After what feels like an eternity we have come to the end of Discovery’s first season. While the show has already been renewed for a second season, this is effectively the end of the series for me, I think. Season one has been a huge disappointment, and watching season two would be naught but an act of masochism on my part.
Discovery is not a good Star Trek show. Rather than chart new territory or in any way capture the sense of exploration at the heart of the franchise, it spent the entire season milking already tired Trek plot threads, whilst at the same time utterly failing to understand what made those ideas compelling in the first place. The Mirror Universe without camp. Klingons without honour.
But more importantly, Discovery is just not a good show, period. It is, in a word, dumb.
Look, I’m not a stickler for continuity or realism. I’m not bothered at all that Discovery looks so different from the original series, despite taking place in roughly the same era. I’m not bothered by the fact the spore drive makes no sense in the context of either Trek lore or real world science. Little stuff like that doesn’t faze me.
But when every single episode, every single arc, has at least glaring plot hole or logical inconsistency, it’s much harder to tolerate. It speaks to sloppiness, to laziness, on the part of the writers.
And the worst part is that Discovery doesn’t know it’s dumb. It’s all played incredibly straight and serious. It’s a very dumb show that thinks it’s very smart, and the lack of self-awareness and utter tone-deafeness ruins it more than anything else.
It’s no coincidence that two of Discovery’s most enjoyable episodes are also its most unabashedly silly. As a “popcorn show,” Discovery could have worked. But it wants all the credit of being thought-provoking television without doing any of the legwork, and the end result is disastrous.
For all that I can be ranty at times, I do try to keep this blog from being too negative. There’s already so much negativity in fandom, and I’m loathe to contribute to it. I know a lot of people are enjoying Discovery, and it’s wrong of me to rain on their parades. But the show had potential, and I kept hoping, and when that hope was lost, blogging on it was a welcome catharsis for my frustration over Discovery’s wasted potential.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s cover the finale, shall we?
In “Will You Take My Hand,” Mirror Georgiou implements her plan to win the war by destroying Qo’nos, and much of the episode deals with the moral dilemma that presents.
Right away, the episode had me facepalming. Last week we were told the Federation had lost 20% of their territory and roughly a third of their fleet, which is bad, but not unrecoverable. But now suddenly the Klingons are at Earth’s doorstep.
The dilemma over the genocide also fails utterly.
Firstly, this plan would never have worked. Destroying their homeworld would just make the Klingons even angrier, and as they are a large empire, it probably wouldn’t have crippled their war machine. More importantly, if the Klingon fleet is already at Earth, blowing up Qo’nos won’t do anything. They’d destroy Earth, then head home. Or just take Earth as a new home.
Secondly, there’s no moral quandary here. Discovery has never once portrayed Klingons as anything but the embodiment of evil. There is no good in them. There’s no reason to spare them. They’ll always be a threat to anyone around them.
Also, it needs to be said that the Tyler/Voq arc is now proven to have been utterly pointless. It does nothing to affect the arc of the season or its ending, and offers no satisfying conclusion of any kind. It was a complete waste of time.
The only highlight here is, once again, Tilly. Aside from usual her delightfulness, I loved the moment where she shoves aside Tyler — who is clearly making Burnham uncomfortable — to walk beside Burnham instead. A subtle but powerful moment of her looking out for her friend.
Otherwise, a disappointing end to a disappointing season.
Overall rating: 4/10