Star Trek Guide

Here's why Star Trek: Discovery's season 2 finale won't go how you think because of pesky canon

Note: Contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 13 'Such Sweet Sorrow'

Even before its first episode aired, Star Trek: Discovery was facing questions about its place in canon.

We were promised that season two would deliver the answers and end with the show "synced up with canon", presumably by solving why the USS Discovery – or Spock's adopted sister – has never been mentioned before.

The terrific penultimate episode of the season 'Such Sweet Sorrow' seemed to finally hint at the solution... but it can't go the way it's promising.

After they tried to destroy the USS Discovery, the emotional outing saw Michael Burnham realise that there was only one way to stop Control – the evil artificial intelligence – from getting its hands on the rest of the sphere data: the ship must go into the future.

Burnham revealed that she was going to have to use the recently-acquired time crystal to take the USS Discovery (and the sphere data) out of the current time, only to realise that it would be a one-way trip. Neither Burnham nor the USS Discovery would ever return to the current time.

Of course, the crew weren't going to let her go on her own, however much she wanted them to. There were a few key exceptions, namely Captain Pike (who is now set on a path to a horrifying future), Philippa Georgiou (who's got her own spin-off show to do), Ash Tyler and Hugh Culber.

So far, so canon-fixing. The USS Discovery and Burnham haven't been mentioned before in Star Trek as they don't exist in those timeframes, and to mention their voyage into the distant future would run the risk of Control finding out.

And then came the canon niggle. "We are coming with you Michael. Further argument would be futile. Please accept this," Spock told his adopted sister.

Well, hang on a minute, how can Spock go to the future when he's meant to be on the USS Enterprise until 2293?

If the USS Discovery jumps to the future to avoid Control, we can buy Spock never mentioning his brief time on the ship, but not if he goes to the future on it as well.

That suggests things won't go to plan in the season two finale and the USS Discovery doesn't go to the future or, somehow, Burnham will trick/convince Spock to stay with Pike in 2257.

There's already been a hint that the time travel plan won't work.

To power up the time crystal before Control's ships arrived, Jet Reno willingly chose to see the future by taking the crystal out of its protective cage.

The flashes we saw looked very similar to the destruction seen by Burnham when she touched the crystal earlier in the episode, with the premonitions leading her to come up with the time travel plan.

Could it be that this was the plan that failed all along?

Our best bet at the moment is that the USS Discovery will go into the future (just without Spock) as it solves the canon issues, and confirms why Captain Pike and Spock aren't coming back in season three.

"As I read the final script for season two, my jaw dropped, and I'm dumbfounded with where we're headed. So I think the fans can expect to boldly go where no Star Trek series has ever gone before," Doug Jones previously told Syfy Wire.

That sure sounds like the future to us. It's just that Spock definitely can't be there.

Star Trek: Discovery airs on CBS All Access in the US and on Netflix in the UK.

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