The following are a few notes I took while watching Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 5. 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 5, Commander Burnham and crew navigate a dangerous alien landscape in a race against time to save Ensign Tilly. In the end, however, Lieutenant Stamets is not at all prepared for what they discover in the process. Meanwhile, Section 31 is assigned to assist in tracking down Spock, much to the dismay of Captain Pike.
Another week, yet another very strong entry in the show’s much improved second season. I thought it was a great episode, continuing to pluck the heartstrings with heavy drama and emotion like last week. For those hoping to finally have Spock appear, I must note that the main arc of the season is mostly on hold here. Instead, we take a beat to explore some lingering questions left over from the first season. Thankfully, doing so took the form of a pretty cohesive episode with really strong performances by multiple cast members.
Star Trek Discovery continues to become more like quintessential Trek in its very good second season
One thing that can be said for this season is the writers and producers are really trying to bring the show in line with what Star Trek has always represented. Themes like humanism, the importance of teamwork, and scientific exploration have always been at the forefront of this franchise. The first season didn’t highlight those subjects so much, and I think that was a lot of the problem.
Granted, I never really thought the show was bad, for a couple of reasons. Chief among those is the fact that the subject matter of the season revolved around war. As a result, it veered into unusual territory with respect to Star Trek. Really, only during the Dominion War depicted in Star Trek: DS9 did we see much of that. And, it’s important to note, it was considered controversial even then. There were a lot of people screaming that DS9 was committing heresy by going against Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a completely hopeful future where war was a thing of the past. Now, of course, we can look back on those episodes quite fondly, but I digress. My point is to say that the theme of the season necessitated it being quite different.
Thankfully, this season seems representative of the writers/producers directly responding to the wishes of fans. Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 5 is another example of that trend back toward quintessential Star Trek. It was an episode with a lot of heart, but which managed to frame things in a decidedly scientific way. Without giving away huge spoilers, they even managed to touch on the very Trek trope of reviving a deceased character through fantasy-science.
Oh, and while we’re talking about the show cozying itself up to greater Star Trek themes and canon…
It’s obvious after Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 5, a major plot hole from the first season is being closed. What I’m talking about is the spore drive. How can Discovery skip across space-time on a magic mushroom network, yet nowhere else in Star Trek lore have we heard of such a thing? It’s been a big problem from the beginning. For my money, I’ve been content it would all make sense in the end. Still, I can understand people’s complaints. Thankfully, it’s looking more and more like they aren’t going to make a fool out of me with that assumption.
Even during Season 1, there were hints as to why the technology might’ve been curbed in the future. The creature originally used as the conduit was physically traumatized. That’s not something Starfleet is okay with. A rogue captain in war-time might overlook breaking some eggs to make an omelette, but there had to be a reckoning eventually. Then, even after they conquered that problem by using a human host, the trauma remained. It just didn’t seem like a technology the Federation would continue to use, once all the facts were known.
And now we discover that incursions into the mycelial network actually damage that ecosystem. And it’s an ecosystem that’s home to an obviously intelligent – though completely alien – species. Frankly, there’s no way the Federation would be okay with that in any way, shape, or form. In fact, it makes sense why it would be so deeply classified in the future that nobody knows about it. Even if the Federation decided never to use the technology, they couldn’t risk someone else doing so. In the end, it looks like it’s all going to tie up in a neat little bow and that’s awesome.