Will You Take My Hand?
After last week’s episode of Discovery saw the beginning of the end for Starfleet and the Federation the series has set the stage for the finale. While it cannot match all of my expectations it is a decent episode in its own right. The episode starts with the show doing the right think – putting former emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) in command of the Discovery. A number of the bridge crew are shaken by the curt and unethical orders they receive – especially Saru, but they make their way to Qo’noS. The mission is to lay the groundwork for a strike on the planet by Starfleet. After torturing L’Rell for information Georgiou quickly assembles a team for their covert exploration of the planet.
The pacing in this episode is brutal – such as it has been throughout the season. Within 15 minutes of the episode beginning Burnham, Tyler, Tilly and Georgiou find themselves on the Klingon home world. Both Tilly and Burnham think Georgiou is playing her own game, but see no other choice but to follow. Despite the pacing there is still time for drama as Burnham confronts Tyler on his past misdeeds. This is a subplot that does not work for me. A rational Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) should conclude that Tyler could not be held responsible for being turned into a Human-Klingon hybrid. But I guess for dramatic purposes she is not feeling rational. The subplot also stands in contrast with Georgiou’s and Tilly’s hilarious badassery.
Orion gambling den
On the Klingon home world Georgiou quickly identifies an Orion gambling den where they hope to locate a temple. The temple is housed above an caldera and can be used to potentially hide a Starfleet strike fleet. The party splits up to try and find any Klingons at the den who might know the entrance to the temple. Georgiou uses her lessons as dominatrix emperor to seduce two Orion slaves (instead of being seduced). The scene calls for two slaves to dance in a g-string – a first on Star Trek I think. Tilly hooks up with a lava fume smoking thief while Burnham and Tyler play a game of Klingon chess.
After they do their thing each of them discover the location to the temple, but it is the corset wielding dominatrix Georgiou who gets there first. Georgiou takes Tilly’s drone to locate the caldera and plans to use it to drop a bomb and activate the volcano underneath the caldera. Burnham deduces what Georgiou’s plan is – unleashing the volcano’s on Qo’noS would make the planet uninhabitable. The Klingon Empire would be hampered in its efforts to continue the fight. She contacts Admiral Cornwell and accuses her in being complicit on genocide if she does not agree to stop Georgiou.
Burnham manages to confront Georgiou – who admits she is nothing like the original from this reality. Burnham forces Georgiou to choose between shooting her and be branded a criminal or freedom. Georgiou chooses the latter. Burnham hands the drone’s detonator to L’Rell and convinces her to use the power at her disposal to unite the Klingon factions. In a final confrontation between Tyler and Burnham she forgives him, but Tyler remains behind on Qo’noS.
Sadly, the season does not end on a cliffhanger. The federation makes a peace with the Klingons, Burnham receives forgiveness and everybody gets medals. In fact the ending is too cheesy. As the Discovery is warping to Vulcan to drop off Ambassador Sarek they intercept a distress signal. When the static clears Burnham identifies the ship as belonging to Captain Pike – USS Enterprise 1701.
This was a good episode of Star Trek, but not the best finale ever. Not by a long shot. 33 minutes into the 45-minute episode the story resolves. After that 12 minutes of catching up remains. Arguably this is important but normally this is woven into a 2 hours season finale. Now it feels rushed. For all the death and drama this season of discovery brought the finale is conspicuously clean. No major character deaths, no imminent deaths expected for season 2. I would almost say it is a feel good story.
I construe as a missed opportunity, but letting everybody catch up sometimes makes sense. So we know what we will have in store for season 2. Pike and the Enterprise appear, Tyler will continue his journey and no doubt Georgiou will perform some badass moves. At the same time, the principal cats of Burnham, Tilly, Saru and Stamets will suffer incalculable personal tragedies. This was my Star Trek Discovery season finale review. I hope you enjoyed this article.