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Discovery Hit The Reset Button On A Major Star Trek Trope

Star Trek: Discovery ended season 2 by upending one of the franchises most heavily leaned-on tropes. By sending the USS Discovery 950 years into the future (and about 50,000 light years from home), Star Trek took the reset button used by earlier series to keep stories contained within a single episode and employed it brilliantly to flip the show’s premise. Previously, the reset device had been used to ensure game-changing developments just like that one wouldn’t happen.

From the start, Star Trek: Discovery faced its fair share of naysayers due to its bold changes in format and additions to Star Trek canon. Instead of a the traditional ensemble structure, which up until 2017 had featured a captain (or commander) leading a crew of supporting cast, Star Trek: Discovery debuted focusing on a disgraced lieutenant with her fellow cast members pulled from “lower decks” positions rather than the senior staff that typically rounded out Star Trek casts.

Related: Discovery (Finally) Has A Proper Star Trek Crew In The Season 2 Finale

Another huge development was the embrace of fully serialized storytelling in place of the strict episodic style that nearly other every series had followed. Those two major adjustments created a new iteration of the franchise that reflected the massive evolution television underwent in the near two decades since Star Trek had a show on the air. Discovery is the first Star Trek series not to take place in front of the static backdrop of a starship that never promoted anybody. The lack of safety net inherent in its makeup automatically raised the stakes and brought Star Trek roaring into the age of prestige television. This isn’t to say the episodic nature of previous series wasn’t necessary and functional at the time, just that Discovery shed an old tradition at the perfect time.

  • This Page: Why Star Trek Had A Reset Button
  • Page 2: Deep Space Nine Abolished The Reset Button – Why?
  • Page 3: Discovery Completely Flipped The Idea Of A Reset Button

NBC cancelled the Original Series after only three seasons, but the show went to serve as a defining example of the power of syndication in the years immediately following. Paramount’s to thank for that – after purchasing Desilu Studios, they licensed Star Trek for syndication and said syndication proved to be one of the most profitable signal boosts in history. The foundations of Star Trek’s longevity were laid down in the ’70s when reruns aired with enough regularity in enough markets to pull in a huge cult fanbase and generate no small amount of hype. Eventually that noise helped Gene Roddenberry reignite the franchise with feature films and Star Trek: The Next Generation, ultimately creating an unprecedented legacy within sci-fi television and film. Star Trek has enjoyed a long and prosperous life due to its fans, and many of those fans started their love affair with the after it had actually aired. When it comes to Star Trek, the importance of syndication cannot be understated – it’s the way most fans watched in the first place.

While Star Trek: The Next Generation was a huge mainstream success, it and Deep Space Nine were both aired in syndication until Paramount launched UPN and used the network as a home for Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. Part of the reason syndication worked so well for Star Trek, historically, is because not only was the show extremely available, but it was also accessible to fans at virtually any point in the series. That’s next to impossible to do with most shows today – imagine jumping into Game of Thrones season 8 with no preamble. But it’s important to remember that serialized storytelling is a concept that has only reached mainstream popularity in the last two decades, and had it been around when Star Trek first went into syndication, the franchise might have enjoyed the same fervent success. The near procedural-style of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation especially allowed the franchise to gobble up more fans and faster, which turned out to be a key component of its survival. Hence the birth of the Star Trek Reset Button.

Related: Star Trek Theory: Discovery Is Setting Up a Pike Spock Spin-Off

Writers were directed to keep each episode unrelated and only introduce major paradigm shifts when absolutely necessary. For example, very few actors left Star Trek because of a narrative-based decision, but rather the shows were forced to explain an actor’s decision not to renew a contract or sign a longer one. In the case of Star Trek: Voyager, despite Deep Space Nine’s foray into serialized stories, the show was under direct orders from Paramount to keep stories bottled in a single episode so that viewers could hop onto the series at any point in its run, just as they had done with its predecessors. It’s why, despite whatever developments happened in a single episode or even a two-parter, almost always TOS, TNG, and Voyager were “reset” to factory settings at the end of an episode or arc. Everyone kept the same job, the same relationships, and the same characterization story to story, no matter what had happened to them the week before. It was a move that did, without a doubt, allow more fans to come to the series as it progressed and grew in popularity, but the reset button also inhibited creativity.

Page 2 of 3: Deep Space Nine Abolished The Rest Button – Why?

The biggest problem with eschewing serialized storytelling is that stakes are often eschewed right along with it. This isn’t to say Star Trek didn’t create incredibly compelling drama in single episodes – it very much did. But when characters can’t go through important, game-changing experiences, or when plot armor is so obvious, it’s hard to have cliffhangers that resonate to their fullest. As effective as the last scene in “Best of Both Worlds Pt. I” continues to be, there was no way Jean-Luc Picard wasn’t going to be fine come season 4, short of an announcement that Patrick Stewart was leaving. And, sure enough, after one episode that addressed the trauma he’d gone through, the captain was largely back to his old self, aside from when the Enterprise would encounter the Borg once more in episodes like “I, Borg” and “Descent Pts. I and II.”

We could trust – at least in TNG – that whatever the Enterprise D encountered, she’d endure very little lasting damage. While there’s a comfort in knowing fan-favorite characters will show up consistently and won’t be violently ripped out for the sake of dramatic effect, there’s a reason Battlestar Galactica was as groundbreaking a hit as it was. It took a Star Trek-esque premise and threw the reset button out the window – mass genocide is committed in the first episode, and the only ship and character with any real plot armor was the Galactica herself, and even she barely made it to the end of the series. People died, changed values, left jobs, left marriages – in general, reacted truthfully to the environment around them as opposed to what Star Trek: Voyager became under Paramount’s watchful eye – TNG in the Delta quadrant.

One of the many criticisms Voyager received – from former DS9 showrunner and BSG creator himself, Ron Moore – was that it was a ship in the Delta Quadrant with virtually no infrastructure or support, presumably lost forever in unfriendly territory, yet it looked pristine and seemed filled with mostly emotionally well-balanced people. Had Voyager been allowed to suffer more realistic pitfalls of being so far from home and beset upon by enemies – in short, have problems like scarcity, equipment failures, and mental illness that couldn’t be solved in one episode – it’s likely we would’ve gotten a very different and perhaps more compelling series.

