Thursday, March 17, 2022

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - Michael Must Stop Book and Tarka to Save Billions of Lives on Earth and Ni'Var in 'Coming Home'

Paramount+'s Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 4.13 "Coming Home"

The DMA approaches Earth and Ni'Var. With evacuations underway, Burnham and the team aboard the U.S.S. Discovery must find a way to communicate and connect with a species far different from their own before time runs out.

"Coming Home" was written by Michelle Paradise and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi

Every season of this show features a threat to all known existence across the galaxy. It's a formula that has grown slightly exhausted. It always produces final images of aspiring to explore what else is out there. So much has been discovered over the years. The U.S.S. Discovery has been a crucial part of those developments. Its crew is well-equipped to handle the various threats. They've all locked into complete security in their personal lives as well. It's been a struggle at times. They have to atone for past mistakes. And yet, they get to end the season with complete closure. Everything concludes in a neat and tidy way. The crew looks to the horizon for whatever comes next. They take some time to recover and relax. However, the focus is always on how the Federation can be further united to face the unknown. All of this is explored in such extreme terms. The art of diplomacy can only be urgently pronounced because of an existential threat to billions of lives. Admiral Vance and Tilly can only evacuate so many lives from Earth and Ni'Var before the DMA destroys the planets. They are clear in their mission. It's an absolute priority to be depicted as well. It showcases their willingness to die for their cause. They will stay behind to ensure as many lives as possible are saved. They can't help everyone. They simply have to cope with the idea they've accomplished all they've needed to in order to be content with the legacy they leave behind. That's the extent of their story together. It mostly only increases the danger of the proceedings. It places the priority on the discussions happening outside the galaxy with unknown alien species 10-C. Because learning to speak to one another seemed like it would take too long, Book and Tarka make a run at the power supply to eliminate the DMA and potentially energize a way to make their dreams come true. It's all fueled by personal loss. It offers no easy solutions either. It's simply the perils of always fearing the worst from the unknown. Tarka takes advantage of a mysterious situation. He's not talking directly with the 10-C. He only sees a way to potentially reunite with the one person he has ever loved. He prioritizes that above all else. He is blinded to the true cost of his actions. He may ignite more destruction than was caused by the Burn. That event was similarly carried out by the unknown emotional response of an entity that didn't understand their standing in the galaxy at large. As such, so much of this season felt familiar. The execution was better because the storytelling understood the episodic drive.

The narrative is still driven by a pattern. The audience can clearly see that. Michael and the crew are successful in their mission. They present themselves in their entity to the 10-C. First contact isn't what they hoped for. They feared losing their loved ones along the way. Book was willing to die if it meant Michael could succeed. They love each other. The mission will always come first. It's somewhat cruel to tease Book's death only to eventually bring him back alive. He doesn't feel the pain of what happened in that ambiguity. He acknowledges the punishment he must be dealt as a result of his actions. He was in mourning over the loss of his family on Kwejian. That can't justify the countless betrayals and his need to embrace violence. Michael always trusted the sacred nature of Starfleet's teachings. That remained steadfast in her actions. She ends up impressing Rillak too. She won't be leaving the captain's chair any time soon. However, she has the respect of being one of the best officers serving the galaxy. She is at the forefront of discovery as well. That makes the title of the ship even more on-the-nose. Again, it makes for a fitting and complete ending. It's just odd how the show teases consequences for the actions taken in the heat of the moment only to completely forego them. Book is ready for death and Michael assumes it happened. It didn't. The spore drive is destroyed and the crew believes it will take decades to return home. It doesn't. Everyone is happily reunited while the 10-C are cleaning up the mess they unknowingly caused throughout space. Book is ultimately the messenger who demands they go further in taking responsibility for their actions. They mine a precious mineral to keep their civilization safe. In doing so, they destroyed planets with sentient life. Agreeing to better scan the areas they mine isn't a good enough offer. Instead, Book pleads for more. The 10-C agree to the conditions laid out. They are a collective entity that still feels individual emotions. They are greeted by this different extension of known existence. Everyone has to make adjustments. They seek to understand. Once those conversations can occur, it allows greatness to transpire. Diplomacy is not so difficult. People simply have to be willing to try. That's the heart of the message. It's simple. Yet that's what it needs to be to offer this concise conclusion. It's not the most dramatically satisfying and tense episode of the season. It's the ending the creative team deems necessary for the way they conduct these stories. That too was foreseeable even when the characters suggest challenging what has always been known and comforting to them. Those divisions can still be so profound. But it's also great to see the Federation come together fully once more - with a cameo by Stacey Abrams to back up the potency of the image too.