Thursday, April 11, 2019

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - Michael's Latest Decision Will Send the Discovery on a New Journey in 'Such Sweet Sorrow'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 2.13 "Such Sweet Sorrow"

When the U.S.S. Discovery's crucial mission does not go according to plan, Burnham realizes what must ultimately be done. The crew prepares for the battle of a lifetime as Leland's Control ships get closer.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery.

"Such Sweet Sorrow" was written by Michelle Paradise, Jenny Lumet & Alex Kurtzman and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

This episode is all set-up and emotional manipulation. There is nothing inherently wrong with either of those things either. The execution here is just severely lacking as it becomes clear to the audience as it goes along that it will be nothing more than sappy goodbyes and then rousing speeches of unity. Plus, the science fiction aspects that dictate the twists that must occur don't even have any kind of tangential connection to the narrative. The audience is just suppose to go along with the wild swings that see Michael first realize the Discovery has to be destroyed and then that she has to transport the ship to the future in a one-way mission. Everyone is completely willing to go along with these plans as well. It makes it seem like Michael is the one dictating the actions of the ship. She is a commander but she's not the captain. As such, it leaves Pike feeling like he's just along for the ride instead of being the person people look to for clarity over what they should be doing in any given situation. Michael is the driving force of the narrative who makes the big decision here once more. She understands that she has to put on a new time suit in order to safely transfer the sphere data to the future. Of course, that solution doesn't eliminate the threat that Control currently poses. It has an army of Section 31 ships already at its disposal. That is a serious concern that could easily wipe out humanity on its own. It's just a looming threat throughout this episode though. There is the sense that the enemy is imminent. But it's also hard to contextualize how vital a role the sphere data will continue to be. What does it hold that would make Control even more daunting and dangerous as a villainous entity? It's important enough to send it to the future and have Michael say goodbye to all of her loved ones on the ship. That's where the priority is for the show right now. It could be hinting at a new direction for the series in the future. One that might offer up an explanation for some of the continuity issues that have popped up over time. If the Discovery jumps ahead in time, then that would explain why no other ship in StarFleet has the spore technology. Of course, that science is put offline here in order to power up the time crystal to make this one jump. That is coupled with Michael and Jet receiving ominous visions of the battle that's coming. Those are really just empty teases that may prove that all of this is futile anyway. Control is simply too powerful as it currently stands. It will do anything to eliminate this threat to its existence. Michael wants to reunite with her mother. She believes she is the only person with the skills and biological material necessary to navigate the time suit. She wishes to take this on as a solo mission. That's why everyone has these prolonged conversations about what an honor it has been to work with her and this team. Pike notes how special every member of the bridge crew has been. He has enjoyed his time on the Discovery. He knows that it will venture into an unknown future for more adventures. But that moment really doesn't land because the show still struggles when it comes to getting the audience to care about the relationships amongst the characters. It's solid when it comes to big moments of action and shocking twists. However, it's still lacking when it comes to making the world feel much larger than a few characters who are somehow making the decisions that will determine the future of the entire universe. Sure, it's rousing when many of the crew stand by Michael and will venture into the future with her. They aren't willing to abandon her now despite the odds that they'll never return to this point in time. But even that seems like a moment where some twist is inevitable because Spock is a part of that group and he ultimately has to stay in this timeline in order to keep things in line with the continuity of the Star Trek franchise at large. Plus, there's still the understanding that some time traveler from the future is responsible for the mysterious signals - with two more still left to occur at some point.