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Recap / Star Trek: Discovery S2E14 "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part Two"

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Enterprise and Discovery engage the Section 31 fleet to buy time for Burnham and Discovery to flee into the future.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Arc Welding: Most, if not all, of the complaints about how Discovery allegedly violates canon are addressed before the end of the episode. Everything pertaining to Discovery and her crew, particularly the volatile topics of the spore drive, Time Travel, and Control, are declared Classified Information, while Section 31's screw-ups lead Starfleet to exert more oversight over it, with the implication that this is what causes the group to become the shadowy organization it was introduced as in DS9.
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  • Artistic License – Physics: That blast door to the briefing room aboard Enterprise must be Made of Indestructium indeed for Captain Pike to feel basically no effects from an armed photon torpedo (read: an uncontrolled matter-antimatter explosion) going off mere meters away. Pike even watches the explosion through a transparent window in the blast door and doesn't even appear to be blinded, while Cornwell is vaporized instantly on the other side. Some of this can be explained as the explosion taking the path of least resistance out into the vacuum of space, but it's pretty jarring when the Enterprise loses most of the forward quarter of her saucer section while Pike survives at what is essentially point-blank range.
  • Attack Drone: Control's fleet deploys great numbers of automated drones, countered by the tactical drones from Discovery and Enterprise.
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  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Enterprise and Discovery, along with their fighter craft squadrons, take great care to cover one another when surrounded by the Section 31 ships throughout the battle.
  • The Battlestar: Enterprise and Discovery each launch several entire squadrons of fighters, shuttles, and up-armed maintenance pods, while pounding away at the Section 31 ships and tanking hits with their own shields to protect one another.
  • Beam Spam: Enterprise and Discovery cut loose with multiple phaser volleys.
  • Because Destiny Says So:
    • At the beginning of the previous episode, the time crystal gave Burnham a vision of the battle, with Enterprise being nailed by an undetonated photon torpedo, Leland boarding Discovery and attacking the bridge crew. To prevent this, she hatches the "travel into the 33nd century" plan. Alas, once the plan is underway, everything Burnham saw still comes to pass, and she has a brief Heroic BSoD over the fact that she can't seem to change the future. Spock suggests that the reason the crystal showed her that future was so that she could change it, getting her back on track.
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    • Subverted with Pike. He reasons that because he knows what his future is, if he stays with the torpedo, it won't detonate with him present. Cornwell convinces him to leave by pointing out the hundreds of lives he's risking if he's wrong.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The Battle near Xahea is one of the largest in the franchise's history, involving squadrons of small craft and dozens of larger ones and lasting over 3/4 of the episode.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The crews of Discovery and Enterprise manage to prevent Control from getting its digital mitts on enough of the sphere data to evolve, and what's left of the rogue AI has been dismantled, rendering the Bad Future that Gabrielle Burnham arrived in as an averted Alternate Timeline. However, Discovery is stranded in the future with no way back to its own time and has been falsely declared destroyed with no survivors, so nobody stupid enough to search for the data will be able to find them.
    • Spock only knows that Michael and the rest of the crew are safe because of the final red burst, knows he'll never see her again, and can never even speak of her because, well aware of how dangerous the sphere data is, he's ensured that anyone aware of what really happened to Discovery is sworn to secrecy about the ship under penalty of treason.
    • Meanwhile, the oversight Section 31 will now be subject to because of their literally near-apocalyptic screwup will likely cause backlash that probably makes them even more secretive by the 24th century; on the subject of the 24th century, the Control shitstorm will probably contribute to discriminatory attitudes towards Data and the Doctor; and Starfleet has lost hundreds of people, including an entire starship crew and a flag officer, and revolutionary propulsion technology to the phenomenally dumb decision to grant an AI created by an amoral-at-best black ops agency any authority on tactical decisions.
  • Blatant Lies: When Pike, Spock, Tyler, and Number One are debriefed after the battle, they all claim that Discovery tried to spore-jump from the battle, but exploded. It's pretty obvious that they took the time to get their stories straight, and the admiral points out that it doesn't explain certain sensor readings.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Klingon cleave ship returns for the first time since season 1's "Battle at the Binary Stars"note .
  • Call-Forward: The Enterprise losing much of the forward section of her primary hull is a close mirror for the Enterprise-E losing her bow in Star Trek: Nemesis (even though the causes are an explosion and ramming respectively).
