Discovery Season 4 Finale Goes Full ‘The Motion Picture’

Julien Neaves, Editor

While watching Season 4 of Star Trek: Discovery I couldn’t help comparing it to the divisive first franchise film The Motion Picture, both for better and for worse. And this impression was only cemented with the Season 4 finale which aired this week.

So with a DMA-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s chat about that finale and the season by extension.

Ten-C can you hear me?

One one of the first ways Season 4 reminded of TMP was how cerebral it was. Discovery has always been one of the more action-heavy Trek series but they toned it down considerably to tell a very classic Trek story. Now this had its advantages and disadvantages. An advantage was I enjoyed the sense of wonder and exploration of both the DMA and the Ten-C. I got some flavours of V’Ger here too. And when Ni’Var president T’Rina mind-melded with the Ten-C like Spock did with V’Ger I was like, yeah, TMP again. A disadvantage though, was this season was slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww (just like TMP, btw). At points it really dragged and I was kind of wishing some baddie would show up and they could shoot them.

I have often said TMP is the most visually spectacular of all the Trek films. Discovery has always had top notch, film-worthy effects and the trend continued with its latest season. The DMA, new Federation ships (hello new Voyager!), and the Ten-C all have that visual pop. I was worried about the mysterious aliens when they first appeared like some cloud creature. I was burned with Green Lantern and I was not ready to be burned again. But I dug the reveal of their design in the finale. Trek has had way too many humanoid aliens so I dug the giant, odd design and their collective (but not Borg) culture. Really tickled the old cerebellum there.

You know what this show needs? More Tig Notaro

In terms of characters, sadly it was more miss than hit. Let’s start with the good. Michael Burnham was a bit shaky as a captain last season and made some truly bad, emotion-driven choices. But she settled in the role this season and I was finally sold on her in the captain’s chair. And fans who are not fans of her penchant for weeping would be happy to know that there is very little of it to be found here. Season 4, however, fell back on some bad Discovery habits by having Michael solve EVERY problem. She came up with the answers for like 90 per cent of the problems and I frequently wondered why she even needed a crew at all. Bad show there.

And how about a speed round of the other characters. Saru and T’Rina (come on, you know her name is Trina and she got some hood in her) made for a truly sweet couple. Jett Reno is always a hoot. More of her please. Tilly and the cadets made for a cool episode and I liked her sacrifice (though unnecessary) in the finale. Book and Tarka, however, made for uninteresting antagonists, and Tarka’s risking the galaxy to reunite with his former cellmate and friend was the most bleh motivation. Culber and Stamets were underused. Adira and Gray were dreadfully dull. Owosekun and Detmer each had a episode to get a little character development but still not enough. The Discovery crew doesn’t feel like a crew and I still don’t really know them enough four seasons on. So when I see them in danger or celebrating after stopping the DMA the emotional reaction is exactly zero. And why is every crew member a commander? Are there no lieutenants or lieutenant commanders? #justsaying

Umm, who’s that?

And now the finale, which sees the Discovery crew meeting the Ten-C aliens, convincing to stop the DMA and saving Earth and Ni’Var. Yeah, everything was paint by numbers and little to no surprises to be found. The surprise cameo of US politician Stacey Abrams was completely lost on me (I’m from Trinidad and Tobago, I had idea who she was) and therefore no impact on me. Kudos to whoever enjoyed it but I think an in-universe cameo for your finale might have had more buzz. And the finale needed some buzz because it was just a whole big deflated bag of meh.

So while it’s nice to see Discovery going in a more cerebral direction they still need to balance it with action. And they still need to develop crew beyond the odd episode. And please stop making Michael solve everything. Just stop it! Season 4 is not as bad as the rocky Season 1 and about on par with the mixed Season 2 but still a drop in quality from the pretty decent Season 3. Let’s hope Season 5 is less TMP and more The Wrath of Khan. Or at least The Search for Spock.

Editor Jules’s Season 4 Score: 6 out of 10

So what did you think of the Discovery Season 4 finale? And you can check out more Trek content below:


Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.


    1. For me the character of Michael went from insufferable to tolerable to halfway decent. But yeah, they really give her too much screen time and too much to do to the detriment of the crew, the rest of the cast and the show itself.

  1. It should be renamed Star Trek: Feelings. Everyone is talking about there feelings, the way they communicated with the 10C was through feelings, Even the god damn ship’s computer was talking about it’s feelings, all I did through this entire season was roll my eyes! And how many times does Space Jesus get to save the entire Galaxy? Absolute Utter garbage!

  2. All of this is spot on but I will only disagree about Tully and the cadets mission. That whole episode felt like therapy sessions for every crew member to mope and sob about their emotional issues. Not to say that that wasn’t the case in every other Star Trek series, the characters did go through things and deal with relationships and doubts and betrayals and ptsb. But they did it in a much more natural way and not at the detriment of the pacing of the episode. So I was so excited to see that shuttle go out with Cadets and thought, wow here comes the adventure and sure enough they crashed! And as they were saving themselves, before they could get started, they had to sit in a circle and share a little something about themselves. What???? you know, while time for them was running out. Good lord. What that ship needs is a Vulcan counselor to come on board and teach them how to not completely let go with every emotion that they’re feeling at the moment. That especially of course goes for the captain which yes was a bit better this season in a bit less weepy. And she was raised Vulcan!!!

    1. Yeah. Burnham has zero Vulcan emotional control. Makes one wonder why they went through all the trouble to make her raised by Vulcans and then not have it affect her personality one whit.

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