Evaluating 'Star Trek: Discovery' season two

Thursday, 18 April 2019 09:30 PM Written by 

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Discovery s2 finale

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for season two, including the season finale, of "Star Trek: Discovery" on CBS All Access.

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Have to admit I have real mixed emotions about season two of "Star Trek: Discovery," which finished its second season tonight.

On the one hand, I love the destination the show got to; on the other, I didn't always love the path it took to get there, strewn as it was with Treknobabble and occasionally clunky dialogue.

The series wrapped its second season with what appears to have been a carefully plotted two-season story from the start. The show always had a built-in problem it needed to resolve: Why had Spock's sister, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), along with Discovery's spore drive technology never been mentioned in any other iteration of "Star Trek" set after the time period of "Discovery"?

Turns out to escape a universe-destorying baddie called Control, Discovery had to leap 950 years into the future and those who witnessed that event, including Spock (Ethan Peck) and Enterprise Capt. Christopher Pike (season two MVP Anson Mount), lied to Starfleet command, saying Discovery had been destroyed and everyone was forbidden to speak about these events. Voila, continuity restored!

If season one of "Discovery" started with disappointment before getting a surprising but welcome reset in the back half of the season -- albeit with a whimper to the end of the Klingon war -- season two began with more promise, including the introduction of Pike, such a welcome relief from season one's dour Lorca (Jason Isaacs). Pike brought a sense of fun and a temperament of caring leadership. He even knew the names of the bridge crew, something Lorca never demonstrated.

Season two of "Discovery" then got hamstrung by its story of Control, some sort of cybernetic organism (I guess? maybe?) that wanted data it would use to destroy all sentient life in the universe which Burnham and team had to sabotage by taking that data to the future. Along the way, "Discovery" had some episodes that concentrated on its characters, including Burnham's relationship with her mom (Sonia Sohn), which should have endeared me to the show. ("Discovery" handled the Stamets-Hugh storyline with much less aplomb; one minute they were going their separate ways and then without much motivation other than an attack by Control, they were suddenly together again once Stamets got injured in the finale.)

And yet, at the end of the season two finale, I was much more interested in following Pike and the Enterprise in their ongoing adventures than I was in wanting to see what's next for Discovery (and I'd love more one-and-done episodic stories, similar to the "Discovery" episode "New Eden" at the start of season two). It seems like a problematic response given that Discovery has been renewed for season three but what I'm gravitating more towards is another "Star Trek" spin-off that would star Pike and the Enterprise crew. Perhaps CBS All Access will announce that series next -- there are hints in this report that Team Trek is open to it -- but with the Picard show, a Section 31 spin-off starring Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and two animated "Trek" shows already in the works, I'm not holding my breath for a Pike series.

Until this "Discovery" finale, the Picard show, set after the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" movies, seemed like the furthest into the "Trek" future viewers would see. Now it seems like "Discovery" will jump further ahead in time for its future adventures. I'm curious to see how the show will unfold unconstrained from past "Star Trek" canon and whether Georgiou will go back in time for the Section 31 series or if that will be future-set too.

But still, I can't get an Anson Mount-starring Pike series out of my head.

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