Why the finale of ST: DISCOVERY left me feeling ANGRY and BETRAYED (editorial review)


Before I begin blasting away at the season two finale of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, I will give credit where credit is due. The entire production team obviously worked VERY hard to make “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2” a fast-paced, well-acted, and visually stunning hour of television. It wrapped up a very complex season-long story arc without leaving any loose ends (that I noticed), and it was certainly an ambitious undertaking.

But as a Trekkie and, more basically, as a viewer, I finished the episode feeling angry and, to be honest, betrayed. And I’d like to tell you why.

Writers and their audiences make an “agreement” going in, a pact of trust, if you will. The writers ask that we viewers buy into what the writers are setting up in the narrative, and in exchange, the writers will create a compelling, suspenseful, emotionally engaging story to entertain us.

But in this episode, I felt that the tail (or the tale) was wagging the dog. The writers had to include certain scenes in order to cover the necessary tropes of an exciting, explosive season finale: death of a major character, cavalry to the rescue scene, hand-to-hand fight with the bad guy, etc. Nothing wrong with that in theory. But in order to hit those beats, the writers way too often had to violate the trust of the viewer. And it’s NOT simply that some scenes are inconsistent with “established” Star Trek canon. I’ve learned to expect that from this show, and I’ve mostly made my peace with it.

No, I am talking about violating the canon that the writers have already set up for themselves. And when I see these kinds of “sloppy” scenes (and there were a LOT of them this episode), I can only assume the writers simply don’t care that they’re writing something that makes no sense within their own narrative…either that or they think that their viewers don’t care.

Well, I care. And that’s why I’m sharing this longer-than-normal blog with you today…


Remember the end of Part 1? Yeah, I know it was a whole week ago, but on board the Discovery and the Enterprise, it was just a few seconds. Let’s take a look at how things were just “seconds” ago…

Tense, but still kinda calm and quiet, right? Pike had said his good-byes, and the clock on the view screen displayed that Control’s fleet would be arriving in 30 seconds. Burnham and Spock are standing stoically on the bridge, waiting patiently.

Now, let’s look at what happens next…

Admittedly, I’m one to talk. Back in school, I used to leave my homework and studying until the last minute. But I would have expected more from Starfleet’s finest. If the Time Suit was still being assembled, wouldn’t it have been wiser for Burnham and Spock to be in engineering and NOT on the bridge saying a long good-bye to Pike and then standing around waiting for the countdown timer to reach zero.

I mean, I understand that, had Burnham and Spock already been in engineering helping to assemble this ultra-complicated piece of equipment that Burnham and Spock understand better than anyone else, then we wouldn’t have seen them urgently RUNNING down corridors to kick off the episode. But still, I’m not stupid. And in my mind, it just didn’t make sense that Burnham and Spock wouldn’t have already been working non-stop in engineering on the most important part of the plan to get Discovery to the future.


Early in this episode, Georgiou tells Leland that he is facing over 200 vessels. Do the writers have any idea how BIG a number 200 is? Where are all these spacecraft being stored???

I know that Discovery has a HUGE hangar bay, but remember that, heading into this episode, Discovery has been carrying only its standard complement of shuttles and fighters. Indeed, it was Enterprise that was bringing the extra experimental tactical flyers (“Assuming the sh*t would hit the fan,” as Number One says).

Enterprise‘s hangar deck, however, is pretty small compared to Discovery‘s. Back in TOS, the Enterprise only carried four shuttles. Let’s multiply that number by TEN (which is ridiculous!), and we’re still only up to 40 shuttles. I can’t believe that Discovery has more shuttles than that, can you? (I can’t even believe they have forty!) So we’re overcrowding both hangar bays and haven’t accounted for even HALF of the 200 ships being launched!

Let’s take a look at one of the last scenes from Part 1…

Already there are dozens and dozens of shuttles and fighters zipping around! Now, let’s look at what happens at the beginning of Part 2…

That’s a frickin’ WHOLE LOT of spacecraft! Where did they all come from??? Either the USS Enterprise is part TARDIS or else the entire ship is hollow and I have touched the fly…ers. (Too much of a reach?) Again, the writers wanted hundreds of ships in those climactic space battles. After all, this is the age of eye-popping CGI effects! But in doing so, the writers once again insult our intelligence in hoping we don’t notice that the USS Enterprise is now little more than a VW Beetle with an endless supply of clowns popping out of it.


Okay, Cornwell had to die, right? After all, someone needed to to give this episode gravitas and high stakes. It couldn’t be Pike or Spock because we know they make it into TOS. Anyone else on Enterprise (except maybe Number One) we don’t really care about. Most people on Discovery we don’t really care about either—unless they’re the main players, in which case we need them for next season.

That obviously left Cornwell. Although it would have been nice to see a familiar admiral in the new Section 31 series, it’s not required. And if Discovery is jumping into the future (never to return?), then Cornwell ain’t comin’ back to this series next season anyway. So sorry, Jayne Brook, you’re gonna need to call your agent to find a new gig.

But here’s the thing: she didn’t have to die. I mean, the writers wanted to kill her off in grand fashion as she nobly sacrifices herself to close the blast door from inside the room. But again, the writers are hoping we viewers don’t remember that the Enterprise has transporters! Let Cornwell close the hatch, then beam her out of the KABOOM! side of the door to the safe side. Simple. And if the writers didn’t want that to be an option, then add in some throwaway line for exposition: “We can’t beam her out—the interference from the antimatter in the torpedo will disrupt the beam!” But without that line, the transporter is very much still in play…and it isn’t used. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!


Okay, lots to unpack here. The first is time dilation. Just how long is that battle going on for? The reason I ask is because, as you saw from the first clip I included from part one, Tyler leaves just before Leland’s fleet arrives (like seconds before). Tyler then travels all the way back to the Klingon homeworld, gets ahold of L’Rell, convinces L’Rell to help him, assembles the full Klingon fleet, calls Saru’s people (who are already “on their way”), convinces them to join the Klingon konvoy, and gets all of those ships back to the battle in what seems to be less than an hour…maybe two. I mean, it can’t be too much more than that, as a lot of things happen in real time (a minute for us viewers is a minute for them). Also, there are so many of Control’s drones shooting at Discovery and Enterprise that I can’t imagine those two lone starships lasting all that much longer than an hour or two.

But even if the battle lasted four or five hours—or ten or fifteen hours—the Klingons and Ba’ul don’t have spore drives. They can’t jump across dozens of light-years of space in the blink of an eye. And yet—PRESTO!—here they are. What was it Khan said in Star Trek II? “Do not insult my intelligence, Kirk.” The Discovery writers seem to be doing just that to us viewers.

And don’t even get me started on how quickly Saru’s sister, an accomplished fisherwoman and possibly priestess, learned to fly an advance space fighter. Here on earth, we have training academies for that; they require years of study and practice to produce a single fighter pilot (I saw Top Gun!). On Saru’s planet, well, they had huts. Up until recently, the only vehicle the Kelpiens “piloted” was a rowboat!

I suppose the Ba’ul were eager to train the Kelpiens, whom they already feared, to operate advanced machinery that could be used to destroy the Ba’ul even faster and more efficiently than simply using fishing spears. Am I remembering that episode correctly?

And finally, let’s not forget what L’Rell said the last time we saw her, when Tyler/Voq wanted to go down to Boreth to visit their son. “Nuh-uh, baby-daddy!” The Klingons think Voq the Torchbearer is dead. Were they to find out he still lived, their child would never be safe and the Klingon people would no longer trust a “mother” who lied to them about important things.

So apparently, with the once-dead Tyler/Voq now leading a fleet of D7s into battle, that important plot element is no longer a “thing”? Again, writers, even if you don’t follow the established Trek canon as religiously as many of us want you to, at least follow the damn rules you’ve set up for yourselves!


Sorry about that—I had one last “Hugh” pun left in the box.

So yeah, I admit this was a tender and beautiful scene when Dr. Culber finally realizes that he is still in love with his former pajama buddy Paul Stamets. The only problem: when did that happen? Off-camera? Well, writers, thanks for sparing us viewers from having to see that defining moment when the Hugh Culber we’ve been watching and sympathizing with for the last half-dozen episodes, the one who can’t seem to smile or remember how to be happy around his former lover, the one who even sought counseling from a psychologist-turned-admiral because he no longer had feelings for Paul, the one who was going to leave Discovery and take the job of doctor/bartender on Enterprise…thanks for NOT boring us with the moment when that guy turned back into the previous incarnation of Dr. Hugh who didn’t have any of that new baggage and simply wants to be with Stamets forever because Paul is Hugh’s “home.” (Man, that was a long sentence!)

I get it, though. This was one of many check-boxes for the episode: kill a major character, show the cavalry arriving, fix Culber and Stamets’ relationship, etc. The writers needed to rush an unexplained resolution to a plot that had been slowing developing but now needed a fast wrap-up. So again—PRESTO!—the pajama buddies are back together again. Hooray?


Does anyone understand exactly why the time-suit was forcing Burnham to send the five signals before she could use it to jump to the future? If so, please explain it to me. On second thought, don’t. I’m just gonna go with it. After all, it gave us the payoff of the scenes most fans knew we were going to see ever since the beginning of the season: the Red Angel is revealed to be Michael Burnham herself. And oh, that facial expression! You just knew she was going to be smiling down on those she visited with the loving, almost-maternal gaze of an actual angel. And lucky us…we got to see it FIVE TIMES! Five times, folks. Five times.