Related: Star Trek: 8 Casting Decisions That Hurt DS9 (And 12 That Saved It)

But considering Deep Space Nine’s relatively lukewarm reception, despite the incredible narrative heights it achieved, it’s not totally surprising Paramount insisted episodic television be the rule when it came to Voyager. That said, there’s an argument to be made that DS9’s serialized nature is exactly what has brought renewed attention to the series as it ages.

Aside from a few noteworthy exceptions, TNG employed next to no serialized storytelling. Comparatively, Deep Space Nine was defined by it. The primary example cited by most is the Dominion War arc that dominated the back half of the series, but in general, Deep Space Nine had always favored ongoing storylines simply because most of its action takes place in a stationary location. The literal space station sat in the middle of the aftermath of the Cardassian War and its brutal occupation of the planet Bajor. DS9 served as window into galactic politics in a more complete way than TNG or the Original Series had ever attempted. Stories certainly differed significantly episode to episode, but the ever-evolving political backdrop always lingered in the background as we watched Bajor rebuild its infrastructure, with the Cardassians attempting to manage their new, less powerful position, and humans in the middle of it all trying to get everyone to play nice.

Because serialized storytelling was one of its building blocks from the inception, the later seasons had a good foundation on which to rest the Dominion War arc and produce some of Star Trek’s finest episodes. It’s also why the series has aged so well and has enjoyed renewed popularity with the advent of streaming. There was still a reset button on Deep Space Nine, but stories like Nog dealing with the loss of his leg and the PTSD that came along with it, and Worf’s grief at the loss of Jadzia in season 7, showed the series’ ability to evolve beyond the episodic tradition that came before it. That evolution was unquestionably for the better, and Star Trek: Discovery just doubled down on it.

Page 3 of 3: Discovery Completely Flipped The Idea Of A Reset Button

Discovery is the least episodic series in the franchise by a mile, and as stated previously, has been defined by favoring season-long arcs that deal with the consequences of decisions and actions in an unprecedented way (for Star Trek). The choice to send the Discovery 950 years into the future and erase the possibility of its return not only sewed up loose ends with Star Trek canon, but it also reinvented a Star Trek series in a wholly new way. The reset button was definitely hit, but instead of returning to the homeostatic normalcy that defined a show like TNG, Discovery gave itself a true final frontier to explore.

Not only will Discovery wind up in a largely unexplored quadrant, they will land in a completely unexplored time period. After 50 years, Star Trek will explore further into its own future than we’ve ever seen outside of the Temporal Cold War storyline on Enterprise. Since the Kelvin movies premiered in 2009 with a reimagining of the Original Series, not to mention the announcement that Discovery would take place ten years before the events of TOS, a decent-sized contingent of fans expressed frustration that it had been way too long since Star Trek had developed “new” material.

Related: Star Trek Theory: Discovery’s Albino Klingon Is From Deep Space Nine

As enjoyable as many of the nostalgic callbacks in Discovery have been, the show’s never really been about scientific discovery in the way the previous series were. Its heavily serialized premise and significantly shorter seasons meant there would be less opportunity to explore certain topics, and its place in the Star Trek timeline (not to mention its launch in an age of nostalgia) ensured it would be somewhat forced to reintroduce familiar faces and conceits. Why put the show ten years before TOS and take advantage of the opportunity to revisit iconic characters like Spock, or fill out underrepresented but significant characters like Christopher Pike? Discovery season 2, and much of season 1, felt like a study in how to do this the right way, despite the remaining fervent fan objections to Spock’s new sister as well as Discovery’s canonical conflicts and design choices. That said, as much as we like Pike and how fluidly the character of Michael Bunrham was written into Spock’s greater characterization, a key element of Star Trek the show was missing is written right into its name: discovery.

Because the Discovery ship was so intertwined into the continuing mysteries of the Red Angel and the signals that appeared to follow her, that’s where the narrative focus remained, at the expense of strange new worlds, new life and new civilizations. Case in point: the ship travels to an incredibly remote part of the galaxy, only to find… more humans. Discovery was shaping up to be a canvas for nostalgia, not a series that had its own original contribution to make to the Star Trek legacy. That’s why it’s incredibly exciting that the showrunners chose to abandon the nostalgia that’s defined so much of the show in favor of what’s an almost completely blank slate. It’s a choice that could signal the onset of a big evolution for the franchise, and we’ve seen that once before exercised with great success.

When The Next Generation premiered in 1986, reactions from fans to the entirely new cast and time period were mixed. In fine Star Trek fashion, fans literally took to the streets to express their displeasure at the idea to not bring back Kirk and the original Enterprise crew. But what was a very risky decision proved to be one that only further solidified Star Trek’s position as a beloved and historic part of pop culture.

It’s big risks like that that allow shows and franchises the opportunity to transcend their original programming and (hopefully) become something greater than the original premise. It deepens our investment when we know not everyone will be safe and sound at the end of the day – that actions and decisions have real consequences, just like in real life. Ultimately that kind of storytelling is more reflective of human experience, and thus typically makes for much better drama. There’s a reason the Red Wedding put Game of Thrones on the map for so many people – when you change the rules so drastically in any narrative, people pay attention. Discovery just threw the rulebook out the window and there’s reason to believe that’s the best thing Star Trek’s done for itself since introducing the Borg.

Next: Taking Discovery To [SPOILER] Saved Star Trek


2019-04-25 06:04:50

Alexandra August

Star Trek: Discovery: 8 Biggest Questions After The Season 2 Finale

Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 finale featured an epic space battle and a radical shift in the status quo that leaves many questions to be answered in season 3. The sophomore season of the sci-fi series focused on the Discovery’s investigation of seven mysterious red signals, the appearance of a being called the Red Angel, and an AI called Control that threatened to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy.

The only thing standing between Control and its apocalyptic plans was a massive amount of data acquired from an ancient and enigmatic sphere shortly before its destruction. The sphere was hundreds of thousands of years old and had witnessed the rise and fall of many civilizations, making its gathered data enormously valuable – and capable of providing Control with the key to becoming unstoppable. The sphere data protected itself from either being deleted or destroyed along with Discovery, meaning that the only way to keep it away from Control was to send the ship far into the future.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Ending Explained

After obtaining a Time Crystal and building a new Red Angel suit, Michael Burnham went back in time to leave the signals that the Discovery had been following, and then opened a wormhole to the future. With the help of the Klingons and the Kelpiens, Starfleet is able to hold off Control’s drones long enough to allow the Discovery to escape… and that’s the last we see of it. Needless to say, there are some lingering questions about the episode, and about Discovery’s fate.

