The following are a few notes I took while watching Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 13. Warning: mild spoilers may be included, though I’ve tried to stay away from including anything too glaring. Either way, consider yourself warned.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 13 hits the ground running, setting the stage for next week’s finale. In the episode, Commander Burnham realizes what must ultimately occur when a crucial mission does not go according to plan. Meanwhile, crews from two starships must prepare for the battle of a lifetime as Control’s armada converges on their position.
Billed as the first of a two-part season finale, tonight’s episode picked up directly from the cliffhanger that closed last week. It was a great hour of television that hinted toward a major twist with series-changing potential. This article isn’t going to be a recap, because I’m sure by now you know that’s not how I roll. That being said, I usually try to avoid spoilers as much as possible, but that’s going to be difficult this time.
CONSIDER THIS YOUR WARNING then that everything after this sentence probably shouldn’t be read by anyone who hasn’t seen Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 13 for themselves.
What the future holds
Ever since it became clear season two was going to revolve around time travel, fan theories have abounded. Interestingly, one of them looks like it’s actually going to turn out to be true in some way or another. After two seasons of struggling against the constraints of franchise canon, Star Trek Discovery is now poised to break free. In order to keep the Sphere data from Control, the Discovery looks like it’s going to be jumping far into the future, and I think that’s an amazing idea.
Some may see it as a cheap out, but what it really means for the future is narrative freedom. On top of that, jumping so far ahead in the timeline will put the ship in a largely unexplored frontier. Instead of a prequel, constantly stressing the franchise’s structural integrity, we may finally get something new and fresh. I really couldn’t be happier about it.
I also found it very touching from a character standpoint that some of the crew are volunteering to go with Burnham into the future. They don’t have to go, in order to pilot the ship, etc. It’s not their duty to complete a mission. It’s a choice they are making, leaving behind everything and everyone they know, just so their crewmate won’t have to make the sacrifice alone. That’s some powerful stuff.
So, now, let’s talk about a few of them.
You might have volunteered, but it’s not happening. Sorry. Not unless there’s some sort of shenanigans.
Spock – Almost everything in the established Star Trek universe tells us this isn’t happening. Something is going to need to occur that keeps him from being able to go as planned. Another option might include some sort of science-y nonsense that creates a copy of him. Really, if they do this though, it’s just because they want to keep Ethan Peck. Truthfully, it’s not a horrible reason to do it, since he’s done a pretty good job with Spock. For the record, I would actually be OK with stretching incredulity a little to make this happen, but I doubt it. More likely, he is simply forced to stay behind. How they deal with the fact he has never acknowledged the existence of his foster-sister is another matter. Maybe she will retroactively erase herself from the timeline or something. I don’t know.
A few intermediary notes on some other volunteers from the initial scene in Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 13.
Reno – As much as I hope you warp to season three, Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 13 cast some doubt. It kind of left us with the idea you’re going to be going out in some self sacrifice-type situation. Maybe that’s incorrect. Maybe you will survive, after all, and I’m perfectly OK with that. Tig Notaro was a pretty inspired choice for this role, so if she wants to do it a bit longer I’ll happily watch.
Saru – Why can’t they just make him Captain already? I really hope them waffling back-and-forth, and then having the character himself put it on the back-burner, isn’t a bad sign. Michael Burnham is a great character, and she’ll make a great captain, but not yet. This series is actually served best by having her right where she is, and hanging the captain’s chair on her right now would feel like a bit of a cop-out, honestly.
Ash – I wasn’t sure if I should include him here or not. Technically, he removed himself from the equation during the events of Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 13. He made it clear during his own emotional goodbye that he wouldn’t be going with her. He would need to stay behind and be the moral compass for Section 31 moving forward. So I guess that means we’ll be seeing him, along with Michelle Yeoh, in that new spin-off later.
You didn’t volunteer, but I still think you’re probably going.
Po – She’s snarky and hilarious and cute. They made sure to let us know she’s still aboard when all the ugly stuff is getting started. It’s not difficult to imagine it’s going to get a little bit too hairy to be evacuating anyone else. Probably most importantly, though, is the fact they dedicated so much narrative time to her as a character. I seriously doubt they would waste so much screen time in Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 13, when truthfully they were already doing that with endearing Captain Pike to the audience, only to see him go.
And then there is the small matter of her having invented a way to re-crystallize dilithium. Star Trek canon tells us Scotty eventually comes up with that breakthrough for the Federation, but at the current point in history, ships require a constantly depleting supply. In other words, without her, they would be jumping Discovery into the future with no way to refill the gas tanks. Having Po tag along solves that problem. Ergo, I think future Po is happening.