Twelve installments have boldly come and gone, all leading up to the pivotal third season finale that will set the future course for both the U.S.S. Discovery-A’s crew and Star Trek: Discovery itself. Peril abounds as Saru’s away team suffers through radiation sickness on the dilithium planet. Saru and Dr. Culber fear that their words could upset Su’Kal and cause another Burn, but the situation improves when Adira arrives (in Xahean form!) with medication and Gray Tal, who has been holographically made visible to the entire party by the Khi’eth’s computer.
Meanwhile, an intense space battle rages around Federation Headquarters, with the Viridian firing on the refuge’s shields in the hopes of permitting Osyraa to retain the stolen spore drive. Captured by the Emerald Chain, Michael Burnham convinces Admiral Vance to trust her and allow Discovery’s retreat, as the Sylvia Tilly-led bridge crew and DOT-23s fight their way through the corridors. The Discovery and Viridian go to warp with Starfleet and a small armada of Ni’Var vessels in pursuit, but Osyraa nevertheless elects to turn off life support on the lower decks as a means to suffocate Tilly’s team.
In sickbay, Aurellio refuses Zareh’s request to use a neural lock on Cleveland “Book” Booker to compel the Kwejian native into revealing a safe route to the dilithium planet. The human scientist pleads for Osyraa to show mercy, but the Orion’s affection for Aurellio immediately evaporates. Osyraa chokes her “friend” into unconsciousness and stands by as Zareh tortures Book. Fortunately, Burnham takes advantage of her proximity to Book and activates a quarantine field, shielding the pair from Osyraa and facilitating a quick getaway.
Back in the Verubin Nebula, Saru utilizes Kelpien culture to bond with Su’Kal and seeks to explain the outside world’s significance. Saru compares his decision to leave Kaminar (depicted in the Short Trek, “The Brightest Star”) with the imminent need for Su’Kal to venture beyond the confines of the Khi’eth. The Starfleet captain confronts the wayward Kelpien’s uncertainty about leaving with the promise that the away team will stand with him. As Gray evaluates the ship’s integrity, Culber and Adira hypothesize that Su’Kal’s biological connection to dilithium and subspace served to amplify his fears and resulted in the first Burn.
Struggling for oxygen, Tilly and the bridge crew converge in engineering. Burnham broadcasts a cryptic message over the ship’s comm that only the acting captain can decipher, prompting the junior officers to enact Michael’s secretive plan: detonate a thermochemical device in a nacelle to knock Discovery out of warp. As the group slowly asphyxiates, Tilly recognizes Owosekun’s ability to persevere through the depleted atmosphere, ordering the lieutenant to leave the others behind and complete the suicide mission on her own.
Burnham and Book distract Osyraa’s regulators with phaser fire before becoming trapped in a turbolift. Michael initiates a death-defying aerobatic assault, treating viewers to the realization that turboshafts are no longer needed in the 32nd century. Guided by other means, the turbolifts weave their way through Discovery’s spacious interior. Burnham reaches the vessel’s data core, but Osyraa springs a vicious ambush on the science officer. Mirroring the hazards shown during trips to starship nacelles in TNG’s “Eye of the Beholder” and ENT’s “The Catwalk,” Owo’s excursion ends with a devastating blast that drags Discovery to sublight speed.
In a pair of brutal duels, Burnham and Book are forced to kill Osyraa and Zareh, the latter of whom fatally erred when he insulted Queen Grudge. Michael resets Discovery’s systems, regaining control of Discovery and beaming the remaining regulators to the Viridian. Tilly’s infiltration unit awakens when life support is restored. Relief spreads when they see that one of the Sphere data’s DOT-23s sacrificed itself to save Owo. With Discovery entombed inside the Viridian, Burnham devises a radical exit strategy. Now assisting Starfleet, Aurellio proposes that Book’s empathic talents should allow him to communicate with the spores and jump the ship.
On the Khi’eth, Saru and Culber embolden Su’Kal to face his terrors. The doctor also shares a phenomenally majestic moment with Gray, dedicating himself to find a way for the Trill to regain their power to be seen by all. Su’Kal learns that witnessing his mother’s death set off his Burn-inducing emotional outburst, a lesson that gives him the fortitude to end the holoprogram. Having successfully activated the spore drive, Book navigates Discovery into transporter range to retrieve the landing party.
A flurry of activity, including Burnham’s delivery of an eloquent monologue about the importance of connection, ensues once the crisis is averted. Owo and Jett Reno masterfully repair the remaining DOT-23 that contains the Sphere data, Saru goes on leave to guide Su’Kal on Kaminar, and the Emerald Chain crumbles without Osyraa. Trill rejoins the Federation, with Ni’Var and other worlds contemplating the same action. Vance admits he misjudged Burnham’s methods, endorsing her as Discovery’s new commanding officer. Observing Captain Burnham walk on to the bridge in her 32nd century uniform infuses the closing scene with a stirring emotional buzz.
As this installment’s title implies, the third season finale brings this year’s expedition full circle. Aditya Sahil, the devoted believer from “That Hope Is You, Part 1,” appears at Federation Headquarters and is officially commissioned by Vance. The thirteen-part arc resolves the issues surrounding the Emerald Chain and The Burn, yet it leaves plenty of unanswered questions. What happened to the original Cleveland Booker, Book’s mentor and namesake? Will the Federation succeed in its rebuilding effort? Is Saru’s sabbatical permanent? “That Hope Is You, Part 2” also provides a sense of completion to the tumultuous personal journey that Burnham has traversed since “The Vulcan Hello.” With production on season four underway, Star Trek: Discovery’s potential is limitless. Am I ready for the next adventure? In the soon-to-be immortal words of Captain Burnham, “Let’s fly.”
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer who has contributed articles to the official Star Trek website and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and the official Star Wars website. Jay also serves as a part-time assistant and consultant advising many actors and creatives who work on his favorite sci-fi shows and films. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.
Star Trek: Discovery streams on Paramount+ in the United States, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada, and on Netflix in 190 countries.