  • This Page: Discovery’s New Future and the Kelpiens
  • Page 2: Pike, Spock, and Discovery’s Potential Return

In order to fully infiltrate Section 31, Control took over the body of Captain Leland, who was the only living person on any of Control’s ships in the battle. During a window of time when Discovery’s shields were down, Leland managed to beam onto the ship and started searching for the sphere data. Georgiou eventually defeated him by locking him in the spore chamber and ripping the electrical components out of Leland’s body with magnetism – and Leland’s death left the rest of Control’s ships and drones dead in the water. There’s no mention of Control restarting the battle later, which has led some fans to question whether or not Discovery really had to leave after Control was neutralized.

Discovery is now in completely unknown territory, since the version of the future that Gabrielle Burnham came from was one where Control had committed mass genocide across the galaxy. Without that cataclysmic event, there’s no telling what a thousand years of history have done to the future. Are the people of Terralysium (who had managed to survive Control’s attack in the previous timeline) still the same, or was their planet discovered by another race? Does the new future have the same version of Gabrielle Burnham, who still remembers the previous timeline? If so, how did she experience the change in the timeline? Or if not, is she now lost in a timeline that will never come to pass? With the sticky matter of time travel, nothing is certain.

Related to the above question is the uncertainty of whether Discovery is even still a Starfleet ship, since Starfleet and the Federation may not even exist 950 years into the future. Back in the 23rd century, Discovery has been effectively wiped from memory thanks to Pike, Spock, and others who knew about it swearing to stay silent or risk a charge of treason. If Starfleet does still exist in the future that Discovery ended, it may have no records of the ship ever existing. If Starfleet and the Federation are gone, or changed beyond all recognition, then there’s the question of whether Discovery is still subject to Starfleet’s general orders and regulations, or whether it is now a completely independent spaceship, free to create its own rules and missions.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery Solves Its Biggest Michael Burnham Plot Hole

On the road to figuring out what the Red Angel was and what it wanted, Discovery was led to Saru’s home planet of Kaminar, where the Kelpiens were subject to shortened lives at the hands of reigning species, the Ba’ul. After debate about the ethics of intervening with the planet’s society, the Kelpiens were ultimately liberated – at the risk of repeating history and having them potentially hunt the Ba’ul to near-extinction again. With that in mind, it’s somewhat unsettling to see Saru’s sister, Siranna, arrive at the battle in a Ba’ul fighter ship, with no real discussion of how she came to fly it. Have the Kelpiens and the Ba’ul found a way to co-exist peacefully, or do we need to consider the grim possibility that the Kelpiens returned to preying on the weaker species?

Page 2: Pike, Spock, and Discovery’s Potential Return

Fans have been clamoring for a spinoff series with Anson Mount’s Captain Pike, and those who watched Star Trek: Discovery‘s season finale could be mistaken for thinking that season 3 will be the adventures of Pike, Spock, and the Enterprise. The season ended with a clean-shaven Spock arriving on the Enterprise’s bridge, and Pike preparing to set off on a mission to check out a newly discovered moon. There’s already a Section 31 spinoff in the works, led by Michelle Yeoh’s Mirror Georgiou, so Pike and Spock could guest star in that… or perhaps CBS really will give Pike his own Star Trek show.

The Red Angel suit’s time crystal was burned out by the trip to the future, so in theory that should put an end to Burnham’s ability to time travel and destroy any hope of the Discovery crew’s return. However, since they already have the technology, Jett Reno has the know-how to make it work, and they know where time crystals can be found (assuming that Boreth hasn’t been destroyed in the interim years), it certainly seems feasible that the Discovery crew could find a way to time travel again. They left behind friends and family in the 23rd century and would no doubt love to return, even if it means leaving Discovery behind. And speaking of leaving Discovery behind…

Related: What To Expect From Star Trek: Discovery Season 3

There’s some confusion over when exactly the Short Trek episode “Calypso” is set. The trailer claimed that it was set “1000 years after Discovery,” and indeed Zora tells Craft that she was abandoned by her crew a thousand years ago, which led many to assume that it was set in the 33rd century. However, now that the Discovery itself has been transported almost a thousand years into the future, it’s possible that “Calypso” was actually set in the 43rd century – 2000 years after the events of season 2. While “The Brightest Star” and “The Runaway” have both tied into the events of the main show, “Calypso” remains a mystery. Why did the crew abandon Discovery, and at what point did the ship gain sentience? And does the V’draysh, the twisted version of the Federation, already exist in the future that Discovery has gone to?

Why would you ever have a blast door with a manual lever on only side? Also, why couldn’t Admiral Cornwell simply have been teleported to the other side of the blast door after pulling the lever? It seems like there are a lot of ways that this dramatic sacrifice could have been avoided.

Still, whoever designed that blast door does deserve some credit. Pike was able to casually stand a few feet away from an exploding photon torpedo that ripped a huge chunk out of Enterprise’s saucer section, and he barely flinched. That’s some solid engineering.

More: About That Star Trek: Discovery Borg Theory


2019-04-22 08:04:17

Hannah Shaw-Williams

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Dropped A Kirk Reference At The Last Minute

Star Trek: Discovery made its first reference to James T. Kirk in its season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2.” In an episode packed with references and homages to past Star Trek films and series, the Kirk reference was a subtle one, but perhaps the most important one.

While the Discovery and the Enterprise engaged in a dazzling battle against Control’s Section 31 fleet, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Spock (Ethan Peck) were executing their plan to pull the Discovery – and the precious sphere data stored in the ship’s computer – into the far future, where Control could never use it to conquer the galaxy. But, as often happens with these sort of schemes, things did not go exactly to plan. Burnham realized she had to travel back in time with her own Red Angel suit and create the signals that would set the events of the season in motion. She was able to pull that off, but when she returned to her relative present she found that Spock’s shuttle had been damaged, and realized her adoptive brother would not be coming with her to the future.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Finale Explained

After expressing their affection for each other, Burnham gives one last piece of advice to the brother she’ll likely never see again:

“There is a whole galaxy out there, full of people who will reach for you. You have to let them. Find that person who seems farthest from you and reach for them. Reach for them. Let them guide you.”

