March 20, 2022

Streamin' Meemies: Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Ep 13, "Coming Home"


This season of Discovery has been rather uneven, with the high point for me being episode 7, "But To Connect." After the midseason break it seemed like the quality fell off a bit, particularly with the ridiculous Tarka subplot. The production values have kept to their usual high standards, with this episode having some amazing visuals. The acting has also been notable, with David Ajala and Sonequa Martin-Green (especially the latter) having some riveting moments in this episode. I've seen people calling this season of Discovery its best yet, but I'm not sure about that. There have certainly been high points, but I don't think this season has eclipsed Season 3 for me. 

At any rate, this episode does tie everything up pretty nicely. (In fact, though there is to be a Season 5, it occurred to me after the episode was finished that it would have made a pretty good series finale.) Book finally pulls his head out of his ass and realizes that though his loss is great, it does not justify doing the same to others; we once again get to see the science nerdery of communicating with a truly alien species (which I predicted would be a giant "space whale," and at least I was in the vicinity--Species 10-C turned out to be humunguous space jellyfish); Saru and T'Rina dance around their feelings for each other a bit longer, but finally admit that there is something here and they want to make the effort to make it work; Sylvia Tilly returns, with some nice scenes with Admiral Vance to show she's found her place in life and how much she's grown; Jett Reno doesn't die (I would have thrown something at the TV if that had happened); Ruon Tarka receives a metaphorical slap in the face from Book and far too late is made to see the error of his ways; and United Earth rejoins the Federation. 

The final two minutes of the episode, however, threatened to eclipse anything else by making certain people's heads explode:


Yes, that is Georgia gubernatorial candidate, voting rights activist, romance novel author and diehard Star Trek fan Stacey Abrams making a brief cameo as the President of United Earth. Which inspired such reactions as this:

 The clip is only two minutes long, but if you watch it you'll see she is playing an actual character with lines, and does a rather good job of it. However, the sheer amount of insipid whining about this (along with the objections to Kamala Harris) only serves to reinforce the notion that certain people don't believe a black woman has any business getting close to (or, horrors, actually occupying) the Presidency. Also, in this particular future, she is the President of United Earth...which means that the USA is apparently no more, and I find it hard to think that this would be a bad thing. 

Nevertheless, despite its flaws, the season ended on an uplifting note. The themes of connection, understanding, and solving problems by making the effort to communicate instead of warping in with guns blasting were carried through to the end, and saved the day. Michael Burnham truly grew into her role as Captain, I was surprised and heartened to see Tilly find her place, and the little family of Stamets/Culber/Adira/Gray was lovely to see. This iteration of Trek isn't the best ever (that honor still goes to Deep Space 9), but it's been satisfying overall, and I'm glad we're getting at least one more season.

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