Conflict is inevitable. Tough decisions unnegotiable. The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery’s second season, saccharine until imperative.
Episode ‘Such Sweet Sorrow’ is a rather cheesy affair of sentimental nonsense I prefer left in soap operas, but its ending has an understated, powerful conclusion that at least redeemed the episode beyond its cringey moments. Harsh perhaps, but an episode filled with around thirty minutes of farewells isn’t going to be the most engaging. Fortunately, there were little moments beneath the clutter that has helped shaped the tension for the final episode.
While it’s true every Star Trek has had its belly-testing levels of sentiment, they never dominated an episode quite like this one, or in season one, episode ‘Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad’ where the romance overshadowed the return of Harry Mudd. It’s unfortunate but I’ve come to expect every season has an episode made to be a cringe-fest. But while Harry Mudd was overshadowed, the forthcoming battle was not.
There were a few reveals that could have been hidden by the emotional discharge but, fortunately, they held their ground firmly. Notably, the redesign of the interiors in the USS Enteprise look fantastic. The new iteration of the bridge is an evolution of a series that has far more budget than its predecessors. To do it tastefully without overshadowing the Original series would have been difficult but it’s been a wondrous achievement. There is a nostalgic feel to the new Enterprise bridge, that deep red reminds me of the seats of an American diner from the 80s. In a strange way, that deeper shade of red gives a more nostalgic look to the bridge than the Original Series does, which I suppose is its full intention.
With such a huge focus on the interior of the USS Enterprise, I wouldn’t be too surprised that its a hint towards a future series. There have been calls from much of the fanbase for a Pike and Spock series, leading up to the infamous scene that leaves Pike incapacitated. This would undoutedbly be more popular than the continuation of the Discovery series (Discovery gets more flak than it deserves), but with season three already confirmed, this venture is perhaps several years off. It would, however, be ashame if a Pike and Spock series wasn’t produced, particularly with Anson Mount and Ethan Peck portraying their respected characters fantastically.
Now with Pike back in command of the Enterprise and Saru taking command of Discovery, there are two routes opening up. Saru’s evolution has been an iconic progression throughout Star Trek: Discovery. For two seasons, Saru has been waiting for the moment when he becomes more than a sidekick, and it was one scene and one line that showed his evolution was complete. With both ships surrounded by hostile forces, both captains assumed their role in a forthcoming battle to be played out in the final episode. In that moment, to watch Saru calmly sit down and tell the crew to ‘prepare for battle’ was a defining moment for Saru and the series.
Last seasons final episode was a disappointment that left a bittersweet perception towards the series. Season one was split into two halves so the direction was always a little skewed, although it had its moments of brilliance. Season two has been much better, with more direction towards the storyline and deeper character development. To end season two with another anti-climatic scene would be unfortunate to say the least. The writers have set up a situation where both the Enterprise and Discovery are outnumbered by an incredibly destructive AI force. This isn’t the moment to back out of some much needed chaos and to perhaps lose a few of the main characters.
While I’m not going to give a macabre list of who I’d have killed off in the final episode, variety remains the spice of life and some characters have reached their full development. Until then, we can only await the final episode of Star Trek: Discovery season two, let’s just hope it finishes better than the last!