Trekathon Season Review: Discovery, Season 3

January 9th, 2021

What kind of year has it been? Spoilers

This season of Discovery became a real slog. I was incredibly excited by the early episodes, but things started getting shaky after 3 or 4, and by the time we’re in the final end a lot of the wheels were falling off.

And there is some of this season that is the best of Trek. While a departure from the main arc, the Mirror Universe two-parter was well done and lots of fun. The special effects are better than we’ve ever seen, and the acting of some of the cast has been out of this word. But individual episodes have been weak and underwritten, and the overall arc was rushed and unearned.

I’m fairly sure a lot of the problems can be traced back to COVID-19 – a lack of that final pass to pull everything together in terms of the writing that brings everything together. Because there was this strange push and pull throughout the year, things like forgetting whole plots for an episode, oney for them to come back in the following episode. Burnham’s character journey is the best example of this, where there’s some uncertainty at the end of the season about whether she’ll stay with Star Fleet, but honestly not as much as they were trying to set up.

I wonder if this same arc could have ben a lot better if there had been another four or five episodes. Give us an episode of Burnham and Book before they reunite with Discovery, to give that relationship more foundation than just the incredible on-screen chemistry. Give us an episode where we see the positive side of the Emerald Chain and Osyraa, so we have some doubts about how things are going to pan out. Give us more of Tilly trying to grow into First Officer. Give us more of Saru’s self doubts, as he just seems to go from ‘I’m the Captain’ to ‘stuff this for a lark’ in the epilogue of the final episode. Give us more of Georgiou mellowing and becoming friends with the crew.

Overall it’s the very definition of ‘mixed bag’. Given how much this season rhymes with Season 4 of Enterprise (MU two-parter and all), I’m going to lodge it just above that season in the overall rankings. Because at least the finale didn’t make me uncontrollably angry.

And what now for Season 4? There’s very little locked in setup, beyond some crew composition changes, and a lot more universe to see.

The very best of Trek:

  • PIC Season 1
  • TNG Season 6
  • DS9 Season 2

Strong performers:

  • LD Season 1
  • DS9 Season 5
  • TNG Season 3
  • TNG Season 5
  • TOS Season 2
  • DIS Season 2
  • ENT Season 3
  • TNG Season 4
  • VOY Season 4

Mixed bag:

  • TOS Season 1
  • DS9 Season 4
  • DIS Season 1
  • ST Season 2
  • DS9 Season 1
  • ENT Season 4
  • ST Season 1
  • VOY Season 5
  • ENT Season 1
  • VOY Season 1
  • TNG Season 7

Not good:

  • DS9 Season 3
  • DS9 Season 6
  • VOY Season 6
  • VOY Season 3
  • TNG Season 2
  • ENT Season 2
  • TAS Season 1

Really just awful:

  • VOY Season 7
  • VOY Season 2
  • DS9 Season 7
  • TOS Season 3
  • TAS Season 2
  • TNG Season 1

And now a rest – next up is probably the Pike/Spock spinoff ‘Strange New Worlds’, but honestly who knows.