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, incoming showrunner Michelle Paradise confirmed that line was indeed about the relationship Spock will eventually have with Jim Kirk, his commanding officer and best friend for a significant portion of his life. It’s an interesting echo of one of the final scenes of J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film, where the Prime Universe Spock (played by the late great Leonard Nimoy) encourages his younger self (Zachary Quinto) to remain in Starfleet and embrace the friendship with Kirk that will come to define them both. This once again makes Michael Burnham a crucial player in Star Trek canon – albeit one that will likely never be recognized in Federation history, as the surviving crew of the Enterprise and Starfleet Command agree to stick with their story that the Discovery was destroyed, not sent to the future.

It seems unlikely we’ll ever get to see Peck’s version of Spock make good on that final promise to his sister. There’s a growing demand to see a spinoff featuring Spock and Anson Mount’s Captain Pike have adventures on the Enterprise, but Kirk wouldn’t take over for Pike for another decade or so. Even if we don’t get to see a new version of that relationship, Burnham will likely find out that her brother flourished in her absence – assuming there are still Federation records in the 32nd century.

Retconning Michael Burnham into Spock’s backstory was always Star Trek: Discovery’s most polarizing decision, and one that meant the show – and Burnham in particular – was often weighed down with issues of prequelitis. But the fact that Burnham planted the seeds for what would prove to be Star Trek’s most iconic friendship just about makes it all worth it.

Next: Star Trek: 25 Wild Revelations About Kirk And Spock’s Relationship


2019-04-21 05:04:22

Dusty Stowe

About That Star Trek: Discovery Borg Theory

Star Trek: Discovery’s season 2 finale decisively resolved the Control storyline and appears to have wiped out the entity completely. The conclusion also stamped a bright red “Rejected” on the theory that posited Control would somehow be connected to the Borg.

The malevolent A.I. that sprang from Section 31’s threat assessment software bore stylistic similarities to the Borg that became so obvious it seemed they had to be intentional. Control’s desire to consume the universe like locusts combined with their disdain for humanity rang very familiar, and when they essentially assimilated a (bald) captain to serve as their mouthpiece and growled “Struggle is pointless,” at his resistance, it seemed impossible that Control wouldn’t somehow be connected to Star Trek’s most iconic villains.

RELATED: Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Ending Explained

But part two of Star Trek: Discovery’s season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow” seemed to indicate the details connecting Control to the Borg were only superficial. When Georgiou destroys Leland and Discovery disappears into the future and out of the history books, it certainly seems like the book is closed on Control with no possible way left for it to connect to the cybernetic beings in the Delta Quadrant. So that theory about them somehow getting sent back in time and somehow becoming the source of the worst guests in Star Trek? It’s probably not true.

Leland’s grey veins, control’s predilection for red laser eye play, its use of nanotech to spread like a virus and eliminate individuality – none of that had anything canonically to do with the Borg. In fact, in an interview with TrekCore, co-showrunner Michelle Paradise insisted the writers never intended there to be any connection between Control or the Borg, canonically or stylistically: “It’s interesting — we weren’t thinking Borg at all. I mean, we talked about all sorts of different things in the room, but there was never any intent on our part to parallel that in any way. I can certainly understand why people started to think we were going in that direction, but it was never where we intended to go with it.” Given Discovery’s penchant for integrating previous elements of Star Trek into its storyline at what some would say is the expense of originality, the fact that Control was not be shoehorned into a Borg origin story no one asked for is undeniably a good thing.

Unfortunately, as hard as it is to believe Control could’ve found its way into Borg history, it’s equally as hard to believe Discovery didn’t intentionally evoke the species in their characterization of Leland and Control. The similarities are too glaring not to think that at some point there was an idea to connect the A.I. and the Borg that was later abandoned, or that the stylistic callbacks and variation-on-a-theme catchphrase weren’t an attempt at mining yet more nostalgia from the greater franchise.

While actually going through with establishing Control as part of the Borg’s backstory would’ve been frustrating, without that context, the similarities between the two entities make Control feel less original and less compelling. Ultimately, Georgiou’s clever use of magnets was the best thing to happen to this story, hands down.

MORE: Star Trek Theory: Discovery is Setting Up a Pike/Spock Spin-Off


2019-04-20 06:04:36

Alexandra August

Star Trek: Discovery Solves Its Biggest Michael Burnham Plot Hole

Star Trek: Discovery has finally explained why nobody ever talked about Michael Burnham or the USS Discovery. When CBS first launched the Star Trek prequel series, it caused a great deal of confusion. The show introduced a brand new character into Star Trek lore, Michael Burnham, Spock’s adopted human sister. What’s more, the Discovery was using a revolutionary new technology known as the spore drive, allowing it to jump through space in an instant.

How could this possibly fit into existing Star Trek canon? Spock has been a major recurring character over the years, so surely he should have mentioned Michael sometime, especially given she was such a key player in the Klingon War. And the spore drive is technology that hasn’t even been hinted at before; if the Federation possessed spore drive technology back in 2256, why didn’t it become standard? Had Voyager possessed a spore drive when it was kidnapped by the Caretaker in 2371, it would have been able to return to the Alpha Quadrant just moments after completing repairs. Star Trek: Discovery‘s showrunners had long promised that season 2 would resolve all these continuity problems, although frankly it seemed like a stretch.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Ending Explained

However, the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow Part II,” pulled it off. It saw the Enterprise and Discovery locked in pitched battle against the forces of Control, the rogue artificial intelligence whose very existence threatened the future of all sentient life in the galaxy. Should Control manage to acquire the sphere data, it would be able to subvert its programming and become genocidal. There was only one way the Discovery crew believed this future could be avoided; to jump into the future themselves, taking the sphere data with them. The crew of the Enterprise then lied to Starfleet, claiming Discovery’s spore drive had overloaded and destroyed the ship. It was a clever deception; the spore drive was experimental technology, the one other ship built with a spore drive had suffered a catastrophic failure in Star Trek: Discovery season 1, and Stamets – the only scientist who understood the spore drive enough to argue the point – had been on the Discovery.

