Synopsis: “That Hope is You Part II” picks up following events in last week’s episode, “There is a Tide”. Furthermore, “That Hope is You Part II”, brings Season Three of Discovery to a close. With Saru (Doug Jones) and the others still trapped, retaking U.S.S Discovery from Osyraa (Janet Kidder) will take coordinated effort between Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Tilly (Mary Wiseman).
As the episode’s title suggests, much of “the rescue” is down to Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). What works is that Burnham is highly capable, physically. Consequently, she’s the perfect choice to lead the fight against Osyraa (Janet Kidder), who’s a worthy adversary. For example, Osyraa torturing Booker (David Ajala) showed both brutality and efficiency. This also meant that Burnham had a horrifically grim choice to make. As usual within a Trek fight back, it was all about playing for time. That meant that Book (David Ajala) had to endure agony a while longer, until Burnham struck. During the terrible wait, Burnham was also concocting a plan. A great combination of brains and brawn, as the codified call to arms goes out to Tilly (Mary Wiseman), leading the others.
A good combination, in terms of writing. We’ve previously harped on about Tilly’s promotion. We felt it would happen, predicting it in Tilly: Time for Promotion? Then, when it did, we questioned how it was done, in Tilly As Number One: Too Much Too Soon? But regardless of what’s been said, things worked out in “That Hope is You Part II”. Because a developed Tilly was led by Burnham. This more badass version of the show’s lead character was very much what we envisaged in Burnham and The Burn, a feature written early in Season Three’s run. Yet again further evidence of the show changing, and for the better, by dramatically altering setting. Discovery: Finding Its Feet in The Future gives a fuller discussion of why the shift was so significant. Vitally, the decision’s ultimately paying off.
“That Hope is You Part II” utilized a sort of concurrent A and B plot. Tilly was able to lead the team towards the nacelle. So they could detonate the chemicals. A good amount of risk, give that this was a finale. But you never really felt there was any genuine danger of any of the crew dying. That’s a crucial aspect to make for truly gripping drama, which this episode lacked a little bit of, unfortunately.
Saru and the Others
The significance of his species was the topic of Saru: Alien Territory. The Kelpiens are very much the new species in Star Trek. So, that Saru (Doug Jones) is one makes sense. What better way to introduce us to them. Seeing Saru with Su’Kal (Bill Irwin) helped the first non-human Captain to star in a show to further develop. That’s crucial, given how few characters in Discovery get to. We’ve made the case for Detmer (Emily Coutts) to get to get to do more, previously. We gave suggestions in Discovery: Developing Detmer. That never happened. But at least we’ve seen one character, only introduced in Season Three, get a much needed story arc of their own.
Adira (Blue Del Barrio) being on the planet meant more than them just administering medicine. It also gave visibility to Gray (Ian Alexander), meaning the emotional resonance of the episode was heightened. We established how much of a milestone it was having trans and non-binary representation in Star Trek canon, in Needs of The Many. Now we saw the welcome impact as part of the story.
Whilst the way that Osyraa died was a little disappointing, Burnham’s journey was much more satisfying. Once things were sorted, it was time for Burnham to finally get the recognition she deserved. When we wrote Discovery: The Story So Far, at just after the halfway point of Season Three, we said that Burnham would possibly drift further from Starfleet. We weren’t quite right on that front. But not entirely wrong, either. Burnham’s desire to get things done her way ended up being what secured her the Captaincy. Not entirely different from Kirk in Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013). After all, as Burnham said, she too refuses to believe in non win situations. “That Hope is You Part II” proved the perfect episode to show that, providing a fitting tie up to her arc, for this season.
A good spread of skills on display, for the season finale. As mentioned, great physical acting from Martin-Green, in her action scenes. Perhaps she’s learned a thing or two from Michelle Yeoh. A lot of fun to see Burnham going at it, taking out bad guys. In a similar vein, David Ajala as Book proved he knows just how much his character loves his cat. Him screaming “she’s a Queen” passionately hit home. Book is an empathic being, so his pain at the thought of losing Grudge may well manifest as anger. Ajala did a convincing job.
Bill Irwin deserves credit for a tough role. In essence, the titular character of last week’s episode was mostly a plot device. Irwin’s depiction of Su’Kal captured the ideals it was supposed to. The concept of childhood and the innocence attached to it. The performance gave gravitas and further dimension to what was a fairly weak storyline. Not an easy ask, but Irwin rose to the occasion.
CGI & Effects
Visually, the show again looked superb. This has been consistent. For a finale there wasn’t one big stunt. More a series of them. The ongoing battle (continued from last week) was cool. Very much so. A far cry from the old style energy weapons. The beams looked seamless and if they were really happening. Even the colours were well selected. And chosen to fit against the background well, too.
Seeing the inner workings of the ship was really a visual treat. As Burnham leapt onto the space-lift the open space around her showed the vastness of everything. This may well be a basic idea, but it helped to make the story-world one that looks and feels realistic. This has been overlooked previously, and now the repair job has more than made up for things. Major credit is due for that.
“That Hope is You Part II” had a lot to do. Not unusual for a finale. But still, there were loose ends that needed to be tied together. Osyraa had to be defeated, for one. It was clear that after chatting with Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr) things wouldn’t end well for her. What wasn’t clear was how her downfall would come about. Using the relationship forged between Burnham and Tilly was a smart move. But whether ending “The Burn” as Discovery’s central premise was also a smart choice remains unanswered. We recently pondered that, in Will The Burn Burning Out Burn Out Discovery. But at least the resolution did mean a brand new beginning . . .
By the time the episode, and Season Three ended, Burnham belonged in “the big chair”. Whilst that may have come due to Saru being on a sabbatical, it still came. The only real question was whether Burnham is truly ready now. And the answer must surely now be yes. Her command style may be aggressive, but that bodes well, potentially. Perhaps we’ll see her come up against more entities, or villains from Star Trek’s Past. We’ve already suggested how that might occur. What’s more of a certainty is that Burnham will be instrumental in further rebuilding The Federation, now. And can do so from a more active position. We look forward to seeing how that pans out.
- CGI & Effects9.5