But let me ask another, more basic question: how did we learn there were SEVEN signals again? Oh, I know we were told in the first episode of season two that Starfleet had detected seven signals that flashed and were gone, but six of them hadn’t happened yet! Heck, one of the the signals doesn’t appear until five months after Discovery jumps forward in time…and it appears 51,000 light-years away. (Which means, for anyone who paid attention in college astronomy, that the signal first appeared in the beta quadrant 51,000 years ago and has only just reached the alpha quadrant and the USS Enterprise.)

But think about it: how were there seven signals detected when six of them hadn’t appeared yet? I’m not angry about that so much as confused…and I don’t think the writers ever bothered to explain that mystery during this episode…unless it was lost in all the technobabble.


So here was the plan: we jump Discovery 1,000 years into the future to put it far beyond Control’s grasp. So unless Control is very patient and can wait ten centuries, and/or Starfleet can’t figure out a way to defeat it now in the present before Control becomes even more sentient (as opposed to the “less sentient” version we’ve got now?), the good guys win. We just have to get Discovery somewhere that Control can’t reach the Sphere archive data.

Yep, that was the plan. It was explained over and over again last episode. I was totally on board with that. I accepted the above plan as laid out in Part 1. But then the writers completely forgot about the reason for the plan…twice!

The first brain fart came when Leland beamed aboard the Discovery. Now, I understand that we needed to see a physical fight between the heroes and the villain. In today’s angry world, the good guys and bad guy have to verbally threaten each other and fight hand-to-hand…just like Picard did with the villains in each of the four TNG movies and Chris Pine did in the three reboot movies. It’s necessary action. If you don’t have that hand-to-hand combat, you wind up with weak stories like The Wrath of Khan. (Oh, wait…that argument totally doesn’t work.) Well, anyway, today’s audiences demand the trope of hand-to-hand combat with the bad guy. So be it.

Unfortunately, that means that Control is literally inches away from the Sphere archive! If Discovery jumps through time, Control comes along for the ride. Sure, you save the Federation of today (unless Control figures out how to build another time-suit from the blueprints in Discovery‘s computer), but the future is now toast. All sentient life in the galaxy will still get wiped out; it’ll just happen 1,000 years later! So we cancel the plan, yes?

No, they don’t cancel it…but that’s okay because Georgiou still defeats Control/Leland with some magnet technobabble. As long as they never turn off the magnets, Control is no longer a threat. GREAT!!! So cancel the plan, kids! I mean, why does everyone still need to abandon their loved ones and jump to the future (with Control/Leland stuck in pieces in engineering and still along for the ride)? Instead, let’s all go back to Starfleet HQ and figure out what happened to create Control and how we can stop it from ever happening again. Let’s keep Discovery in the present so Starfleet can now travel to any point in space and time and Earth becomes Gallifrey.

Anyway, with Control defeated, there is no reason left to jump into the future, right? Well, there is one reason, and that leads me to my last complaint…


In my opinion, in the history of television, there have been two moments of EPIC FAIL when the writers realized they had written themselves into such a corner that they had to hit the “reset” button in such a way that they completely betrayed the trust of their viewers.

The first such “betrayal” happened back in 1986 when Bobby Ewing unexpectedly appeared in the shower at the end of season nine of the show Dallas. In the finale of the previous season, Patrick Duffy‘s good-guy character had been killed off, followed by an entire season worth of episodes under a new show-runner that tanked in the ratings. The show needed Bobby back, and so he appeared in the shower in the final scene of the following season as if nothing had happened. Was it a forgotten twin? A clone? Had Bobby miraculously healed? Was the death faked? Nope. Season nine was simply “just a bad dream” that happened while Bobby’s wife Pam was sleeping. The show never recovered.

The second “betrayal” happened a quarter century later in the series finale of Lost. That amazing show threw so many mind-blowing mysteries at its viewers: dozens of people surviving a horrible plane crash, polar bears on a tropical island, a smoke monster, a paralyzed man who could suddenly walk, a doomsday clock that reset every 108 minutes, six numbers that contained immense power, a giant statues of a foot, god-like beings, and a complete reboot of reality itself. All the while, the writers promised us that every question would be answered, and not by trickery. This was really happening. This wasn’t some imaginary story or dream sequence. And no, they didn’t all die in that plane crash and this was just some strange purgatory (one of the earliest fan theories).

In the end, though, the writers were completely stuck. They had simply thrown in too much crazy crap that didn’t make sense. So they opted to tell the audience at the very end that yes, the “survivors” has indeed all died in that plane crash, and this entire show was just a strange purgatory to figure out who is going to heaven and who is going…elsewhere. In other words, yes, it was all a dream. None of the things you just watched over the past six years ever happened. These people have all been dead, and the world wasn’t affected by these events in any way. Thanks a lot, Lost!

Now I’m going to add a third audience “betrayal” to the EPIC FAIL list: Star Trek: Discovery.

We were told from episode one that this was the “prime” universe…despite all of the seemingly huge divergences from established canon: the Klingons (their appearance and their ships), the Starfleet uniforms, the technology and visual look/feel of the series, and a host of other little discontinuities.

Many of these were “fixed” (or at least the writers tried to) in season two. The Klingons grew hair and built a real D7. The more familiar, colorful Starfleet uniforms from TOS were introduced (kinda) as the “new” uniforms worn on the Enterprise. We got to meet Christopher Pike and Number One (whom, we learned this episode, is REALLY named “Number One”—and her little sister, “Number Two,” spends most of her time in the Enterprise bathroom?). We were shown the Talosians and Vina and heard the familiar background sounds of the Enterprise bridge and the classic Star Trek theme music. It was a valiant, if not clumsy and somewhat inadequate, effort. I still choose to see this series as happening in an alternate universe…even if the writers don’t.

But that still left the two most egregious “violations” of Star Trek canon (aside from Section 31 being some kind of recognized “division” of Starfleet). The first was the Discovery‘s spore drive. Why didn’t Starfleet have this incredible technology going forward into the later series? Heck, it would have made rescuing Voyager‘s crew a five-minute non-event. The Borg threatening Earth? No worries! Just jump into the heart of Unimatrix Zero, drop off a few matter-antimatter warp cores, turn off magnetic containment, and jump away before the big, Borg-shattering KABOOM! Who needs transwarp conduits or stable wormholes when you’re powered by mushrooms, am I right???

And the other problem was this major person in Spock’s life: Michael Burnham. As much as his mother Amanda, Spcok’s adopted sister taught him how to be human and Vulcan at the same time. She told him to go find his Kirk (not in so many words). And yet, in all of the Treks in all of the series in all of the eras…Spock has never once mentioned her…not even to James Kirk. In the TNG episode “Sarek,” when Picard mind-melds to give the ambassador one final moment of lucidity before he descends into full dementia, Picard-as-Sarek lists all of the people in Sarek’s life whom he believes he failed: Perrin, Amanda, Spock. But not Michael. (Not Sybok either, but one had to assume that Sarek didn’t fail him; Sybok was just a loon.) But why forget such an important person on the list as Michael Burnham?

Well, now we know…and it’s as lame as Bobby Ewing appearing in the shower after a season-long “bad dream” or the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 all being in purgatory.

In a disturbing sequence of debriefings at the end of the season finale, Pike, Number One, Spock, and Tyler all LIE to a Starfleet admiral about what happened to the Discovery and her crew. Since the first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, and Vulcans are supposed to be incapable of lying, there goes yet another strong moral pillar of what made me such a fan of Star Trek in the first place. Now even our greatest “heroes” can lie to their superiors with completely straight poker faces. Lovely.

But what’s worse, Spock suggests a solution involving an even bigger lie: Discovery never existed. The spore drive never existed. Michael Burnham never existed. All of that news footage of the end of the Klingon War, of Discovery‘s triumphant return to Earth, of Burnham’s heroic speech at the end of season one…just tell FNN to delete it all and never mention it again. “How did Starfleet win the war with the Klingons, daddy?” “Oh, they suddenly surrendered, honey.” “But why did they surrender?” “Um…”

And of course, everyone who knew someone on Discovery has to…what? Say they never knew them? Say they were assigned to another ship this whole time? (“My daughter Sylvia? Oh, you must have misheard me. I said she was serving on the USS Drudgery. Oh, it was VERY boring there!”) All of the ship designers, the research, the construction at Utopia Planitia, the mission logs for Discovery and her sister ship…everything has to be whitewashed, swept under the rug, hidden, locked away never to be seen again. The largest conspiracy in galactic history literally requires tens of thousands, possibly millions of people to agree to keep a secret…and that’s before we even get to the Klingons or Spock’s tell-all personal log at the end!

All because the writers screwed up and wrote themselves into a corner they couldn’t get out of.

The reason this makes me feel betrayed is that I BELIEVED IN Star Trek when I was growing up! It provided me with a moral compass. No matter how mean to deceitful the world got, no matter how much the government and politicians lied to us, there was always the hope that we as a civilization would eventually be better, become that ideal.

And when an episode like DS9‘s “In the Pale Moonlight” happened and Sisko used deception to trick the Romulans into joining the Alpha Quadrant alliance, the episode became all the more powerful simply because such a thing does NOT happen on Star Trek. But this was how desperate Benjamin Sisko had become to win this war. He sacrificed a part of his morality, a part of his soul…but he could live with that. Twenty years later, it’s still one of the most most powerful moments in Star Trek history because Starfleet is so noble, a paragon of virtues we can all strive for.

