Star Trek: Discovery: Coming Home
March 17, 2022 3:20 PM - Season 4, Episode 13 - Subscribe

[Season finale] As the DMA approaches Earth and Ni'Var, with evacuations underway, Burnham and the team aboard the USS Discovery must find a way to communicate and connect with a species far different from their own before time runs out.

Memory Alpha

- We find out that Federation HQ is not only warp-capable, but also has sections that can separate from the main body and are also warp-capable.

- The president of United Earth was played by Stacey Abrams, who has long been a Star Trek fan.

Poster's Log: A suitable end to a somewhat uneven season. I think that it was wrapped up almost a little too neatly; the only person who didn't make it to the end was the one who no one liked, and Earth is back in the Federation. But
Species 10C turned out to be quite impressive (I'm reminded of the Leviathan race in Mass Effect), and there were people ready and willing to sacrifice themselves, even if they didn't have to. Here's hoping that next season is less dependent on the Imminent Destruction of Everything to move the plot forward; probably my most favorite episode was the one on Casino World.
posted by Halloween Jack (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When Michael said "we need a really good pilot" and death-stared at Detmer, I might have screamed "YOU BETTER FUCKING NOT".

Grudge may not have directly saved the day, but she WAS responsible for Book and Reno getting out, so it's still a win for cats.

If the Ten-C are as interconnected as T'Rina says, why do they need a language?

The Saru/T'Rina ship is quite lovely, and I would like to see it sailing for a long time.
posted by hanov3r at 3:52 PM on March 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

I cry.

I love my big gay space family.
posted by SansPoint at 5:41 PM on March 17, 2022 [7 favorites]

The redemption -- and convenient removal negating the need for deciding punishment -- of Tarka was a bit tough to swallow. All the previous moralising and feelings and stuff, and he changes his mind only in the last ten minutes?

At least the aliens were cool; and we got some Tilly.
posted by Marticus at 5:52 PM on March 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

This was a good ending. I think a suitable ending to the story of this season. I think moving pieces around all year made this finale stronger; ie. putting Tilly on the space station and leaving her there for half the season meant I really didn't know if she was safe at the end.

I kinda wish they'd killed Book off because I was shattered by his almost beam back death. I don't think giving him back is really fitting for a season about loss. But I do love him and Michael, so I'll be okay with this choice next season.

Stacey Abrams appearance at the end was the perfect kind of Trek cameo that works for me.

With the Federation back on track (and Earth rejoining), Michael's speech to the Earth President suggested that next season might be a bit more exploration. I know it was there for Stacey Abrams to say "ready to do the work" but it felt hopeful and Star Trek-ky in a way the show hasn't always felt.

I don't need all these shows to be the same, though. I'm looking forward to Strange New Worlds to give me that Planet of the Week joy. But I'd like the far future of Discovery to also feel more hopeful.
posted by crossoverman at 6:30 PM on March 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm looking forward to the next season being more about exploration, just like I was at the end of each of the previous three seasons
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:22 PM on March 17, 2022 [9 favorites]

I didn't know Stacey Abrams was going to have a cameo in this episode, and I was hit hard with some powerful feelings when she appeared. More of that hopefulness please.
posted by obol at 8:33 PM on March 17, 2022 [4 favorites]

I wish the montage at the end had been a full episode. For all the emphasis on emotional care, show us how these characters cope and unwind after the near-destruction of earth.

And I wish that this was the kind of show that knows how to do subtlety and lower stakes.
posted by Banknote of the year at 9:54 PM on March 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

Love how this show has finally embraced optimism and hope. I welled up multiple times.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 10:31 PM on March 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

I definitely agree with the wishes that the show had a setting other than Maximum At All Times, because that kind of stopped me from feeling anything during the Book death fake-out. The show's constant Extremely Emotions, Always makes it kind of exhausting to watch, even if Sonequa Martin-Green is absolutely going hard with her performances.

That kind of gets to the heart of what I've found kind of frustrating about this show nowadays — the actors are giving their all with excellent performances of mediocre writing, and it's starting to seem like a thankless job. Maybe it's related to how, after four seasons, the vast majority of the bridge crew still has no characterization beyond a name and an appearance. Maybe it's related to how Michael Burnham is now, by far, the single most important person to have ever lived.

I think a lot of what I liked about older Trek is that it allows itself to breathe and have smaller moments to develop the characters and allow us to care about them as people, and I've been pleased to see that, so far, Picard is actually doing a decent job about that in its second season. Discovery, on the other hand, feels like the aunt you don't actually know very well who learned once that you enjoyed a Hushed, Emotionally Charged Speech when you were like seven years old, and so she has sent you a Whispered, Moist-Eyed Important Speech for every single birthday since then.

