Need to catch up? Check out our previous Star Trek: Discovery recap here.
Star Trek: Discovery concluded its maiden voyage with a season finale that tied up a ton of loose ends — and offered a tantalizing visit from an old friend.
As the Klingons close in on Earth, “Captain Georgiou” (really, the evil mirror version) quickly gets used to being in command of the Discovery. She snaps at a crew member who refers to Qo’noS as the Klingons’ home planet: “Klingons are animals, and they don’t have homes.” The plan is to map the surface of Kronos by spore-jumping into one of the planet’s massive caves, but they need to know where to land. Georgiou interrogates L’Rell — and doesn’t hesitate to rough her up when she doesn’t talk — but the Klingon prisoner just laughs her off. So they turn to their next best source of Klingon information: Lt. Tyler, who still retains Voq’s memories. (He’s clinging to his humanity, too, by practicing the fishing knots he learned as a kid.)
Tyler points to the site of an ancient shrine on Qo’noS, now an outpost for the green-skinned Orions, as the ideal spot for their mapping drone. So after they successfully spore-jump into a nearby cave, Georgiou takes Burnham, Tyler and Tilly (the captain was impressed by her “Killy” alter ego) on an away mission to the trading post — an entertainingly grimy street market dripping with vice. Tyler goes into Voq mode again to play a Klingon game, which disturbs Burnham; she tells him the chilling story of how she had to listen while Klingons killed her parents. Inside a seedy club, Georgiou calls over a couple of go-go dancers for some private “me time” (hey, she’s the boss!), leaving Tilly in charge of the mapping drone. And yeah, she messes it all up.
Tilly encounters a drug-peddling Orion weirdo — hi, Clint Howard! — and, to be polite, inhales the volcanic vapor he offers her… and ends up passing out cold. (C’mon, Tilly! You had one job!) When she wakes up, she’s “very high,” and the drone is gone. It’s not really a drone, though, as it turns out; it’s a bomb, and Georgiou intends to use it to blow up Kronos. Burnham runs to tell Cornwell, but quickly realizes: She and Starfleet were in on the plan, too. Cornwell insists this is Starfleet’s best shot at survival: “We do not have the luxury of principles.” But Burnham fires back: “That’s all we have, Admiral!” And Saru and the crew stand with her, ready to mutiny if Cornwell goes through with this genocide.
So Burnham is dispatched to stop Georgiou before she triggers the planet-shattering bomb. Even though she’s not the prime Georgiou, the two still have a strong connection; in fact, Georgiou asks Burnham to ditch Starfleet and join her to rule this universe together. When Burnham refuses, Georgiou points a phaser at her, but she doesn’t budge: “The only way you’re going to get past me is to kill me.” Ever the pragmatist, Georgiou agrees to cut a deal: She hands over the detonator in exchange for a clean escape. But how to defeat the Klingons, then? Burnham turns and hands the detonator over to L’Rell, and tells her that in order to save Qo’noS, she needs to convince the Klingons to stand down.
Thanks to a pep talk from Tyler/Voq, L’Rell asserts herself and calls on the Klingons to unite as T’Kuvma envisioned — and when they laugh at her, she produces the detonator, which shuts them up pretty quick. Crisis averted! The Klingons retreat, and the war (for now) is over. But there is one casualty: Burnham’s romance with Tyler. He tells her he’s leaving to join L’Rell, and the former lovers struggle through an awkward goodbye. He even leaves her with one of his fishing knots. (Aw!) But there’s no chance we don’t see him and Georgiou again down the road, right?
Back on Earth, all is well. Burnham gets her mutiny charge expunged and is officially named a Starfleet commander. Tilly enters the command training program, and Saru becomes the first Kelpien to receive Starfleet’s medal of honor. Burnham also has a heartwarming reunion with surrogate dad Sarek, who commends her unwavering commitment to Starfleet ideals. The Discovery sets a course for Vulcan, with Saru as acting captain… but they stop when they receive a distress signal. It’s from a Starfleet vessel: NCC-17-something-something. Suddenly, they’re face-to-face with the Christopher Pike-captained Enterprise! Cue the old-school theme song…
Recapper’s Log, Supplemental:
* I spoke to showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts and hit them with the burning questions I had from tonight’s finale, so head over here for their answers.
* Cool touch that this week’s “Previously on…” was read by L’Rell — in Klingon.
* At the Orion trading post, did I spot a few Ceti eels — the icky ear worms from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan — being fried up by a food vendor?
* Tilly was definitely this week’s comic-relief MVP: accidentally eating gormagander; trying to give Georgiou the Terran salute; “I’m very high.”
* Burnham’s plan for peace went off without much a hitch, didn’t it, despite having to convince two bloodthirsty warriors (Georgiou and L’Rell) to work with her? Was it maybe too easy a solution to such a fiercely fought war?
* So who’s the new Discovery captain going to be? A Vulcan, perhaps, since Sarek is in charge of choosing their new leader?
Alright, Trekkies, now it’s your turn: Grade tonight’s Star Trek: Discovery finale, and Season 1 as a whole, in our polls, then beam down to share your thoughts in the comments.