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Star Trek: Discovery - Such Sweet Sorrow - Review

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One of the biggest surprises of the back half of this season of Star Trek: Discovery was just how emotional this season has been. From Culber's return to Airiam's death & funeral to Pike learning of his own, horrific future and opting to go through with his actions that led to that fate anyway, Discovery has done a fantastic job at correcting the weaknesses of the earlier half of the season in style particularly with this episode, which acted very much as a calm before the inevitable storm, with just one episode of the second season left to go.

The show started off with an initial goodbye to the ship itself, coupled with a montage of the crew leaving Discovery, but it was cut short by the fact that the sphere was continuing to evolve, as the crew should have expected. Their plans to destroy the ship to prevent Control from getting to it failed, and now, with an empty Discovery, the crew needs to come up with an alternative solution to beat the ticking clock. Wherever they jump in the universe it is only a matter of time before Control and Section 31 find them, so whatever solution they need to come up with they need to do so fast. This leads to a frantic back and forth where Burnham realises that she can take the Discovery into the future, to where her mother is, on a one-way trip with no return, keeping the vessel there.

As awesome as Anson Mount's Pike has been this season on Discovery it's been a testament to the writing of these characters this episode that showed that they don't need a new captain to replace him. We learnt more about most of the characters than we have in the past, and if anything, this was preparing us for a potential gamechanger. Could the series focus on the crew stuck all these years in the future in a new timeline that was created from the prevention of Control's victory? It would explain why Pike and Number One wouldn't be in Season 3, given their recent exits, if they're stuck in the past. It would also explain why Discovery isn't around in the current timeline nor even mentioned. It would be a massive gamechanger that would no doubt shake up the series entirely going into the next season, but gamechangers aren't exactly new to the franchise.

Sonequa Martin-Green once again knocked it out of the park as Burnham this episode. This season has been huge for Burnham and Martin-Green nailed every momnent here. I already have Mount pencilled in for a POTM nomination at the end of the month as a result of last week's episode, but I may have to nominate Martin-Green as well. The revelation that Tyler wasn't coming on board with the crew of the Discovery paved way for him to move over to the Georgiou spinoff, and I did like that revelation from Georgiou that she finally admitted that she was from the mirrorverse, and working alongside Pike was good and Pike the same, admitting that he knew about the mirroverse all along was a nice touch on top of this. Turning Georgiou into comic relief with her suggestion of firing anti-matter into a nova being dismissed as one of the few bad ideas in a room where there could be none of them. And I did like how the show justified Tyler sticking around to make sure that a threat like Control never happened again, even if he's still one of the weakest links character-wise on the series. I hope the Georgiou spinoff will give him more room to develop.

This was another reminder that this show excels the most when it makes use of all its ensemble and pretty much the entire cast got something to do in Such Sweet Sorrow, no matter how minimal. We even had Leland in the flashforwards when Burnham touched the Time Crystal to see Control invading and ruthlessly dispatching the crew. Even Number One got a line! And on top of that, the show had time to introduce Po, queen of the planet of Xahea and home to the location of the latest signal. Po was brought across from the short-Trek spinoffs (which I haven't watched but most likely will before the series is over), and Yadira Helena Guevara did a very good job at selling her character's friendship with Tilly. You totally brought the chemistry that the two shared and in an episode with a lot going on, I can't wait to see more of her character in the future, and her interctions with Jett Reno too were short but delightful.

If there was one flaw about Discovery this week it felt like a lot of set-up, with not much really happening aside from one big farewell to the cast. The episode essentially ended back where we started, with the Enterprise and the Discovery both surrounded by the entirety of Section 31 and about to put a new plan into action. But at least it went some way to rectify the problem concerning the lack of secondary character focus as we got to see the goodbyes of all the characters to their families and loved ones, even Burnham saying farewell to her adoptive parents, in an effective character montage.

One of the biggest complaints about Discovery when it launched was that it was to be another prequel series which may not have been needed after Enterprise and the recent Abrams movies, but what if the series isn't a prequel series anymore? Discovery may be about to take the franchise in an entirely new direction. Of course there's always a chance that the status quo could be reversed next week or in the first few episodes of Season 3, but it creates a fascinating prospect for the show going forward.

But for now, we have one more week to wait, and one more episode left. If this much is invested in setting the scene for the finale, one can only hope that it's as even as half as good as what we've had so far. But based on the strength of this season, I can only confirm what I've said since the end of Season 1, Star Trek: Discovery really is the best Star Trek show since Deep Space Nine.

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