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Recap / Star Trek: Discovery S2E13 "Such Sweet Sorrow"

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The U.S.S. Enterprise arrives to aid the Discovery as her crew prepares to abandon the ship, while Control's forces close in to secure the rest of the Sphere's data.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Abandon Ship: Pike, Saru, Burnham and the rest of the crew evacuate Discovery before activating the Self-Destruct Mechanism to try and keep the Sphere data in the ship's memory banks out of Control's artificially-intelligent hands.
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  • All Just a Dream: Of sorts; Burnham witnesses a Bad Future through the time crystal in which both Discovery and Enterprise are beaten by Control's forces and Leland kills her personally — before snapping back to the bridge of the Enterprise.
  • Back for the Finale: Jett Reno (Tig Notaro) and Admiral Katrina Cornwell (Jayne Brook) show up after dipping in and out of the season repeatedly, as does Georgiou. Additionally, Queen Po comes over from the Short Treks, the second character to do so.
  • Bad Future: By touching the time crystal, Burnham witnesses a future where Control's forces overwhelm Discovery, followed by Leland-Control boarding the ship and slaughtering the bridge crew.
  • Call-Back: Tilly brings a bowl of spumoni ice cream to the transporter room for Po.
  • Call-Forward: The episode strongly implies that their plan to send Discovery into the future is what leads to her abandoned state in "Calypso".
  • Cutting the Knot:
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    • When the Sphere database disables Discovery's auto-destruct, Pike initially intends to try destroying the ship from the Enterprise. After witnessing the Bad Future, Burnham convinces Pike not to try this.
    • The time crystal is placed into something like a Faraday cage to keep it from giving everyone traumatic visions of the future, but this slows its charging time. Reno solves the problem by telling Stamets and Tilly to lock her in the room alone so that only one person, herself, is exposed to the potentially traumatic effects.
  • Failsafe Failure: The remote auto-destruct fails to work because the Sphere data hijacks the ship's systems to protect itself.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Since Discovery must survive to meet Craft in the far future, by dramatic necessity the attempts to scuttle her are doomed to failure. How she ends up completely abandoned, however, remains to be seen — especially when the bridge crew intend to remain aboard to help Burnham take the ship to the future.
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  • From Bad to Worse: Number One reports to Captain Pike that nine more enemy ships have dropped out of warp to confront Discovery and the Enterprise, on top of the fleet that has already been assembling in the system.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Discovery's bridge crew, joined by Nhan, decide to join Burnham in taking the ship to the future, even though they'll be stranded there.
    • Commander Reno orders everyone else to leave Engineering and exposes herself to the effects of the time crystal in order to get it charged in time for Control's arrival.
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • Nhan chooses to stay aboard Discovery and accompany her crew to the future.
    • Conversely, Tyler chooses to stay in the 23rd century and make sure that Section 31 is never compromised again.
  • Insufferable Genius: Queen Po continues this trend from her last appearance, although the only character she's particularly insufferable towards is Mirror-Georgiou.
  • Internal Reveal: Mirror-Georgiou explains her true origins to Pike, but he already knows about the Mirror Universe and had guessed as much.
    Georgiou: I'm Terran, by the way. From your Mirror Universe.
    Pike: (dematerializing) What Mirror Universe? (winks)
  • It Can Think: Burnham realizes this about the Sphere database aboard Discovery, and concludes that trying to destroy it would be futile.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Pike's final address to the Discovery crew.
    Pike: Serving as your captain has been one of the greatest honors of my career. You are exceptional officers. Exceptional individuals. Every single one of you. Lieutenants Detmer and Owosekun, I wouldn't be here if you hadn't saved my life on the way to that asteroid. Lieutenant Nilsson, you stepped up for Airiam in a way that honors her. Lieutenants Bryce and Rhys, you're calm under pressure. And Commander Saru...I'm gonna miss the hell out of you. Lieutenant Spock...there are no words.[...] (to Burnham) And as for you...most people will never get a chance to learn what's in their own hearts. If we figure it out, it's often not what we expected, or even what we would have chosen for ourselves. I am very grateful, Commander, to have been here to watch you discover your heart. Thank you. I know that you...(to the bridge crew) I know that all of you will face your destinies with bravery and honor, even those moments to come that will test the strongest among us.
    • The bridge officers then respond by standing at attention for Pike's departure.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Since destroying Discovery is no longer an option, Burnham hits on the idea of just launching it 1000 years into the future, where Control can never reach it.
  • One-Way Trip: Burnham's solution to the indestructible Sphere data remains sending it far into the future, which she intends to do by driving the Red Angel suit. Since this will overload the time crystal, It Only Works Once.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: In order to charge the time crystal enough to use it, the crew have to pull the power directly from the spore drive, which prevents them from using it to simply escape Control's fleet.
  • Properly Paranoid: Number One had the Enterprise shuttles retrofitted for combat and picked up Starfleet's experimental fighters because she assumed things would go south.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Discussed by Po, who would rather be aboard the Discovery protecting Xahea and ensuring that everything goes to plan, rather than "wave a hanky from [her] throne".
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Pike and Saru try using this to destroy Discovery. It fails when Discovery herself refuses to be destroyed.
  • Sentient Phlebotinum: The Sphere database proves itself to be this, shutting down the Discovery's self-destruct sequence to protect its own existence and activating the ship's shields to prevent Enterprise from destroying her with torpedoes.
  • Shout-Out: Perhaps an unintentional one, but the Big Bad barging into the vessel's bridge and gunning down the main crew before the lead character ends up back in time to avert the catastrophe sounds eerily similar to the ending of Galaxy Quest (except with time crystals instead of the Omega-13).
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Po casually puts Mirror-Georgiou in her place after one too many sarcastic comments.
    Po: One of the fun things about becoming queen of the most politically relevant planet in the galaxy is that I don't have to listen to any snark. I made it an actual law.
  • So Proud of You: Sarek and Amanda express this to Burnham in a brief visit to Discovery.
  • Spotting the Thread: The senior officers conclude that Burnham, not her mother, must be the source of the red signals, since Gabrielle was focused solely on keeping the Sphere data out of the hands of Control, and knew nothing about the source of the signals themselves — while the Red Angel suit included two sets of neural patterns, including both Michael and Gabrielle.
  • Star Killing: When Burnham recalls that her parents used a stellar lensing array — to power the Red Angel suit's time crystal, as she later discovered — Mirror-Georgiou suggests using an antimatter missile to trigger a supernova to achieve the same effect. Cornwell, Pike and the others shoot this idea down in short order.
  • True Companions: The Discovery family comes together one more time. Remaining aboard to help Burnham with her Suicide Mission are Saru, Detmer, Owosekun, Bryce, Rhys, Nilsson, Nhan, Stamets, Tilly, Reno, Po, Spock and at least one other character who has never had lines (or a name).
  • Video Will: We see a montage of several of the main characters recording goodbye messages to family and friends.
  • Walk and Talk: And eat ice cream.
    Pike: Can you eat and walk? I'll fill you in on the way.
    Po: Mm-hmm.
  • Where's the Kaboom?: Everyone has this reaction when Discovery's auto-destruct timer hits zero and no explosion follows.

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