Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2”, concluded our Starfleet heroes’ battle to save the galaxy from Control, the evil A.I. that took over the spy organization Section 31. By the end of the action-packed episode, the CBS All-Access prequel completely reinvented itself by shockingly redacting the U.S.S. Discovery from Star Trek history and taking Michael Burnham and her crew 930 years into the future!
The main story of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 was the titular starship’s crew, under the command of the Enterprise’s Captain Christopher Pike, trying to stop Control from wiping out all sentient life in the galaxy. This involved solving two concurrent mysteries: the identity of the time-traveling Red Angel (who turned out to be Michael’s mother Dr. Gabrielle Burnham) and the reason for seven red signals in space that the Discovery was following. Throughout the season, Control took the form of Section 31’s Captain Leland and sought to acquire 100,000 years of data the Discovery obtained from a dying sphere; Control needed this data to fully evolve itself and become sentient before it could annihilate all living beings in the galaxy. In “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 1”, Michael embarked on a desperate plan to take the U.S.S. Discovery into the future to safeguard the sphere data from Control. Meanwhile, the Discovery’s crew committed to joining Michael in the 32nd century.
It all culminated in a final battle against Control and the entire Section 31 fleet waged by the Discovery and the U.S.S. Enterprise together. The devastating interstellar conflict saw Admiral Katrina Cornwell sacrifice her life to save the Enterprise. Despite being outnumbered by Control’s drones, the Starfleet heroes received timely help when Ash Tyler brought the Klingon fleet, led by High Chancellor L’Rell, into the battle. Also, First Officer Saru’s race, the Kelpiens, who were piloting Ba’ul ships and were led by Saru’s sister Siranna, came to the rescue to help the Enterprise and the Discovery demolish the enemy fleet. And while all of that was happening in outer space, Emperor Georgiou fought and defeated Leland aboard the Discovery, destroying the A.I.’s nanobots within a boobytrapped spore drive containment cube.
But everything hinged on Michael taking the Discovery a thousand years into the future. Here’s how Burnham’s plan worked and how “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2” altered both Star Trek: Discovery‘s future and the Star Trek franchise itself:
- This Page: How Michael Burnham Became The Red Angel Who Sent The Seven Signals
- Page 2: The Discovery Goes To The Future And What Happens Next
- Page 3: Why Starfleet Never Talks About Michael Burnham And The Discovery
Michael Burnham Is The Second Red Angel Who Sent The 7 Signals
Michael’s plan to save the galaxy involved constructing a new time suit from the original plans her mother, Gabrielle, used, which the Discovery obtained from Section 31. In effect, Michael became the second Red Angel. But it wasn’t until she was unable to use the time crystal to open a wormhole to the future that Spock realized Michael’s purpose as the Red Angel was to send the seven red signals in space. Based on Spock’s earlier guess that the red signals were sent by intelligent design, the Vulcan explained that each signal Michael sent led the Discovery to a key element that would enable Michael’s plan to work.
Michael indeed vaulted backwards in time and sent the first five signals: the first was in the asteroid field where they met Jett Reno, who was instrumental in getting the time crystal fully charged; the second signal was at Terralysium, which would be a safe harbor in the future; the third was at Saru’s homeworld of Kaminar, where the liberation of the Kelpiens from the Ba’ul would ultimately help the Discovery and the Enterprise beat the Section 31 fleet; the fourth signal was at Boreth so Captain Pike could acquire a time crystal; and the fifth signal was at Xahea to bring Ensign Sylvia Tilly’s friend Queen Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po aboard, as she was the one woman in the galaxy who knew how to charge the time crystal. Later, Po also figured out how to disable the Section 31 drones during the space battle. Further, Michael’s first three signals mean she was the Red Angel the crew sighted each time – not her mother, Dr. Burnham – and thus, Michael saw her future self at the first signal.
Because Spock’s shuttle was disabled and he couldn’t follow Michael though the wormhole, the siblings bid a heartbreaking farewell before Spock was beamed back aboard the Enterprise. The sixth signal was Michael as the Red Angel serving as a beacon (“a North Star”) for the U.S.S. Discovery to follow as they both entered the wormhole to the future. The seventh and final signal was Michael fulfilling her promise to Spock that she would let him know they made it safe and sound. Due to “time being relative”, it took 124 days until Spock saw Michael’s final signal emerging from the Beta Quadrant. By then, the Vulcan had returned, clean-shaven and in uniform, to serving as the Science Officer aboard Captain Pike’s Starship Enterprise.
Page 2 of 3: The Discovery Goes To The Future And What Happens Next
The Discovery Goes To The Future – Possibly For Good
Fans had already theorized that bringing the Discovery into the future was Star Trek: Discovery season 2’s endgame and the series indeed went full-throttle into the 32nd century. The rationale for such a drastic move was the fact that the sphere data bonded to the Discovery’s computer. The data wouldn’t allow itself to be erased nor would it allow the starship to be destroyed. Michael realized the only way to keep that information away from Control was to remove the Discovery from the 23rd century altogether by taking the entire starship containing the data into the unexplored future.