But Spock went one step further. He argued that the threat of Control could not be allowed to recur, and that in order to lessen the chance of that all knowledge of the USS Discovery should be struck from Starfleet’s records. Everybody who knew anything about the ship should be sworn to secrecy; they’d never be able to talk about the Discovery, the spore drive, or the battle against Control. Michael Burnham’s name would be quietly erased from records. And Spock would never be allowed to tell anyone about his sister. From Spock’s point of view, this was a masterful strategy; it meant nobody would ever research the spore drive and work out that the Enterprise crew had been lying. Starfleet would be happy to oblige, given that it allowed them pretend Control had never existed, and they’d not come within a hair’s breadth of causing galactic extinction. Had the truth become public, they’d have had to admit to the existence of Section 31, so the secrecy spared the Federation public embarrassment and a major political scandal.

It’s all eminently logical from an in-universe perspective, and it neatly explains why Burnham and Discovery haven’t been mentioned in Star Trek canon before. To even acknowledge Burnham’s existence would be to commit an act of treason. Meanwhile, the spore drive technology would be forgotten, viewed as a scientific dead end pursued by a scientist whose name would be lost in obscurity. Now it’s in the future, but before the jump, Star Trek: Discovery cleared up all the confusion.

More: What To Expect From Star Trek: Discovery Season 3


2019-04-19 07:04:35

Thomas Bacon

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Ending Explained

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.

Related: Star Trek Theory: Discovery Is Setting Up A Pike/Spock Spinoff

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.

Related: The Meaning Of Star Trek: Discovery’s First Five Red Signals

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.

Related: Discovery Finally Has A Proper Star Trek Crew In The Season 2 Finale

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.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery Made Spock’s Banter With McCoy Even Better

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.


2019-04-18 06:04:29

John Orquiola

Star Trek Theory: Discovery Is Setting Up A Pike/Spock Spinoff

Star Trek: Discovery may be setting up a spinoff that centers on the adventures of Captain Pike and Spock aboard the USS Enterprise. Discovery‘s versions of both classic Star Trek characters have been well received, and after getting a glimpse of the Enterprise bridge in season 2’s penultimate episode, fans are wondering if we really have to say goodbye to Pike and company so soon.

CBS All Access has made no secret of the fact that Star Trek is going to be the beating heart of the streaming service going forward. In the wake of Discovery‘s success, several other upcoming Star Trek series have been announced, including the animated comedy Lower Decks, the Michelle Yeoh starring Section 31 spinoff, and the much celebrated return of Patrick Stewart to the franchise in an as-yet-unnamed Jean-Luc Picard series.

Related: Jonathan Frakes to Direct Episodes of Patrick Stewart’s Picard Series

All of those shows certainly have potential, but the notion of a TV show taking place on the original Enterprise with Pike and Spock has a different kind of allure. But is it something CBS would want to pursue? Does it fill a hole in their longterm strategy for the franchise? Let’s break it down.

  • This Page: Captain Pike’s Popularity & Star Trek’s Presence In 23rd Century
  • Page 2: The Kelvin Movies & The Enterprise

Captain Christopher Pike is a towering figure in Star Trek lore, but he’s never really been allowed to take center stage. The character was abandoned after the first pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series, with Jeffrey Hunter’s brooding captain ditched in favor of William Shatner’s swashbuckling James T. Kirk. That pilot footage would be brilliantly repurposed in the classic two-part episode “The Menagerie,” but that was for all intents and purposes the end of Pike’s story. Bruce Greenwood played an older, more soulful version of Pike in the J.J. Abrams reboot films, serving as a father figure to Kirk who ultimately died at the hands of Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Related: Every Star Trek Movie Ranked (From Worst To Best)

Anson Mount’s Pike has been a very different animal. After the crew of the Discovery were betrayed by their Mirror Universe former captain, Gabriel Lorca, Pike’s easy charm and sense of morality – as well as has implicit trust in Michael Burnham – have re-centered the show and solved many of the character problems that plagued Star Trek: Discovery season 1. Mount is dynamite in the role, and even if we know what grisly fate awaits him, he would canonically be the captain of the Enterprise for another decade or so. Petitions for Mount’s Pike to be given his own show have begun to spring up, and it would seem like a natural progression for both the character and CBS’s growing slate of Star Trek projects.

At this point, it would be a major surprise if Star Trek: Discovery season 3 didn’t take place in the future, perhaps as far as a thousand years past the 23rd century. The Picard series will take place at the twilight of the 24th century, and it’s unclear which era of Star Trek lore Lower Decks will occupy. If Discovery does leave the 23rd century behind, it will presumably have to jettison a lot of the recurring characters and subplots that are specific to that era, many of which are still unresolved.

Related: Star Trek Theory: Discovery Time Travels Into The Future For Season 3

The easiest way to pick up those threads would be throw a Pike/Spock show. Both characters are already familiar with most of the major players of the era, so there wouldn’t be much need to reintroduce concepts to the audience. It would also uphold a sort of Star Trek tradition, where one show introduces a new species or conflict, only for it to be further explored in a spinoff series. Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced the Bajorans, Cardassians, and Trill before Star Trek: Deep Space Nine went on to more fully define those species. A Pike/Spock series that stood in opposition to the creeping amorality of Section 31’s influence on the Federation would be a great way to grapple with some of the weightier questions that Discovery too often chooses to punt on.

Page 2 of 2: The Kelvin Movies Are Done & The Enterprise Is Worth Seeing Again

It’s still possible there will be more Kelvin timeline films, but the prospect seems fairly unlikely these days. Star Trek Beyond underperformed at the box office, and Chris Pine walked away from the negotiating table after Paramount attempted to lowball his salary for a proposed fourth film. The Star Trek film series is essentially mothballed at the moment, and there’s been no real indication that’s going to change anytime soon.

That could be used to CBS’s advantage. Star Trek’s film and TV rights were split by corporate reorganization about a decade ago – CBS controls the TV rights, Paramount controls the movie rights. Rumors have persisted for years that the two corporate entities have been waging something of a cold war over Star Trek, squabbling over who controls what aspects of the franchise. If Paramount isn’t even developing any Star Trek projects, any studio spats over use of iconic elements like the Enterprise and Spock would seem like a moot point.

