Star Trek #1484: Such Sweet Sorrow Part 1

CAPTAIN'S LOG: Evacuation orders for Discovery as the ship disposed of lest if fall to Control.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Tear. Jerker.

WHY WE DON'T: The Culber subplot's resolution.

REVIEW: Such Sweet Sorrow's first part is all set-up, and that makes it hard to evaluate. If it doesn't deliver on its promises, we might think less of it, for example. That promise is of a new status quo for Season 3 in which a skeleton crew takes the Discovery into uncharted space, some centuries in the future, hopefully one Control did not destroy. To get there, a lot of obstacles have to push Burnham and her colleagues into a rather tight corner, and these feel pretty organic - the Sphere Archive doesn't let the ship be destroyed as planned, the time crystal can power a new Red Angel suit (showing that Culber wasn't actually off when he misread the Angel's DNA - some of those missions, including the signals, have to be her doing) but it puts the spore drive off-line, and so on. One of the problems is that only Burnham can wear the suit, and there's every chance the crystal will burn out taking the ship through the wormhole. Her friends are not the kind of people to leave her to her fate, so a fair number of people leave with her and that's that. Saru doesn't let her make an impassioned speech that might dissuade them. It's done. A great moment, among many in this heartfelt episode.

The trip to the future might last a couple episodes, and it might last for the rest of the series (in an effort to stop any more prequelitis, or to explain why Discovery is never mentioned in the rest of the canon), and I'd feel more confident about the latter if Spock wasn't among the volunteers. Of course, there's plenty of time for him to be left behind in Part 2, we'll see. If they're not gone for the/a long haul, it may take something out of the emotional goodbye scenes the episode revels in. That Sarek and Amanda get to the site of the battle in time is a little improbable, even with katra powers, but it's one of the better goodbyes. Once the big decision is made, all the other characters get a little moment too, sending messages to friends and family. The one that REALLY gets me is Pike's goodbye. After all, this is a character whose role on Discovery has been pretty wonderful - we're sorry to see him go - but more than that, he's really the only character we know will meet a terrible fate. The time crystal's visions to Burnham are a possible future where everyone dies by Leland's hand, and that's still possible now that they're aboard the Discovery, but it's what can be changed. Pike's future is set, and his last words, and the crew's last salute, feel that much more final. Yeah, I lost it.

One scene that works on an emotional level, but leaves something to be desired on the plotting end of things, is the goodbye between Stamets and Culber. If Culber was going to leave after all, then what was the purpose of giving him a scene where someone tells him it would be a mistake every episode since he came back to life? What is the purpose of bringing him back only to shuffle him off? But on an emotional level, the tragedy is that if Stamets HADN'T spoken first, Culber might have told him he wanted to get back together. When Stamets tells him he was right, there's every chance Hugh wanted to be wrong. It all plays on his face, but is left ambiguous, and I think I might like that. (Who knows. Maybe we'll find out he stayed behind and didn't tell anyone.) Another person who leaves is Ash Tyler, which is more of a surprise, but it's to make sure Control can never happen. I wonder if it'll be something the Section 31 show will deal with, or if we'll be left to retcon events in our minds. Like, did S31 engineer events in The Ultimate Computer? Did they have a talk with young Jim Kirk to turn him against machine intelligence?

It's sad to see anyone leave at this point, even if the Enterprise will play a big role in the fight to come. We haven't QUITE seen the last of Pike, Number One, Georgiou or Tyler (if he's going up against Leland, we might have reason to fear though). That ship, though it appears damaged in the time crystal visions, will survive and have a distinguished career, we know. (By the way, what did you think of Disco's shiny take on the iconic bridge? I'm not sure it really registers as the same space despite the little reddish orange guardrails myself.) Even if those characters leave, some join the cast. Jet and Nahn seem to be here to stay, and I'm happy about it. Queen Po, from the Short Trek "Runaway", also appears to have stayed on board to help save her planet. I don't mind, I guess, but she seems far less alien than she did in her first appearance, aside from the overused "eye blink" effect. For alienness, a gesture like Saru touching his side to show Pike honors and touches him, is far more effective. Po is good at what she does, has a pleasant confidence, and makes a good friend for Tilly, but there are too many gear heads aboard with her, Jet, Tilly, Stamets and Spock in the mix. I expect they won't all make it to the future...

LESSON: They don't have ice cream in the Mirror Universe, which explains a lot.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: A touching goodbye to the present status quo, but it's an incomplete story until we know it's for real.


De said...

I am truly hoping that Jett Reno survives the finale and becomes a regular in Season 3. Tig Notaro is a gem and has been criminally underused so far.

Siskoid said...

I hope so too. We've had our quota of intriguing character dying this season, right?


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