‘Star Trek: Discovery’ S2 Finale Recap: When No One Has Gone Before’Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2, Ep 13 Recap: Tearful Preparations By now, Star Trek: Discovery has proven its Star Trek cred. It’s had some bad episodes, it’s had some great ones, but for most of the way through, it’s felt like Star Trek. Its best episodes have felt like some combination of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Even with two episodes focusing on Harry Mudd, last night’s was the first time it really felt like the original Star Trek. It had all the ingredients: An unexplored planet, a strange new alien race and a crewmember who starts acting weird after exposure to said alien race. It even had an awkwardly placed romantic subplot. It doesn’t get more Star Trek than that.The episode starts with a pretty awesome space battle, even if it does end poorly for the Federation. We learn that Kol has been giving cloaking technology to any Klingon house that swears fealty to him. That means the Klingons can appear out of nowhere and attack a bunch of Federation vessels at once. Suddenly, the war isn’t going so well for the Federation. I get why Star Trek: Discovery chose to focus on a ship that necessarily has to be kept away from the front lines in a war. It allows the show to have its big serialized war story, and shove it into the background when it wants to have some classic Trek exploratory sci-fi fun. For the most part, it works. It allows for a grand scale with high stakes as well as the occasional standalone episode. The problem comes when we have to be told how the war is going. We can’t follow it on the show, so it just feels like the Federation is winning one week and losing the next. This week, they’re losing.Shazad Latif, Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones (Photo via CBS)To combat the Klingons’ newfound invisibility powers, the Discovery has sent Burnham, Tyler and Saru to the planet Pahvo. They want to investigate a naturally occurring crystal structure that’s broadcasting a strange signal into space. If they can harness its frequency, they can detect the cloaked Klingon ships. Right away, the importance of the mission is clear, which turns an episode of walking around and talking to trees into a genuinely fascinating hour of Star Trek. Shortly after landing on the planet, they discover that the entire thing is alive. Everything is part of a sentient collective species, which means it falls to Saru to try and build a vocabulary with the Pahvons to speak with them. It’s a tough, tiring process as Saru’s incredibly sensitive ears are constantly bombarded with noise on this planet. This is the first episode to really delve into the fact that Saru’s species is prey on his planet, and what that means when he’s put into an alien environment. Here, it means he’s never experienced a moment’s peace and it’s even worse on Pahvo.He begs the Pahvons to make it stop for just one moment. They enter his mind, learn everything about the war and his past, and he’s suddenly at peace for the first time in his life. Doug Jones plays the abrupt change very well. You know something is wrong the minute he walks into the landing party’s shelter claiming he’s contacted the Discovery. He’s unsettlingly calm. When he breaks Tyler and Burnham communicators, it’s not a surprise. We all saw that coming. It’s much more interesting to figure out why he’s suddenly behaving that way. The Pahvons aren’t evil. They are peaceful to a fault. They desperately want to meet other species, which is why they built that giant crystal transmitter in the first place. Burnham goes forward with the mission, modifying the crystal transmitter and letting the Discovery know where they are. The fight between Burnham and Saru looks… hokey. There have been better fight scenes in this series, but it thankfully doesn’t last long. Hey, it’s certainly not the worst-looking fight Star Trek’s ever had. I think that title still belongs to Kirk vs. Gorn from the original series. (Much like this one, it was a great episode, but a terrible fight.)Shazad Latif, Sonequa Martin-Green (Photo via CBS)I liked that Saru wasn’t acting under the Pahvons’ control. It would have been easy for the series to go the sinister alien route. Instead, Saru’s actions were entirely self-motivated. This is what happens when you give a moment’s peace to a person who’s never had that. He goes to extreme lengths to protect it. It’s an interesting exploration of Saru’s character, and Star Trek: Discovery pulled it off well. The Pahvon’s truly are peaceful, even to their detriment. Along with being a truly Trek-like exploration episode, it also set us up for an incredible midseason finale. The Pahvons’ dedication to peace makes them think if the Federation and Klingons could just be in the same place and talk to each other, the war will end. I think we all know that’s not going to work. After the modification, the Pahvon’s send a signal to Kol’s ship, arranging a meeting between it and the Discovery. If nothing else, it sounds like we’ll head into the show’s winter break on a seriously explosive note.Even the Klingon scenes were some of the best Star Trek: Discovery has had so far. That’s not saying much, but it’s an accomplishment. Yes, they still talk unbearably slow, but the show has figured out not to have entire scenes of monologues from them. That’s what really killed the momentum of those early episodes. The Klingon scenes are all fairly snappy by this show’s standards. It certainly helps that some dramatic and interesting things happen in them. L’Rell arrives on Kol’s ship, asking to be allowed to join him. She heard he’d captured Admiral Cornwell and wants to be the one to interrogate her. Kol allows it, and L’Rell soon finds herself alone with Cornwell. It’s not clear at this point exactly what her plans are. She hates Kol and wants revenge for how he led the mutiny against Voq. She offers to defect to the Federation, but we know that’s not her real plan.Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp (Photo via CBS)Not that it matters much anyway. She and Cornwell try to escape, but Kol sees them. To save face, L’Rell apparently kills Cornwell. It’s an odd and sudden death for a character who seemed so important. This show doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to making big deaths land, but this feels especially out of nowhere. I still think we’ll see Cornwell wake up in the Klingon corpse room at some point during next week’s midseason finale. Whatever L’Rell’s plan is, it fails anyway. Kol sees through her lies of fealty and has her taken prisoner. I’m sure this will all be important when Kol and Lorca meet in next week’s battle, but it’s unclear how at this point. It doesn’t make for a super satisfying collection of scenes this episode, but it sure sets up some explosive possibilities for the next one. I also hope they address what’s going on with Stamets more. He and Tilly only got one short scene together, and I really wanted more. For now, it appears Stamets is guiding the ship is bringing him out of step with time. Thanks to that, we got a nice little bit of foreshadowing when he calls Tilly “Captain.” That’s exciting. For an episode that felt a lot like a throwback to the original Star Trek, this one certainly set up a lot of cool stuff for the future. Now I just hope they can capitalize on it. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.