We are Already Doomed
Star Trek: Discovery – 4.13 Coming Home opens on Federation HQ where evacuations are in full effect. Tilly briefs the cadets on the evacuation plan. The cadets ask General Vance how many people they can expect to save and the number is depressingly low. However, there is no time to think – only to work.
Discovery, still stuck in the sphere, is observing Tarka and the Ten-C appear to be in active pursuit of his ship. Tarka is trying to evade the Ten-C and soliciting help from Book, who refuses. However, Tarka refuses to listen to reason and continues on his path to get to Kyalisse and find Oros.
On Discovery, General Ndoye confesses to the President and Michael that she is the one who aided Tarka’s escape; that she felt it was their only chance to stop the DMA. Discovery, attempting to ask the Ten-C to be released from the Orb, are told they are “already free.” To learn more, President T’Rina volunteers to make telepathic contact with the Ten-C. After which, she conveys to the crew that the Ten-C are confused and terrified, unable to stop Booker’s ship, and no longer trust the crew of the Discovery.
The Experience Was… Unusual
Then, President T’Rina explains to the crew of Discovery that her communication with the Ten-C was different, that they are connected perhaps with no awareness of individual existence.
On Book’s ship, Tarka is at the source of power for the DMA. He tells Book that if he comes with him to this new universe, he can get his home and people back. But Reno tells him that they won’t – they make look and feel the same, but they won’t be. Book is working on something behind the forcefield, it looks like he has found a way to disrupt Tarka’s Plan.
Back on Discovery, Stamets and Adira Tal have found a way to break free of the orb. The problem is, it would destroy the spore drive leaving them stranded decades from home at maximum warp (hello Voyager storyline). Michael tells them to do it and ultimately, Discovery is free.
WE’RE BREAKING FREE
Book and Reno are able to break out of their forcefield and overpower Tarka. However, they’re locked out of coms and are unable to override the system. Book sends Reno back to Discovery, telling her to tell Michael he loves her and that “whatever she has to do… it’s okay;” giving his blessing to kill him.
Reno beams back to Discovery and shares Book’s message. Discovery cannot come up with an effective plan so they consult Ndoye. They determine that the only way to destroy the ship is to send a shuttle to make a targeted attack. It needs to be piloted by hand; unlikely to beam out the pilot quickly enough after the strike, it’s clearly a suicide mission. Detmer volunteers, but General Ndoye steps in – to save Earth and as a penance for helping Tarka.
Thank You All For Your Bravery – Abandon Ship
Back at Titan in the Solar System, they are feeling the increasing effects of the DMA. General Vance calls off the evacuation. It’s time to leave. The effects of the DMA are putting the fleet at risk. Federation HQ stays behind to continue to offer covering fire for the escaping ships. Tilly stays in Vance to offer cover fire, knowing that she will also go down with the ship.
On Books ship, Book is able to wake up Tarka, trying to get his help to stop the mission. He tells Tarka that Oros won’t be in Kyallisse. That he’s gone. Tarka is not only mad but shattered. He confesses to Book that he is unable to stop the process either.
General Ndoye rams the ship and is successfully beamed off in time. Book’s ship is disabled but headed directly into the hyper field where it will be destroyed. Tarka turns off life-support, telling Book that there is enough power to beam him back to Discovery. That he hopes the impact will have the power to send him to Kyalisse. He sends Book back to Discovery and just as it looks he will materialize on the bridge, he is lost. Michael starts to lose it on the Bridge until the helmsman tells her another orb is coming. She collects herself and heads off to continue diplomatic relations.
What A Sweetheart That Guy Is!
On Federation HQ, Vance and Tilly toast that the ships have made it to the rendezvous point. Tilly reflects on her life with Vance as they wait for the DMA to take them out. She tells him she had a great life and found her purpose.
On Discovery, the ship continues towards the Gas Giant, to the homeworld of the Ten-C. The Ten-C also conveys a message that they now understand that Discovery is “not one” and asks how many they are. After Discovery lands on the Ten-C’s homeworld, they are greeted by a massive being. The being asks them again how many they are. The President tries to explain that they are individuals but live as a collective.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU HERE?
The Ten-C then asks about Booker and Tarka, who they were, as well as why they attacked them. Michael explains that they separated from the collective because the DMA destroyed his planet and family. The President explains that the DMA is destroying their planets now and begs them to stop the device. The Ten-C immediately deactivates the DMA and tells Discovery they will move it away. Back on Federation HQ, Vance and Tilly watch as the DMA stops and the debris field is cleared out.
The Ten-C asks why Michael is still sad. She explains that she lost Book, who was her “one.” The Ten-C suddenly brings Book out. They intercepted him when he beamed onto Discovery and brought him to Michael. Book begs the Ten-C to stop the DMA, as it will destroy life and leave behind toxic waste. He convinces them to take down the hyper field and stop using the DMA.
Reasons Do Matter
The Ten-C opens a wormhole for Discovery, sending them home. Back at Federation HQ, everyone is celebrating the successful first contact with the Ten-C and saving Earth and Ni’Var.
Saru and President T’Rina share a moment and reveal their feelings for one another, and the difficulty of pursuing a relationship in their stations and hold hands.
The President and Michael also share a moment. The President tells Michael that she now has confidence in her as a Federation Captain.
The Federation decides to send Book to help families who have been displaced by the DMA as his penance. He and Michael will be separated for a while, but he seems content with the sentence.
With the help of the Ten-C, they are cleaning up the damage left in the wake of the DMA. Then, the team gets some time to rest – to spend time with their families and regenerate. Additionally, the Federation is coming back together. The season ends with the Federation greeting the President of United Earth (Stacey Abrams) visiting the Federation to tell them they are ready to rejoin.
Episode Analysis – Coming Home
The season finale of Discovery really pulled it together. For much of the season, it felt like the flow of episodes and character development suffered. This episode, however, knocks it out of the park! The crew, in Starfleet fashion, rose to meet its challenges offering personal self-sacrifice for the greater good. They were able to communicate effectively with the Ten-C to save Earth and Ni’Var. We even had a few budding relationships happen here and there! What I enjoyed most is the season seemed to pull together that Discovery is ready to move out of “Federation Crisis mod”. So, I’m hoping that next season, we will emerge with a UNITED federation, doing what Trek does best.
While much of the episode was well written, I still get a little irked when it feels like there are no real stakes. I have always felt that death should be permanent, even in Trek. While I love Colburn, his coming back from the dead sent the message that – no one really dies in Trek. It seems like that may be true of them all. Detmer stepping up to volunteer for a suicide mission was a powerful moment. However, it is easily forgotten when Ndoye took her place. It felt even a little cheaper when Ndoye survived. Had Detmer died, it would have sent a powerful message to the audience – no one is safe in future Trek. On top of that, Book being saved by the Ten-C only to appear at the perfect moment felt a little cheap and emotionally manipulative.
Saru and T’Rina’s relationship development was also an interesting piece to watch over the season. Saru, being vulnerable only to feel slighted by Vulcan logic, was downright adorable. And watching them hold hands was endearing. It will be interesting to see where that goes.
Of course, the gold medal moment of the episode was Stacey Abrams making a guest appearance as the President of United Earth. Abrams is a famous Star Trek fan. So, I cannot wait to hear her take on being a part of Star Trek.
Overall, I found this season slow and, at times, somewhat difficult to watch. For me, there are plenty of elements they never had time to explore. For example Colburn’s PTSD, Zora’s sentience, and Tarka’s motives. However, if it set us up for a United Federation and some cool future aliens, it will be worth it!