Looking back on this season, I think that it could have worked a lot better if they had shifted up the 10-C reveal by like two or three episodes, and allowed the resolution to cook for a little longer, but the show has only one mode, and that is EXTREMELY URGENT DANGER (but also talking is a free action when characters need to discuss traumas they have, especially when those discussions don't actually go anywhere meaningful or interesting in the narrative).

I just wanted more mothman planet moments. Is that too much to ask.
posted by DoctorFedora at 1:25 AM on March 18, 2022 [17 favorites]

So is the Spore Drive gone for good?

That should make for some interesting narrative driven stories next season because it was mightily poweful and being 'reduced' to warp means that getting to places/escaping from things is no longer instanaeous
posted by Faintdreams at 4:19 AM on March 18, 2022

Overall as a finale I liked it.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:19 AM on March 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

So is the Spore Drive gone for good?

Well, they blew up part of the set for it (the navigation booth) so while I think it will be repaired, they will take the opportunity to change how it looks. Funny how Discovery got fancy future-tech upgrades everywhere else but the soundproof booth for recording Stamets's next album stayed the same all this time.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:03 AM on March 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

I'm gonna go ahead and guess that next season will not be all about exploration because that's Strange New Worlds's world now. Unless it too goes off on some nutty season-long continuity-straining space-war arcs.

Funny how Discovery got fancy future-tech upgrades everywhere else but the soundproof booth for recording Stamets's next album stayed the same all this time.

Hey man, even the far future needs transparent prison cells for its supervillains.

This was about as solid of a season finale as this season could have had. Many strong moments, but the one that stands out the most to me is probably the montage in the bar. Trek just doesn't do scenes like this, but it really should!; the nearest analogue I can think of is "The Way You Look Tonight" from the DS9 series finale, and even that one was less directly celebratory. I liked the look of Ten-C: it reminded me so much of the Protoss and various monsters from at least one of the Diablo games that I wondered if Blizzard was subcontracted to design them (and that's not a complaint). And I knew Abrams would appear, but the spectacle of her reveal was cool.

But as DoctorFedora put it,
the show has only one mode, and that is EXTREMELY URGENT DANGER

I think this—habit? chosen style? directive from the show bible??—directly or indirectly caused a lot of the problems that've come up in these discussions this season. One is the Book/Tarka plot. For instance, maybe Tarka should have been portrayed as much less dubious for a longer period after he was introduced, rather than swinging for Urgent Danger so soon. Another example: when Book makes that speech to Tarka about how sometimes things die for good, Mrs. OfBrazil and I agreed that this was a conversation that reasonably should have happened like four episodes ago—but to do that would have prevented the dozen Urgently Dangerous cliffhangers w/r/t DISCO and the Ten-C.

I wish the montage at the end had been a full episode.

Hard agree. Condense the Tarka plot, shorten the Ten-C uncertainty by about 30 min., have your climax in the penultimate ep, and make this one DISCO's "Family". In particular, it might have made Burnham's narration about being trapped in the far future unnecessary, and the underlying sentiment more resonant.

But all that said, note that the climax we did get? Was all about talking and understanding, not blowing shit up.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:05 AM on March 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

So is the Spore Drive gone for good?

The OG Spore Drive / Drummer Booth on Discovery is gone. The beta programmable matter spore drive on Book's ship is also gone, but I believe they said the Federation was working on getting spore drives on every ship in case another burn happens.
posted by Kyol at 6:03 AM on March 18, 2022

Someone makes a comment before executing the plan that the spore drive can’t be repaired without time in spacedock. I took the destruction of the chamber as having been done for dramatic effect, but am assuming that the spore drive will likely have been repaired by next season.
posted by Kosh at 6:09 AM on March 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

So many fireballs and exploding panels!

But now we know why there are fireballs. In the scene in the lounge room at the end there were large gas flames in the walls for ambiance. Clearly, in the far future natural flame is an important part of space culture. Perhaps they help space people relax, focus, and feel connected to their distant ancestral past when their people relied on open flame for heat, cooking, and protection on the surface of their home planet. As they are gas flames, they probably also provide a connection to their petroleum-fueled past that lead to all the modern amenities they enjoy in their present. As a result they are willing to risk fireballs and flames spurting out everywhere when the gas lines running all over the place to keep the ambient wall flames a-burning get damaged. Come to think of it, that probably explains exploding panels as well.