But not anymore!

In this age of casual lying and misdirection by our leaders, Star Trek is now reflecting that same culture of deception and cover-up by the very organization we had all come to admire and idolize over these last 50 years. Starfleet was moral and incorruptible…or so we had been told. Section 31 was an aberration, a “necessary” but ugly evil, a clandestine cabal getting its hands dirty in order to allow Starfleet to remain noble and pure. Now Starfleet itself has become little better than the “aberration” we saw on Deep Space Nine.

Is that what Star Trek is now? Is this what today’s world has turned our dream into? If so, I wish it were just a dream, and that Captain Bobby Ewing would just step out of the sonic shower with a smile and say, “Good morning.”

Will I come back for season three? I’m not sure yet. By moving the USS Discovery and her crew 1,000 years into the future, the producers create an entirely new show with no more inconvenient continuity to trip over and “violate.” On other hand, without the familiar Star Trek elements like the Federation, Klingons, Andorians, and other familiar faces and places—even if they were inconsistent with previous canon—am I simply watching an A.S.S. (Another Sci-fi Series)? If so, then it’s a show with few characters I care about (those I did are still in the 23rd century waiting for their own series) and writing that’s often darker and more cynical than what I’d come to enjoy and appreciate from Star Trek. Do I want to roll those dice again with this show? Will others?

We’ll just have to see. The writers have taken a big risk in jumping Discovery forward in time. Will fans jump with them…or simply jump?

125 thoughts on “Why the finale of ST: DISCOVERY left me feeling ANGRY and BETRAYED (editorial review)”

  1. Like most new Start Trek (movies and such) I watched the finale and enjoyed it. Then I started to feel dirty. the plot holes and hanging ending and canon violations mounted in my mind and no matter the brilliant pew pew and rotating corridors I ended up not being satisfied.

    Give me a pike series.

    1. Yeah, me too. As I began writing my blog, it wasn’t quite as harsh. But as the sloppy plot contrivances mounted and the episode got progressively dumber on additional viewings, my blog became more cymical and less forgiving.

  2. Do what so many of us have done, Jonathan: leave the cult. Star Trek isn’t what it once was, and hasn’t been for a very long time. People have been making excuses and lowering their standards for decades to cling desperately to the idea that Trek was still the sci-fi pinnacle shows had to aspire to reach.

    You’ve nailed your theses to the door of the cult temple. They aren’t listening. You know what you have to do.

    1. We’ll see, Reece, we’ll see. I’ve been a proud and satisfied member of the cult for five decades. I’ve even been a priest and wrote one of the holy books (“Starship Spotter”). I’ve worked directly for the temple elders. It’s hard to just give all that up cold turkey, y’know!

      1. Jonathan, your review is spot on! I am with you 100%. Kutzman needs to hang his head in shame! He pulled a “JJ” on us by creating the ultimate Chinese meal…very tasty when eating it but when you finish you feel empty…so you have to go out and buy a hamburger!
        Disco is Trek for the mindless new generation…the fidgeters, the twits constantly staring at their cellphone screens…etc… This was the generation that the JJ abominations were created for and I, for one, was so happy when that same generation’s fickleness cam back and bit JJ on the arse and rejected his version of Trek wholesale. The same thing, I suspect, will happen to Disco.

        Trek was always noble. Starfleet always represented Gene’s firm belief that humanity would improve itself…that the future would be worth living for. This new Trek is an insult to Gene’s legacy and I hold Kurtsman primarily responsible for the mess!

        1. Traditionally, Star Trek has been a challenging show to write for. Initially the challenge was in going where no show had gone before. And for two seasons, the show was a triumphant of smart writing and characterization that helped define its era. And by the time things had gotten to the “sloppy” third season, Star Trek had already run a gauntlet of very tightly written scripts that had gone through multiple rounds of rewrites, as Gene knew what he wanted and when he wasn’t getting it.

          The same was true for the first few seasons of TNG. Gene was forcing to writers into creating scripts that didn’t rely on dramatic conflicts between the main characters. It made things more awkward at first, but eventually it set a standard of the dog very much wagging the tail in story-driven plot lines and characters who didn’t simply argue until they “worked it out” in the end.

          With DS9, the challenge lay in figuring out how to “boldly go” without actually going anywhere. At first, DS9 was just TNG on a space station. But by the end of season one, they figured themselves out, and we got a show delving specifically into one ongoing saga…a first for Star Trek. The stationary location of the wormhole and Bajor and the station allowed this series to “sit on the grass” and look around carefully at all of the scenery rather than simply hiking through the forest from one vista to another.

          Voyager had other challenges (not all of them overcome, in my opinion). Their biggest was in carrying pn Star Trek through a series with no Starfleet or Federation or Klingons or Romulans in sight. Also, there was the added challenge of Trek’s first-ever female lead and the initial conflict of two crews forced to work together. Eventually. Voyager found its footing and slowly reconnected with the Starfleet they’d left behind. But first, they had defined their show on their own terms, which was quite a feat!

          And finally Enterprise had to return to the roots of TOS and TNG, but as a prequel series set a century before Kirk. This was equally challenging and, as many fans agree, was a problem not satisfactorily solved until season four. But it was eventually solved.

          Now Discovery attempted to make a new Trek for a new generation. I will certainly give them credit for trying and trying very hard. But I think they simply missed the mark. Not every shot is a bullseye. Now they’re nocking a new arrow. We’ll see where this one travels…

  3. Great review Mr L, and I share your exasperation. Yes, the episode was all very dramatic – in the way that a good fireworks show might be – but ultimately just as transient and just as insubstantial. It so reminded me of one of the JJA movies – all action and so little credible substance.

    Where to start? An absolutely relentless battle, where both Star Fleet ships take an utter pounding, releasing all their hidden stockpiles of rocks and other rubble, yet never seeming to take any evasive action whatsoever. The pantomime Klingons appearing out of nowhere, spouting utterly ridiculous dialogue – even battling Kelpians for heaven’s sake! All those ships that appeared out of the Enterprise and Disco – who was piloting them? Where on earth did they come from? And during this utterly relentless battle, Burnham still finds time to despatch maternal wisdom for poor little lost Spock – one of the strongest characters in the entire franchise. So, so moronic. I could go on, but I’m too tired.

    So, two seasons down and the show still hasn’t found a rhythm or step, and it took the sequestering of a classic TOS ship and characters just to give it a temporary blip in credibility. It’s as if the writers said “There! Here’s some classic TOS stuff, now STFU!” It’s almost patronising. Why would they end the show with the Enterprise leaving dry dock, about to set sail on their classic adventures when the show is about the Discovery? Wouldn’t it be better to show the Disco arriving sometime in the future, during some terrifically unsettling event, when the beleaguered crew collectively says “Oh ****, what do we do now?”. Clearly not, as now that the Enterprise is on its way, the writers have played all their credibility cards and haven’t got a clue what to do next.

    The “we’ll never speak of it again” mantra was the cheapest get-out-of-jail-free card that the writers could ever have hoped to play, and at this rate many people may well say the same about the whole of the show.

    1. I love your last paragraph, Boris. I wish I’d written it!

      The reason for the final shot of the Enterprise, I suspect, is because the show-runners–when this season was still being plotted and produced–weren’t certain yet if there would be a season three. I think they were as much setting up a potential Pike spinoff as they were giving Discovery an “ending” just in case a third season renewal didn’t come. A cliffhanger would have been unfair to the viewers in the event of cancellation. So I see the logic in sending the Discovery off into the sunset (literally) while still leaving open the potential for a season three.

      1. Now you’re trying to claim that at the end of this episode the writers didn’t know there was going to be a season 3 and we all know that season three was announced weeks before production had concluded on this episode.
        Here is my suggestion….you hate Star Trek so much then maybe you should start writing about something you love. I’d say Axanar but we all know there isn’t too much to write about there.

        1. Oh, I’ve been writing about Axanar, Edward. Did you read the blog interview with Alec recently about the assembly of the Captain’s Quarters? And I’ve got some big Axanar announcements coming up. (Alec just told me a secret that is gonna blow people’s minds when they find out. It’s so AWESOME!!! I wish I could share it, but Paul Jenkins swore Alec to secrecy and he swore me. But, MAN!!! It’s gonna get people cheering.)

          As for the season three renewal of Discovery, the episode had long since been plotted, the script locked, and the production started when the renewal announcement came in. By then, it was waaaaay too late to create an alternate ending, so they went with what had been written before they knew they were going to be renewed.

          Why are you so hostile today, Edward? It’s not very becoming.

          1. I’m not sure I get what you mean, Edward. Have I been hostile or have I “cut down” people? Which one(s)? With the exception of certain folks who just take the nastiness and confrontation over the line (like David Cox), I think I’m being pretty respectful and civil to people.

            Can you provide some examples so you and I are both on the same page in what we’re discussing? Thanks.

        2. Discovery was renewed for season 3 mid-February this year.

          Filming for season 2 ended late December last year.

          I’m pretty sure that they write these things before they film them, but given the quality of this show I’ll concede that they may be making it up as they go.

          1. I don’t think there were reshoots. There were production overruns that extended shooting beyond the planned schedule and into December, and they inserted an additional episode to amortize the production cost over a longer season.

            From public accounts filming wrapped entirely on December 21. Discovery was renewed sometime in February and announced publicly by CBS All Access on February 27.

