the story: Burnham makes her leap into history.
review: This is kind of instantly the high water mark for epic Star Trek TV storytelling in a single episode (though it obviously continues and contains elements from previous episodes). It's a bombastic sendoff for the Discovery crew in its original timeframe, and a nifty packaging for why we don't hear about any of this in later (earlier) incarnations of the franchise.
Okay, so that last part might be a point of debate for some fans, who will naturally feel dismissive for any number of reasons. What a cheap way to explain it! they'll say. But forget them. This has been a series that has consistently enmeshed itself in familiar lore while carving a separate destiny. Now it seems it's reached the point where the unknown will truly be embraced, and all we have to do is wait for next season. This is how season finales are done, folks. This is one of the best I've ever seen.
So of course there's lots to appreciate. We get flashes of that brilliance Discovery has so enjoyed celebrating about Starfleet officers. We get callbacks to all the signals the crew followed throughout the season (and how the whole of it feels so satisfying in summary). We get Burnham and Spock in a bittersweet farewell. We get Stamets and Culber finally reconciling. We get Tilly's queen friend saving the day. We get Control being defeated. We get Georgiou being truly heroic. We get repair droids!
Just a lot of good stuff. The episode ends with Pike, Number One, and Spock (shaved! in uniform!) on the bridge of the Enterprise (and the credits featuring the original theme!), nudging us to what Star Trek was when it began, and it feels right. So often fans have struggled to identify Discovery with the original series, so it seems appropriate that a season that spent so much time with familiar elements concludes on such a note. This might be the kind of experience Enterprise tried to capture in its final episode, with a holodeck simulation aboard Picard's ship of Archer's crew. Then again, it might be equally controversial. But then, again, forget the fans who will view the results that way.
- franchise - A rewarding way to bridge the Enterprise with the Discovery.
- series - Setting the Discovery definitively along its own destiny.
- character - Burnham becomes the symbol of what Spock later finds in Kirk & Bones.
- essential - An affirmation of Discovery's place in the franchise.
Ethan Peck (Spock)
Michelle Yeoh (Georgiou)
Tig Notaro (Reno)
Rebecca Romijn (Number One)
Shazad Latif (Tyler)
Wilson Cruz (Culber)