Last night amid the Winter Olympics broadcast on NBC, I took the time to watch Star Trek: Discovery's season finale called, "Will You Take My Hand?" I know consensus on the episode will probably be all over the place, as Star Trek's new series is controversial. Among its fan base are die-hard Trekkers who are very conservative and were attracted to Star Trek because of its "family values" and "patriarchy," which made Star Trek TNG, ToS, and Deep Space Nine popular, but which I reason made Voyager a "dog" as far as the different series go. Much like how I think modern day racists don't actually realize that they are racist, I kind of feel that many modern day people don't possess the self-awareness to realize that they like something because it supports their old-fashioned ideas of patriarchy and traditional family values. It's one reason why I think Star Trek: Discovery failed to capture the love of those "die-hard" Trekkers, who have become firmly rooted in the past by touting favorite episodes from the early nineties and insisting that they can't watch the new series because it isn't Trek.
But what Star Trek: Discovery did do was please people like me, who always loved Trek, but who like fresh new things and don't revisit or grow nostalgic over the old. And more importantly, it attracted new blood, new people, who got excited for it because it had a lot to offer story-wise and performance-wise. Last night's season finale was a great finishing cap to a very strong first season. The production design and costume design people delivered as if it were a movie, Sonequa Martin-Green carried the episode, and it effectively book-ended her story arc wiping the slate clean for a completely different second season. Of course, Michelle Yeoh was incredible. I kind of love her as the tough-talking Federation Emperor now in exile in this new universe. I feel like we're not done with her, and that she's going to come back for more guest spots in the future.
1) They are going to Vulcan to pick up a new Captain for the Discovery. I wonder who it's going to be. Are we going to see a Vulcan captain or someone else?
2) I really enjoyed Saru's strong engagement with the Federation Emperor. She alluded strongly that they ate kelpians in their universe, and I half-expected his threat ganglia to emerge but they didn't. He kept his cool and stood up to her bullying rather well. Saru has been a delight all season long.
3) The set on the Klingon home world looked fantastic. Orions, Klingons, and other races intermingled with so much to view that i felt like I was missing stuff. There were really interesting tattoos being placed, local cuisine being grilled, and a solid mix of amorality that made it come together as a Space Vegas.
4) Standing up for Federation Values. Was this a message to the people of America? I kind of thought it was, as Burnham and the Discovery crew threatened mutiny to the face of the Federation admiral if they didn't alter their plan to completely torch the Klingon home world. And the Federation backed down. I really liked that...the whole idea that not toeing the line and speaking up against injustice is a moral value that people need to hold onto, even in the face of great adversity.
In the end, I loved this first season, and I love this series. I love that the ending left time for a medal ceremony, for a fantastic speech by Burnham, and a scene that reminded me a lot of J.J. Abrams direction in the first Star Trek. I guess it has been renewed for a second season, but in the meantime I'm going to save some money and cancel my subscription to CBS All Access. I think season two is going to be at least a year away as no timeline has been announced for its reappearance.