With the Dark Matter Anomaly (DMA) on its way to impact United Earth and Ni’Var, the Federation fleet travels to the planets in an effort to mount an evacuation. Not only is Federation HQ capable of warp, but its individual decks are detachable and able to achieve faster-than-light speeds. Perhaps Miles O’Brien’s hard work to move Deep Space 9 closer to the Bajoran wormhole in “Emissary” inspired future engineers to equip space stations with the latest tech? Joined by Sylvia Tilly and her Starfleet Academy cadets, Admiral Vance sets out to save as many people as possible.
Back inside Species 10-C’s hyperfield, the U.S.S. Discovery-A’s crew works to free themselves from the 10-C’s orb so they can prevent Ruon Tarka from stealing the DMA’s power source, an action that would destroy the 10-C’s solar system. President T’Rina offers to telepathically connect with their captors, but the experience overwhelms her senses. Apparently, Species 10-C is linked as one, yet unlike the Borg, their union is harmonious. The fact that knowledge about the Borg persists into the 32nd century is quite intriguing.
Aboard Book’s ship, Cleveland “Book” Booker and Jett Reno emphasize to Tarka that, even if he makes it to an alternate reality, the Oros in that universe would not be his Oros. Having failed, the pair employ Grudge’s cat collar, which is equipped with a holodisruptor to prevent holograms from frightening the legendary “Space Catte,” to disable the containment field and knock Tarka unconscious.
The always reliable Paul Stamets figures out a plan to get Discovery out of its orb — however, the strategy will burn out the spore drive and leave them decades away from home, echoing U.S.S. Voyager’s 24th century jaunt through the Delta Quadrant. The gambit succeeds, freeing the starship to pursue Book’s vessel. Once in range, Reno beams back to Discovery and informs Captain Burnham that Book hasn’t been able to regain control of his ship.
As debris from the DMA begins to reach Earth, General Ndoye suggests employing a shuttle to collide with Book’s ship in order to knock it off course. Burnham prepares to order Lt. Commander Detmer to undertake the potential suicide mission, a dilemma similar to the 24th century bridge officer’s test that Deanna Troi eventually passed in “Thine Own Self.” Ndoye quickly intercedes and volunteers to pilot the shuttle, demonstrating her resolve to save Earth.
In an emotionally-charged exchange, Book finally manages to connect with Tarka, who understands that Oros would never want him to go to these lengths to reach an alternate universe. The revelation occurs moments before Ndoye’s shuttle strikes, saving the 10-C but sending Book’s ship toward the edge of the hyperfield. Discovery beams a wounded Ndoye to safety, but Tarka believes his interdimensional transporter might work once it hits the hyperfield. The Risan elects to save Book by transporting him back to Discovery…
…but Book’s signal is lost as his ship impacts the hyperfield and is destroyed. A grief-stricken Burnham must push her feelings aside to guide Discovery, which becomes ensnared in another orb that brings the vessel into one of 10-C’s gas giants. The 10-C dispatch a small “shuttle orb,” permitting the dignitaries and bridge crew to join the senior staff as they go to the planet and meet the 10-C in person.
In awe of the massive lifeforms, the Federation team conveys that, while they are individual lifeforms, they are united in their search for peace. Burnham details the destruction wrought by the DMA, and in a moment that displays the priceless nature of communication, the 10-C agree to move the DMA away from Earth and Ni’Var. The 10-C then provide a stunning gift, as they share that they had intercepted Book’s transporter signal and beam the courier down, alive and well!
Grateful to be reunited with Michael, Book nevertheless argues that the 10-C must stop utilizing the DMA, even in uninhabited space. Once again highlighting the power of connection, Book convinces the 10-C to halt the DMA for good and lower their hyperfield wall. The crew returns to Discovery, while the 10-C use their wormhole technology one last time and send the starship back to Earth. If only the Caretaker had been as considerate to the U.S.S. Voyager!
As the crew celebrates their victory, two relationships take center stage. Saru and T’Rina openly acknowledge their feelings for one another, while Burnham and Book share a heartfelt goodbye — one they hope to only be temporary — before the courier serves his sentence for his renegade mission by assisting displaced refugees on Europa. Meanwhile, long-range sensors indicate the 10-C are keeping their promise and cleaning up the subspace rifts left by the DMA.
Having overcome The Burn and the DMA threat, the Federation seems to be back on track. Many new worlds have joined, with Burnham explaining that Tellar Prime never left and Andoria is in talks to return. The President of United Earth (played by surprise guest star and acclaimed activist Stacey Abrams) arrives to tell President Rillak that Earth is also ready to rejoin. The Federation is back!
“Coming Home” provides the perfect conclusion to a season that has underlined the need to find connection and hope in the wake of tragedy and unfathomable loss. Although the Federation had come very far in the short time since the mystery of The Burn was solved, the DMA once again tested its resolve and ultimately pushed the citizens of the galaxy even closer together. With these trials behind it, what will the Federation’s next steps be? Who else might join? Will the next generation spore drive be developed? Where will Discovery be sent to explore? Given that Star Trek: Discovery has been renewed for a fifth season, we will surely learn these answers in the near future. Stay tuned as we continue to boldly go…
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer and consultant who has contributed articles to StarTrek.com, Star Trek Explorer, and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and StarWars.com. Jay serves as a BoldlyGo Campaign Ambassador for The Roddenberry Foundation. Jay can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.
Star Trek: Discovery currently streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. Internationally, the series is available on Paramount+ in Australia, Latin America and the Nordics, and on Pluto TV in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Star Trek: Discovery is distributed by ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.