  4. Well I haven’t watched it yet and read your review with the spoiler warning because I don’t care about the series anymore. I cannot say I am surprised the excruciating writing goes along with the standard of acting I did have hopes after a few episodes but obviously the studio found out they were writing Star Trek and quickly put a stop to that.

    What’s more the future of Star Trek seems dire. The Picard series have just added some cast yet were supposed to have already started shooting it looks like the rumours did have some substance. Michelle Yeoh has signed up for Avatar sequels so trying to fit in a Section 31 series would be extremely difficult.

    Finally the chance of Anson Mount returning in any capacity seems slim to none. Though he did thank Star Trek fans for the outpouring of love he received for his portrayal he highlighted that each episode always took longer to shoot than budgeted for, one episode took 21 days not the normal 8 days. I suppose this also accounts for their monetary problems. Indeed the whole season took 8 months to shoot.

    When asked if he would return in his own series rather than expressing a desire to do so as more or less any jobbing actor would after all it’s not only guaranteed work for a year but his own series. He stated that any such move would require “Creative conversations”. Maybe I am reading to much into his facial expressions but I get the impression that he like many of the fans will be glad to see the back of this show and indeed any other treatment of Star Trek that the current crew or should that be cabal, are involved in. However I am sure he will have a lucrative career on the convention circuit more so than most of the STD actors.

    Well any hope left? I think we can write STD off, there are no movies now Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have departed, maybe the cartoon series lower decks might turn into a hit though I haven’t heard anything about it lately. Can Patrick Stewart rescue Star Trek? Well maybe however if the rumours that the reason for the delay are correct and no one wanted to license the new series because its look and feel was that of STD updated as opposed to TNG updated it seems he does not have as much creative control as expected. It is not that I am hoping for more TNG though I would not mind it but why would ships 20 years after TNG look like ships from hundreds of years ago?

    1. I’m not yet convinced that the Picard series rumors of trouble are true. As for Anson Mount, I think he knows that Discovery wasn’t true Star Trek, and he’s a Trekkie. I suspect he wants to be certain Pike Trek would hew much closer to classic canon and tone than Discovery did. Fingers crossed on that one.

  5. I choose to think it was a bunch of kids playing a Fanfic game in the corner of someones yard back in 1970, where Marry Sue is an integral character and it has no effect on canon in the real universe what so ever.

    Years from now, you’ll have this right.. “Discovery… what was that?” oh.. some CW fan fix movie of the week thing way back in the 20th century.. or was it 21.. i get them confused.. they threw in time travel too.

    The lucky ones will be those who entirely skipped it and have no recollection save some weird question topic on Jeopardy.

    If CBS or if Paramount ever get their act together a real series will come about.. or not and Baidu-NetFlix conglomerate will make a good one after the acquisition of the former CBS/Paramount partnership… 2060 ?

  6. Discovery isn’t Star Trek. It’s the Michael Burnham Show.
    I could go on and on, but I will be brief and polite.
    I have been a fan for almost 50 years and I am about 99% sure CBS won’t be getting more than one $6 payment from me as the new season begins.

    I am beginning to believe Star Trek is dead , Discovery is the prime suspect .

      1. I just read that they just started filming the Picard show. Any word about the section 31 show outside of it starting production after season 3 of disco?

  7. “This entire show was just a strange purgatory to figure out who is going to heaven and who is going…elsewhere. In other words, yes, it was all a dream. None of the things you just watched over the past six years ever happened. These people have all been dead, and the world wasn’t affected by these events in any way. Thanks a lot, Lost!”

    What made you think that the whole show was a dream? I’ve heard a few other people say this, and I’m a little confused as to how they came to this conclusion.

    Yes, the “flash-sideways” from season 6 were really “flash-forwards” to a “purgatory” shared by the people who died over the course of the series (and over the years following), but this makes up half of the events of one season of the show, not the entire series. The rest of the series was happening in the real world. (Well, in the context of the show anyway. Not like it was a documentary or anything.)

    I thought this was relatively clear from the finale. I am genuinely curious what led you to believe that they were dead the whole time though. Like I said, I’ve heard a few people come to this conclusion, but it’s never been terribly clear how they got there.

    And, don’t get me wrong… The Lost finale was frustrating. And I didn’t like the idea that even the flash-sideways were a purgatory. But I never got the impression they wanted us to think the whole show happened there.


    1. The fact that the series finale of Lost was so ambiguous that many folks like me felt it was all a purgatory dream and the survivors never survived shows a failure on the writers’ part. A show like Lost needed to have a firm, solid resolution, cleanly explained. We fans had invested too much time and energy in viewing and discussing and guessing to not be rewarded with a clear explanation. We were the reason the show survived and thrive. WE made THEM money! It was time to pay the tab, and they skipped out on the bill.

      It wasn’t like the end of The Sopranos when we’re left to wonder if Tony was shot in the back of the head or what happened. Obviously, the previous seasons of the mob family drama did happen in the reality of the series. But the Lost finale was, pure and simple, the writers being too rushed/lazy/overwhelmed/clueless/apathetic to take the time to write the ending the fans deserved. Whether it was “all a dream” or just the last season of “flash sideways” was all a dream, it was left too ambiguous not to be an EPIC FAIL in the minds of many fans and viewers. At least in my opinion.

      1. I agree with a lot of what you said, but I’m still confused as to why you (and others) came to the “purgatory” conclusion in the first place… Considering that we saw the deaths of many of the people who were present in the flash-sideways (including a few in the finale), I’m not really sure what people thought was going on. Or how that “emotional connection” that “brought them together” would’ve existed if they were just random people on a plane together who never spent time together on the island.

        Don’t misunderstand; I’m not trying to criticize. I’m just genuinely curious what led people to conclude the island was purgatory or how they reconciled it with everything else that we saw in the finale.

        I know there were some people that got confused by the wreckage being shown in the end credits. If that was the primary factor, to be fair to the producers, the network made that decision, not anyone involved with the show. (Though I still feel like that’s a big jump in logic based on some footage of a crashed plane.)

          1. Again, I’m not asking to criticize or to assign blame on you vs the writers. I’m genuinely curious. But if you don’t really recall, no worries. It has been quite a few years.

          2. I guess you did kind of explain it and maybe I just glossed over it.

            “The fact that the series finale of Lost was so ambiguous that many folks like me felt it was all a purgatory dream and the survivors never survived shows a failure on the writers’ part.”

            If that’s the whole thing, I guess that’s what I’m looking for. Still feels like a weird conclusion to jump to, but I guess if you’re confused by the ending you sort it out however you can. (This having been a popular fan theory probably didn’t help.)

        1. They did explain it, quite plainly. Christian tells his son that everything that happened on the island happened. Most of the confusion people have came from the footage the credits rolled over of the airplane fuselage all by itself. Some people gleaned from that that they all died in the crash, when the producers were just using whatever footage they had lying around, and no other thought than to give people a breather before a clorox commercial came on.

          1. Yeah, I would’ve thought that line would’ve ruled out the “the whole series was purgatory” theory, which is why I’m so surprised many walked away from the episode believing it.

            Christian Shephard: I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real. Everything that’s happened to you is real.

            To be fair, from Jack’s perspective, that would include the flash-sideways… Explicitly so, per the following line:

            Christian Shephard: All those people in the church, they’re all real too.

            So I guess I can see the confusion. Again, I would’ve thought *this* part would clear it up:

            Christian Shephard : This is a place that you… that you all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people on that island.

            Since this makes *no* sense if they died in the crash. But if people were already misunderstanding what was going on at that point, maybe this just added to the confusion.

  8. The LOST finale.

    “Everything that’s ever happened to you is real.”

    Only the final season “flash sideways” were post death. Whenever the characters had died. Not during the plane crash.


      1. Maybe that’s a sign that they agree with you on one but disagree on the other. 😉

  9. Jonathan…Can I be honest here? I think that most of us who are Star Trek fans and enjoy Discovery would be more then happy if you stop watching the show…although I doubt that you’ll do that. It’s been obvious this whole season that the dhow has disappointed you from a variety of standpoints. You don’t care for the interactions of characters, you don’t care for the effects, you don’t care for the actors, you don’t care for the character dilemmas, you don’t care for the writers stories…I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea.

    My question is why exactly anyone who enjoys the show would want to hear anything from you at all. At this point it’s pretty obvious that you’ll never be happy with the series in any fashion so wouldn’t it be better if you just went back to talking about fan films and let people enjoy what they like? You also write in such a way that anyone who disagrees with you must be stupid to not see the truth but for some reason you seem to forget that what you write is nothing more then your opinion.
    I’ve held off commenting on any of your other Discovery reviews in the hope that as a fan of Star Trek you might be able to see your mistakes but after this I see this isn’t going to happen.

    1. Considering that I wrote 11 positive and, some weeks, VERY positive reviews of the season two episodes kinda negates everything you just said, Edward. Wouldn’t you agree? Or am I wrong about that, too? 😉

      Look, dude, if you don’t like my editorial review blogs for Discovery, then just skip ’em. Seriously, I don’t mind. I’ll never even know, in fact!