Moreso, even though they defeated Control, the sphere data was altogether too dangerous to keep in the 23rd century – not to mention such information violates Star Trek canon since it would contain numerous things the Federation simply can’t know. But by jumping into the future, it allows the Discovery (which many fans griped was already too advanced for its era thanks to its tech like the spore displacement hub drive) to evolve technologically even beyond what fans know to exist in the 24th century. The Discovery actually belongs in Star Trek‘s future and now, the series has opened up an era that fans have never seen before.
What Happens To The Discovery And Her Crew In The 32nd Century?
After they vanished through the wormhole, Michael and the crew of the Discovery weren’t seen again in “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2” so fans will have to wait until Star Trek: Discovery season 3 to find out exactly how our heroes are faring in the 32nd century. We can guess that they arrived safely at Terralysium, which was the endpoint Michael set, and perhaps she was reunited with her mother Dr. Burnham, although it’s not yet known if Gabrielle did return to Terralysium when she vanished in “Perpetual Infinity”. Since they defeated Control, all sentient life in the galaxy continues to exist in the 3180s, but, as people out of time, the Discovery’s crew is likely hiding from the universe on Terralysium – at least for a while.
Compellingly, the Discovery jumping to the future synchs up with the Short Trek episode “Calypso”, where an evolved U.S.S. Discovery took on a female personality named Zora and then meets and falls in love with a lost soldier. In “Calypso”, the starship was abandoned by her crew and adrift in an unknown region of space. It’s possible Michael, Saru, and the crew disembarked on Terralysium and then sent the Discovery away to hide the ship from the rest of the galaxy before the events of “Calypso”. This could also mean the crew will have to go out and find their missing starship once more in Star Trek: Discovery season 3.
Page 3 of 3: Why Starfleet Never Talks About Michael Burnham And The Discovery
Why Nobody Talks About Discovery In Star Trek History
Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 finale concluded with a massive cover-up that explains why Michael Burnham and the U.S.S. Discovery are never mentioned in Starfleet history. After they destroyed Control, the Starship Enterprise returned to Earth for repairs. At Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, Captain Pike, Spock, Number One, and Ash Tyler all lied to Starfleet Command and maintained their agreed-upon cover story that the Discovery exploded during the battle against the Section 31 fleet, destroying the starship and killing everyone aboard. Starfleet Command accepted this version of events and made Tyler the new Commander of Section 31, with a mandate to reinvent the spy organization (setting the stage for the Section 31 spinoff series).
Furthermore, Spock asserted that all Starfleet Officers with knowledge of the events of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 be ordered to never speak about Michael Burnham or the U.S.S. Discovery under penalty of treason! (It’s likely this code of silence also includes the events of Star Trek: Discovery season 1 like the Klingon War and Mirror Universe.) Michael’s adoptive parents Amanda Grayson and Ambassador Sarek also agreed never to utter Michael’s name in public. Spock did this to keep his sister and her crew safe, as well as to prevent anyone from learning about the Klingon time crystals and trying to alter the timeline by building another Red Angel suit. But this also explains why prominent Starfleet Officers like Captains Kirk and Picard have never heard of Michael Burnham and why Spock never mentioned he had an adopted human sister, not even to Kirk. Spock’s silence is out of respect for Michael, whose parting words taught the Vulcan to “reach for others”, which paved the way for his legendary friendship with Kirk and McCoy.
But this explanation is also an ingenious way for Star Trek: Discovery‘s producers to wave away all of the complaints that their prequel series just didn’t fit into Star Trek canon. Essentially, the series agrees and has redacted the first two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery out of the timeline so that they never happened according to “official” Starfleet records. Instead, Star Trek: Discovery is looking to the future that fans have never seen.
Star Trek: Discovery’s Future Is Now… Discovery
Now that the U.S.S. Discovery and her crew are in the 32nd century, anything goes and thus, Star Trek fans will finally get to see the future. Star Trek‘s forward progress essentially stopped with Star Trek: Nemesis and the only things fans really know for sure that happened afterward was that Romulus was destroyed, which led to the creation of the alternate Kelvin timeline of J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies. The upcoming Jean-Luc Picard series will pick up the events of the 24th century set after the destruction of Romulus but Star Trek: Discovery has leaped centuries beyond that point.
Star Trek: Discovery is now poised to make good on the promise of its title: discovery. Everything is wide open to be discovered. There are unlimited possibilities and countless questions to be answered going forward. For instance, what is the galaxy like in the 32nd century? Do Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets still exist? Are the Klingons, Cardassians, Ferengi, Bajorans, or even the Borg still around? By boldly taking Michael Burnham and the crew of the Disco almost a millennia forward, it means that for the first time in almost two decades, Star Trek: Discovery is giving the future back to the Star Trek franchise and to its fans.
Next: What To Expect From Star Trek: Discovery Season 3
Star Trek: Discovery Seasons 1 & 2 are available to stream on CBS All-Access in the USA and internationally on Netflix.