  • The Cavalry: A fleet of Klingon warships under L'Rell's command and Kelpien-controlled Ba'ul fighters led by Siranna arrive right when Discovery and Enterprise are on the ropes.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: When her ship takes a hit, L'Rell is slightly wounded, bleeding from the head. Her reaction is to start laughing at her failed attempt at a "bloodless chancellorship." Then she gives graphic encouragement regarding the sort of destruction she expects her warriors to wreak on Control's ships.
    L'Rell: (laughing, in English) And I thought my chancellorship would be bloodless!
    Tyler: (to bridge officers, in Klingon) Return fire! Destroy those who would harm your chancellor!
    L'Rell: (in Klingon) Tell the D7 to target the drone fleet that attacks Discovery.! We will wade knee-deep through the ruin of our enemies!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Starfleet regulation that Spock cites is the same one that the Department of Temporal Investigations cited to Captain Sisko in "Trials and Tribble-ations".
    • Two of Control's larger ships meet their end at the prow of a cloaked Klingon Cleave Ship, much as USS Europa did in the previous season.
    • Saru quotes Sun Tzu, much to Georgiou's surprise. Over a year ago, Saru recognized another Sun Tzu quote by his own Georgiou.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Leland-Control dies by having the nanites in his body painfully ripped out of him by a magnetized floor.
  • Damage Control: Enterprise deploys a number of DOT-7 drones to help repair the hull damage, while Tilly re-energizes Discovery's Deflector Shields.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Po invokes diplomatic immunity when Pike asks why she's flying a stolen shuttle in the middle of the battle, before explaining why she stole it in the first place.
  • Dynamic Entry: The Klingon fleet's arrival is heralded by a decloaking "cleave ship" slicing straight through one of the Section 31 vessels. This is followed by several Ba'ul fighters and D-7 battlecruisers coming in with guns blazing.
  • Enemy Mine: L'Rell arrives with a fleet of Klingon warships, accompanied by Kelpien-controlled Ba'ul starfighters, to aid the Starfleet forces. L'Rell lampshades this by pointing out that she wouldn't consider the Kelpiens or Starfleet friends, but nonetheless sees no problem with fighting to defend the Klingons' future.
    Pike: Works for me!
  • Ending Theme: A mix of the Discovery theme with the soprano singer from the original series.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • After closing the blast door to protect the rest of the Enterprise, Admiral Cornwell calmly stands and faces the torpedo before it detonates.
    • Averted by Leland-Control, who dies screaming, having failed at his mission.
  • Giggling Villain: Perhaps to remind the audience that she's not strictly a good guy, Georgiou giggles happily to herself as she watches Leland-Control die screaming.
  • Gravity Screw: During Mirror-Georgiou and Nhan's fight with Leland-Control, the artificial gravity in the hallway fails, causing the gravity to shift wildly and send them sprawling over the walls and ceiling as they struggle to adapt.
  • Gunship Rescue: L'Rell shows up with the Klingon cleave ship and several D-7s in the middle of the battle, accompanied by a Ba'ul fighter wing piloted by Kelpiens led by Saru's sister Siranna.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Admiral Cornwell manually seals a damaged blast door between the rest of Enterprise and an undetonated torpedo lodged in the forward saucer. The detonation still vaporizes a good chunk of the primary hull, but her sacrifice saves the rest of the ship.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Leland-Control accurately predicts that Mirror-Georgiou has hidden the Sphere data in the spore drive control room and intercepts her there. However, Mirror-Georgiou knew that he would figure that out, and led him there on purpose in order to use the spore containment cell to kill him.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Downplayed, but Stamets takes a piece of shrapnel in the chest as he, Spock and Burnham rush the Red Angel suit down to the shuttlebay. Tilly and Lt. Nilsson have to bring Stamets to sickbay, where Dr. Culber takes over.
  • Keystone Army: The entire Section 31 armada is unmanned and remotely controlled by Leland-Control. When Mirror-Georgiou kills him, all the ships go dormant, and Pike orders Enterprise to destroy the now inert drones to ensure that the AI cannot escape.
  • Layman's Terms: After Detmer gives Number One an absurdly technical explanation of what they need to do to get Burnham to a safe point to open the wormhole.
    Number One: In English, please. I can't blow a path through what you're saying.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: As per Spock's recommendation, everyone with knowledge of Discovery and her true fate is ordered to never speak of her again under penalty of treason.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Mirror-Georgiou's explicit goal in her confrontation with Leland-Control is to make him scream. When she finally succeeds, by trapping him in the spore drive's reaction chamber and magnetizing it to pull him apart, she watches while happily giggling.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything:
    • Admiral Cornwell and Number One both head belowdecks to the Enterprise's briefing room to try and defuse the photon torpedo lodged in it (instead of, say, a damage control team). Shortly thereafter, Captain Pike orders Number One back to the bridge and heads down himself to try and help Cornwell with the effort before the torpedo explodes. They do call for a munitions expert first, but due to the ongoing battle, there's nobody left who isn't already working elsewhere.