Related: Why Star Trek 4 Has Been Cancelled

The general setup of the Enterprise’s mission of exploration also just lends itself better to television than it does films, as it’s an ongoing story. It’s been 15 years since audiences were able to tune in to a weekly show about the Enterprise exploring the galaxy – and that was the widely reviled Star Trek: Enterprise. A Pike/Spock series would give the franchise an opportunity to get back to basics, while still building on the innovations introduced by Discovery.

There are plenty of intellectual and corporate strategic reasons to pursue a series set on Captain Pike’s Enterprise, but there’s also one that is purely visceral. In the first part of the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow,” we get our first look at Discovery‘s version of the iconic Enterprise bridge, and it is a sight to behold. Unlike the “Apple Store” redesign seen in the Kelvin films, the Discovery Enterprise – commanded by Rebecca Romijn’s Number One while Pike has been away – is a tasteful update of the TOS bridge. It’s much larger and with modern lighting and design elements, but also unmistakably the bridge of the NCC-1701, with red/orange railing and authentic reproductions of the old set’s knobs and lights.

Related: Star Trek Theory: [SPOILER] Is Discovery’s Final Captain

The production team did an amazing job melding the style of Discovery with the retro 60s feel of TOS, and it’s almost painful to think we’re never going to see that set used after this season of Discovery ends. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Whether they meant to or not, CBS has created the foundation for a great series that fans are dying to see. And while Mount’s Pike has been getting the lion’s share of the praise, Ethan Peck’s Spock has been nearly as remarkable, and Peck has had to play with a decidedly more famous and beloved character than Mount. Peck’s ability to maintain the core of the character established by the late Leonard Nimoy – while saddled with mental instability and a scraggly depression beard – has been a real achievement, and he deserves to take a stab at the more traditional iteration of the Vulcan science officer.

There’s no guarantee CBS will pursue a Pike/Spock series. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman seems to have a fairly good idea of where he wants to take the Star Trek franchise, and he’s yet to really acknowledge the fan desire to see a full series about Pike’s Enterprise. But the pieces are all there, and while Star Trek: Discovery has been a success, it’s been a controversial, polarizing one. If CBS wants to earn some goodwill and gift themselves a surefire hit, all they need to do is re-board the Enterprise.

Next: Discovery (Finally) Has A Proper Star Trek Crew In The Season 2 Finale


2019-04-17 07:04:46

Dusty Stowe

Discovery (Finally) Has A Proper Star Trek Crew In The Season 2 Finale

Star Trek: Discovery‘s superior season 2 fittingly concludes with the crew bonded together in a way no other Star Trek cast has. Every series in the franchise is about a core ensemble of Starfleet Officers who become a found family. It only took two seasons for the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery to become that kind of unified front.

Traditionally, the main cast of a Star Trek series revolved around the captain, but Star Trek: Discovery tossed that paradigm out of the nearest airlock. Michael Burnham is – and continues to be – the centerpiece character, but by the end of Star Trek: Discovery season 1, fans still didn’t know who most of the bridge crew were. Thankfully, season 2 has taken huge strides to bring the ancillary members of the crew to the forefront. By the penultimate episode, “Such Sweet Sorrow”, the Starfleet Officers of the U.S.S. Discovery chose to risk their lives and their every futures for each other.

Related: The Meaning Of Star Trek: Discovery’s Red Signals (So Far)

In order to stop the malevolent A.I. Control from gaining the sphere data it needs to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy, Michael chose to become the second Red Angel and take the Discovery into the future. Even by Star Trek‘s standards of loyalty to one’s crew, Michael’s farewell was exceptionally heartfelt. “I love you. All of you,” Michael told her colleagues. “I wish there was more time. Thank you for the greatest moments of my life.” This was extra touching considering how Michael boarded the Discovery two years prior as Starfleet’s first mutineer. She was mistrusted and labeled “dangerous” by First Officer Saru himself.

In “Such Sweet Sorrow’, Ensign Silvia Tilly, Saru, Spock, Lt. Paul Stamets, Commander Jett Reno, Lt. Keyla Detmer, Lt. Joann Owosekun, Lt. Gen Rhys, Lt. R.A. Bryce, Commander Nhan, Lt. Nilsson, and Emperor Georgiou all elected to remain aboard as the U.S.S. Discovery’s crew to time travel with Michael into the distant future – perhaps never to return. This fitttingly put a button on how much season 2 highlighted its supporting cast.

In the season 2 premiere, Captain Pike asked the bridge crew to introduce themselves, which cleverly allowed him (and the fans) to put names to the faces. Later, Detmer and Owosekun saved Pike’s life as he flew through an asteroid field. Throughout season 2, Michael and Saru chaired Ready Room meetings where the bridge crew was able to show off their personalities. The Discovery’s lively mess hall was a far cry from Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Ten Forward lounge; the Disco’s crew took their meals together (not unlike Kirk’s crew in The Original Series), relaxed, laughed, swapped stories, and played the auto-antonym game. The Disco crew also weathered bizarre moments like the resurrected Dr. Hugh Culber brawling with Ash Tyler.

The Discovery also welcomed Commanders Nhan and Jett Reno; despite her tense working relationship with Stamets, Reno helped heal Stamets and Culber’s broken marriage while Nhan apologized to Michael for her role in Lieutenant Commander Airiam’s death. An augmented human who was possessed by Control and forced to betray her crewmates, Airiam was season 2’s most tragic character; “Project Daedalus” gave glimpses of Airiam when she was once fully human and fans saw the mutual affection between her, Tilly, and Michael. Airiam’s funeral was as touching as Spock’s in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Related: Star Trek Theory: Discovery Season 2 Is The Borg’s Origin

Other Star Trek crews had more time to bond. With the exceptions of The Original Series and Star Trek: Enterprise, the other series had 7 seasons (which were generally understood to correspond to 7 years each) for their crews to gel and in their opening titles, the characters’ names were listed with the actors playing them. (The casts of TOS and TNG also had 10 Star Trek movies between them to further their bonds.) In addition, the other Star Trek series had about 26 episodes in the episodic format – ample time to devote to individual characters and familiarize them to fans.