      As to your question “Wouldn’t it be better if you just went back to talking about fan films and let people enjoy what they like?” Better? For whom? I write this blog as much for myself as for others. I share my “truth.” I don’t pull punches. Nor do I name-call, such as referring to the writers as “idiots” or “no-talent hacks” or any number of other epithets that numerous bloggers and podcasters and social media commentators have done in bashing the show. I don’t “bash” so much as critique. And I’m allowed to do that. It’s part of the First Amendment and all that. In fact, I think I criticize quite fairly…especially considering that I also compliment when the episode(s) justify it.

      I’m sorry if I make you feel stupid or uncomfortable or somehow not justified in your enjoyment of the show, Edward. That’s not my goal. You like what you like, and I like what I like. That’s why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors. But when I don’t like something, I’m prepared to explain why and support my reasons. That doesn’t make me right and you wrong if you disagree with me. It just means that perhaps I make a convincing argument. But you’re still welcome NOT to be convinced, Edward. 🙂

      1. Edward the fact that Jonathans reviews are mostly negative and he highlights problems with the series is not a reason not to publish in fact is is a reason to publish. Forgetting about any issues of free speech which I think Americans are quite keen on his criticisms are constructive and generally accepted. Of course perhaps you can make it a law put it into your constitution you cannot write anything negative or criticise the powers that be. There are some countries that do so North Korea comes to mind China to a certain extent. Of course I think Trump would love such an amendment but then your newspapers would be pretty thin as they would have nothing to write about but think of the rain forests you would save. Of course I am exaggerating for effect but this is a logical extension of your argument.

        1. Can I ask why Glenn Edwards answers me the way he does and no one seems to notice the disrespectful way he is talking to me? Maybe he deserves a little sanctions as you have given me.

  10. burnam and discovery don’t jump to the future rather to the past to Terra Elysium back to when her mother first teleported the survivors of ww3 their so that the time loop they are all in is broken by them meeting her mother before she starts her plans to destroy control and having her take them to the future.
    Control existed in places other than leland just he was the controls nexus for the fleet.
    I agree with you about the admirals death they needed a scene which explained why the transporters weren’t used.

    1. I’m pretty sure they jumped to the future. Jumping to the past doesn’t make sense, as Discovery would eventually catch up to the present, and Control could go grab theSphere archive again.

  11. You’ve made some great points, but much of what you’re critical of is explained even if you don’t like how it came out. Here’s a few things to think about:

    1) The change in tone from part 1 to part 2 is simply a stylistic choice. Part 1 was the calm before the storm and part 2 was the storm. I was surprised you didn’t complain about the split screen they did… that is inconsistent with the entire franchise’s format and it was unnecessary.

    2) A majority of the ships deployed by Enterprise and Discovery were NOT shuttlecraft. They were drones (presumably cranked out by an industrial replicator) and were smaller than shuttles.

    3) We can assume that they could not beam Cornwell out of the section in time and adding technobabble to tell us as much is frankly, something we should be glad they’re getting away from.

    4) There’s no reason that the Klingons weren’t already somewhere in the vicinity of Enterprise and Discovery when they confronted Section 31. The battle wasn’t in Federation space and L’Rell was already aware that Starfleet was dealing with rogue elements of 31 due to conversation she’d had with Tyler and Pike previously. In all likelihood, Tyler didn’t have to travel very far to find L’Rell’s ship, which of course would be traveling with a full escort since she’s the Chancellor. You’ll notice by the way, that L’Rell was addressed as Chancellor and not as “Mother”, which could mean that she’d decided to give up on the pretense of Tyler and their baby being “dead” since the baby grew to be an old man already and the people on Borath knew his identity. L’Rell could have simply told the officers on her ship about the situation and no one else in the fleet.

    5) I think Culber’s rationale for getting back with Stamets was fine. He said that he’d been thinking about it for a while and changed his mind. There is no requirement for there to have been a life-changing moment for Culber to come around. If anything, Culber’s pivot was more true to life than what we normally see from Hollywood.

    6) The suit (and Burnham) had to go back and plant the seeds of the five signals. That’s pretty basic time travel stuff which Marty McFly explained to us back in the 80’s. As for the last signal being so far away… easy. The Federation has observatories, bases, and microscopes all over the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. They do not have to wait 51,000 years to see the light from a signal. They can see it in real time if they’re watching and then transmit (via subspace radio which is orders of magnitude faster than light) that they’ve seen it to other bases and ships via their subspace relay network which is vast and, again, communicates much faster than light speed. There’s a case to be made that subspace radio signals move at the impossible “warp 10”, but it’s never been explained. That’s not Discovery’s fault… that’s Star Trek’s fault.

    7) Re: Leland/Control coming to Discovery. First, we knew that was going to happen – Burnham had a vision about it last week. Second, regardless of whether Leland comes on Discovery or not, the plan to get the ship into the future still makes sense. If Leland doesn’t come on board, then they guarantee Control can’t get the data once they go into the wormhole. If Leland does come on board (which he does), you want to get away from all Section 31 resources so he can’t do anything with the data even if he gets it. I mean… what will Leland do with the data if he gets it if he’s on a ship that’s a 1,000 years into the future and in another quadrant? They’ll just self-destruct the ship manually and take him out if they’re really worried about him “getting away” with the data and doing something with it. And the idea that once they’ve magnetized him that they can just chill out is actually something I would be railing about if they’d have done it that way. They’re one power outage away from Leland/Control reconstituting himself and then wreaking havoc. If the threat was as serious as everyone said it was, it would be prudent to go into the future even if you’d seemingly pacified Leland/Control. The stakes are too high to change the plan and assume he won’t come back from the “dead”. Kurtzman even said in his interview that it is not a done deal that Control is completely defeated, only that Discovery will have bigger problems to deal with once they arrive in the future. Again, this choice actually makes Discovery more realistic than previous Trek stories in which we always assume that dead means dead. The Discovery crew aren’t taking any chances on this one and they’re smart too.

    8) The idea of “never speaking of this again” was obvious the moment that Discovery introduced the spore drive into the show. This should have surprised absolutely no one and it’s kind of surprising that you were surprised by this. In any case, remember that Spock only RECOMMENDED this course of action to the Starfleet admiral. We have no way of knowing if Starfleet followed Spock’s full recommendation – only that Spock personally decided to not speak of Burnham and his adventure with Discovery again to his fellow officers or to his parents. Just want to remind folks too that just because Burnham hasn’t been mentioned in older Trek incarnations doesn’t equal a “canon violation”, it just means that Spock did what he said he was going to do – not talk about her. Meanwhile, there’s no reason to believe that Discovery will be whitewashed from history. The ship will simply be listed as “missing” just like other Starfleet ships (Voyager to name just one) have been. Pike and his crew are the only ones that know what happened to Discovery and as we know with the Talosians, Pike and his people are good at keeping their mouths shut. Nobody outside of the command level likely even knows about the spore drive and even if they did, what difference does it make? The spore drive is not reproducible technology since only Stamets can use it, so again no violation of canon since the spore drive is now a thousand years in the future (and it’s unusable by Discovery now since Stamets is in a coma). So the “betrayal” you’re feeling (not to mention the apples-and-oranges comparisons to Newhart, Lost, and St. Elsewhere) are a little overblown.

    But you do make some completely valid points which can’t be explained away under any circumstances. The Kelpians’ sudden embrace and mastery of technology and their seeming alliance with their former masters was idiotic and unnecessary, as was naming her “Number One” instead of just giving her a damn name, and the other issues that were not specific to this episode (Section 31 as an institution and the look of the Klingons for example).

    I enjoyed the show even though I acknowledge it wasn’t perfect. Then again, it’s pretty easy to sit down and watch the first 26 episodes of TNG, DS9, VGR, and ENT and see how flawed those shows were too. When you hold up those series next to the first 26 episodes of DSC, it’s pretty obvious that Discovery has its shit together way better than those other series did in their freshman years. I recommend people take off the nostalgia glasses and keep some perspective.

    1. I won’t go point by point, Number Two, except to say that if you need to do that many logistical gymnastics to “clear things up,” then I’m not entirely wrong in faulting the writers. I mean, 120 small drones still take up space. Combine that with fighters and shuttlecraft, and the Enterprise is still a clown car.

      Look, in the end, the tail was wagging the dog all through this episode…pure and simple. The calm before the storm was, of course, a stylistic decision. And it allowed for the “running” scene…also a stylistic choice. It simply didn’t make sense. Spock and Burnham SHOULD have been down in engineering the whole time working feverishly with the others. But the script needed a running scene. So be it. The tail wagged the dog–no harm, no foul…just no logical justification either.

      Is “betrayal” an overblown term? Did I go too far in describing my emotional reaction? Perhaps. But looking inside my feelings as I sat with the episode, rewatched it, and let it sink in, “betrayed” is how I was truly feeling. And as I said elsewhere in the comments on this blog page, I write my truth. Others may disagree, but that doesn’t make my own feelings any less valid when I choose to share them.

      1. Well the way I see it, Discovery S3 is going to be one of two things:

        1) Voyager or BSG, in that they are exploring while still trying to find a way “home”, or

        2) Andromeda, in that they are the last Federation ship trying to rebuild the Federation and its values long after its collapse.

        Either one of these two options is IMHO a welcome relief and anything but a betrayal. The decision to set Discovery only a few years before TOS was always a stupid idea which unnecessarily hamstrung the writing staff and made them color within the lines (which they were pretty bad at overall). Putting Stamets in a coma was a smart idea because it forces them not to use the spore drive as plot armor and I’m hopeful that they’re going to start branching out among the cast more and stop relying so much on Burnham every episode. Since they’ve taken away all her supports (parents, Klingon connections, etc.) we’ll hopefully see some more character development among other series regulars. They were heading in that direction already but hopefully they’ll go all-in on that now.

