Hello Multiversity Trekkies, this is your acting captain Chris: Liz is with an away team, so I’ll be covering the penultimate episode of Star Trek Discovery season 2. As implied by its title, “Such Sweet Sorrow” Part 1 was an extended series of farewells and build-up to next week’s climactic battle with the Section 31/Control fleet. Let’s dive in:
1. Paying Off Short Treks
Before this week, Discovery had only paid off the set-up from one of the Short Treks released before season 2, the Saru origin story “The Brightest Star” in the spectacular “The Sound of Thunder.” With this episode, it crosses off “Runaway” with the return of Tilly’s delightful friend Queen Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po (or Po for short), and “Calypso,” which revealed the Discovery floated abandoned and adrift in the 33rd century, so it couldn’t have self-destructed like Pike ordered last week. So this week, the Discovery‘s crew retreats to the Enterprise, only for the new ship’s self-destruct sequence to fail thanks to a time paradox (time travel = very confusing), forcing Burnham and co. to concoct a new plan: use the time crystal from Boreth to abandon the ship and its data somewhen Control will never find it.
2. It’s the Enterprise!
I love J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek and its Enterprise design, I thought it was a great modern fusion of the ship’s design from the TV series and the older films (except for filming engineering in a brewery), but there’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing the ’60s model being recreated so faithfully with current visual effects and production values. Seeing the red-and-white corridors and bridge was jawdropping, it looks far more futuristic than it ever could’ve been in the past, but it was still instantly recognizable as the original set, instead of feeling like a refitted ship. It’s amazing to think how ten years ago, production designers seemed so stingy about recreating the original look so closely, but now they are striving to be as slavishly faithful as possible – it makes my heart sing.
3. Martyr Complex
Burnham realizes she’ll have to don a version of her mother’s suit to spirit away the Discovery to a remote period of time, but doing that will burn out the time crystal, stranding her with the ship. Michael being lost to the midsts of time would make a lot of sense, given Discovery‘s prequel status renders it an inherently finite story, and it would explain why Spock never brought her up – however, the show’s been renewed for a third season, so this outcome is unlikely.
I imagine, based on her talk with Michael criticizing her “martyr complex,” that Georgiou might step in to sacrifice herself instead. I reckon it might be a good bit of growth for her character, demonstrating she’s learned how to be selfless, but also because Georgiou comes across as really lonely in this episode. It’s hilarious how her acerbic nature puts her at odds with Cornwall, Pike, and Po, but it really demonstrates that with Section 31 taken over by Control, she must feel like there is no place for her in this universe. (Hopefully, wherever she winds up this time, she’ll be able to fit in there much better.)
4. Many Partings
Sensing Michael’s sacrifice through their shared katra, Sarek returns with Amanda to bid her goodbye, which really drives up the feeling that she will go missing like her mother. I’m a little surprised Sarek and Amanda would come in touching distance of Spock, given what the original series established about their relationship, so Sarek’s line about respecting his son’s wishes to stay back feels more like exposition than a character beat, but I suppose it comes with the prequel territory.
Burnham’s planned sacrifice inspires the rest of the main Discovery crew to stay behind to help her, leading to emotional scenes of them recording messages for their loved ones in case it all goes south. It’s a lovely touch, especially since many of them still haven’t received a spotlight episode like the late, dearly departed Airiam. There’s a great moment where Jett Reno and Stamets trade barbs once more, which just goes to show how much they really care about each other, and we see how their snarkiness is rubbing off on their protégé Tilly too. It’s all capped off with Pike respectfully bidding goodbye to each of the crew he has had got to share this season-long adventure with: it was a heartwarming send-off to a character who we know has a pretty awful fate waiting in the wings.Continued below
5. Well that was abrupt
Control intercepts the Discovery and Enterprise at the end of the episode and then… cut to credits – cue groan from yours truly. There are great ways to do cliffhangers, like last week’s episode for instance, but this wasn’t one. I really wish there had been some action at the end, or that CBS All Access had released both parts this week instead of just one. Oh well.
Captain Farrell will return with next week’s thoughts on the season finale. In the meantime, live long and prosper!