Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 13 recap – the ending explained all's well that ends well

January 7, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Ending Explained, TV Recaps, Weekly TV
2

Summary

“That Hope Is You, Part 2” takes no chances in an action-packed finale that proceeds along predictable lines to a perfunctory conclusion – with plenty of contrived plotting for good measure.

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2

Summary

“That Hope Is You, Part 2” takes no chances in an action-packed finale that proceeds along predictable lines to a perfunctory conclusion – with plenty of contrived plotting for good measure.

This recap of Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 13, “That Hope Is You, Part 2”, the ending explained, contains spoilers.


Things are not looking good for the crew of the USS Discovery. Its captain, Saru, is stuck with Culber and Adira on a highly irradiated planet in the middle of a volatile nebula with the man-child Kelpien whose temper tantrums caused the Burn. Its acting captain, Sylvia Tilly, is leading the bridge crew on an against-the-odds mission to retake the ship, which has been captured by Osyraa and the Emerald Chain. It’s only link with its experimental spore drive, Stamets, has been ejected by resident one-man-army Michael Burnham, who is also being held by the Chain along with Book, who spends a good chunk of “That Hope Is You, Part 2” (Part 1 was the premiere) being tortured. All in all, it’s a nightmare.

The fact that all of this turns out mostly okay is a bit of a condemnation of the show’s writer’s room since it requires some rather absurd logical gymnastics and contrived plotting to pull off. Virtually all of the crew are imperiled to an extent that they might die, but none of them do, which is a shame not because I care about any of the bridge crew – I don’t know most of their names offhand, in all honesty – but because it implies that the show isn’t willing to do anything genuinely interesting anymore. Perhaps it never was. But there was definitely a sense in the early days that nobody, except perhaps Michael, was ever truly safe. Now, in large part because of Michael, everyone seems too safe for their own good.

Ah, Michael. I wish I loved you as much as Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 13 obviously does. As I have speculated for a while now, Saru’s and Tilly’s leadership arcs were, really, just an excuse to put Michael in the captain’s chair, which is hardly an impactful decision since she has occupied the entirety of the plot’s attention until this point despite having been demoted more than once and having a well-documented history of insubordination that actually got worse, rather than better, since she was catapulted into the future, initially on her own. She has the scientific know-how to solve every plot problem, the pretty face to attract the attention of whatever handsome male happens to be around, and the right hook to deck any of the show’s plentiful villains. She’s a smart, capable, charismatic, daring leader who everyone likes. It hardly seems fair.

Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 13 recap – “That Hope Is You, Part 2”

It’s not fair, obviously, which is entirely the problem with “That Hope Is You, Part 2”. You just know she’s got a plan. You know that no matter how much she flaunts Federation directives or the laws of physics she’s never going to be made to pay for it. Here, her famous inhuman competency actually becomes contagious. When the Discovery’s life support systems are turned off, Lt Owosekun – whose name I just had to Google – reveals that she can hold her breath for up to ten minutes at a time, which has never been mentioned before. At first, I thought she was being sarcastic. This, you understand, is basic storytelling stuff. We’re supposed to know this ahead of time so that when Osyraa proposes turning off the systems we can think, “Aha! Lt Owosekun can hold her breath!” Instead I just rolled my eyes – and not for the last time.

Other eye-roll moments included Book being able to operate the spore drive in Stamets’ absence thanks to his empathic talents, which have at least been mentioned before but never in relation to the drive, and Michael being forced into an all-consuming machine during a final fight with Osyraa just for her to… walk right back out again. The Spore Data gaining sentience and taking over the ship’s worker robots amounts to basically nothing beyond preventing the major characters from dying, and Osyraa’s pet boffin Aurellio’s face turn is handled as gracelessly as we predicted it would be last week. He’s even the one to figure out that Book can use the spore drive!

Star Trek: Discovery has never, if we’re being honest, been very good at all this stuff, despite its clearly ample budget allowing for a level of visual finesse that is admittedly impressive. “That Hope Is You, Part 2” looks great, when your eyes stop rolling for long enough to take it in, but what’s frustrating is that the rest of the episode, which concerns Saru, Culber, and Adira trying to essentially talk Su’Kal away from a dilithium-detonating ledge, is really good, thoughtful science-fiction. Gray gets to exist in physical form while in the simulation, which helps to further Adira’s personal arc, and Saru helping Su’Kal through his trauma, ultimately culminating in him seeing Saru as a Kelpien for the very first time, was genuinely moving. Culber, easily the most thankless role in the show, accomplished more with his warm embrace of Gray than any other interpersonal interaction does anywhere in the hour.

This stuff feels like Star Trek as it’s meant to be – the Die Hard In Space adventure aboard the ship itself feels like a Klingon spy wearing its clothes. I was almost resentful when a dementedly smiley Michael took the captain’s chair in her snazzy new uniform, with Vance’s explicit blessing, and without any resistance from an absent Saru, who has conveniently returned to Kaminar. The rest of the bridge crew look on adoringly at her, wishing that they, too, might one day get outfitted with so much plot armor. Michael’s captain’s catchphrase is simply, “Let’s fly.” Yes, let’s. Somewhere a bit more interesting next time.

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