The final episode of Star Trek: Discovery, Season 5, Episode 10, titled “Life, Itself,” masterfully ties up the series with a blend of nostalgia, resolution, and a touch of philosophical musing. The narrative reaches its apex when Michael Burnham uncovers the profound secret behind the Progenitor’s technology. Contrary to the expectation that the Progenitors created this advanced technology, it is revealed that they merely discovered it. This technology has perpetuated a cycle of discovery and rebirth over billions of years, symbolizing the infinite potential and diversity of life in the universe.

Burnham faces a monumental decision: how to handle this awe-inspiring discovery. Embracing her role as its caretaker, she ultimately decides to let it go. She informs Starfleet that the universe, with its inherent infinite diversity and life, no longer needs this ancient technology. This decision underscores the series’ central theme that the meaning of life is not derived from technology or power, but from our own actions and choices.

Parallel to Burnham’s journey, Moll confronts a heartbreaking truth. She learns that she cannot truly resurrect L’ak; while his body can be brought back, his memories and essence cannot. This reinforces the episode’s meditation on the permanence of loss and the importance of moving forward.

Eve Harlow as Moll in Star Trek: Discovery series finale

The episode beautifully encapsulates the overarching theme of the series: the meaning of life is what one makes of it. This idea is reflected in various characters’ lives. For example, Stametz finds meaning in learning and exploration, Burnham in duty, Saru in relationships (highlighted by his marriage), and Tilly in helping others. Each character’s journey reaches a fulfilling conclusion, illustrating the diverse ways in which meaning and purpose can be realized. The crew continues to move forward into an uncertain future to forge their own destinies.

Sonequa Martin Green as Burnham, Tara Rosling as President T'Rina and Doug Jones as Saru in Star Trek: Discovery  series finale

As Burhnam meets with Kovich, we are also gifted with his true identity of Kovich; the “ancient tech” collector (highlighted with a scan of his room including Geordi’s visor, Chateau Picard wine, and Cisco’s baseball), he reveals himself as Agent Daniels from Star Trek: Enterprise, a Temporal Cold Warrior. This twist adds a layer of continuity and depth to the series, delighting long-time fans with its intricate connections to the broader Star Trek universe (and a wink at his collection).

The episode also resolves the romantic subplot between Burnham and Booke, showing them reunited and living a content life 30 years into the future. Their son follows in Burnham’s footsteps, joining Starfleet and continuing the legacy of exploration and duty. The final scene, where Burnham takes the Enterprise on its last mission to deep space, is a poignant callback to one of the Short Treks, emphasizing the theme of exploration and the endless quest for knowledge.

David Ajala as Book and Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery series finale

While the episode successfully ties up many loose ends and provides a satisfying conclusion, it feels almost too neat. The ethical dilemmas surrounding the Progenitor technology and the conflict with the Breen are resolved without the hard decisions one might expect. Starfleet returns to its idealistic roots, and Burnham achieves her happily ever after. Despite this, the episode’s hopeful and optimistic tone is a fitting end to the series, offering a sense of closure and fulfillment. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a happy ending?

You can stream the series finale of Star Trek: Discovery on Paramount+.

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