Star Trek: Discovery Review– “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2”

Things explode, fans get serviced, and Discovery changes its direction in the final episode of Season Two.

Title: “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part Two”

Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by Michelle Paradise, Jenny Lumet, and Alex Kurtzman

Cast
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike
Doug Jones as Captain Saru
Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock
Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou
Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
Anthony Rapp as Commander Paul Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly
Rebecca Romijn as Number One
Alan Van Sprang as Leland
Tig Notaro as Jet Reno
Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber
Yadira Guevara-Prip as Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po
Jayne Brook as Vice Admiral Katrina Cornwell
Rachael Ancheril as Cmdr. Nhan
Emily Coutts as Lt. Keyla Detmer
Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Gen Rhys
Mary Chieffo as L’Rell
Oyin Oladejo as Lt. Joann Owosekun
Ronnie Rowe as Lt. R.A. Bryce
Raven Dauda as Dr. Tracy Pollard
Sara Mitich as Lt. Nilsson
Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson
Julianne Grossman as Discovery Computer

Premise:

As everything explodes, Discovery charts a new course and the Enterprise fixes continuity.

High Point:

The episode careens crazily into a remarkable conclusion. The previous episode prepared us for it, but the series prepared us for a bait-and-switch. I give them full credit for boldly going where no Trek has gone before.

Low Points:

The episode features a number of forced elements. Can’t they try using the transporter on that torpedo? Why do the two highest-ranking people on the ship have to tend to it? Why not a couple of engineers? And why are they having a lengthy debate only 90 seconds before their ship explodes?1

I liked the concept behind the conclusion, but, really, treason? That doesn’t seem very logical in context.2

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 Stuff explodes! People rush around! They yell! We have witty-in-the-face-of-danger dialogue that could, to be honest, be a lot wittier. Surprise back-up arrives in the nick of time! Discovery ends Season Two with an attempt at a Marvel superhero movie, with a low-rent 2001 Stargate sequence thrown in for good measure. However, that climax and new direction earn them points.

Effects: 6/6 This episode throws up more pyrotechnics than early July and adds more CGI than a Special Edition.

Acting: 5/6 Martin-Green and Peck do well under what must have been problematic shooting conditions (“I’m dressed like Tony Stark’s idea of an angel and I have to pretend major events are unfolding on this greenscreen!”)

Yeoh kicks it as a dark-souled two-fisted hero, but the attempt to give her a sidekick in the form of Nhan doesn’t work. They have no buddy chemistry, and Rachael Ancheril, usually on her game, gives the third-worst delivery of “Yum Yum!” in history.3

Production: 6/6

Emotional Response: 4/6 Emotional moments work when the characters have an actual or plausible history. We see that with Stamets and Culber, and the actors do a laudable job. Likewise, the scene between Spock and Burnham works.

Forced and fabricated attempts to touch an audience, however fall flat. In addition to Georgiou and Nhan, we also get forced bonding between the Admiral and Number One. They doubtless know each other, but nothing we see this week really makes us feel a connection the show hasn’t bothered to create. It’s Airiam’s funeral again; they’re trying evoke an emotional reaction they haven’t earned.

Story: 4/6:

Overall: 4/6: I only hope, with that ending, we actually do “boldly go.” I fear, however, that (as in Voyager), “where no one has gone before” will end up looking like every other incarnation of the show.

They have the budget. They have the technology.

I hope they give us something groundbreaking and memorable.

In total, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part Two” receives 32/42

Notes

1. And are those “Stardate Seconds” or something? Because I’m sure they lasted longer than regulation ninety seconds.

2. The epilogue does have me hoping, once more, for a Pike Trek series, which seems like a better idea than the Section 31 show that we will be getting.

3. The worst is deliberate, Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden in “Ralph’s Sweet Tooth” (1954). The second-worst was uttered in the late 70s by an otherwise very popular girl in my eighth grade class, in response to a passing guy’s bum. She was kidded for weeks afterwards. You had to be there.

Hey, these are Actual Facts, folks.

5 replies on “Star Trek: Discovery Review– “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2””

  1. The effects wowed me. (Special Edition levels, indeed!)

    I’d been so sucked in that when the Klingons arrived that I was actually shocked.

    Many of the retconning from the end did feel very forced, but I think that was just because it was so obvious this was where it was going to go that they didn’t need to hammer it so hard.

    I have to agree about the low point. Couldn’t they have dropped the blast door then gone back to work on it? It’s not like it couldn’t be dropped until the 15 second mark…

  2. zocalo says:

    Have to agree with the low point as well, especially the use of the blast door (with window no less!) for dramatic effect. The explosion ripped out a good chunk of the saucer section, yet Pike was just fine standing behind the door? Seems like they ought to be using more of that wonder material for general structural work. And what kind of idiot only puts a manual release on the exterior facing side of a blast door (which worked just fine, btw, so why not have someone working to fix the door release)?

    As Spock might say, “That’s illogical, Captain!”

    On the plus side, I was also surprised by the arrival of the cavalry and glad the Borg theory turned out to be a red herring. While it wouldn’t have been impossible to make the timeline work given they had access to a time machine, I can’t see how they could have avoided continuity issues altogether.

    And so we boldly go into where Season 3 has taken us. I’m kind of hoping for a season-long look where they are and what’s going on at that point in time, but given we have some characters left behind I feel a reunion a few episodes in may be on the cards too.

  3. Jethro says:

    So I binge-watched the entire season today.

    And, when you do that, you notice the pacing of the last two episodes are *not* great. It could’ve easily have been one 1-hour episode. There was a whooole lot of “We’re running out of time!!!!!” followed by “let’s stand here and talk calmly for like 5 minutes.”

    I have some real issues with the final battle. Space has more than two dimensions, people! Not that it matters since everyone decided to just sit there — even when they called for “Evasive Pattern Delta-5!!!” (or whatever it was), apparently that’s the evasive pattern where you don’t move and let them shoot you. Because the ship did *not* move after that. At all.

    So those are my nitpicks. Well that and the blast door thing. But other than that — again, (mostly) solid writing, great acting, fantastic SFX (and the wormhole sfx callback to ST:TMP was awesome). Great season.

    Plus everyone always wanted Discovery to be set in the future. So… here we go.

    • That last climactic battle had a lot of things that were there just because it was a climactic battle, but for everything thing they did right, I think it was a net positive.

    • zocalo says:

      The new setting and conclusion does fix most (all?) of the issues people had raised with the timeline; Spock not mentioning Michael, the lack of mycelial network in later series, and so on, so there’s that. Assuming they don’t make it back, anyway; I had initially assumed the purpose of the Hugh/mycelial arc was to get them to dump the drive and deal with it that way, but this is much more final.

      Some weak moments, but overall I’m happy with the new direction and can’t wait to see what they do with the new setting. Logically I guess they’d want to see if future Federation (or whatever) can get the crew home while leaving the data stranded out of Control’s reach, but where’s the fun in that?

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