Star Trek Discovery: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part II

Control’s fleet has caught up with Enterprise and Discovery, and the rogue AI is not about to let the sphere data go without a fight. Meanwhile, Burnham and the remaining Discovery crew race against time to build a new Red Angel suit and get the time crystal powered up so that they can escape to the future.

Well, here we are – we’ve voyaged through many peaks of ridiculousness and questionable plot decisions to make it to this, the Discovery season two finale. I think by this point we weren’t expecting things to make much sense, so our only choices are either to endure the overblown action, or switch off our brains and enjoy the ride.

Naturally, much of the episode is dedicated to EPIC SPACE BATTLEZ, with Enterprise and Discovery defending themselves against the onslaught of Section 31 drones. If you’re into that sort of thing, then you’ll be happy that no expense appears to have been spared here. On the other hand, if, like me, most space battles leave you cold, then you just need to sit through it and hope something more character focused turns up later on.

Outside of all the phaser and photon torpedo action, the main thrust of the episode is building and using the new Red Angel suit to save the day. After a suit-building montage and a hull breach in which poor Stamets is seriously injured, Burnham gets to launch the suit and set the plot to rights. After trying and failing to just head directly to the future, Burnham realises she has to close the plot loop by sending all the red signals that started this whole mess. Meanwhile, Spock is rescued from a continuity-breaking one-way trip to the future when his shuttlecraft nacelle conveniently breaks. So now there’s no guarantee that Discovery will ever come back, possibly meaning that season three will take place in the far future.

Also on offer this episode are various other dramatic set pieces. The prophesied photon torpedo lodging in the Enterprise’s hull comes to pass, leading to Admiral Cornwell’s dramatic sacrifice to save the ship. It’s a shame, as I quite liked Cornwell, and also yet further proof that starship safety and backup systems really need to be better built. A blast door that jams and then can only be closed from the inside? Someone should have caught that in safety testing.

We also get to see Georgiou face off against Leland, with some hand to hand combat that ends in him dying inside a magnetised spore cube. Hooray for magnetism, saving sentient life everywhere.

So many questions

  • If no one in Starfleet can ever talk about Discovery again, what is season three going to be about? Will it be set on the USS Discovery, now trapped in the future?
  • I can see an argument for not widely disseminating the knowledge of the sphere data, the time crystal and other time travel related shenanigans, but other than preserving continuity, why does everything about Discovery and its crew need to be redacted? The spore drive technology may still need to be classified, but surely for completely different reasons (and besides, why would Starfleet not want to keep researching that technology). And even if they have to say that Burnham and the others are dead, surely the people who knew them could still be allowed to talk about their lives?
  • Why was destroying Leland enough to stop Control? As an AI, Control was well placed to store numerous copies and backups of itself, such that losing Leland should have had no effect on the rest of its fleet. It did seem from the epilogue that further eradication of Control was performed by Starfleet, but that seemed quite easy and trivial compared to dealing with Leland.
  • Once Georgiou had neutralised Leland and Control, surely Discovery no longer needed to go into the future? I guess it was insurance against the sphere data ever being used by any malicious actor from the 23rd century, but it no longer had to be sent away as a matter of urgency. Starfleet could have worked on a way to delete the data in slower time.
  • Starfleet claims Section 31 will need to become more transparent and accountable, but by the 24th century hardly anyone even knows that it exists, so in fact it has become more opaque and unaccountable.
  • Were there timelines where Burnham failed to gather all the important components together for the finale, and thus had to figure out where and when to send signals? Or is it just a perfect, closed time loop?

Other notes and observations

  • The field is already crowded with technology that seems way too advanced for the established 23rd century, but this episode introduces small hull-repairing robots. They certainly look like they would be more at home in Star Wars than Star Trek.
  • Having spent the whole season building up an “it’s time for Hugh to move on” narrative, in this episode he decides that Stamets is actually the one for him. Well, I’m assuming that actually happened and wasn’t just Stamets hallucinating whilst under the influence of painkillers. Also, Hugh is much better looking in his off-duty black clothes than in his white Starfleet medical uniform.
  • What’s up with Nhan and Georgiou when they go after Leland? Nhan starts saying random things like “yum” – is she meant to be flirting with Georgiou? I mean, I can see the two of them getting it on, but going after a murderous AI doesn’t feel like quite the time or place for it. Such circumstances would almost certainly turn Georgiou on, but as a Starfleet officer Nhan should know better.
  • Were there any actual consequences for Reno of exposing herself to the time radiation? It seemed like she was putting herself into additional jeopardy at the end of the last episode, but ultimately it didn’t seem like there were any extra consequences for her.
  • It’s also worth noting, of course, that the Control is the Borg theory turned out to be false, for which we can all be thankful.

Summary: “To preserve continuity, no one must ever mention Discovery again”.

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