Discovery Recap: Such Sweet Sorrow (Season 2, Episode 13)

As long as Discovery exists here and now, this will never be over. – Burnham

Previously on Star Trek Discovery: Another signal appears over the Klingon world of Boreth, which turns out to be the world where L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) and Tyler (Shazad Latif) stashed their kid earlier this season. It’s also the home to a time crystal monastery. L’Rell (who has rendezvoused with Disco in her sweet D7) and Tyler both want to go down to the planet but Pike overrules them. It’s dangerous for the kid, plus he’s jonesing for a time crystal. On the planet Pike (Anson Mount) meets their child, now a grown-up monk (thanks to magic time crystal powers) named Tenavik (Kenneth Mitchell). In order to take the time crystal, Pike must glimpse his future, and when he does he sees himself in a familiar wheelchair, flesh melting on his face. Present Pike remains determined to continue his mission. Meanwhile Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Spock (Ethan Peck) chase a Section 31 ship and end up being attacked by a Control-possessed Gant (former Shenzhou crewmember) and his body full of nanobots. They get back to the ship, but Disco is quickly surrounded by Section 31 ships that appear to be controlled by Control, coming for the Sphere data. Pike summons the Enterprise and gives the order for Disco’s crew to evacuate before they set the ship to self-destruct.

Sue is out this week celebrating the other Star fandom so I’m filling in with your regularly-scheduled Disco recap.

We open on a (presumably) Vulcan beach, where Amanda (Mia Kirshner) is bringing a bowl of plomeek soup to the planet’s worst husband/father. Sarek (James Frain) is meditating when his eyes suddenly fly open and he whispers: “Michael.”

Cut to the Discovery evacuation montage, featuring our heroes picking out the most sentimental items in their crew quarters, touching looks back at various rooms on the ship, and a nearly-impossible-looking set of foldy ramps from the Enterprise to evacuate the other ship’s crew.

Enterprise and Discovery connected by corridors through space

Michael is having trouble leaving, worried that it means her mother’s sacrifice has been in vain. Pike talks her into getting going with a not-so-veiled metaphor about how sometimes it’s not so awesome to know the role you’re meant to play. But before she leaves she grabs the time crystal and sees a bunch of things happen really fast: it looks like the Enterprise’s hull is pierced by something, we hear the sounds of a red alert, see Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) on the ground, and hear Leland (Alan van Sprang) say, “Goodbye.”

On the bridge, Saru (Doug Jones) and Pike enable the remote auto-destruct and walk the foldy corridor to the Enterprise, which I gotta say looks and sounds so awesomely nostalgic.

The Enterprise Bridge, with Number One, Pike, Cornwell and other crew

Cornwell (Jayne Brooks) (Was she just hanging out counselling people last episode? Does she not get a say in destroying Discovery?) hands over the bridge to Pike and Number One (Rebecca Romijn)says, “Welcome home, Captain.” She informs him they’ve done away with holographic communications – it’s all viewscreens from now on.

Even though I love the look of this updated Enterprise bridge (and it’s way more diverse cast), Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is not impressed when she arrives (on her presumably cloaked ship) and asks permission to come aboard. She sneers at the color and then pulls Burnham aside to say she read Burnham’s report and looks forward to watching the nanobots exit Leland’s skin one-by-one.

Everyone is somber as they start the countdown to auto-destruct, but then they’re shocked when it fails. It’s like they don’t know it always goes to one on the show. Next they try photon torpedoes but Discovery‘s shields are up – the Sphere data is protecting itself.

As Leland’s ships close in Burnham has a longer vision of the fate she witnessed when she grabbed the time crystal – they’re on the Discovery bridge with Saru in charge. An undetonated photon torpedo becomes lodged in the hull of the Enterprise. Explosions are happening all around and Burnham and others are thrown to the deck. Nhan reports Discovery has been boarded and Leland enters the smoky bridge and shoots everyone. We watch everyone die, including a particularly awful long shot on Owosekun slumping down the console after she’s been shot. Leland kills Burnham last, lifting her by the throat and shooting her with a phaser as he says, “Goodbye.”