By contrast, Star Trek: Discovery is serialized in the modern Peak TV style of storytelling (whereas even the serialized Deep Space Nine had plenty of room for one-off character episodes) and the CBS All-Access prequel only has 14-15 episodes to tell a complete season-long arc. Yet, in season 2, Star Trek: Discovery‘s crew proves to be resolutely behind Michael Burnham and they’ll follow her anywhere (or anywhen) – they could now even lay claim to the title of “the finest crew in Starfleet”.

Next: Star Trek: Discovery’s Finale All But Confirms Major Season 3 Theory

Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 finale streams Thursday, April 18 @ 8:30pm on CBS All-Access and internationally the next day on Netflix


2019-04-15 09:04:50

John Orquiola

The Meaning of All Star Trek: Discovery’s Red Signals (So Far)

The red signals have been one of Star Trek: Discovery season 2’s primary mysteries, but the penultimate episode, “Such Sweet Sorrow,” has now clarified the true purpose of the bursts of light in space. With five of the seven red signals now revealed, we know how they factor into the final battle against the evil A.I. called Control that wants to end all sentient life in the galaxy, and who sent the red signals in the first place: a future version of Michael Burnham.

Most of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 was focused on learning the identity of the time-traveling Red Angel, who was revealed to be Michael’s mother, Dr. Gabrielle Burnham. However, Gabrielle claimed that in her 841 failed attempts to stop the timeline where Control annihilates the galaxy, she never sent any red signals to warn the Discovery. Compounded with the Red Angel’s DNA match to Michael, Spock concluded that Michael herself was a second Red Angel who sent the red signals from the future. This also means that future Michael is partially responsible for Spock’s mental breakdown earlier in the season, though it was the present version of Burnham who enabled the healing of Spock’s mind with the help the psychic inhabitants of Talos IV.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery’s Burnham Story Homages DS9’s “The Visitor”

The first three red signals led the U.S.S. Discovery on rescue missions, but it later became clear the starbursts were being sent by an individual with conscious design: Michael herself. Once Michael realized she was also the Red Angel in “Such Sweet Sorrow,” Burnham decided on her plan to save the galaxy: she would wear a newly-built Red Angel time suit to tow the U.S.S. Discovery into the far future to keep the sphere data that Control needs to evolve and achieve consciousness away from the A.I. Unfortunately, it would be a one-way trip and Michael would be unable to return to the 23rd century. But once she is in the future, Michael would then send the red signals to enable the Discovery to achieve the vital steps necessary to enable her plan in the first place.

As Star Trek: Discovery season 2 plays out its endgame, here is the purpose of the five red signals that have been revealed thus far and what important steps they led the Starfleet Officers to take in order to save the galaxy:

  • This Page: The Meaning Of Red Signals #1-2
  • Page 2: The Meaning Of Red Signals #3-5

Red Signal #1: Rescue Jett Reno

The red signals first appeared in Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 premiere, “Brother.” The first signal led the Discovery to an asteroid field and the crashed U.S.S. Hiawatha, which had been there for 10 months and eleven days after being damaged during the Klingon War. There, Michael Burnham, Captain Pike, and Commander Nhan met Commander Jett Reno, a Starfleet engineer who had rebuilt the ship’s medical equipment to keep some of the Hiawatha’s crew alive. The Discovery crew rescued Reno, though Michael was injured in the escape and saw a vision of the Red Angel.

Rescuing Jett was the purpose of the first red signal. Reno isn’t just an acerbic comic foil for Lieutenant Paul Stamets; as a brilliant engineer she is vital in making sure the time crystal is able to be sufficiently charged so that Michael’s Red Angel suit can open a wormhole into the future. Jett also received a vision from the crystal about specific damage the Starship Enterprise will incur in the battle against Section 31’s fleet; she could then be vital in saving Captain Pike and his crew in the season 2 finale. Basically, without Jett Reno coming aboard the Discovery, Ensign Sylvia Tilly would be lost in the mycelial network and Burnham’s time travel gambit would automatically fail.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery’s Homage to Wrath of Khan (And What It Reveals About Spock)

Red Signal #2: Find Terralysium

The second red signal led the Discovery to a planet in the Beta Quadrant called Terralysium, as seen in the second episode, “New Eden.” At Terralysium, Pike, Burnham, and Lieutenant Owosekun found over 11,000 human beings descended from a group that was originally from Earth. Their ancestors were saved from a World War III nuclear holocaust by the Red Angel and transported to the Beta Quadrant. The multi-faith-worshipping people on Terralysium abandoned technology and were subsequently saved from an extinction-level event by the Red Angel and the U.S.S. Discovery.

It was vital that the Discovery’s crew learned about Terralysium, which was the purpose of the second red signal. The Red Angel/Dr. Gabrielle Burnham was using Terralysium as her home base and anchor point for time traveling from 950 years in the future. Because Terralysium lacks technology, it’s a haven from Control, which had conquered the galaxy. Part of Michael’s plan involves hiding the Discovery at Terralysium in the future to keep the sphere data safe from Control.

Page 2: The Meaning Of Red Signals #3-5

Red Signal #3: Liberate Saru’s Homeworld

The third red signal brought the Starship Discovery to Kaminar in the sixth episode, “The Sounds of Thunder”. For hundreds of years, First Officer Saru’s homeworld had been subjugated by the technologically superior Ba’ul. In “An Obol for Charon,” the Red Angel had placed the dying sphere in the Discovery’s path so that the ship would integrate its 100,000 years of data – Dr. Burnham hoped this would safeguard the data from Control. But proximity to the sphere also triggered Saru’s Vahar’ai, the Kelpien process of evolution. Now changed, Saru fought to evolve the Kelpiens to liberate Kaminar from the Ba’ul.

It’s not clear exactly what role Saru or the Kelpiens have to play in Michael’s endgame plan to defeat Control. As Acting Captain of the Discovery, perhaps the fact that Saru is now free of fear will be vital in the battle against Section 31. It’s also possible that the future Michael wanted to ensure that Saru and the Kelpiens achieve their desperately-needed evolution, simply because she loves Saru like family. It’s also a longshot but, in the time since the Kelpiens beat the Ba’ul thanks to the Red Angel, Saru’s people may have learned enough about the Ba’ul’s technology that they can use it to join in the fight against Section 31.

