‘That Hope is You, Part 2’ concludes season three of Star Trek: Discovery, but was it a fitting end to the series and did it answer all our questions?
For the last time, our writing team offer their own personal insights and first up is Vedran
We have reached the finale of the third season of Star Trek: Discovery. The season that brought us little story, and a lot of feelings. Thus, it is not a surprise that the finale is overflowing with emotions (and explosions). It wraps this uneven season as best it can. The heroes win the day, there are no real sacrifices, while the lead characters are displaying trademark Federation and Starfleet values.
Finally, we got an explanation for the Burn. The massive amount of Dilithium in Suk’al’s immediate surroundings, and his altered genetic material, combined with the childhood trauma, resulted in a tragedy of galactic proportions. This sounds a bit silly, and I cannot escape the feeling that it could work much better if the scope of the event were more limited. Not as something that profoundly affected the lives of billions and reshaped the political map of the galaxy. Three seasons in, I am slowly starting to get accustomed to the fact that the Discovery writing team is not really good at resolving the issues they created. More often than not, the writers are opting for a safe and clean approach. Which makes for an artificial narrative and low payoff.
That said, the scene in the holographic fortress is a stronger part of ‘That Hope is You Part 2’. The slower pacing and well played emotional beats provide for a sense of satisfaction and closure. Yes, the clock is ticking. The radiation is getting more dangerous, and the ship is going to explode. But the story works. Saru and Suk’al’s conversation is a pleasure to watch, making it probably the best scene of ‘That Hope is You Part 2’. It is through peaceful cooperation, in the true Star Trek way, that a problem is resolved. With the help of another Kelpien in Saru, Su’kal finally confronts his fears, and catastrophe is averted. Plus, there is another aspect of this plotline. A surprise of a sort. When Adira teleports to Su’Kal’s ship, they do not come alone. Gray accompanies them, and more importantly, Saru and Culber can see him in the holographic form. This unexpected reveal opens a fascinating opportunity for the next season.
As for the titular ship, Discovery’s plotline continues in an action-adventure tone. And honestly, it is fun to watch. Burnham continues to be a badass, although her last confrontation with Osyraa looked like something that worked better in writing. The bridge crew also get their heroic scenes, with Owosekun getting her moment to shine. Only for it to be taken from her by DOT. But at least, Owo is alive! So, I will chalk that as a victory. Book also had his great moment (never insult a queen!), but the Doctor Who elevator system was completely unnecessary. One can clearly see how the writers and creative team are trying to make the show flashier and more spectacular. And that is, at least for me, a mistake. Especially, if this is done to the detriment of the narrative.
In the end, the good guys win, with Discovery escaping (in a spectacular way) from the Emerald Chain flagship. Just in time to save Su’kal and the away team. Emerald Chain is dismantled (?), and the Federation is starting to slowly rebuild. Oh, and Burnham gets the captain chair. Which was completely expected. After all, for the show centred around Burnham, this is the best possible solution. And another promising opportunity. The buck stops here, and from now on, Burnham will be the person responsible not only for her actions but for her entire crew. It will be interesting to see how this will unfold in the next season.
Frankly, during the last few episodes, I started losing the faith in the show. Discovery started well, with the arrival of Burnham and Discovery into a brave new world of the future, a world turned upside down by the Burn. For several episodes, the story was moving in the right direction, slowly (too slowly, perhaps) uncovering this new world. Then, by the mid-season, the story became convoluted, and for some reason spent too much time in the Mirror Universe. Discovery was, once again, in peril of facing a rushed and unsatisfactory ending. This peril is not entirely averted. The Burn deserved a better explanation, especially if we consider its scope and the consequences for the story moving onwards. Also, the Adira-Gray relationship remains very clunky. And I did not even mention poor Stamets, who due to the time constraints got barely two short scenes in the final episode. Or Book’s newfound spore-drive piloting skills, which could deepen the rift further between Stamets and Burnham. There is also the issue of Emerald Chain, the main antagonist that we have never actually met (and which is now history). But for all its weaknesses, there is hope for Star Trek: Discovery. The crew is now assembled, and more or less mentally and emotionally prepared for the new challenges. The new five-year mission seems to be in the cards, which will explore the aftermath of the Burn, and rebuild the Federation. There is a real potential of turning Discovery into a set of standalone episodes, linked by the vague main story. Not to mention Saru’s new role (although I am not entirely happy with pushing Saru aside like this).
The story possibilities for the next season are endless. We can only hope that this potential will be recognized and realized.
Next, we have Dave, who thought the last episode was fun and enjoyable but did have some issues with its execution.
‘That hope is You, Part 2’ brings to an end 13 wonderfully mixed episodes that made up Star Trek: Discovery season three. And while ‘That hope is You, Part 2’ was enjoyable, like its 12 predecessors it was by no means perfect. The best way I can review this episode is to split it into two parts, one consisting of what happened with Su’Kal and the other focusing on the action on the USS Discovery and Federation HQ.