The Discovery bridge is in crisis - on the viewscreen they see an undetonated torpedo in the hull of the Enterprise

Flashing back to the Enterprise bridge, Burnham yells, “Stop,” just as Pike’s about to order another spread of photon torpedoes. She knows it won’t work, but what other options do they have?

“Of course,” she realizes, “As long as Discovery exists here and now, this will never be over.” She believes they have the time crystal so they can use it to remove the data from this time and stop it from falling into Control’s hands.

“Discovery has to go to the future.”

After the credits, the senior Disco senior staff plus important friends assemble in the Enterprise conference room to formulate a plan. They decide to try to rebuild the suit, and because it was tailored to Dr. Burnham’s DNA, Michael will need to be the one to use it. But what if she can’t get back? Pike says he’s trusting in the signals.

Spock agrees, saying if Dr. Burnham didn’t set the signals, Michael must have.

There’s some science talk – they need an unstable red giant to activate the time crystal. Georgiou is into the idea of speeding up a supernova by firing an antimatter missile into its core.

SARU: We would be directly responsible for destroying all life within dozens of lightyears, if not more!


MICHAEL: We’re not doing that.

GEORGIOU: I thought there were no bad ideas!

PIKE: That’s a lie.

CORNWELL: That’s a bad one.

Just in time a new signal shows up. Pike takes “essential crew” plus Georgiou back to Disco and the Enterprise under Cornwell prepare to try to evade Control and meet Discovery at the signal.

Just gonna pause here to grumble over not getting to see Number One command the ship. Cornwell’s great and all that but it’s Number One, people!

Anywho, my mood turns around pretty quickly when Discovery arrives at Xahea and Tilly (Mary Wiseman) excitedly realizes she knows the Queen, Po (Yadira Guevara-Prip). That’s right, if you didn’t watch the summer Short Treks you’re gonna want to do that, or at least read our recap of the episode “Runaway.”

You know when things are really busy at work and you think, what would be helpful right now? I know, an unannounced visit from my ex! No? Well too bad for Stamets (Anthony Rapp) (and my heart) because we’re about to have a sad Culmets interaction in Engineering. Hugh (Wilson Cruz) has come to let Paul know he’s going to transfer to the Enterprise, and Stamets wants to let Hugh know that he’s going to take a break from starships after all this, and he just hopes Hugh will be happy with whatever he chooses. “Forward motion is the most honest choice, for both of us,” he says.

kids from TOS crying

Luckily shit’s about to get adorable and heartwarming real fast, as Po beams aboard, runs straight over to hug Tilly and accepts a bowl of ice cream from her friend. In the conference room Po refuses to take any snark from Georgiou, and does a bunch of advanced physics in her head, impressing Reno. Together they come up with a solution to charge the time crystal, but the plan will burn out the crystal, stranding Michael in the future along with the ship.

Po meets Pike while eating Tilly's ice cream in the transporter room

On Disco, they brief the staff on the bridge and Tyler, Detmer and others are visibly upset to be sending Michael on a one-way mission to anywhere in time and space.

Here’s hoping Michael has room for a copy of this book in her suit:

How to Invent Everything: A survival guide for the stranded time traveller by Ryan North

Don’t worry, she says, it’s what I’m meant to do. Skeptic Jarrah is casting serious side-eye at this whole, “Trust the mystery” scene.

“I wish there was more time, but there isn’t,” Michael says sadly, “I love you – all of you.”

Yup, even Georgiou. Oh how quickly we forgive someone for eating the mirror version of our best friend.

Cut to Engineering, where Po and Tilly are working on a weird-looking contraption and sharing feels. Po tells Tilly she’s not going back to Xahea until this is over – she needs to stay and fight for her planet, her twin sister.

Side note: when I wrote that last paragraph I originally wrote “sisterly feels” then deleted that and wrote “bestie feels” but now I think I might be shipping Po and Tilly. Anyone else? 

Georgiou tries to talk Michael out of going by saying she’s being a martyr and that it’s possible she’s being exploited, but she’s not listening.

Amanda tearfully embraces Michael as Sarek watches

Next, Sarek and Amanda come aboard, apparently having located their ship by Katra powers. They also try to convince Michael she doesn’t have to leave them. She tearfully tells them she does, and thanks them for all they’ve done for her.

