The following are a few notes I took while watching Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 12. Warning: mild spoilers may be included, though I’ve tried to stay away from including anything too glaring. Either way, consider yourself warned.
In Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 12, a new signal leads the Discovery to an insular world. Once there, Captain Pike must make a life-changing choice, which provides new perspective on Star Trek canon. Meanwhile, Burnham and Spock investigate a Section 31 ship gone rogue, leading to a revelation with catastrophic consequences.
I won’t lie. Tonight’s episode wasn’t exactly my cup of tea for several reasons I’ll expound upon throughout this write-up. That being said, this was only the second lackluster outing this season, as far as I’m concerned. Capping off with last week, we’ve had an impressive string of episodes full of narrative momentum in Season 2. That being the case, it feels almost selfish to complain too much over the occasional stinker. Unfortunately – while there were definitely some positives – Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 12 comes in as one of those.
First, what I really enjoyed about the episode:
I think it was a really great move for Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 12 to actually showcase the eventual tragic fate we all know is in store for Captain Pike. The flashforward provided us a glimpse of something described in the greater Star Trek canon, yet never shown on-screen. This was another example of the show doing a great job establishing their place in the greater Star Trek universe. Interestingly, they accomplished this, while also adding a whole new layer of context that further enriches the narrative.
The sequences revolving around Pike’s quest were visually stunning, and his vision in the cave was actually disturbing to watch. It left me unsettled, exactly the way something with such weight rightfully should. Much of that can be credited to the performance of Anson Mount, but the vision was actually quite powerful.
Going even further, Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 12 actually managed to expand the character’s story. Taking Captain Pike’s already-established future and making it a sacrifice he chose in order to save others adds a level of heroism to a character with a reputation in Star Trek canon that makes it feel like something he would actually do.
My one and only complaint revolved around the plotholes created by this part of the story. I mean, we never really understand why taking the crystal locks him into a particular fate. For that matter, wouldn’t having the crystal at all make it possible to change that fate? It was these and other similar problems that bothered me about the episode, so now let’s talk about those.
And now, the things I found lacking in Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 12:
Even though the Klingon planet sequences were awesome, the setup wasn’t great. I’m not really sure how L’Rell justifies being there at all. Faking Tyler/Voq’s death was supposed to be to help shore up her precarious position as Chancellor. Yet, just a few months later, here she’s bringing a ship full of Klingons along for a secret meeting with Starfleet, with whom her people have recently been at war. It doesn’t track.
Frankly, I also hate that the entirety of the Klingon story this season has been about a secret baby fated to get dumped on a mystical planet, where he would age out of time, so he could be there to interact with Captain Pike. It’s telling that both of the episodes I haven’t cared for this season revolved around the Klingons. Dealing with them is something Discovery still needs to work on.
The parts centering on Burnham and Spock left some to be desired as well. On a positive note, you could feel the brother/sister thing between them. Still, it was hard getting around the big reveal in their part of the story not being much of one. I knew instantly the lone-surviving crewmember shouldn’t be trusted. I was honestly cringing that two Starfleet science officers fell for the ruse, but I guess something had to drive the plot.
And lastly, could they’ve thought of anything more lame than time crystals? I get the need for a McGuffin to drive the story. It just bothers me that the writing talent involved here couldn’t come up with something better. Maybe I’m being nitpicky. I don’t know. In the end, it’s difficult to be too upset over only the second not-so-great episode of the season. Here’s to hoping Discovery goes out with a bang in the season finale next week.