    • Similarly, Chancellor L'Rell does not delegate the responsibility of sending reinforcements to assist the Starfleet forces fighting against Leland Control, and instead arrives on the battlefield as a Frontline General in command of a warship (she even gets there before a fleet of Klingon D-7 battlecruisers can arrive). Given Tyler is on the ship with her, this may have been a practical concern, since she faked his death and probably wouldn't reveal that deception to just anyone.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • As Discovery passes into and through the wormhole, the view of her crew on the bridge starts exhibiting the same streaming "wormhole effect" visual that accompanied the refit Enterprise's flawed warp slipstream from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (though without the slow-motion speaking, and thankfully no asteroids were pulled into the vessel's path).
    • Intentional or not, the premise of the space battle serves as a Call-Forward to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", where the starship Enterprise must protect another federation starship from an attacking fleet while so the other ship can travel through a temporal anomaly. While the TNG example had the ship traveling back in time to prevent a war with the Klingons, this episode has the ship traveling forward in time to prevent a war.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Leland-Control deals a lengthy one to both Mirror-Georgiou and Nhan; fortunately, they do their best to return the favour and keep him away from the rest of the crew.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Spock realizes that the red signals that led Discovery on a season-long chase across the galaxy were Burnham's doing, to prepare for this battle, by setting up elements that would allow our heroes to win.
  • Plot Hole:
    • In the previous episode, it was established that the time crystal in the Red Angel suit would burn out as soon as they used it to travel to the future. In this episode, before opening a wormhole to the future, Burnham is able to travel into the past five separate times in order to create the first five red bursts. After she and Discovery have arrived, she's able to go back one last time to create the final red burst. Spock's claim that it would "ultimately lead" to the time crystal burning out leaves some wiggle room, since Burnham moving herself through time would require far less power than moving an entire starship, but Burnham is still able to jump back and create the seventh signal as she intended.
    • The previous representations of the seven red signals indicated that they came from several different places across the galaxy, spread over "thirty thousand" light-years. This episode changes that fact to show that the seventh signal came from the same location as the second one (Terralysium), and places them both 51,000 light-years away from Federation space (deep in the Beta Quadrant). Also, Burnham creates the sixth red burst while guiding Discovery through the wormhole, which shouldn't have been visible from the outside, and even if it was, Discovery and Enterprise were only about an hour at high warp away from Xahea, where the fifth signal occurred.
    • The SFX doesn't jive with the dialogue. The Klingons consistently refer to "the D-7", as if talking about a single battlecruiser sent to aid in the battle, but a half-dozen D-7 battlecruisers are shown warping into the battlefield and wading into the fight.
    • Discovery was fully evacuated in the previous episode — said to be less than an hour prior to this — and it was noted that only a skeleton crew would remain on board the vessel to guide her through the wormhole. Yet during the battle, the ship is at least as visibly crowded as it has normally been (Sickbay is particularly full of medical staff and injured crew), which is even more jarring when portrayed alongside the squadrons upon squadrons of shuttlecraft and tactical flyers that both Discovery and Enterprise launched to combat Control's fleet, which must have tied up a large portion of both ships' crews. It's possible that Enterprise picked up a lot of Starfleet crew specifically for the battle before she returned from her refit to aid Discovery, but nothing indicated that they did.
  • Ramming Always Works: Justified, as the Klingon cleave ship appears to be built specifically to ram and destroy enemy vessels.
  • Retroactive Preparation: Burnham goes back in time to create the pieces of the puzzle assembled to finally defeat Control.
  • The Reveal: The first five signals were sent by Burnham during the battle, each one an element they would need to complete the mission. The sixth is generated by her as a beacon for Discovery to follow through the wormhole, and the seventh is sent from Terralysium four months after the battle so Enterprise knows they made it there safely.
  • Saved by Canon: Since trapping Spock in the future obviously isn't an option, his shuttle winds up disabled while he's protecting Burnham, and Discovery must keep her shields up to survive the trip through the wormhole, forcing Enterprise to beam him back.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: The five previously-detected red bursts lead Discovery to the people and places they need in order to win the battle.
    • Jett Reno was stranded aboard the U.S.S. Hiawatha, and has the Nerves of Steel to get the time crystal charged in time to escape Control's forces.