Let’s start with the action elements as for me that is where the ‘That hope is You, Part 2’ fell down. Not that anything I saw was particularly bad, it was just basic run of the mill sci-fi action that can be found in any other show or film in the genre. My review for the “Die Hard in Space” episode that was ‘There is a Tide’ had similar issues. That whole episode was cliched and predictable, but I accepted it for what it was which was to basically set up the season finale. I was hoping that come the finale, something unexpected would happen. Alas, my hope was in vain. The only surprising moment came in the shape of Book’s sudden ability to pilot the spore drive, and by doing so, saving Saru and company on the Dilithium planet. It was good to see the bridge crew band together to save the ship while running out of air (another sci-fi trope) but as soon as they discounted the DOT droids as viable options to complete the task of disrupting the nacelles, you knew the mechanical helpers would end up saving someone’s life. Also, I am surprised that on a ship that is built to operate in space; oxygen masks or space suits are not more readily available throughout the vessel? Burnham’s fight with Osyraa was standard fare with the former coming out on top. Although like many, I think it was an error killing the villain off as she could have been a good antagonist again for next season. The turbolift fight was the worst sequence I have seen through all three seasons of Discovery. The oversized Discovery interior was over the top and really brought me out of the action when I should have been fully immersed. The confrontation between Book and Zareh could have happened any number of ways while still maintaining the excitement the writers were no doubt looking for. In the end, it was nothing but a disappointment, I mean, how many times do we need to see villains fall to their deaths after a fight? I feel when it comes to the action scenes the writers need to be more original and not just rehash what has been seen many times on TV and Cinema screens.
The real highlight of the finale was everything that happened with Su’Kal. This was Star Trek. An alien being, scared and alone needing help to find his way, all the while the stakes and dangers for the crew remained high. The scenes with Saru comforting and encouraging his fellow Kelpian were a joy. With their own lives on the line, nothing was rushed. Some might complain about the answer to the Burn and while it wasn’t exactly what we expected coming into the final episodes of this season, I found some satisfaction that it wasn’t caused by some ultimate weapon or experiment gone wrong. It was caused by an alien and a traumatic event in his life, the death of his mother. Yes, we can poke holes at the scientific explanation, but in terms of the story, it felt very much like Star Trek. The scenes in which Su’Kal finally faces down his fear, a hologrammatic replay of his mothers passing and seeing the bodies of his family lined up on the floor, was well done and written extremely well as it did pack an emotional punch.
In the end, everything seemed to be wrapped up pretty nice while also setting up plot threads for season 4. Will Gray be seen again? Will Stamets continue his grudge with Burnham? Will Earth and other former planets rejoin the Federation? What will happen with the fragmented Emerald Chain? All questions I am looking forward to seeing answered. It would also appear that a ‘planet of the week’ format could be coming back to Star Trek and that is where my final thought takes me. With Burnham in the captain’s chair, it seems that her personal journey set over three seasons has finally come to an end, a vicious cycle of mistakes and redemption behind her with a renewed vigour to help rebuild the Federation. The end of season three felt very much like the end of a series if a fourth season had not been announced I am sure there would be rampant speculation on whether or not there would be any more to come from the Discovery crew. I feel that the ending to ‘That Hope is you, Part 2’ signifies that change is coming for Star Trek: Discovery, while there will no doubt be an overarching story to season 4, a return to classic Trek elements, which we had already seen numerous times, is on the cards for season 4. Planet of the week for sure, monster of the week as well? Perhaps.
All we can do now is wait with bated breath on the potential that season 4 has to offer.
Finally, we have Jack who felt it was a strong finish to a great season, but he does come with some minor complaints.
It’s been a lengthy 801 episodes from TOS’ ‘The Cage’ to this weeks ‘The Hope That Is You Part 2’. You could say ‘It’s been a long road, getting from there to here’. After a frankly outstanding season 3 so far, did Star Trek Discovery fall at the final hurdle?
Ok did I fool you? Hope so.
There were certain elements I had a problem with. The most serious being either that I kept on getting Captain Janeway vibes off of Osyraa and despite Kate Mulgrew being back in the fold now, we got no cameo (admittedly, it probably wouldn’t have made any sense, but compared to other complaints I’ve heard of the show, it’d be very forgivable).
I feel her character was rather sold short, there was insufficient time to get her to be an effective big bad on the scale of Khan Noonian Singh or Lore. Because of this lack of screen time and development, a potentially great Star Trek villain is now likely near the bottom of the pantheon of the greatest villains and while I’d enjoy seeing more of what she’d do, she is not high on my list of people I want to see make a comeback next year, as we know that dead in sci-fi doesn’t always mean dead.
I also don’t exactly buy U.S.S. Discovery having enough internal volume to allow for such an extensive turbo lift network (I think I even spotted some worker bees), again I feel this is a logic glitch at best and like Osyraa, is not nearly enough to give me a negative impression of ‘That hope is You, Part 2’ as a whole, rather one of the many minor goofs that the franchise has produced in its 801 episodes and 13 motion pictures.
Onto the good, these vastly outweigh the bad (although I did wonder ‘shouldn’t the crew have experienced brain death after that long without Oxygen?’). ‘That hope is You, Part 2’ Su’Kal subplot was not only resolved well (and to me justified Gray’s seeming reappearance from nowhere) but broadly speaking, it’s allegorical nature fit with ease into the overall Star Trek cannon. The ‘too intellectual’ charge levelled against ‘The Cage’ can equally be thrown here and I for one think that means in this episode, it is a worthy continuation of the franchise’s fifty – four-year legacy and I can think of no higher compliment than that.
I will say any lack in ‘That hope is You, Part 2’ is quite minor and easily overlooked. They exist here but are so easily overlooked that they did not detract from my enjoyment of the episode and I must therefore thoroughly recommend it. I personally have a gripe with a lot of shows which like Star Trek are now designed to be binge-watched but are still distributed weekly. I plan to get into this more in next week’s article on the season as a whole, but with the franchise now adopting a chapter model for Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek Picard (with Star Trek Strange New Worlds promising a more episodic model), – not to mention there being multiple times this season where episodes are made better watched with another – it’s certainly time to rethink how shows are broadcast online now.
Overall, though, a firm 4.75 out of 5.
Also, a strong recommendation to binge all of season three now it is possible.
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