouldn’t “let itself” be deleted, but now it can take control of Discovery too? I guess this means that, rather than being flat data, the sphere data itself must be an AI, perhaps even the one that evolves into Zora from the Calypso Short Trek.
Speaking of Short Treks, this episode also follows on from Runaway, and indeed incorporates extracts from that episode in the “previously on Discovery” opener. Given that the Short Treks were only meant to be supplementary material, and are hidden at the end of the Netflix episode listings alongside the trailers, they shouldn’t now be presented as part of the main series. For example, even though watching The Brightest Star gave some additional insight into Saru’s origin story, it was perfectly possible to watch The Sound of Thunder without ever realising it existed. It’s not even like bringing back Po really adds anything to the show – she’s just the latest in an ever-expanding list of characters whose sole defining feature is “eccentric engineering genius”.
Notes and Observations
- The fifth of seven red signals appears in this episode. Presumably the signals will turn out to have been made by Burnham/Discovery once they reach the future, but at present they remain a really lazy storytelling device. One can essentially think of the red signals as a special signal from the Discovery writers, telling the characters where to go next.
- Having had Reno tease the possibility of them getting back together, Culber and Stamets seem to be mutually agreeing to go their separate ways in this episode. Will either of them even be in season three? What was the point of bringing Hugh back anyway?
- We get to see the interior of the Enterprise in this episode. Whilst some effort has been made to recapture the ambience of the original sets, updates have obviously been made. The bridge, for example, seems to be about three times as large as it was on TOS.
- Since Spock has accompanied the protagonists on their “one-way” trip to the future, we know that there must be some way of getting back.
- Why does Burnham even have that future vision when she’s on the Enterprise bridge? Is it just because she’s the main character, and thus has a direct line to the writers?
- The “Pike says his goodbyes and everyone writes heartfelt letters to their loved ones” scenes were painfully clichéd.
The Sphere Data
Let’s have a little fun imagining the exact nature of the sphere data.
- One huge, high resolution picture of an owl.
- A massive porn collection.
- All cat pictures from the internet.
- The MySpace data that was recently lost.
Summary – Such Sweet Sorrow: Plot integrity failing, all hands abandon ship.