Tonight is a big night for Star Trek fans. Star Trek: Discovery, the first new Star Trek television series in more than a decade, will wrap up its first season with the season finale episode "Will You Take My Hand?" on CBS All Access.
The finale places the future of the United Federation of Planets on the shoulders of Michael Burnham, the disgraced Starfleet officer who became Starfleet's first mutineer and set off a war with the Klingon Empire at the same time.
Admiral Katrina Cornwell and Sarek, Michael's Vulcan foster father, have shown themselves to be willing to do whatever it takes to end the war that Burnham started, even placing the former Emperor of the Terran Empire, Phillipa Georgiou, in command of Discovery. While they're concerned with saving the Federation from annihilation, it may be up to Burnham to save Starfleet's soul.
“As the crew of Discovery deals with the fallout of Mirror Universe Lorca, they must end the war with the Klingons once and for all,” the showrunners said. “Burnham is going to have to strike unexpected alliances in a mission that requires the Discovery team to take the fight directly to the Klingons. Will there be redemption for Burnham’s mutiny against Georgiou or Tyler’s attacks on Culber and Burnham? As the first season wraps up, the stakes have never been higher for the U.S.S. Discovery and we’re excited to answer many of the questions that have been asked since the first episode, as well as tease what’s to come.”
Star Trek: Discovery has been more unpredictable than any Star Trek series before it. We expect it still has a few surprises up its sleeve for the finale. Here are our predictions for how things will go down.
One of the Cadet Training episodes recommended on last week's After Trek the Star Trek: Voyager two-parter "Scorpion." In that episode, First Officer Chakotay uses the fable of the scorpion to caution Captain Janeway against her alliance with the Borg, explaining that a creature cannot truly betray its nature.
It feels like After Trek was maybe trying to give us the same warning about Emperor Georgiou, who was hastily installed as captain on Discovery - under the guise of being her prime universe counterpart - for the mission to Qo'noS.
Georgiou ruled an empire built on ruthless ambition. Should we expect her to change her nature in the prime timeline? Probably not.
Yes, we fully expect Georgiou to betray the Federation. We also don't expect her to live long enough to tell the tale.
Star Trek: Discovery went out of its way to deal with the continuity issue surrounding Discovery's trip to the Mirror Universe. It had been previously established that Captain Kirk made the first contact with the mirror universe at least a decade after the events of Star Trek: Discovery. So how then did Discovery get their first?
Admiral Cornwell made the wartime decision to have everything about the mirror universe heavily classified, fearing that knowledge of an alternate universe would become a problem when so much of the Federation in is mourning.
Georgiou is a loose end, and obviously, Starfleet can't end her life on purpose. Instead, it seems likely that Georgiou's betrayal will bring her into conflict with the Federation and end with her death. We also expect Burnham will be somehow involved with Georgiou's end, perhaps leading a mutiny, to perfect mirror how Star Trek: Discovery began.
Calling this one a "prediction" may be cheating a little since the showrunners have stated that the Klingon War storyline would not continue into the second season of Star Trek: Discovery.
That said, we think this moment will have more significance than some realize. The end of the Klingon War should mark the moment that the Klingons of Star Trek: Discovery start to become more like the Klingons fans know from the rest of the franchise.
Maybe not physically, but in how they interact with the Federation. In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Klingons were uneasy neighbors with the Federation and they had a few border skirmishes (there was also that one time they declared and then called off a war on each other in the same day), but they were quite so motivated by religion or nativism.
With T'Kuvma and Voq's preaching now over, we expect whatever decisive blow Georgiou, Sarek, and Starfleet have in store for the Klingons in the finale will result in the two sides forming the status quo fans find more familiar.
Michael Burnham has been on quite the journey this season. She went from First Officer on the Shenzhou to Starfleet's first convicted mutineer, to science specialist onboard Discovery, to the captain of the ISS Shenzhou in the mirror universe.
Once the war is over, with Lorca gone, there's little reason for her not to be sent to prison to serve out her sentence for her crimes. Little reason except that it would be a really strange move from a narrative point of view.
There was a glimmer of hope for Burnham in last week's episode. Despite being opposed to Burnham serving on Discovery when Lorca was in command, Admiral Cornwell admitted that she was impressed with Burnham's plan for ending the Klingon War. Could Burnham earn her way back into Starfleet?
This would also potentially resolve another lingering continuity problem. In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Tholian Web," Spock states that there is no act of mutiny onboard a Starfleet vessel "on record." If Burnham's crime is removed from her record, that would correct the error, but what would Burnham have to do to convince Starfleet to look the other way on such a crime?
With Lorca out of the picture, the USS Discovery is in need of a new commanding officer.
Admiral Cornwell took command when the ship returned from the mirror universe and former emperor Georgiou is commanding the ship during the mission to Qo'noS but, whether Georgiou dies or not, this seems like a situation that will not stand.
Georgiou isn't an actual Starfleet officer. We assume that if she does not die on this mission, Cornwell will find some way to put that genie back in its bottle, both for the sake of Discovery and for the sake of keeping the mirror universe covered up.
Saru seems like the most likely candidate. Star Trek: Discovery is all about making Star Trek history, and making an alien the official captain of a Star Trek show's title vessel would be one more first on Discovery's record.
Some fans have chafed as Star Trek: Discovery's depiction of Starfleet. They say it's too aggressive, to militaristic, and not the exploratory and optimistic organization of Star Trek's history.
We expect that will change beginning with tonight's finale. This season of Star Trek: Discovery has turned out to be all about the fight for Starfleet's soul. Burnham abandoning Starfleet ideals for Vulcan logic is was sparked the Klingon War. Lorca further corrupted Starfleet with mirror universe ideas, and Admiral Cornwell and Sarek seem to have been lured in by the promises of the Terran Emperor.
Once Lorca was revealed, Discovery began to turn a corner. The Discovery crew is now fighting to reclaim its Starfleet standards. Saru has led that charge, with speeches about maintaining Starfleet ethics even in the mirror universe and not accepting no-win scenarios, one more reason he deserves the captain's chair.
With Starfleet humbled by the war and its numbers decreased from the destruction, we expect it will go soul searching and be set on the path to the becoming the outfit fans so love.
Star Trek has a long tradition of ending a season on a cliffhanger going back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation's third season finale, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I."
In those cases, the season finale episode would be the first part of a two-part story. They'd end right at the story's dramatic height and leave fans waiting for months for resolution.
Star Trek: Discovery is a different kind of show in that its already fully serialized. We expect the stories begun in the first season will fully wrap up in the finale, but we also expect the show will want to give fans something to think about over the hiatus.0comments
To that end, we expect a cliffhanger that will tease things to come. Could we see a shot of prime universe Lorca? Could the Discovery be sent to rendezvous with the Enterprise? Whatever it is, we expect fans will have plenty to discuss between the finale and the season two premiere.