        You may see betrayal, but I see a chance for the show to reinvent itself in S3. TNG, DS9, and ENT all reinvented themselves in S3 so I’m hoping the trend continues with DSC.

        1. I’m not sure you understood my use of the word betrayal, #2. I felt betrayed in 1) that the writers weren’t following their own plot-lines (e.g. that Tyler/Voq must remain forever dead in the eyes of the Klingon Empire), and 2) that they reduced Starfleet to an organization that must be lied to by its officers and that those officers would be willing to do so. In other words, as a fan, I felt that we were being told that Starfleet could no longer be trusted. This was a betrayal of everything I’d come to believe in and about Star Trek. Sure there were episodes and movies where an admiral or a small conspiracy tries to subvert Starfleet. But in the end, our heroes fight to save the organization and the ideal of the Federation and everything good and decent it represents.

          I didn’t feel betrayed that the Discovery is headed into the future or that Stamets is in a coma. That’s just “whatever” to me emotionally. The betrayal was elsewhere.

    2. Notice when you explain your enjoyment Jonathan feels the need to belittle you. And they call Trump a narcissist!!

      1. If I was a NAZI (I’m Jewish) does my expressing that opinion make it a valid opinion? I’d say no but as Jonathan said, he doesn’t care what someone else thinks…it’s his opinion or the highway.

        PS as to Axanar, instead of all the sets being assembled (on a location they can’t afford to keep) maybe it would be better to hear about filming. I’m willing to bet $100 we see nothing being filmed for the next 2 years.

        1. Edward, seriously, tone it down or I’m just going to delete your comments and no one will see them (not even me…as I’ll at you to the auto-trash list). Final warning, dude.

  12. I have been wondering about this since I saw the final episode the other nite. It does feel as if CBS hit the giant reset button. Part of me is intrigued another part is glad I didn’t pay for All access.

  13. Another spot on review. It was exciting, but it was also very ‘by the numbers’, as were the two or three episodes before it. I had hoped that the writing would tighten up after the last showrunner change, and it did for a while before it fell apart again. And maybe fell apart is the wrong description. How about fell into the same ruts- introduce a ‘big idea’, blow some stuff up, zig-zag to another ‘big idea’, bigger explosions, big speech, the end.

    I like the show for the most part, but I get frustrated by it’s inability (unwillingness) to keep it’s sh*t straight from one episode to the next. The writing still has a long way to go. As much as I would love to see a Pike series, I have little faith that it would fare any better.

    1. Reportedly, Anson Mount was reluctant to discuss returning to play Pike in a new series until some “creative discussions” happen. Possible translation: I don’t want to be a part of another series unless it’s going to be very different from this one.

  14. So… basically, all the complaints that all of the people decrying Discovery from the start had about it being a betrayal of the franchise actually turned out to be spot on, eh?

    1. For me, the “betrayal of the franchise” didn’t happen until this past episode. Betrayal of the viewer is different. That happens whenever a writer sets up an important plot point (like “No Klingon can ever know that Voq/Tyler still lives”) and then casually ignores it. The betrayal of the franchise was simply suggesting that 1) Starfleet needs to be lied to, and 2) these noble characters could all lie so easily and convincingly. Lying is not at the heart of what Star Trek is about.

  15. Great, well written article! Big picture, a show like Star Trek, with such a huge canon and history, has so many moving parts to get such an enormous production to screen, that it’s inevitable that liberties will have to be taken to make all the pieces fit. Could they have fit better, perhaps, but in a production, with deadlines (the business end of the equation) you dont have that luxury. It’s amazing that a “TV” production such as this now rivals motion picture in complexity and quality and is somewhat a miracle in of itself. In the end, it’s “entertainment” and an “experience” for the viewer, and writers will sometimes err on the side of dramatic to fulfill the viewers “experience” even if it doesn’t really make any sense. And the viewer will still enjoy it, just as I enjoyed your article even though you (fanfilmfactor.com) ended it with a somewhat cliche shark-jumping “will I watch season 3, I don’t know yet” lol… of course you will. ;p

    1. Yeah, I probably will…but it’s not a certainty. And that’s my truth at the moment, Jon. I was watching because the show is “Star Trek” in both name and content (if not necessarily in tone or adherence to established canon). Now, the show is jettisoning most of what made it Star Trek in any way. Now it’s more “Andromeda” or “Farscape” or any number of generic sci-fi concepts I’ve seen so many times before…just with a Starfleet ship and crew. And to be honest, I’ve even seen that before…it was called “Voyager.” So am I a definite yes for next season? The Magic 8-ball says, “The answer is unclear at this time.”

  16. I agree with all your arguments. To be honest, as for lost, you’re wrong. they did not die in the plane crash. everyone died in moments seen in the series. purgatory is only the alternative timeline of the sixth season

  17. I don’t have a really good explanation for the refusal of the suit to go into the future.

    But here’s an excerpt from my time travel analysis:
    One more observation pertaining to the predestined timeline is that Michael Burnham is not allowed to enter a destination in the future in her freshly activated time travel suit in “Such Sweet Sorrow II”. In the story, this is supposed to ensure the closing of the time loop because otherwise the known history would not have happened. Usually in such a kind of story, the circle is completed inadvertently. Data definitely didn’t want to lose his head in “Time’s Arrow II” so it would be found in the first part. But in Burnham’s case a technical device, and not adverse circumstances, force her to go back. The suit was built according to specifications from outside the time loop, but can we nonetheless invoke the ontological paradox that the suit would need to enable its own creation? Has the suit been programmed in a way that it would notice that a predetermined timeline must be fulfilled? Does it even have the power to decide when to force it and when to be more liberal? Or did it just suffer an unlikely malfunction that was gone after the fifth jump to the past that was necessary, now finally allowing to go forward? And what would have happened if Burnham had decided not to travel in time at all? This all remains a big mystery.

    In other words, the suit must have been aware that it has to enable its own creation one way or another. And yes, that still doesn’t make much sense.

  18. Everyone told me Season 1 was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    Then they told me Season 2 was the best thing since that because it was exactly the opposite.

    Now they tell me the whole thing was an Armin Tamzarian Memory Hole?

  19. Thank you for an interesting review. I’m the kind of fan that don’t care about why certain things might not line up 100% with canon in a prequel-series. For instance why Klingons don’t look like they did in the 80s or why Burnham wasn’t mentioned in earlier series (easy, she wasn’t invented yet).
    I actually think they spent just a tad too much time on nostalgia in what I think was an excellent second season for the most part.

    I found the last episode very exciting but I’m actually also a bit disappointed by the ending. I thought they sold Discovery short. Yes the spore drive is such a huge thing that it needed to be explained why it wasn’t there later. But I felt they were going there earlier in the season with the network being damaged. It could have been destroyed somehow or outlawed to use or surely a number of other scenarios a talented writer could come up with. Sending the ship to the future and erasing it from Federation history felt like a lesser idea to me.
    And the very last scene on the Enterprise gave me the feeling of a torch being passed on, again selling the crew of Discovery short. Had it really been the last episode it might have been a fitting end but not now. Surely they could have changed that just a little bit once the show was renewed to get Discovery a forward motion into the next season.

    That said I’m still very much looking forward to what adventures in the future will come our way in season three.

    PS. And lastly the death on Discovery. One might also ask the question why the only way to manually close the blast door was located inside the room. Might have been a better plan to fit it on the wall outside. 🙂 Ds.

    1. Actually, the best comment I saw about the blast door was, “Wow, that must be some REALLY strong glass!” Seriously, who puts a window on a blast door? 🙂

      As for the spore drive, I also thought they were going toward the “we can’t use the spore drive anymore because it’s destroying the mycelial network. But then, of course, the writers could never use it again either, and by then, they were pretty addicted to it. So just as when TNG had that episode that created a warp “speed limit” to save subspace, the idea was quickly abandoned as a non-starter (no pun intended) and never mentioned again…well, it was mentioned once and then never again.

      1. Well, there you go. TNG had the warp “speed limit” and then abandoned it by the next episode. Did people lose their shit over it and threaten to “leave” Star Trek?
        What about in TMP when they redesigned the Klingons? (Come to think of it, the Cardassians and the Romulans both got makeup reboots in TNG).
        What about when they said in VGR that the Q couldn’t reproduce even though Amanda from TNG was the daughter of two Q?
        Or how about when the Trill first had bumpy foreheads in TNG and then spots in DS9?
        The location of Delta Vega goes from the end of the universe to being within visual distance of Vulcan?
        The shifting “first contact” with the Borg (was it because of Q or the Queen or a half-dozen other things Voyager proposed)?
        Then there’s the never-ending supply of shuttles and photon torpedoes that Voyager had.
        Spock smiled in the pilot.
        Worf has an American accent even though he was raised by foster parents with Russian accents (ditto his half-brother).
        The Klingons repeatedly ignore “the shout” when another Klingon warrior dies.
        The universal translator immediately works in the Delta Quadrant even though Voyager has no baseline for any alien language there.

        Did you hold all those series to the same standard you’re holding Discovery to? If not… why not?

        Life was better before the internet and faux-fan outrage.

