Show Reviews

Star Trek: Discovery, S2, Ep. 12 (“Through the Valley of Shadows”) and Ep. 13 (“Such Sweet Sorrow”)

Image Credit: CBS Interactive, Inc.

JAYSUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH! Looks like Discovery is going out with yet another super-charged BANG. When the season first began, I wasn’t entirely without hope, yet plagued with a twinge of pessimism as to HOW-IN-THE-UNIVERSE the show was going to top last season’s whirlwind of drama, intrigue, and surprises. Well, it would appear that my semi-lack of faith was unfounded, and quite foolish. Kurtzman and crew have pulled off one hell of a second season, one that ranks right up there with the best of what Star Trek has given us in the past. And yet, we still have next week’s season finale to go. I may have to cancel all previous Thursday engagements so that I can watch the conclusion in real-time. Priorities, kids.

In last week’s “Through the Valley of Shadows,” we were given a glimpse into Pike’s future – one which we all know too well. I think most of us were hoping to see some small portion of it, or even an alluding to it, but I wasn’t prepared to see all of it. And what a fantastic surprise it was! I loved that the show’s designers kept the integrity of Pike’s look from “The Menagerie, Parts 1 and 2,” but with a slight 21st century upgrade.

Captain Pike from “The Menagerie, Part 1” (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

Pike’s future injury gets a redesign in “Through the Valley of Shadows” (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

Additionally, what the episode gave us is not unlike what “If Memory Serves” gave us: perspective. Knowing that Pike now faces a knowable future (caused by his possession of the time-crystal from Boreth), one which he’ll meet head-on, provides a whole new perspective, and further builds upon his original story in TOS, adding much more depth to his character. He is, as Admiral Cornwell so perfectly stated, the best of Starfleet. His words to Tenavik on Boreth unequivocally confirmed this:

“I’m not going to abandon the things that make me who I am because of a future that contains an ending that I hadn’t foreseen for my myself.”

Anson Mount is just so damn good as Pike.

We were also treated to a second unexpected revelation. One which presented itself during a truly heartfelt exchange between Hugh Culber and Jett Reno. Turns out Jett, too, is married, or was married. Her wife died during the Klingon War, which is something she shares with Hugh in the hope that it provides him with something to consider – he’s been given a second chance with his love. A chance that most people never get, and one which he shouldn’t take so lightly, or be so callous about.

The series has been supremely adept at poking you where you’d most feel it… the chest region.

Speaking of which, this week’s episode was in no short supply of “poking” and gifts from the Trek gods. It also brought us full-circle, and connected the dots to a couple more of the Short Treks episodes: “Runaway” and “Calypso“.

In “Runaway,” we met a stowaway (named “Po”) from the planet Xahea, a visitor who not only turned out to be a brilliant engineer, but also the planet’s queen. A Xahean, whose brilliance and creative ingenuity with recrystallizing dilithium is greatly needed if all sentient life is to endure.

Which leads us to an answer from a question that, up until this point, had not been avowed….

Why was Discovery abandoned nearly a thousand years in the future, with no trace of her crew?

Well, the elusive answer to this mystery, posited in “Calypso,” is because Michael time-traveled with Discovery in-tow, and left her there – a place considered to be unreachable by Control. A solution which, for now, seems alone in its existence, because there appears to be no other way for Captain Pike and crew to keep the sphere’s data safe from the genocidal artificial intelligence. A safeguarding that will see Burnham, and all of the bridge crew, stranded within that future time-period. Did you think that this was going to end well, like a Disney feature?

Okay, maybe it will. We have several more days until all is revealed. So, I suppose I shouldn’t abandon all hope like it’s the USS Discovery. But, dammit, Jim! How in universe can this all end on a “happy” note?

*takes a deep breath*

Let’s switch gears and talk about how god-darn BEAUTIFUL the upgraded interior of the Enterprise looks.

The Enterprise gets a 21st century upgrade in “Such Sweet Sorrow” (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

It has everything the 60s gave us, but with a kiss of 21st century lovin’. Man, truth be told, I literally clapped when we stepped aboard the ship, and were given those first wide-angle shots. Woo-wee! Just gorgeous.

Upgrade even includes a brand-spanking new viewscreen (CBS Interactive, Inc.)

I haven’t the slightest credible clue what to expect this coming Thursday, but I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts it’ll come with a healthy side of poking…..A LOT of poking, to be sure. Remember to keep a box of tissues at arm’s length. We’re all gonna need something to wipe the salt trails and boogers away with. Of that, I have the utmost certainty.

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