The season also ends with many unanswered questions, including an overarching one that never quite got an answer: At some point, we know something significant happens with Sarek and Burnham’s relationship. This is why for decades, through multiple Trek franchises, we have never heard Sarek, Spock’s father, mention Burnham. We don’t get the answer. We also don’t get an explanation for why Sarek’s exchange with Burnham in last week’s episode felt more like a goodbye.
1. Clint Howard
A guest appearance by the always funny Clint Howard as a devious Orion man added levity to a show mostly devoid of it. Howard has appeared in Trek before, as Uproxx’s Alan Sepinwall reminded me. But it was great to see a recognizable, green face.
What didn’t work
1. Stand up for what?
The moment all of the Discovery crew started literally standing up on the bridge against Admiral Cornwell’s greenlighting of genocide was so unnecessarily cheesy. Why did the crew start standing? There was no reason for it! Also, Cornwell was there via hologram. She wasn’t even in the room! O.K., I’m being nitpicky.
This isn’t though: How did the crew, outside of the ones who knew, not realize Evil Georgiou was posing as the Georgiou they all loved? Evil Georgiou was being rude, abrasive and impulsive to the crew — similar to how someone from the Terran Empire would act. And no one noticed or said anything.
Also, Cornwell greenlighting a genocide, given her speeches decrying Lorca’s irrationality throughout the season, didn’t wash with me.
2. Why not go to Tyler first?
We observe a scene in which Evil Georgiou spends a few minutes pummeling L’Rell to get information out of her. This fails and then Burnham has an idea: Why not ask the Federation-officer-turned-Klingon-spy-turned-Federation-officer? And that’s how they find what they need.
Why didn’t they think of that first? Or do both?
3. Happy ending
As the war is wrapped up, we seem to have totally forgotten that a key member of the crew, Dr. Culber, was shockingly murdered and that the crew’s captain, Lorca, was an impostor this whole time. Not even a remembrance! Out of sight, out of mind.
Odds and ends
Some thoughts as we come to the end of the “Discovery” maiden voyage:
1. As critical as I’ve been of the plot (which had canyon-sized holes) and the lack of consistent character development, it’s important to remember that pretty much every Trek series struggled to find its footing early on. If weekly recaps existed when “The Next Generation” was on, they would have been brutal. Remember how the Ferengi were introduced in “The Battle”?
We don’t know what “Discovery” will look like once it has reached its cruising altitude. But it has promise. The cast is there and the visuals are top-notch. “Enterprise” never found its footing. “Deep Space Nine” did. If I had to make a prediction, I’d put “Discovery” somewhere between those two.
2. I hope next season we get to learn more about the Discovery crew members, assuming that’s where most of the action takes place. We didn’t get to know Tilly, Saru and the others well. “Trek” has typically been about the ensemble more than one individual character. “Discovery” has so far mostly orbited around Burnham — It is her love life we see develop. It is a war she instigated that we see. It is her mutiny that weighs on the crew. I’m looking forward to seeing plots that aren’t Burnham-centric.
3. It’s worth repeating: The team behind “Discovery” deserves a lot of credit for taking ambitious risks with this iteration of Trek. It is the darkest, most cynical expression of Gene Roddenberry’s vision, and it has its own unique identity. The writers went out of their way to make this show different and not lean on traditional Trek tropes. More often than not, it didn’t work. But the effort was there, which is what makes me hopeful for next season.