        1. All good points of nit-pickniness, #2, but I stand by what I wrote. Trekkies have been famous for ignoring the obvious plot-holes ever since Kirk didn’t send a shuttlecraft down to the planet to pick up the freezing Sulu and the landing party in “The Enemy Within.” But all of the things you listed came in small increments, maybe one every dozen or three dozen episodes. The Discovery finale piled the preposterous scenes one on top of the other on top of the other.

          The Queen asked Alice to believe six impossible things before breakfast. Discovery asks viewers to believe six impossible things before breakfast AND another ten impossible things during the episodes. I just exceeded my quota of impossible things and wrote a blog about it.

  20. Like My Grandma always said once a Dumpster fire, always a Dumpster fire!

    Fortunately, my subscription ran out the day after episode 12 premiered.
    Which was horrible to go to the Enterprise just to come back, really.!?! That was Stupid. 15 minutes of the episode wasted. And It only went downhill from there…

    Ed. Bubby. you need to understand man, we want to love Trek like we once did, Hel I’ve been a fan since I was 10 years old… everything from TOS to ENT and every sci-fi show in between. Before and after.

    But STD is Cringeworthy, it has so many problems, But the biggest ones are.

    1. Sonequa Martin-Green – She’s a Mary Sue – she’s even more insufferable then she was on TWD.

    To Be fair – She’s not in charge of the ship so the only thing she can do is argue with the people in charge. Her one and only answer to any Captain she’s serving under should be. Yes Sir! and that’s it.
    That right there is the biggest failure of STD, Because although she can offer input the Captain is the one who makes the decisions.

    2. Because, the focus is on Action, not storytelling there’s no room for the sort of stories trek is famous for, City on the Edge, Doomsday Machine, The Drumhead, Measure of a Man, Best of Both Worlds, Progress, The Magnificent Ferengi – Shall I go On?

    3. STD is written by Committee, many of whom are former CW writers. So it’s not like the old Days where they would bring in actual sci-fi writers. have a good concept and put it in a sci-fi setting. This is simply an action series. Not Star Trek. They need a Manny Cotto, a J Michael Strazinsky, a Ronald D Moore, a Rockne O’Bannon… Someone who understands Gene’s vision of what Trek is.. Marc Zicree would be a good choice. But he’s doing his own thing

    Here’s an example of having a cohesive vision.

    You remember in Season 1 of Babylon 5, where June Lockhart, had the Alien Healing machine. And Doctor Franklin ended up with it. and that was the last you hear of it until Season 4. Where he uses it to save Ivanova. And it’s extra sad because you really love both those characters.

    I get it, Ed you love trek, I love trek, Jonathan loves trek too… But this isn’t trek,,, it’s a poorly written action show, that can’t maintain continuity between 2 episodes apparently. Let alone the course of the series. It’s probably good that they are moving it 1000 years in the future. At least they won’t be able to screw thing up anymore for Kirk.

    Maybe they can call the next Season Lost in Time. and get a new Doctor and Some sort of,,,, Oh I don’t know…. A new Robot.

    If you think fan’s and licensees are revolting now. Just wait til Kurtzman makes Picard head of Section 31.

    Does that really seem right for the Moral Man that is Jean Luc Picard?

    “There are times, sir, when men of good conscience cannot blindly follow orders”
    Jean Luc Picard

    You can’t just slap a label on a pack of cupcakes, and sell it as a twinkie, especially if it’s made by a bunch of Ding Dongs.

  21. “else the entire ship is hollow and I have touched the fly…ers.”

    Very nice. For any who missed it: “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky” (ST:TOS Season 3 episode).

    General comment: the comparison that popped into my mind was with Babylon 5 and the apparent contrast between a story arc with a known ending that the writers build toward and painting into a corner and having to step on wet paint, as it were, to get free.

    1. Even B5 had to adjust the storyline a bit along the way. And I do think this season of Discovery was plotted through mostly early on. It just didn’t always work as well in execution as it did on paper.

  22. Ok, ok I’ve been warned…no more honest opinion comments or I’ll be banned from talking. I apologize.

    1. No, Ed, you wouldn’t get banned for honest opinions, but for bashing and insulting. That’s a difference (at least to me, Jonathan, and most people around here).

  23. The glaring issues with the episode didn’t bother me. I have learned to keep my expectations low for discovery. And that has everything to do with season 1. They heard to utter displeasure of the fans and I am sure they got death threats from more traditional hard liners that they said screw it, lets go where no Trek series has gone before, Why? Can’t hurt canon. It is about 100 years or so after Daniels (Enterprise) time and way beyond where Captain Braxton and the USS Relativity (Voyager) time frame. So who knows what Discovery will run into.

    I do have a thought about why Picard didn’t know or at the very least say anything about Michael, Discovery, Spore Drive, etc, etc after the mind meld with Sarak. Even though Sarak and Amanda may not have been subject to Spocks suggestion of treason if anyone said anything, Picard may have known and may have felt that it was important enough not to say anything.

    And the same thing could be said about “Bones” when he had Spocks Katra in him. Either that or he was so messed up from carrying Spocks mind that he wouldn’t have found out or he felt that “Spocks suggestion” was also important enough not to say anything.

    I am not defending the epic lack of repect for Trek canon, I am just suggesting why nothing was said (besides the fact that Disco came after those 2 stories.)

    I will also say this. That battle will rank up there as one of the best battle scenes seen in Star Trek. The CGI was epic, I have always been a sucker for a good battle scene. Although I can’t help to wonder if the Star Trek Universe and the Dr. Who Universe are one in the same, can’t imagine where the hell they kept all those shuttles. Must be a Tardis in disguise.

    1. The thing about Picard not saying anything about Michael is that it wasn’t Picard talking; it was Sarek in Picard’s mind. And Sarek was uninhibited having lost his logic. Picard could no more control the things he said while he shared consciousness with Sarek than he could control his unpredictable emotional outbursts.

  24. STD is so stupid. Every time someone takes a chance or risks their life they have to have an emotional reckoning with all their friends and loved ones. Often in slow motion! So lame. Because of this, every death or loss in the series becomes that much LESS important.

    1. There have been surprisingly few deaths on this show. Did you notice that? When it comes to Discovery crew members (that we know the name of), there was Landry, Culber, And Airiam. There was also Cornwell and that blue-shirted “redshirt” from Enterprise who died in the first episode of the season. Oh, and there was Lorca, but I don’t think he should count. Of those 5 deaths, only three of them had emotional reckonings. And to be honest, Culber’s death was kinda glossed over. (However, Ariam’s overdone funeral pretty much made up for it.) 🙂

  25. Come on dude! Relax! You didn’t like the episode? So what? Star Trek is about what we like. Not what we don’t like! I have issues too. I didn’t become angry or feel betrayed! I’ll just wait for the next one that I know will come and I will like it.

    1. Come on dude! Relax! You didn’t like the blog? So what? Blogs are opinion pieces about what we like and what we don’t like–even if it’s Star Trek…sometimes especially if it’s Star Trek They’re ways for the bloggers to reach out to others to share our feelings and personal truths. So somebody felt angry or betrayed as a viewer that the writers chose to ignore even their own plot points that they themselves established from previous episodes. It’s just a blog. Some people agreed with me, some didn’t. But that’s what this life is all about, Stelios. If we all thought and felt the exact same way as everybody, we’d be Borg…or whatever it was that Control was turning those people into. 🙂

      1. He he… Of curse it’s good to have opinion and express it! Just try to be positive. It’s good for the health 🙂 I’m 47, watching Star Trek for 45 years. There are a lot of crappy episodes and movies. Didn’t stop me to love Star Trek. Please look at the bigger picture. Star Trek is VERY ALIVE and we watch it with our kids! What can be better then that? And from hardcore perspective, the percentage of bad/boring episodes per season is waaaaaaaaay lower in Discovery that any other Star Trek series before!

        1. I’m not sure I can agree with your last sentence, Stelios. For me, all but one of the episodes from season one were bad in some way. That’s 1 for 15. Season two was much better with maybe 10 good episodes. But that total (for me) only comes to 11 good episodes against 18 bad ones. Not even seasons one part of two of TNG had that bad of a track record.

          Anyway, I generally do try to be positive in life. I’m not a “Discovery hater,” and I’ve gone toe-to-toe in the comments section of my blogs with readers who think Star Trek is already “dead” and should be abandoned as a lost cause. I don’t buy into that gibberish. I look at the bright side. But occasionally, an episode of Discovery is just so bad that I can’t simply smile it away. I blog, therefore I am. And sometimes I am not impressed, and when that happens, I say so. I gotta me me, Stelios. 🙂

          1. I have to tell you. I was totally freaked with the paradox and the spore drive secret! Then I realized it’s not the first time I’m freaking out. And quite sure not the last. So, I let it go. After all it was a good punch to Disco haters (we are prime)! Also pew-pew “activists” where so happy with this episode! Got my quality space battles on first season. I’m good 🙂

  26. I’m not sure that “Discovery” deserves to feel betrayed or angry about it. I think that the show has been always extraordinarily sincere about what it is offering you: a compilation of Star Trek tropes without any thinking about which was their original context and whether that context has aged well.