A small price to pay for the ambiance of real flame and a feeling of connection to distant ancestors. Holo-flames and hi-def screens with simulations of flames just wouldn't be the same.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:02 AM on March 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

I thought that this was the strongest end of a Discovery season so far. The only thing that really stood out as off for me was after the 10-C closed the DMA, the rocks headed for Earth suddenly reversed direction. Why would they do that? Overall, I liked the season, but the extreme threats are wearing.
posted by Spike Glee at 7:08 AM on March 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

They pulled it off. I was particularly impressed with what a big and complex story they told in this last episode, there was a lot going on and a lot of heavy thoughts and feelings. It was ambitious and it succeeded. It made me reflect on how much Trek has changed; TNG never had anything like this complexity. And while DS9 was rich in story they told it much more slowly.

Book is seriously dreamy, too. Handsome, smart, kind, lovable even despite his crimes this season. Also reflecting Trek, I don't think there's ever been a male character I found genuinely attractive except maybe Picard. Love the character but was really, really mad at the cheap "he's dead! wait, no, he's back!" thing. This show had enough drama and grief about real things they didn't need to manufacture that for a hot minute, too.

Tarka's end was terrible. They did so good with the writing and the acting for the episodes where we learned his backstory. Not so much here. Oh well, that's done at least.

I'm signed up for another tour of duty. As joyful as Stacey Abrams appearance once I hope she has no time to film any more because she's far too busy being the President of Earth IRL. Or at least Georgia. Also writing more books; While Justice Sleeps was quite entertaining.
posted by Nelson at 7:39 AM on March 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Michael's grief for Book was beautifully acted, and I cried. But there was no way they were killing off Book without him getting a Touching Death Scene. When he showed up again I just sighed.
posted by tomboko at 6:25 AM on March 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

I am genuinely glad that episode worked for so many of you. My reaction is different.

I was really disappointed that, after we were shown the painstaking effort to put together a few basic concepts + emotions to send simple messages, this episode jumps straight to “here’s a complex three paragraph speech” for the 10-C. I was expecting to see a real struggle to figure out how to communicate with just the tiny vocabulary they had, but it all got hand-waved away.

Book’s death would have been great if he stayed dead, but, alas….And what’s with the Federation President assigning him community service after the incredibly serious laws that he broke? Create a banned weapon, use it against an unknown alien species, mess up a first contact situation, damn near getting Earth and Ni’Var destroyed, and there’s no trial? This is a system ripe for exploitation.

The Stacey Abrams cameo was way too over-the-top for me. Star Trek has always pushed for a more inclusive future, and it has always talked about current issues by putting them in future settings. That’s fine. Disco sometimes dials that to eleven in a way that interferes with good story telling, but they’ll never be as obvious about LGBTQ inclusion as “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield” was about racism. It’s sometimes really glaring when they do the “look, viewers, we’re showing you what society should look like,” but it’s Star Trek tradition. And yet “You know who ought to hold high office? Stacey Abrams!” made me want to throw the remote. I like Abrams! She should be governor of Georgia. She would be, if it weren’t for voter suppression. But the stunt casting to make a particular point about a particular partisan race moves past presenting an optimistic future to directly commenting on a current politician in a really unseemly way. It’s the ultimate example of Disco’s “eff storytelling, we have a point to make” vibe. Maybe season five will kick off with a plotline about an evil totalitarian movement within the Federation lead by D’Nald from the planet Maga.

It’s been four seasons. I barely know who most of the bridge crew are, but I know exactly who the writers want me to vote for in this year’s elections. Hell, I know who they’d like me to vote for in the primaries. That’s a problem.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:13 AM on March 19, 2022 [6 favorites]

Book's semi-resurrection was unearned, cheap, and frankly, I didn't give a shit. I was crying and smiling.

I am, however, glad to see Tarka go.
posted by SansPoint at 8:16 AM on March 19, 2022 [4 favorites]

The Stacey Abrams cameo was way too over-the-top for me.

I’m sure everyone remembers when Kirk and Spock saved the Delta Omega V colony, aided by the colonial governor played by Hubert Humphrey.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:13 PM on March 19, 2022

The Stacey Abrams cameo was way too over-the-top for me.

I once dreamed that they made a Star Trek movie in the 60s and … JFK was the captain of the Enterprise! I mean, Star Trek is by definition a liberal vision of the future, despite its militaristic trappings. Also, Stacey Abrams is well-known as a fan of Star Trek.

Is anyone else bothered by the asymmetric uniforms? I can't get used to them. It's like an itch that I can't scratch.
posted by jabah at 3:02 PM on March 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Given there's a lot of pissy right-wing man babies getting upset about the Stacey Abrams cameo, I'm good with it. Because Trek has always been progressive and this isn't the show suddenly announcing it's left-wing.
posted by crossoverman at 5:23 PM on March 19, 2022 [7 favorites]

I feel like I missed something, was Tarka's plan to return home always bullshit and I'm the only one who didn't get it?