    • Terralysium is Dr. Gabrielle Burnham's base of operations and a safe haven for Discovery to arrive in the future.
    • The signal at Kaminar led the Kelpiens to evolve past vahar'ai and discover their true nature, in order to have the Heroic Willpower needed to join the battle and save Discovery and her crew.
    • Boreth is the only place that Pike and Discovery could obtain a new time crystal to use in the Red Angel suit.
    • Po on Xahea is the only person possessing the technology to charge the time crystal.
  • Scotty Time: Defied; at the start of the episode, Burnham asks Reno if she can charge up the time crystal any quicker, but Reno retorts that it's only even charging as quickly as it is because she already bypassed the safeties, and that to go any faster would require violating the basic laws of physics.
  • Secret Keeper: Members of the crew of Enterprise, any left from Discovery, Sarek, Amanda, Tyler, and a few others who know lie and claim Discovery was destroyed in the battle, thus keeping it secret that it (and the Sphere data) escaped to the future.
  • Stable Time Loop: Spock realizes that before Burnham can go to the future from where it's assumed she can never return, she has to first create the Red Bursts responsible for putting together the pieces to allow for that moment of the present to take place. The only reason Burnham knows where and when to send the first five signals from is because Discovery has already received them. Burnham didn't come up with this plan, time itself came up with this plan.
  • Tempting Fate: When Leland Control demands Discovery surrender the Sphere data, Mirror Georgiou points out that he's outnumbered 200 to 30. He responds by telling her to count again, and hundreds of drones peel off his ships, giving him numerical superiority in both capital vessels and fighters.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: A pair of unfortunate redshirts are blown out of a hull breach while Mirror-Georgiou and Nhan fight Leland-Control in a corridor aboard Discovery.
  • Time for Plan B: And when that fails...
    Una: Captain, plans A and B didn't work. We're now into the "Hail Mary" part of the operation.
    Pike: That's been just about everything today.
  • Travelling at the Speed of Plot: Ash Tyler manages to get to Klingon space (presumably via shuttle), convince Chancellor L'Rell to commit her cleave ship and D-7s to the battle, hook up with a wing of Kelpien-controlled Ba'ul fighter craft, and return to the scene of the battle in practically no time at all to pull a Gunship Rescue of Discovery and Enterprise.
  • Unperson: To prevent any possible resurgence of Control, Spock suggests that all knowledge of Discovery, her crew, and her mission be scrubbed from all records and any mention of any of it be considered treason.
  • The Unreveal:
    • We don't see any details of where or when Discovery emerges into the future, so as to leave a Sequel Hook to the third season. By extension, this also means that the lead-up to the events of "Calypso" remains unexplained, as the near-immaculate state of the ship in that short episode (after a thousand years of abandonment) is inconsistent with her heavy battle damage prior to escaping into the future.
    • In addition, Mirror-Georgiou is last seen down in Discovery's engineering section, immediately after killing Leland-Control in the spore reaction chamber. There is no indication how this lines up with Michelle Yeoh's already announced starring role as Georgiou in the upcoming Section 31 spinoff seriesnote .
    • There is no mention of how Siranna and her Kelpien cohorts were able to get control of a Ba'ul fighter squadron, as when both societies were last encountered, they were still deep into an extremely tense standoff. Either the Kelpiens stole and commandeered the fighter squadron, or were granted permission to use them, or they rebuilt the fighters themselves from spare parts and/or wreckage.
  • Verbal Backspace: Reno, after she realizes her biting remark was directed at a superior officer.
    Saru: Hurry!
    Reno: I'm going, I'm going! Get off my ass! [beat] Sir! Get off my ass, sir!
  • Wham Episode: Discovery and her crew is sent on a One-Way Trip into the distant future, Section 31 is under new management, and Admiral Cornwell is killed saving the Enterprise. It seems very likely that Nothing Is the Same Anymore from this point forward on the show.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Nhan gets slammed headfirst into various bulkheads during the Gravity Screw phase of her and Mirror-Georgiou's fight with Leland-Control, and then collapses to the deck and is not seen for the remainder of the episode.
    • Stamets is left in a medically-induced coma as Dr. Culber fights to save his life.
    • Mirror-Georgiou is last seen smiling as Leland-Control is magnetized to death, and does not show up on the bridge for Discovery's trip through the wormhole.
  • You Are in Command Now: With Leland dead and Georgiou thrown into the future (and therefore declared dead), Tyler becomes acting head of Section 31. The admiral who debriefs him makes it official.
  • Zerg Rush: Control's fleet is composed of 31 capital ships and hundreds of drones, many of which perform kamikaze attacks.

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