Star Trek Discovery S02E14: And with that, season two is over…

Fourteen episodes—and more twists and turns and LOUD NOISES than you can shake a stick at—later, we have reached the end of Star Trek Discovery’s second season. Congrats to those of you who held on for the whole ride, enduring CBS’ annoying (and frustratingly timed) ad breaks, and a plotline that felt like an out of control car that’s on fire and barrelling down the road, picking up speed and rapidly approaching a brick wall. You made it; was it worth it?

Let’s find out.

2×14 – SUCH SWEET SORROW (PART TWO)

In an episode that was basically wall to wall action, explosions, fight scenes, phaser fire, torpedo detonations, and trippy 2001-esque sequences, you would be forgiven for not thinking (or just forgetting) that a lot was actually said in between the LOUD NOISES. Granted, just because things were said doesn’t mean the show had a message or a meaning or a deeper purpose behind its words. Mostly it was just exposition designed to talk us through what has been going on, what is going on, and what needs to be going on in very “check the boxes” sort of way.

It’s a tell-tale sign that the showrunner whose job it is to guide the season-long storyline has failed to do his job. Had Alex Kurtzman succeeded the audience would have understood where we were, what was going on, and what needed to happen to bring the year’s storyline to a conclusion. Instead, in the middle of the biggest battle on the show to date, with stakes that could not have been any higher (the fate of the galaxy was on the line), Michael and Spock basically brought the show to a screeching halt in order to play “explain the plot ping-pong,” bouncing the exposition ball back and forth as if to say “look everyone, we did have a plan. We had no idea how to show it, so we’re just going to stop and tell it to you but we did have one!”

But it wasn’t all bad.

The action happenings and the “finale” feel to it all gave me DS9 vibes; it reminded me of the many times the best Star Trek show (fight me) would have a rip-roaring two-parter or season finale, with a huge battle that took up half the hour.

There were a few funny lines peppered throughout. Everything Pike did was great. The Enterprise is gorgeous. Admiral Whatshername is dead (I never forgave her for trying to justify violating principles in the name of security back in season one; that was the most anti-Star Trek moment in the franchise’s history). And we’re either going into next season with Pike and the ‘Prise having a blast in the 23rd or we’re jumping to the future to let Discovery explore the post-Voyager galaxy.

Either way, I’m happy.

6/10 – I was not bored for the hour. I mostly enjoyed laughing at how “off the rails” the plot had gotten and how little of it made sense, almost by design.

But I was never bored.

STRAY THOUGHTS

I really like the opening sequence, spinning us from one bridge to the next. It was tense and creatively edited. Everything about Discovery (the show)’s aesthetic is excellent. You can’t praise the visual effects enough. If only the show had something under the hood. As it is, the show is very expensive, very beautiful, but ultimately very hollow. It’s a Faberge egg.

Leland is hardly Gul Dukat when it comes to villains with an arc. His character, much like the entire CONTROL subplot, fizzled with little to remember fondly.

Just to illustrate how excellent a job Discovery did with Captain Pike: Every time the show cut to him and the Enterprise I immediately wished we had a mission of the week show with him and his crew. Considering how I was initially very reluctant to accept his place on the show (another pointless bit of fan-service, I first thought), the fact that this very very clumsily-done season ended with him as my favorite character shows that the Discovery writers have the capability to write compelling and likeable characters whose names I can actually remember. The fact that we’ve spent two years with Disco’s crew and I only know like five of their names (out of ten or so) is too frustrating to explain.

Were those….R2 units?

Literally nothing about the Red Angel/Signal plotline makes sense, and since this was the plotline the entire season was built around and AND since the two best episodes this season were mostly self-contained…maybe let’s ditch the big season-long arc next year and go back to “mission of the week” stuff, huh? How about that?

Saru saw the Red Angel, way back in the mid-point of the season, and learned it was a humanoid using a highly advanced suit. They continued investigating who the Red Angel was, following her from point to point until finally being able to trap her. We then learned the Red Angel is…Michael’s mom. But wait, in this episode, Michael herself gets a Red Angel suit and goes back in time to see Saru, which means Saru was actually seeing Michael. So…is Michael her own mom? Did Michael go back in time and bone her dad? Is this like that John Mulaney bit about Back to the Future?

Why is the Mouth-breather lady suddenly snarky and sassy, saying things like “Yum!” at the notion of killing the bad guy? Not to get all mad at character development but this is more like someone suddenly revealing a fetish without being prompted, after being mostly quiet for the past several weeks.

Where’s my data?!

-Leland

I know right? Wheres my Data, my Riker, my Geordi,  my Picard, my briefing room?!
(old man yells at cloud)

“Let people reach you, and find that person farthest from you and reach them.”

-Michael to Spock

All I could think was “Heh, McCoy”

“Also never mention me again. To anyone. Ever.”

-basically Michael to Spock

Having said that, Spock ghosting Michael has precedence at least. He told no one about Sybok, after all. Imagine him bringing her up in the brig in the middle of Star Trek V.

Anyway, here’s the season three. May the writers rediscover their love of stopping to smell roses.

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