It’s a scene that really tugs at the heartstrings as Sarek actually kinda apologizes for vague mistakes and not always being the best father. He even gets in on a group hug.

That’s right: Sarek. In. A. Group. Hug.

GIF of girl holding up hands and saying "Whoa!"

After a longing look out a window Burnham buckles down to watch her mom’s Time Travel 101 YouTube videos. Dr. Burnham (Sonja Sohn) outlines the risks with humour and grace and we’re almost smiling again but then MOAR sad goodbyes as Tilly interrupts and pulls Burnham out into the corridor to a surprise party!

Well, not quite. It is a surprised assembly of the rest of the crew. They’re coming with her because leaving her to sacrifice on her own is “not who we are.”

The crew stands in the corridor to tell Michael they're going with her to the future.

Lump in throat activated.

Except Tyler’s not coming because someone needs to stay behind and make sure Section 31 doesn’t get all Control-y again. Plus he misses not being able to wear full-leather outfits and never going to a barber. Burnham turns to go but then runs back into his arms for a goodbye kiss.

Burnham and Tyler hold each other as they say goodbye

But wait, not enough sad for ya? You are in luck because it’s time for the montage of the goodbye letters: Saru to Siranna, Stamets to a sibling, Owosekun to her family, Tilly to her mom, etc.

As they await the Enterprise‘s arrival, presumably followed closely by Control/Section 31 ships, Pike announces Discovery will need a new captain, and all eyes go to Saru. Any sense of urgency we had left has been firmly killed by all the montages to this point, which is good because Pike has some Pinterest-worthy motivational quotes for everyone on the Discovery bridge, including Nhan, who’s staying.

Dance like no one’s watching, Pike.

Pike bids goodbye to the Discovery crew

Saru defers on the question of the Captaincy, saying they should focus on their tasks for now.

In Engineering, Tilly, Reno and Stamets are trying to figure out how to charge the time crystal faster so they can escape to the future. I guess because Po is on an ice cream break. The best they can come up with is to embiggen the holes in the cage to let in more charge faster, but the effects will seep out. Reno volunteers to be the one to risk her sanity by witnessing glimpses of the future.

She lets down the cage and instantly sees a vision of an undetonated photon torpedo in the Enterprise‘s hull. Oh crumbs.

Georgiou beams Tyler and Pike over to the Enterprise. Just before dematerializing Tyler asks Pike if he trusts him, because he’s going to need to leave to do something. Pike says yes. Then Georgiou playfully confesses to Pike that she’s Terran, “from the Mirror Universe.”

“What Mirror Universe?” Pike asks innocently, then winks.

In seconds, both ships are surrounded by Section 31 vessels.

Discovery and Enterprise surrounded by Section 31 ships

“Shields up,” says Pike on the Enterprise.

“Prepare for battle,” says Saru on the Discovery.

Next week on Star Trek Discovery: “Bananas” things happen and “canon questions” will be answered, according to interviews.


  2 comments for “Discovery Recap: Such Sweet Sorrow (Season 2, Episode 13)

  1. So glad I found this podcast! No BS, really clear and focused commentary by lovers of the Star Trek franchise. However, I take issue with the comment on epi 13, Disco Recap that Burnham is petulant. This character is a xenoanthropologist and a science officer. She has been a first officer, and in the mirror universe she was the captain. A remark made was that Burnham is petulant because she interrupts the captain. Really? Was Bones petulant for constantly taking Kirk to task, or saying “Dammit Jim?” NO! As a matter of fact, this is Bones’ signature line. One of the many reasons that he is a beloved character is because he was argumentative. Moreover, he was actually admired for it. So why call Burnham out? Would this be the impression or adjective of choice if Burnham’s character was a male? Just some food for thought. Burnham is a mega-intelligent, bad-ass, ultra aware, acutely flawed individual who is revered by her captain and peers. She should behave accordingly… ego, contention, “petulance,” and all.

  2. Maybe it’s just me, but my head played some Whitney Houston on that run back kiss scene. “And Iiiiiiiiiii, will always love youuuuuuuuuu…”

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