Discovery had a rough start and received a mixed (and not consistently fair) welcome. It developed and, by Season Three, had a new premise that frequently worked. Season Four has featured some strong episodes, but permitted a poorly-handled, derivative story arc to hamper the show. The most recent season came to a conclusion. With one more season than the original series, Discovery still struggles with finding its identity.
Having just reviewed most of the season last week, I’m eschewing our full formal review for the final episode. Instead, I have some thoughts that will hopefully inspire discussion.
After an eleventh-hour problem prevented the previous episode from bringing the season to a tidy conclusion, our heroes save the day in what seems like the first half of the episode. What follows is the equivalent of one of those whimsical epilogues that marked earlier incarnations of Trek, dragged into a happy ending (with a few moments to recall the millions of deaths caused in earlier episodes) that seems to go on forever.
Tilly returns with the cadets, and real-life Georgia politician and Trek fan Stacey Abrams makes a cameo.
The acting is generally strong. Sonequa Martin-Green gets a powerful and difficult moment, where she must move ahead despite personal tragedy. Doug Jones continues to give a credible performance as an alien of the Star Trek variety, different from us but human enough to be entirely relatable.
The show led to the forthcoming Strange New Worlds, and I have high hopes for that. They certainly have a solid cast. I hope they’ll be respectful of reasonable fan expectations.
Apart from the pacing (and I concede that some people will enjoy the extended epilogue, which I found overly indulgent), we have a number of issues. I like Book, but the undoing of his noble sacrifice felt like bad writing, forced by the desire of higher-ups to use the character again in the future.
Why did no one think to use Vulcan (or other species) telepathy several episodes ago? “Devil in the Dark” tried that one as soon as it was reasonable to do so.