After nearly a decade off air, STAR TREK has returned to television with STAR TREK DISCOVERY! ComicsVerse Trekkies Brian Long and Colleen Etman sat down to discuss the highs and lows of the season finale of STAR TREK DISCOVERY.

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Brian Long: So when we last left our intrepid heroes of STAR TREK DISCOVERY in 2017, they found themselves completely outside their original universe. But it’s 2018 now, and it’s time to air these last six episodes. A LOT happened between the mid-season return and last Sunday’s finale, so let’s fire up the warp engines and get into it. Colleen, thoughts on the big reveal that…*dun dun DUUUNNNN* the Discovery ended up in the MIRROR UNIVERSE.

Colleen Etman: I mean, not too surprising. However, what they did with the Mirror Universe impressed me.
Long: Go ooooooon.

Startin’ with the Universe in the Mirror

Star Trek Discovery

Etman: Last time I saw the Mirror Universe was in Enterprise, and that was totally lame. The Prime Universe characters didn’t even show up. So I was prepared to be a little letdown. But Discovery delivered. If nothing else, I am beyond here for Captain Killy. But so many other good things, not least my Empress Michelle Yeoh.

Long: Yeah, Mary Wiseman’s performance continues to be one of the highlights of STAR TREK DISCOVERY. Her attempt to “play” Captain Killy, her mirror-verse counterpart, was hilarious. What I found interesting was that the Mirror-Verse was used for more than fan service. It became a really interesting tool to tie into the greater themes of the season.

On the one hand, you get the meta juxtaposition of this darker Star Trek series with a universe that is darkness PERSONIFIED.  On the other hand, you force Burnham to confront her literally confront her past in the form of Mirror-Verse Gergiou who is Empress of the Terran Empire.

Etman: I heart Tilly, so much. That’s great. People have been complaining that STAR TREK DISCOVERY is too dark for Trek, but here we see the contrast that, no matter how dark it is, it’s not Terran levels of dark. Michael facing Georgiou pushed her to face her guilt over the Battle of the Binary Stars. This leads to her great speech in the finale, which really brings home the point that Trek is about HOPE.

Comparing Space Operas: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY vs THE ORVILLE

The Ideals of the Federation

Long: Ultimately, I think putting the STAR TREK DISCOVERY characters into this world where the principles of the Federation don’t matter, it forces them truly live up to those ideals. It’s even more interesting when we learn that Captain Lorca was actually from the Mirror-Verse all along and that his manipulation wasn’t an abandoning of the show’s ethos, but his character exploiting the good intentions of Starfleet.

Etman: First of all — called it. Secondly, it was an interesting play. Lorca’s character was one that was criticized for being too dark, yet it was believable that he was Federation, just a war-torn weary Federation. So to have him revealed as Terran kind of skews that, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Proving that the one really dark Starfleet officer wasn’t even Starfleet redeems them a bit. On the other hand, it does lessen the nuance of the show. But I guess Trek isn’t really about nuance

Long: I am of two minds about it. I enjoyed having this more morally complex Starfleet captain. It reminded me a bit of a subplot in BEYOND. On the other hand, it was great watching Jason Isaacs go into full villain mode. How did you feel about how his plot ultimately resolved?

Etman: On the one hand, watching him get killed by two kickass women was amazing. Michelle Yeoh kicking ass is my new religion. On the other hand, it seemed a little anticlimactic. I mean, you introduce the twist that he is a villain and then kill him off in like three episodes. They could have dragged that out a little longer. Maybe brought him back to the Federation, put him on trial? I’m a little torn. But ultimately, kickass women stopping evil creepy dudes is always a win.

The Manchurian Klingon

Star Trek Discovery

Long: It’s insane how much story was crammed into these six episodes. STAR TREK DISCOVERY gave us a whole season’s worth of stuff in the last six weeks. We also resolved the entire Manchurian Klingon plot too!
Etman: Definitely.

Long: I wonder how much of this rushed plotting might have been a result of the behind the scenes reshuffling. That being said, I think the Lorca plot resolved in a more satisfying way than the secret Klingon plot did.

Etman: Throughout the whole finale I was thinking “don’t forgive him, don’t make up, oh God you deserve better than this.” I like Shazad Latif, but man I was ready to kill Tyler by the end of the show. What a letdown when he and Michael kiss at the end. She did not deserve what he put her through — not just the Klingon stuff, but the essentially gaslighting he does when he tries to put the blame on her for their disintegrating relationship. At least he left.
Long: It was a real wet fart ending to that whole plot; which brings us to the two-part finale. Thoughts on how the show ended?
Etman: Before I saw the episode I had seen a review from another site that called it a letdown. So I went in thinking, oh well, I hope I can at least enjoy it. But honestly? I thought it was great! I loved the away team, I loved Michael finding her way back to her Starfleet optimism, and I love the fact that they found a way to resolve the war. It was a little rushed, and it seems pretty unlikely that the Klingons would take L’Rell’s word on the bombs. But if it was a little simplistic, it was also inspiring and plain old fun.