    “Discovery” as a whole remembers me to the Mirror Universe episodes from the last season of “Enterprise”. They are a delightful homage to the “Mirror, Mirror” TOS episode. They are also an absolute failure about exploring the concept of a parallel universe in which the bad guys won, and maybe doing a cautionary tale about how dangerously alluring can be a totalitarian government. I think that if you want to do a MODERN take of the Mirror Universe, your source of inspiration must be “The Man In the High Castle”, a book which it is set in a parallel 1962 in which Germany and Japan have won the Second World War, and THEN you adapt that premise to the Star Trek Universe. Wasn’t “Balance of Terror” heavily inspired by “The Enemy Below”? Didn’t Nick Meyer channel a lot of Horatio Hornblower to their films? Didn’t Picard’s torture in “Code of Honor” came straight from “1984”? But “Discovery” writers only seem to know two sources: previous episodes of “Star Trek” and “What it is cool in today movies?”. The final result is just what was to be expected, a lot of fans will be perfectly happy with that, and that not it is necessarily a bad thing, but personally, I think that this mindset makes impossible the making of episodes in the vein of “Duet”or “The Drumhead”. The best be can expect it is “Cause and Effect”, which it is still a very high mark (and it isn’t “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” considered one of the better episodes of DISCO Season 1?).

    1. My feelings of betrayal were simply due to two things:

      1) The writers do not even follow their own continuity (I don’t mean canon). They told us that the Klingons must remain unaware that Tyler/Voq still lives. And yet, there he in on the bridge of the Klingon flagship helping L’Rell to give orders. The plan was to jump Discovery into the future to keep it away from Control…and yet Leland/Control was ON the bloomin’ starship! At least follow your own rules and continuity, writers. So I feel betrayed simply as a viewer.

      2) The betrayal of the established image of Starfleet and its officers as paragons of virtue, I’m sorry if the world has changed and people no longer trust or believe their government or leaders. But Star Trek was always a better and brighter future to strive for. Now, however, Starfleet is an organization that must be lied to, and its officers more than willing and able to do so. The first duty is now meaningless, and that makes me feel betrayed as a fan.

  27. Edward,
    Like everyone else on this planet Johnathan has a opinion that is his own. No where does it say his opinion has to agree with anyone else opinion. He is a Star Trek fan who has issues with what has been going on with Discovery, it may not be the same issues I have. But they are his issues. And unless you have intentionally skipped by most of his reviews you would have seen reviews where it loved the episodes with minimal issues, Think “Sounds of Thunder”, Lights and Shadows, If Memory Serves, Project Daedalus, along with several others. Now. So I agree with him on those? Yes and no. I have never been a fan of the Talosians, and that comes from my limited knowledge of TOS. And to be honest I did like this last episode of season 2.

    However the point is this. Just because he is a Star Trek fan doesn’t mean he has to agree with the opinion of every other Star Trek fan. And also to be frank, anyone who berated him or anyone for not being a hard liner or having a loathing disdain for Discovery, isn’t a true fan IMHO. Why? Star Trek is about acceptance, learning, expanding ones understanding and character growth. But that is MY opinion. Now while I know Johnathan can defend himself quite well, I am just getting sick and tired of people (not just on this site) berating people for liking Discovery in any way shape or form.

    If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

  28. I repeat over and over and over again… if you want to hate Star Trek Discovery you will always find a reason. The more I read this blog and others some of which spew hatred it is obvious to me that there is an underlying factor to the hate… maybe the treatment of the fans by CBS / Paramount etc… Many of you wish that this would all go away and Fan Productions including Axanar, ST Continues etc… Would return with no restrictions. This ain’t going to happen … ever… So what’s left… revenge on the studios? No matter how good or bad the show is…. I will hate. What a sad pathetic thing do. Those of you who hate ask yourself why you do. Some of you quote the philosophy and the hopefulness of the future based on Star Trek yet you still hate. Do the Producers listen to you? I would bet on it. Has the show improved from season 1 to 2? Yes… I liked season 1….. and very much liked season 2. Is the show tied down by Cannon…. Yes… Discovery is now in the distant future and can tell stories without restrictions…. many of you wanted this and still you hate. Why do you even watch…. to continue to tell people how much you hate it… even more pathetic. I also believe that the Producers have a part of the blame to accept. They should have begun Discovery a 1,000 or more years in the future to avoid Cannon Traps. The Producers also painted themselves into a corner with very little wriggle room without finding a cheaper way of solving the problem. Would you have preferred memory loss therapy or how about a Vulcan Mind Purge… maybe the Talosians could have helped. Haters get your pencils ready for the Picard Series. I can see it now the real Picard would never have done this or that… Is he the Picard from the Mirror Universe…? What about the Next Gen Cannon. And so on and so on….

    1. I haven’t seen a lot of haters in the comments section, XMAN. I’ve seen a few, but most seem to either be more along my way of thinking–which is critical without being hateful–or else they like/love Discovery and just think I’m full of baloney (or something similar). 🙂

  29. Jonathan, your assessment of Discovery both good and bad has confirmed that I was correct in not falling into the All Access pay wall trap. At this point, I would have probably stopped watching even if it was on free CBS.

  30. I mean I think the biggest irony here is how the show just retconned itself!

    On the positive side, now that they are free of canon they can essentially do what they want. Not that they couldn’t do that before but I digress.

    I have been a fan Star Trek since The Next Generation and I have watched and Loved all the Series so it’s disappointing to FINALLY get a new Trek series that is just written so poorly.

  31. I am not saying that all of the negative comments are hateful but it is as if negativity sells. If more people hate then critics and bloggers get more hits and comments. I will not name other bloggers but you know they are and they spew hate. Maybe one day you and I will meet and have real discussion over a few beers (Canadian Beers) that would be nice.
    This next part you can cut off if you wish.
    Yesterday I attended a showing of a little gem of a movie. Title: The Grizzlies…. a story of Inuit Youth (Canada’s native northern peoples) and how they battle suicide (Highest rate in North America for youth), Drug and Alcohol use and Family Violence by learning and playing the Game of Lacrosse (Canada’s National Sport). After the movie there was a question and answer session with one of the main actors. I made her a promise that I would give the movie a little kick. They are now trying to get it into public schools. This movie is based on a true story. Check out their website and trailer under The Grizzlies on YouTube.

  32. Jonathan that was brilliant. A perfect summation of that ridiculous shit storm of a show. Nicely done.

  33. Jonathan,

    I haven’t watched the show (and instead read your blogs) to see if it would be worth it to buy a month of Access and binge watch. First season: no way. I was thinking I’d have to capitulate for second season, then this recap blew that out of the water.

    Has no one at STD even opened an astronomy book? Why ditz around with time travel to get the spore/mushroom drive out of the hands of Area 31 when all they’d have to do is get it out of the galaxy? (remember in TOS when the ‘edge’ of the galaxy was impossible to get through?) After all, there are (as of 2017) an estimated 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, so if the super-Spore Drive is all it is cracked up to be, all they have to do is travel to another galaxy and there’s no way Area 31 could keep up.

    Obviously I’m missing something because I haven’t been watching the show but it strikes me as, not only having the writing flaws you describe as betraying the audience, there are substantial mistakes being made in the writers’ room from mere puny thinking stemming from a lack of understanding of what the universe truly is.

    (Yeah, I know. Wrap your head around that. You’re in orbit on a rock around one star that is among the billions in one galaxy, and there are 2 trillion galaxies out there . . . . . . )

    1. Edit: Phooey, didn’t catch this in time, but the Milky Way galaxy has an estimated 100 thousand million stars, aka ~100 billion stars in its own right. Then there are an estimated 2 trillion galaxies out there . . . .

    2. About your question about “Has no one at STD even opened an astronomy book?”…. Well, in the “Discovery” episode “The War Without, The War Within”, we learn that there is an strikingly earthly-looking planet at 100 Astronomic Units from Earth, with Starbase 1 orbiting it. As that would put that planet at roughly twice the distance from Earth to Pluto, although we could try to justify its existence as some kind of trans-Kuiper belt planetary body, I am quite sure that the writers used the “Astronomic Unit” term without having any clue about its meaning, just that is sounded cooler than light-year or parsec.

      1. “Astronomical Unit” always sounds cool. But yeah, it’s just the distance from the earth to the sun. When talking about distances interstellar, it’s like measuring the size of a continent using millimeters. 🙂

        1. My biggest concern about the distance given (100 AU) for Starbase 1 is that it puts it into what it can be considered inside our solar system. Truth to be said, Admiral Cornwell herself mentioned that the fall of Starbase 1 put the klingons “on Earth’s backyard”, but that was an understatement. If there are Klingons at 100 AU from Earth, they are not in the backyard, they have entered the house and are redecorating the guest bedroom.

          The extreme closeness of Starbase 1 to Earth makes me wonder how could have been conquered without Earth becoming aware of that, because they are so close that there had to be some regular starship traffic between Starbase 1 and the rest of the solar system. And a radio transmission from Starbase 1 would have reached Earth in less than a day, so even if the Klingon attack force had jammed all communications, the sudden silence from Starbase 1 should have been a cause of alarm. And lastly, if Klingons were so close to Earth without nobody being aware of that, why they didn’t just pushed a bit more and attacked Earth itself?

          Although there has always been a lot of “questionable astronomy” in Star Trek, DISCO cranks that to eleven. As somebody has already said, previous Star Trek shows asked us to believe in two or three impossible things each episode, DISCO forces us to believe in a dozen.

  34. A thousand years in the future, technology is far more advanced overall, and the first tiny smuggler ship they find blows Discovery to smithereens after 30 seconds. End of the series. That’s going to be the shortest season ever.

    Or maybe they arrive at the Andromeda universe… where civilization throughout the galaxy has decayed… and then… nah.

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