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* There will be one or more new main characters - people they encounter in the 32nd century, that is. – Yup, spot on: Book and Adira.
* Saru will be the captain. I mean, that one's a given, right? Who's gonna stop him? Is Starfleet going to send a message into the future saying "No Kelpiens as captains, sorry"?! – Yup, but only for the duration of season 3.
* The background characters - Detmer, Owosekun, Rhys, Bryce and Nilsson - will gain more prominence and some semblance of an individual personality (definitely wishful thinking). – Haha, nope.
* One of them will probably die, though, after his/her day in the sun (like Airiam). – Well, at least no one died. Nhan left Discovery, and she did get a tiny bit of focus in her last episode, but it was hardly a ‘day in the sun’ level of focus.
* Michael will probably get a new love interest. – Yup, spot on for this one too.
* Georgiou will still be around and still be kinda-sorta evil, but will eventually go her own way (maybe she'll go to the 32nd century Mirror Universe?). – Mostly right about this one, though she didn’t go to the 32nd century Mirror Universe.
* Some non-human species unknown to the 23rd century characters will make their appearance. – If Book’s species (what are they called, anyway? Kwejianians?) counts, then yes.
* Other known species will too, including probably the Klingons (this one I hope won't happen, but the writers love the Klingons far too much to give up on them completely). – Some like Vulcans, Romulans, Andorians and Orions did, but surprisingly enough, not Klingons. I’m seriously astonished that they didn’t turn up, considering how much the writers seem to love writing long, interminable scenes entirely in Klingon.
* We will see Kaminar again, or at least learn how its inhabitants are doing after all these centuries. – More or less yes, through Su’Kal’s story.
* Tilly gets more screen-time and more character development. – Sort of, but not enough. I was thinking more along a Tilly-centric episode, which we didn’t get, though the second episode, Far from Home, came slightly close.
* Jett Reno gets a girlfriend. – Haha, nope. She barely got a couple of scenes in the whole season, apart from the second episode, which due to its lack of Michael, could focus on other characters.
* Paul and Hugh remain together and continue to be adorable (I think this one has reasonably good odds). – Yay, at least this one came true! And we got more queer characters too – Adira and Gray – – which is just awesome.
* An important storyline in this season will be Paul trying to modify the spore drive to use it as a way to return to their time. It won't work out as intended (given that there's no hint of Discovery's existence in the original shows), but it will succeed in taking them to another era. – Nope, completely off-base.
So what’s my score? Around 7 or 8 out of 13 correct ones (depending on how you count ‘correct’), and 5 or 6 incorrect ones. More than 50% accuracy. Not great, but not bad either.
* Are they going to continue roaming around the galaxy in the 32nd century? – Yup.
* Is there even a Federation or Starfleet at that point in time? – Kind of. I didn’t realize that reforming it was going to be the plotline of the season.
* If so, what will they think of Discovery turning up in their time? (Are they aware of a 23rd century ship that supposedly did that? Probably not, since Discovery was erased from history.) – Their reaction wasn’t much of a plot point, though.
* If there's no Federation or Starfleet, what are the crew going to do? Are they going to keep doing missions, even when there's no one to send them on any missions? – They did keep doing missions, some on Starfleet’s orders, some against.
* What's the technological situation like in the 32nd century? Are they way ahead of 23rd century technology? If so, will they see the Discovery as an obsolete relic / museum piece? – There really wasn’t much of a difference. Some people did comment on how Discovery seemed like an antique, but it was mostly just passing remarks.
* Or has the world (well, galaxy) regressed, and are Discovery and its crew going to be seen as gods or something? – The galaxy did regress in some ways, but certainly not so far as to make the Discovery folks seem like gods.
* Will the crew continue to live in the Discovery, or will they try to settle down on a planet somewhere (presumably Terralysium)? – They continue to live on Discovery. Terralysium is never really mentioned again. What happened to it, I wonder?
* If not, how are they planning to keep Discovery functional over the long term? Are the raw materials and equipment for the upkeep of a starship likely to be available in the 32nd century? – Dilithium is scarce, but otherwise the materials seem readily available.