[In my defense, it would have been difficult to hear it over the sound of my screaming fucking ERRINWRIGHT!! every time he showed up on screen.]
posted by Space Kitty at 8:33 PM on March 19, 2022

There's a part of me that's mildly confused whether Tarka's plan was to travel to another parallel universe to be back with his BFF, in which case don't we have direct evidence in Disco that that is not actually a viable long term plan? Like, hey, buddy, I know you miss them, but they're probably getting the spaaaaaace maaaadnessss wherever they are.

(And was he joining his original BFF, or just going to horn in on his existing Tarka/BFF's relationship? I mean, he was probably gonna kill nuTarka and act like it was him all along, judging by his characterization. To be fair, I think I fell asleep during that episode because ok fine we get it you finally found your soulmate in prison great ok did this need an hour? no probably not.)
posted by Kyol at 9:29 PM on March 19, 2022

It just felt like the narrative suddenly shifted from the only uncertainty being the power source to everyone knows this is a fantasy, and even if you do accomplish this, we all know your person is already dead?
posted by Space Kitty at 12:27 PM on March 20, 2022

Oros was developing the inter-dimensional transporter in order to escape to Kayalise; Tarka thought there was evidence of Oros's success and wanted to follow. So, in Tarka's scenario he's reunited with "his" Oros, who would exist in addition to the Kayalise Oros. And, worst case, he can presumably be buddies with K-Oros and maybe even K-Tarka; no need to murder your doppleganger, they can be assumed to be very welcoming.

The scenario Tarka tried to sell to Bell was that the Kayalise version of his family would be in Kayalise. Bell wouldn't be reunited with "his" family, he'd only be able to be united with the Kayalise version of them.

This way that the parallel version of Kayalise would supposedly work (in particular, that it has versions of all and only the same people that this universe has) is nonsense, but it's well-established nonsense of the main Mirror Universe, which has copies of the primary reality people of the time, even if it's a stretch to imagine that whoever Sisko's ancestors were from the time of the founding of the Terran Empire to his birth all still married each other and produced the same offspring, in order to give us a Mirror-Sisko...

But hey it makes as much sense as Sugar Loaf Mountain and that place is bound to be real.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 6:55 PM on March 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

I can't bear to read any of these threads but I just want to state for the record that I was blown away by this series. I loved it so much. It just felt like a love letter to humanity, and in particular a love letter to a certain mode of feminine harmony so to speak?? I just fell in love with Michael Burnham & her ways of being a captain & her family & her friends. That final shot of earth I was just like ugh, thank you Star Trek, great job, felt like hearing from an old friend for the first time in years.
posted by bleep at 5:03 PM on May 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

As I'm watching the first few episodes of season 1 again, some of my favorite things:
- how the show first shows us that Michael has a way of doing things that's both compassionate and logical which is frustrating when her wings are clipped but glorious when she's spreading her wings. The show eventually fulfills the promise it makes when we're getting to know her that she does things right & we can trust her.
- In general I appreciate that the show will always take its time to show you that someone is trustworthy before it asks you to trust them. The characters who aren't trustworthy were never set up to be anything else.

- I loved that the stakes were always that high because I liked watching them problem solve & communicate their way out of things, and to me THAT's what Star Trek is best at. And I like big, complicated, timey-wimey space stories about people I recognize.
posted by bleep at 6:47 PM on May 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

I feel like this season made real, significant strides with the Bridge Crew Problem. I feel like Detmer and Owosekun have completely broken through to the next level, and I actually know and remember Nilsson, Rhys, and Bryce's names (okay, I'm lying, I still had to look up Rhys and Bryce; but I remember their faces!). I think people forget how little characterization Uhura, Chekhov, and Sulu got in TOS (to say nothing of Chapel or Rand). It's a lot of people to fit in, and they keep adding characters extraneous to the crew as well.

Word is Tilly isn't leaving the show, but there's a pitch on the table for a Starfleet Academy show, so it's possible she'll end up there down the line (like Michelle Yeoh got shunted over to her own Section 31 series). Personally, I can't wait for STNBT: Nothing But Tilly.

I also can't get enough of Tig Notaro. (Is Jett Reno the first Star Trek character to actually have a less Trekky character name that the actor who play them?) In terms of actors, this show has an embarrassment of riches: Paul and Hugh, and the wonderful addition of Adira! Michael and Book, Saru and his stuff. There's so much interpersonal drama all the time that there just hasn't been a lot of room to level up the background players. But enough players have left the spotlight (Nhan, Georgio, Tilly) that maybe next season a couple more will step up?
posted by rikschell at 5:35 AM on June 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

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