Five Thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery‘s “Life, Itself”

By | May 30th, 2024
Posted in Television | % Comments

This is it. The end of the road. The show that brought Star Trek back to television for the first time in over a decade has come to a close and through its ups and downs it found its detractors and its fans. And no matter what side of the aisle you fall on, if you love any of the new era of Trek, we have Star Trek: Discovery, in part, to thank. This was a huge episode that needed to cover a lot of ground, both as a season finale and as a series finale. For the most part, I found it to be quite successful in its endeavor and as I write this I am still struggling to decide as to what parts of the episode to focus on for this format of write-up. Because there is so much story and so many ideas to this 82 minute finale, I’m sure it will be one of my messier and more meandering pieces. And as my final review for Multiversity Comics, it feels almost fitting. Two endings. One for a piece of a franchise I love dearly and one for a part of my life that I will miss dearly. Which is why I’m glad I enjoyed this season so much as a whole. Spoilers Ahead

1. Worlds Within Worlds

Where to begin, but with one of the most original and interesting elements ever put in Star Trek? The portal that Michael, Moll, and a few Breen went through last week has brought them to the inner workings of the Progenitor’s realm housing their technology and countless designs. The place where the magic happens. And like the great Arthur C. Clarke once said in 1962, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And that is a perfectly succinct way to describe this place. Endless yet contained, this space feels like a 1980s mall and the tesseract from Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar with portals leading to numerous planets. It is like a dream with a dream and a bridge to worlds and endless possibilities. This is one of the few times where Trek has gotten to a point of taking us to places of indescribable alien technology or abilities. I loved everything about this. It gave a few answers and didn’t leave me with annoying questions, but rather open-ended ideas and feelings. It was a wonder rather than a hindrance to the story. And in a welcome (in terms of storytelling), but not so shocking turn of fate, the technology would have been able to clone L’ak, but it would have been a new person, genetically identical, but with none of his memories. So, no point in resurrecting him. It is sad, but that’s the sort of stakes that make as story worth telling. Especially when most of the cast is going to survive.

2. Suicide Mission(s)

Of course the crew is split up taking on insurmountable stress, daring adventures, and wildly dangerous tasks. Book and Culber find their purpose in going after Michael and Moll at the edge of the black holes; hoping that when to get back in contact and beam them out, the crew of the Disco knows they must face down the Breen dreadnought that is heading for them fast, and Saru and Nhan have convinced Admiral Vance to let them take a shuttle to try and convince Primarch Tahal to stop the attack. This could mean certain doom for any or all of these characters. Whether or not that is something this show needed, to lose any of them, is up for debate, but the stress was definitely there for some of them. A few had some plot armor based on future Trek announcements, but not many. Each corner of this triangle is exciting and effective. Wartime negotiations! Black holes! Saucer separation and spore jumping! It’s awesome! It’s brainy! It’s Star Trek!

3. God Theory

Like most popular science fiction that dabbles with the idea of humans or other intelligent species being created by other mortal beings rather than God or supernatural forces, this episode does take the safe road by allowing for the idea of a god or gods to exist by throwing in some plot loopholes. Michael learns from the Progenitor, whose essence was left behind as a custodian of the tech, that this technology was in fact billions of years old by the time their species found it, billions of years ago. So, in theory this could have been created by another advanced race or god(s) to allow for religious viewers to not get bummed out that their favorite sci-fi show is saying science rules all. Is it an interesting idea that the technology is so much older than even we were led to believe? Yeah. Am I tired of the answer being maybe science and god all the time? Yeah. (see: Ridley Scott’s Prometheus) But as I said before, I did like getting some answers, but not all. That’s always fun.

Continued below

4. The Return of the Queen

No, I’m not talking about the Borg. They were mercifully not in this series for canonical reasons. I am talking about the massive, layered endings a la The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This show, had more ending sequences than that film and while at first it was almost becoming comedic, I did have to check my feelings on it knowing that the cast and crew learned that this was the final season after they had already begun filming most of the season. So, this episode had to wrap up everything from this season and tie enough of a bow on the rest of the stories to work as a series finale and keeping things open enough knowing that we will be getting some other new Trek set in this time period. I don’t know where to begin with this so I’ll sort of just talk about it all as it comes out. We see all surviving Disco crew members come together laughing, hugging, and crying. This will be goodbye for some and see ya later for others. And it was a nice send off for viewers to see these characters all on the bridge one last time. Michael stops captaining the Disco and becomes a Red Directive officer for Kovich, who we FINALLY learn more about and his legacy has a nice ripple effect throughout Trek. Saru and T’Rina’s wedding! Of course! How could we not see that. It’s beautiful and lovely and leaves things hopeful on that front. And last, but not least, we get an extended look at Michael’s time as captain, reuniting with Book, and their lives together. Well into their future, but not telling us the whole story. After such a rough start, Michael got probably the best ending out of any Starfleet captain we know this well. It made me really happy to not see another captain sacrificed, or stuck as a guardian of a supernatural entity, or miserable and alone. Michael lives on with Book and their son and there is so much more waiting for them. Whether we see it or not. It’s out there, somewhere, sometime, and I am so happy that all of these characters could give us more stories if the Trek gods so choose. It was a beautiful ending, even if it was a little clunky with pacing at times. It’s forgivable.

5. Closing Thoughts

Well, I know there is A LOT I didn’t go over, but obviously that would be tough to do with an episode this big. And also, go watch it. I’m not here to just give you a summary. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, I was always rooting for Star Trek: Discovery, even when it wasn’t working for me. I can say I am beyond happy that this season was as good as it was. It left me, and those who enjoyed it wanting more, going out on a high note, and that is best possible way to end a series. It allows us to soften up on what we didn’t care for, and champion the stuff we did. We can still have our criticisms, but why be angry about a show as a whole and celebrate that it’s been canceled? That isn’t healthy or worthy of anyone’s time. It wasn’t perfect and it hit some of the weaker aspects that the show has in the past, but that’s just my opinion. Those elements are clearly something the creators wanted to have in it. For the toxic corner of the fandom (thankfully it’s much smaller than the other space franchise), this isn’t for you, and honestly, none of Trek is, as much as you may think. Any criticisms I had of this show came solely from missed storytelling opportunities, which is why I defended it against those who wanted to see it fail rather than hoping it would work. I’m glad I hung in there and watched this whole series because I was really disappointed with season 4 and had no idea if this year would be an improvement. And now that it’s all over, I am sad to see it go; and I had the correct emotional responses to all 15 endings. I hope whoever reads this enjoyed season 5 as much as, or more, than I did. Live Long, and Prosper

//TAGS | Star Trek Discovery

Christopher Egan

Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife, daughter, two cats, and ever-growing comic book and film collection. He is an occasional guest on various podcasts, writes movie reviews on his own time, and enjoys trying new foods. He can be found on Instagram. if you want to see pictures of all that and more!


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