Last week, the news was announced that the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery season 5 will be the show’s final outing. It is bittersweet to learn the series that launched the next ‘next generation’ of Star Trek is coming to a conclusion. However, the year leading up to the show’s final season in 2024 is meant to be filled with celebrations of the groundbreaking series.
In that spirit, here are 8 episodes of Discovery (plus two related Short Treks) to kick off your year-long Disco celebration.
“The Vulcan Hello”
In Discovery season 1 episode 1, “The Vulcan Hello,” we meet Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the prime version of Phillipa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh). This episode reveals lots of backstory about Burnham’s personal history. It also gives us our best look at Burnham’s relationship with her former mentor, Georgiou prime.
This episode also has a very cool visual sequence in the opening scenes. How cool is it? It’s so cool, it’s even referenced in the recent novel Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: The High Country by John Jackson Miller.
“Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”
In Discovery season 1 episode 7, “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” the crew must deal with the return of Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson). In this episode, Mudd traps the crew in a time loop that evokes The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. This episode also gives Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) a chance to shine.
If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll want to check out the Short Trek “The Escape Artist.” Written by Star Trek: Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan and directed by Wilson, this short follows up on Mudd after the episode. This allows us to see him get his comeuppance for penetrating a space whale.
Directed by Jonathan Frakes, season 2 episode 2, “New Eden,” sees Burnham, Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo), and Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) visiting a settlement of inexplicably deep-space located humans. They soon learn that these people were relocated from Earth at the height of World War III. Furthermore, they live in a highly religious society organized around an amalgam of Ancient Earth theologies. In addition to this interesting storyline on an alien planet, Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts) gets to show off her flying skills.
According to the audio commentary for this episode, a scene in which Pike sings a hymn was recorded. Sadly, this is not included on the DVD. Perhaps in a future release?
“If Memory Serves”
Get ready for a flashback to Star Trek: The Original Series in season 2 episode 8, “If Memory Serves”! You know this episode is unique from the “previously on” segment, which takes the form of TOS scenes and music from the original pilot, “The Cage.” This story allows the Discovery crew to revisit Talos IV, where they meet many recurring characters, including Vina (Melissa George).
In addition, this episode gives plenty of material to Burnham’s half-brother Spock (Ethan Peck). Both “If Memory Serves” and “New Eden” help underscore how Discovery was instrumental in launching Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the ongoing spin-off featuring the crew of Pike’s Enterprise.
“People of Earth”
Season 3 episode 3, “People of Earth,” is another episode directed by Frakes. This story follows the crew of the Discovery as they adjust to life in the 31st century. The episode has meaty parts for both Cleveland “Book” Booker (David Ajala) and Saru (Doug Jones). Plus, it introduces Adira (Blu del Barrio) and Captain Diatta Ndoye (Phumzile Sitole), both of whom will be narratively important moving forward.
This episode also allows the Discovery crew to visit Earth after nearly a millennium away. This leads to a very satisfying tree-based scene.
“Terra Firma, Part 2”
Mirror Georgiou’s story arc (apparently?) comes to a conclusion in season 3 episode 10, “Terra Firma, Part 2.” In this episode, Mirror Georgiou is subjected to a test from the Guardian of Forever (Paul Guilfoyle). This test determines whether or not Georgiou has been materially changed by her time with the crew of the Discovery.
The episode offers an exciting return to Discovery‘s compelling depiction of the Mirror Universe. Among the returning Mirror characters is the unforgettable Mirror Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman). Furthermore, the climax emphasizes the relationship between Burnham and Mirror Georgiou. Before leaving the series, Georgiou shares some important insight into Burnham’s capabilities as a leader.
“Choose to Live”
Season 4 episode 3, “Choose to Live,” gives trans character Gray Tal (Ian Alexander) the chance to be seen. Previously, Gray had mostly only appeared to Adira due to Trill symbiote-related shenanigans and a trip to the Black Mountain. Fortunately, Doctor Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) is able to build him a techno-golem body thanks to tech pioneered centuries earlier in Star Trek: Picard. While this procedure is risky, the episode examines why it was a necessary decision for Gray.
Meanwhile, Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) must work with the Ni’Var Science Council to survive the DMA.
In season 4 episode 6, “Stormy Weather,” Zora’s newly achieved sentience plays an important role. Voiced by Annabelle Wallis, Zora must navigate her newfound emotions in order to play her part as an integral member of the Discovery crew. This episode climaxes in an unforgettable musical moment featuring the song from which the episode takes its title. It also features multiple appearances by Grudge the Cat.
In the Short Treks episode “Calypso,” another incarnation of the ship’s intelligence is introduced. While it’s unclear when or how this story fits into Discovery‘s timeline, it is a swiftly engaging short tale. Plus, it confirms that “Taco Tuesday” continues to exist in the distant future. In this Short Trek, Zora’s holo-avatar is played by Sash Striga.
Discovery Season 5
Will you be rewatching any of these episodes of Discovery? Are there any episodes you think should have been included on our list?
Seasons one through four of Star Trek: Discovery are currently available for streaming on Paramount Plus.
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