This is, unfortunately, an all too familiar problem with a lot of serialized storytelling. Predominantly in TV shows (because they’re the most common form of serialized storytelling in modern media), but long-running book series also wind up doing this. (Maybe comic books too, but I’m not familiar enough with the genre to comment on them.) It generally starts innocuously: Writers typically have an endpoint in mind when writing a story, be it a novel series or a season of a TV show (or even an entire TV show). They start writing and putting their work out there, and getting feedback on it. At first they’re genuinely building up logically to their intended endpoint. But along the way, stuff happens – either fans or the critics or the Powers That Be don’t like a particular storyline or character, or certain actors aren’t available, or the budget gets slashed, or there are creative disagreements or writer’s block, etc. So the story has to change in response to these new developments. But the writers are still dead set on that endpoint – even though the story has changed so that this endpoint is no longer suitable or even believable. And thus we wind up with nonsensical endings that seem completely unmoored from the actual story as it was told. The Game of Thrones ending is probably the single most notorious example of such a mismatch. Somewhat less egregiously, there’s the How I Met Your Mother ending. And I’d say that the Deathly Hallows epilogue (“Albus Severus Potter” … ugh!) was probably a victim of this phenomenon too.
And I love everything about the Culber-Stamets family. My favourite moment involving them was literally a non-moment – when Aurellio and Paul were talking last episode and Paul asks Aurellio about his children, and then says he has a child too. It was just so straightforward and natural – neither Paul nor the narrative made a big deal about the fact that he’d sincerely begun to think of Adira as his own child. It was so sweet. <3
“Ugh, not only was that whole bit just atrocious writing, but it’s clearly setting up some more atrocious writing for the next two episodes when the Great Michael Burnham single-handedly saves the Discovery from pirates, and then, once they get it back, goes on to save the galaxy from another Burn by going back to rescue Su’Kal, Saru and the others. And then no doubt, Saru will be so overcome with gratitude at her and shame at his own failure, that he’ll step down as captain and Michael will become captain, because of course she will. (Btw, just to be clear, I haven’t seen the remaining episodes, these are just my predictions, but I bet they’re at least 75% accurate.)”
Hmm, apart from the ‘Saru feeling shame at his own failure’ part, I got it entirely spot on. I think I’ll give myself a score of 95%. In the previous episode, I thought maybe I’d gotten the ‘Michael Burnham single-handedly saves the Discovery’ part slightly wrong, as Tilly and the bridge crew seemed to be finally doing something, and the sphere data seemed about to help them by turning up as the Dots. But nope, that was all a damp squid, and they mostly spend this episode staggering around for breath, achieving nothing. Yeah, sure, Owo managed to plant the bomb in the nacelle, but what was even the point of doing so? It dropped Discovery out of warp, but then the Viridian (which is apparently so huge, it can comfortably hold the Disovery in its hold) just grabbed it, and they all continued without a hitch. And in fact, the whole idea was worse than useless, because then they were trapped inside the Viridian’s hold, and had to bust out of there by dropping the warp core and engaging the spore drive in the same split second (how is that even possible?). Might as well have left the nacelle alone and stayed in warp.
Ugh, forget it. I think it’s safe to say that I hated the entire Michael Saves Discovery part of this episode. It was filled with every action movie cliché in the book (that turbo lift scene was particularly annoying). And the climactic scene – if it can be called that – made no sense at all. Why did Osyraa think that she’d killed Michael simply by pushing her into that wall of programmable matter? Is programmable matter meant to be deadly? Seems unlikely, considering their interfaces are made of it and people regularly stick their fingers into those. Sure, immersing your entire body in it might not be exactly healthy, but it’s unlikely to be immediately deadly either. But nope, Michael survives because she doesn’t quit! (As opposed to other people who die only because they quit, presumably.)
If it weren’t for the Su’Kal story, I’d have said I hated this episode, but fortunately that part of the episode was lovely. I loved how Saru connected with Su’Kal and urged him to face his fears. The contents of the forbidden room were pretty easy to predict, but nonetheless, seeing the recording of little Su’Kal watching his mother die was heartbreaking. I was also delighted to see Grey visible to other people in the holoprogram – that means that he’s not a figment of Adira’s imagination! I really hope that season 4 has a storyline about making him visible to everyone else and being able to live normally.
As far as season finales go, I’d rank this one dead last after the season 2 finale, which I mostly enjoyed, and the season 1 finale, which I was mostly indifferent to, though didn’t dislike it in any way.