Discovering STAR TREK: The Enterprise’s Science Fiction

STAR TREK DISCOVERY: Gritty, Real, a Bit Obnoxious

Long: I think simplistic is a good way to put it, but there was some nice symmetry with the finale. Burnham facing off with Gergiou (or the Mirror-Verse version of her anyway) but this time to rescue the Klingons rather than destroy them. To quote the creator of another Star-franchise: “it’s like poetry….it rhymes.” It does feel like this season stands as a great reminder that the message of Star Trek is still valid in these times, maybe even more so than ever.

Etman: I also noted some poetry in that, in the season-opening, Michael seeks advice from one “parent” — Sarek — who advises her to be violent. This starts the war. In the finale, she seeks advice from another “parent” — Georgiou — who also advocates violence. But now Michael has grown and learned, and she knows violence is not the way. She rises above her earlier mistakes.

Long: With that being said, what did you think of this more mature take on Star Trek? I think a lot of elements worked, but did I need to see Klingon boobs? Or learn that Klingons have two weiners? Colleen. Colleen. Klingons have two weiners.
Etman: I did not need to see Klingon boobs. At all. That was weird and uncomfortable, especially since when we first see the sex scenes they’re implied to be nonconsensual. We know later that they were consensual, but still, it was uncomfortable.
Long: It felt very, as the kids say, “extra.” There was little to nothing added to the plot from this more mature content, and it feels somewhat icky in the Star Trek universe. R-rated does not make something “mature.”
Etman: Agreed
Long: So before we get into our final thoughts on the season, I think we have address…. the final shot.
Etman: DUN DUN DUUUUN

To Boldly Go…

Star Trek Discovery

Long: So the cast of STAR TREK DISCOVERY flies off to meet their new, currently not yet cast, captain when they receive a distress signal from none other than….THE ENTERPRISE I kinda admire the sheer audacity of it. So many of these prequel shows seem so ashamed to include what fans actually want (I mean honestly what the hell is that show GOTHAM even doing?) that them straight up giving us the Christopher Pike-led enterprise as a lead in to season 2 is pretty exciting

Etman: I agree. I’ve seen some complaints that it draws too heavily on nostalgia, isn’t new enough, etc etc. But honestly, I think it’s great. ST fans are here for Trek. They’re excited about it. My mom, a lifelong Trekkie, honestly said she got chills when the Enterprise showed up. And it brings up so many great questions. Will we see Spock? Who will play him? How will the Enterprise crew handle Discovery, who are definitely weirder science geeks? Nostalgia can be overdone, but I think they did a good job just giving us a taste. It whets the appetite for Season 2 and I, for one, am super excited
Long: The real question is, will we get those dope, mustard-colored sweaters that they wore in the 60’s???? I do agree on nostalgia being a bit overdone these days, but the Captain Pike crew is different from throwing Kirk and the Gang (my favorite 70’s funk group) at us. We’ve seen them in live action plenty of times. The shows have not explored this era of the Enterprise nearly as much.

Etman: Although I wouldn’t be opposed to more Kirk, you’re right. And Pike is interesting because we sort of know him, but not well.

Discovering STAR TREK: WARS vs. TREK

Final (Frontier) Thoughts

Long: So how did you feel about the season?

Etman: I enjoyed it. It struggled with pacing; some episodes seemed to plod by, and then the ending felt really rushed. But ultimately I thought it was a good show. Michael Burnham is the female protagonist we need. Tilly has my heart. There were so many great new characters, from Saru to Stamets. It was a new Trek, but not in a bad way. It presented the same ultimate message — hope for a better future — even if it got a little muddled along the way. I’m stoked for another season, and I can’t wait to see where we go next
Long: It doesn’t reach some of the heights that other Trek shows have reached, but it’s the strongest first season of just about any Star Trek show. I’m hoping that having a more stable creative team going into season 2 will help to iron out a lot of the bumps. I love all these characters, I just don’t want to see their potential get wasted. Now that Michael is officially on the bridge, I want to see more of those background players get fleshed out too.
Etman: More Tilly! More Saru!
Long: More robot face lady! And if you enjoyed watching Michelle Yeoh kick people’s butts, make sure you watch CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, SUPERCOP, or YES, MADAM. Thank us later.
Etman: WATCH THEM
Long: Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to cancel my CBS All Access until season two!
Etman: Not a bad plan… what else does it even have? I’m sure memberships will droppppp.
Long: I guess I could keep it to watch reruns of….*checks notes* JAG?
Etman: That’s… really sad.
Long: I only came to this party for the Trek.

Etman: We all did, tbh.

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