Related: Did You Catch Star Trek: Discovery’s Futurama Reference?

Red Signal #4: Get A Time Crystal

The 4th red signal brought the Discovery to the Klingon planet Boreth in season 2’s 12th episode, “Through the Valley of Shadows.” The ancient monastery on Boreth has a secret purpose: to protect the time crystals that are native to the planet. Captain Pike traveled alone to the monastery to retrieve a raw time crystal, which is vital to the Discovery’s plan to hide the sphere data in the far future to keep it away from Control.

While he was at Boreth, Pike was guided by the albino Klingon Tenavik, who is the son of High Chancellor L’Rell and Voq/Ash Tyler. Tenavik, who was brought to Boreth as an infant a few months prior and is now fully grown thanks to exposure to the time crystals, warned Pike about the price he must pay to take one away from the planet. Pike saw his tragic future (which Dr. Burnham alluded to) – that he will be horribly disfigured by delta rays and, by taking the time crystal anyway, the heroic captain chose to lock himself into that destiny. Still, Pike understood the purpose of the 4th red signal was to secure a raw time crystal and he willingly sacrificed his own future to save the galaxy.

Red Signal #5: Get Po To Charge The Time Crystal

The fifth red signal brought the Discovery to Xahea, which is ruled by Tilly’s friend, Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po. The teenage queen first appeared in the Short Trek episode “Runaway” when she stowed away aboard the Discovery and befriended Tilly. Their warm relationship was instrumental in securing Po’s help in powering the time crystal so that the second Red Angel suit built to be worn by Michael Burnham would be able to time travel.

It was clear why the fifth signal led our heroes to Xahea and her queen: Po is a genius inventor who designed an incubator to re-crystalize dilithium – her technical know-how was necessary to build a power source that could charge the Discovery’s raw time crystal. Essentially, Po built an incubator that could replicate the energy of a supernova in order to charge the time crystal. Po also built “siege weapons” to help the Discovery and the Enterprise fight Control’s fleet – and she may even have volunteered to join her Starfleet friends as they jump to the far future.

There are still two more red signals to be revealed, which will hopefully occur in Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 finale. What role they have to play in Michael Burnham’s endgame to save the galaxy – and whether her plan will work – remains to be seen.

Next: Star Trek Theory: Discovery Season 2 Is The Borg’s Origin

Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 finale streams Thursday, April 18 on CBS All-Access and internationally the next day on Netflix.


2019-04-14 09:04:05

John Orquiola

Star Trek: Discovery’s Finale All But Confirms Major Season 3 Theory

The first half of Star Trek: Discovery’s two-part season finale gave a lot of credence to a compelling fan theory that’s been in the works for weeks now. Given where things stand at the end of “Such Sweet Sorrow,” it seems more than likely that next week, the U.S.S. Discovery will rocket into the future permanently – or at least for a considerable length of time.

Since the season started leaning more heavily into time travel and Dr. Burnham’s mission finally came out into the open, the “Calypso” Short Trek has felt more and more predictive. It doesn’t hurt that two other Short Treks now directly connect to season 2’s storyline, nor that it included the presence of a time traveling Discovery and an artificial intelligence – two elements that figure prominently into the Control/Red Angel storyline. We theorized two weeks ago that Dr. Burnham might wind up becoming Discovery’s “last captain,” i.e. the person who orders the ship to stay idle until their return which is where Craft finds it centuries later in “Calypso.”

Related: Star Trek Theory: Discovery Will Explain The Klingon Messiah With Time Travel

We don’t have confirmation of the identity of that last captain, but it is starting to look more and more like the Disco will wind up very far from home – be that distance measured in centuries or light years. The plan to send the ship into the future guided by the Red Angel to ferry the sphere data far away from Control already has it written in its code that there’s very little chance of return. So much so that the crew who decide to accompany Burnham on her mission pen heartfelt goodbye letters to loved ones they don’t plan to see again. That scenario might imply a twist ending to some who think Discovery’s one-way mission is a little too obvious, but given how every character is positioned at the end of the episode, we think this is a set-up more than a misdirect.

It’s hard to ignore that everyone who remained on the Enterprise can’t journey to parts unknown due to their canon obligations, the fact that they might get their own series, or both. Also, aside from conceiving the master plan to slingshot Discovery and Michael into the future to take the sphere data as far away from Control as possible, much of “Such Sweet Sorrow” centered itself around tying up loose storylines and allowing everyone the chance for a proper goodbye. The title in and of itself evokes a bittersweet parting of the ways.

Captain Pike got a well-deserved standing ovation from the Discovery crew before he rejoined the Enterprise, while Ash and Michael made sure to passionately embrace one last time. Burnham even got a chance to say goodbye to her foster parents, who weirdly showed up in the middle of a military conflict to give her a hug. Spock accompanying the Discovery on its journey is a fly in the ointment of canon, but we’re willing to bet the second part of the season 2 finale will rectify that plot thread somehow. The idea of Star Trek: Discovery beaming out of the self-imposed nostalgia prison it’s languished in for the past two seasons is too tantalizing and looks way too likely for Spock to get in the way. And let’s not forget, Alex Kurtzman promised up and down that the end of season 2 would reconcile Discovery with Star Trek canon and be a massive game-changer – this certainly fits that bill.

If Discovery slingshots far into the future with no chance of immediate return, the show will finally be able to explore a new frontier. That’s something Star Trek hasn’t embraced this fully since Star Trek: Voyager bounced its titular ship 75,000 light years from home. That series regrettably didn’t lean into the practical implications of a Starfleet ship that far from Federation support, but the premise a huge amount of promise. Not only were there new aliens and phenomena to encounter, the rules for how people on Star Trek behaved and interacted flew out the window in the face of telling a story about a ship in utterly unknown territory with nothing but their wits and values to guide them.

Star Trek: Discovery is poised to make the same kind of leap and if they do, it’ll be one of the ballsiest blind jumps this franchise has ever seen.

More: Star Trek: Discovery Shows How Pike Got His Original Injuries


2019-04-13 07:04:39

Alexandra August