The final battle against control heats up in an episode that was packed full of action and managed to squeeze in some good character moments too.
After a slower paced penultimate episode last week we were launched straight into the action this time around, and the pace didn’t slow for the entire episode. The choice to wrap up most of the quieter character moments last week proved to be the right one, leaving the space this episode for all out, heart pumping action.
The writing, directing and cinematography of the action throughout this episode is the best this series and possibly one of the best that the televised Star Trek franchise. Each element is balanced perfectly as the action cuts between the events on the Discovery bridge, on the Enterprise bridge and Spock and Burnham deseparate attempts to activate the wormhole. The fighter ship battle was skilfully executed with inventive transitions. The only point that felts out of place was the split screen three three-way communications. The pace, urgency and danger was maintained throughout the battle as the director, , spent just enough time with each situation to be able to follow what was going on without lingering.
While dog-fights between fleets of small single helmed fighter ships are more Star Wars fare than Star Trek, they were skillfully intertwined within the more traditional Trek space battle tactics to create a very transfixing spectacle.
But the story was not just a spectacle, as many characters, we have come to know well really shine through. Saru takes on the acting captain role with gusto. We can only hope to see him continue to fill this role in Season 3. Culber and Stammets get a touching reunion amongst the destruction While Pike exhibits his usual superb blend of charm and pathos. It is a shame this is the last we’ll see of him. He has had worthly run.
Escalating the threat
There is no lack of danger in this episode. Just when you’re wondering how many stories they can eek of a single space battle, Leland boards the Discovery leading into a magnificently well-choreographed fight scene with Georgiou. A torpedo embeds itself in the Enterprise and threatens to take out half the ship. And finally, Burnham just can’t seem to jump forward in time, only backwards.
Spock and Burnham have one of the rare quieter moments in this episode. They have been inching towards reconciliation with each episode. An approach that is much natural than a rushed resolution in their last story. This episode features their final acknowledgement of how much they mean to each other rounding off their character arcs nicely and sets up Spock to become the iconic character we all know and love from the Original Series.
The season ends with Discovery launched into a bold new direction. One where they will be free of accusations of messing up continuity. Talking about continuity, the post-action coda does an adequate – if a little thrown in at the last minute – job of putting to bed a few more of those lingering continuity issues with a quick few lines. Finally explaining why the spore drive and Burnham have never been mentioned.
Any negatives about this episode feel like nit-picks, Tilly’s Shield fixing task feels like something just thrown in to give her something to do, The hull repair robots felt way too much like Star Wars R2 model droids and how the no-longer-mysterious red signals appeared at the beginning of the series still has logical holes the size of the Alpha Quadrant. But none of that stops this episode being an incredibly fun, visually stunning epic adventure.