Welcome, one and all, to my continuing ‘Quick Thoughts on Star Trek Discovery’ series. Today’s episode, ‘Such Sweet Sorrow’, picked up right where the last one ended, with the crew preparing to evacuate and destroy Discovery rather than let Control get ahold of the Sphere data. Let’s look at what happened.
All Things Must End
“Committing to a life amongst the stars is in itself a resolution to leave some things behind.” – Saru
This is the second to last episode of the season, and it’s really set up to get us ready for what should be an explosive finale. The general idea here is that the plan of destroying the Discovery is a bust; much as it stopped itself from getting deleted, the Sphere data is preventing the ship from being destroyed too. So, the best plan that the crew can come up with is to build a new Red Angel Suit for Michael so that she can open a wormhole. The initial thought is for her to jump to the future, with Discovery following, then cut the ship loose and jump back, thusly preventing Control form getting the data. Unfortunately, there’s a problem. The only way to do this will burn out their time crystal, thusly preventing Michael from getting back.
The upshot here is that a bunch of named cast members – surprisingly including Spock – decide that they’re staying on board Discovery whether Michael likes it or not. And so began a run of characters recording goodbyes to friends and family members. Notably absent here is Hugh. The reason? He and Stamets have a heart-to-heart in the engineering, and its revealed that Hugh is going to stay aboard the Enterprise. It was a sad end to the pair’s relationship, it really was. Tyler too stepped away, as though he wants to stay with Michael, he believes that he’s best suited to staying in the grey areas with Section 31 and ensuring that something like this does not happen again.
Throw in a few glimpses of the future that both Michaela and Jett got – a future where Leland executes everyone – and we’ve essentially got a long series of goodbyes here. The tone was somber, but it never felt depressing. If anything, this episode did a great job of building up a lot of tension as we push forward.
All Things Must Begin
“Prepare for battle.” – Saru
Like I said, this was all about setting up the final episode. We already know several things by the end of this one, including that the time crystal will not charge before Leland and Control reach both the Discovery and Enterprise. This is reiterated when the ships start turning up and surround our heroes. So, when Saru utters the command to ‘prepare for battle’ as the final line of the episode, it really does raise some goosebumps. For this crew, this is the beginning of the end. They will enter battle, and they will try to turn the tide, but nothing will be the same when all is said and done.
The key thing for me was seeing who remained on the Discovery. This, you would imagine, will form the main crew for season three. In that regard, it was a huge surprise to see Spock there. It’s his presence that will really affect how they move forward though. If he remains on board when the ship jumps, it does force them into a few potential outcomes moving forward. If he ends up leaving again, then it’s far more open-ended.
All Things Must Come Together
“Forward motion is the most honest choice for both of us.” – Stamets
And therein is the overall message that the team wanted to convey. This was always meant to be the season where they bring the story into synch with the main timeline. I’ve always loved both the different tone that the show takes when compared to TOS, and the moments where it seems to fit in terms of feel. One thing that worked really well with making sure everything fits though was when Pike had his flash of the future in the last episode. The message that it was unalterable ties in with his appearance in the main timeline, so seeing that reiterated here was a nice touch.
At the same time though, we know that time must be alterable. Why? Because Michael’s flash of Leland running amok on the ship cannot come to be without dire consequences for the timeline. The interesting thing was that when Pike took the time crystal, it was a very personal vision. When Michael touched, the vision she got also showed events leading up to her own death. When Jett touched it – in a foolhardy attempt to get it charged quicker – she got the beginnings of the same vision. That the second run of visions was less personal makes me think that those moments are not set in stone.
The jump into the distant future helps make this work. If the crew jump way beyond both TOS and TNG, it would tie a few things up and give them room to breathe in terms of what they can do without messing with continuity. And here’s the thing with that; I’m not generally one to get annoyed at continuity issues across series, but I know that many are. And Star Trek ahs usually done a good job of keeping things on track as far as possible. So, doing something that helps move Discovery towards that outcome is no bad thing.
But then there’s Spock. Like I said, if he stays on board when the ship jumps, we’re set on course for only two possible outcomes in my eyes. One is that the crew gets back, which rings up the issue of why they don’t have spore drives in the main universe. The other – which is more likely due to the foreshadowing when Tyler said ‘you could end up anywhere’ – is that during season three, they end up back in time and do some messing with things. The most obvious thing would be to ensure that Michael never ended up with Sarek and Amanda. This would not only mean that Spock never jumps with them, but that it would make sense for him to have not mentioned Michael before.
It would also alter everything else. Michael’s drive is in part due to her previous trauma and her upbringing with Spock. If that never happened, a lot of the things that happened due to Michael’s actions also would not have happened. If that also prevents the Red Angel form existing, the sphere will never have been redirected towards the Discovery. That could well lead to Control never even being aware of it. If we want to get all conspiracy theory with it, perhaps it ends up somewhere else and that’s where the Borg come from? I know, I know, people are getting annoyed with trying to tie this to the Borg. And I get that; TNG was their first encounter with humans, so it doesn’t make sense at this point in time. If the timeline is altered though, it could well make sense as at least a potential.
Regardless of how this turns out, I expect the final episode to be an absolute blast. This was an awesome way to set it all up, and I’m looking forward to there being more to come. But what about yourselves? Are you watching Star Trek Discovery? How are you finding this second season? What did you make of this episode? How do you think the series will end? Let me know in the comments below.