So much of “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2” was about saying goodbye, so I’m just going to talk about it up front. After all, there’s no point in beating around the bush.
Goodbye, Spock’s emo beard.
We hardly knew ye, yet you overstayed your welcome by a mile.
You will not be missed.
But seriously. I started this recap with an easy joke because I don’t quite know how to talk about this season finale. How do I talk about an episode that made me feel so much in just an hour? I’m not sure how to parse all these emotions; I sat with the episode for a night after watching, just to make sure I’d processed it all. Spoiler alert: One night isn’t enough to parse through this finale.
Let’s start with the basics: the battle. The previous episode promised us a showdown between Discovery, Enterprise, and the Section 31 fleet (and it was a fleet all right), and it did not disappoint. I absolutely loved the camerawork at the beginning of the episode, whipping from person to person and ship to ship. It showed the chaos of battle in a really unique way. And the montage scene of building the Red Angel suit was gratifying in that it showed that it wasn’t an easy process (and also was a product of teamwork and extreme competence).
I love how Jet Reno has integrated with this crew, and I really hope she becomes a series regular in the third season. Tig Notaro’s sarcastic, yet earnest, delivery is a gift (“Get off my ass — I mean, sir! Get off my ass, sir!”), and I am not ready to say goodbye to her yet. And what about that send-off from Captain Pike? “Goodbye, my friends, my family.” There’s a petition to have a spin-off series with Anson Mount on board the Enterprise, and I’d absolutely watch it. His contribution to Discovery has been vital, helping it achieve a lighter, more playful tone that’s been delightful to watch. I definitely think he could helm (pun intended) his own series.
And Ash! It turned out he went to get the Klingons, who arrived just in time to save the day, along with the Kelpiens in Ba’ul ships. I’d say they were fast learners, but considering how much Saru (who was just a joy in this episode) has achieved in his short time in Starfleet, it’s not a surprise. It is nice that every major character on the show got their hero moment (Tilly with the shield generators!).
I was so grateful that Dr. Culber ended up coming back to Discovery and we got a reunion between him and Stamets. It was clear the two belonged together, but Hugh needed time to see that. I think he craved the freedom to choose or not choose Paul, rather than just fall back into the trappings of his old life. He needed his life partner to be an active choice he made — this new Hugh, whoever he’s become. It’s like Admiral Cornwell said when he asked for her advice: Love is a choice we make over and over again. The implication being that you can choose to love someone, and then choose to love that person again, even if you aren’t quite the same person you were before. The key here, I think, is that Culber didn’t feel he had a choice before. And once he was free to make it, he chose Paul.
Michelle Yeoh proved, once again, that she’s a gift to both humanity and this show in everything from her fight scenes to her dialogue: “Everyone hates you. Congratulations.” You can bet I’m going to GIF that as soon as the episode is out. I also love that Leland yelled “Women, stop talking!” and then proceeded to get his ass kicked and dead. It was a perfect ending.
EDIT: The episode is out, and I giffed it. Enjoy.
One of the minor complaints I had in the last episode was that because Spock was aboard the Discovery, and he was so intent on joining the crew’s trip to the future, we had some idea of its fate. But the second he stepped aboard that shuttlecraft, it opened new doors for the ship; his fate was no longer intertwined with that of Discovery’s.
I’m not really sure what I expected to happen during this episode. A last-minute save, so they wouldn’t actually have to travel into the future? A trip forward, and then immediately back again? I kept looking for some loophole, some way out — and there was none. Discovery, and her beloved crew, jumped forward in time, and we have no idea what happened to them.
The scenes at the end, with the testimony to Starfleet HQ and Spock stepping aboard the bridge of the Enterprise (and finally getting that seventh signal that indicated Discovery was, indeed, safe in the future) really did well to hammer home that this ship, this crew is gone. That they aren’t coming back. And it also answers the questions that some critics of the show have been moaning about for ages: This is why there’s no record of the spore drive in Federation data banks. This is why we don’t know about the technology. This is why Spock never spoke about his sister. Because all records of the ship and her crew have been erased. And it explains why Section 31 is little more than a myth in the future, because the organization is transformed after this incident.