Hopefully, Star Trek learned a valuable lesson from Discovery's final season

Star Trek: Discovery made the mistake of building their final season around a mediocre TNG episode.
Star Trek: Discovery, episode 9, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/Paramount+
Star Trek: Discovery, episode 9, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ /

Star Trek: Discovery made the baffling call to build its entire final season around a subpar episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation. That episode is called The Chase, which sees several different groups racing across space to try and unlock the mysteries of a shared past. It was a bad concept that embraced the ideas of Scientology and didn't make a lot of people happy with the episode's conclusion.

We thought when the episode was over that Star Trek as a whole would forget about the ill-conceived story. It was, after all, a throwaway episode, written to be largely a tongue-in-cheek answer to questions fans kept asking, and not as an actual explainer for the entire Star Trek franchise. No one told Discovery that, however, as they built their fifth and what would end up being the final season around that very weak story.

Much like the episode, the fifth season didn't answer any real questions and over-relied on the tired Discovery trope of "emotions over intelligence" to solve problems. Many fans weren't too keen on the final season, with it getting its lowest critic's score on Rotten Tomatoes and its second lowest audience score. So regardless of which side of the line you're on, it's clear that both groups weren't as impressed with the concept the final season was built around.

Hopefully, this failure of a show ends Star Trek trying to stretch out poorly conceived concepts from a single episode and trying to make it into an entire series. No one thought this was a good idea from the start, and even series defenders like Jonathan Frakes were surprised that the series opted to take that episode and explore it further.

This is surprising, as Frakes himself directed the episode that inspired Discovery; The Chase. It was a bad idea, and their attempt to further explore the ideas that popped up in that episode was stretched thin. So thin that the payoff was never going to be worth the journey.

Which is exactly what happened. The end of Discovery left a sour taste in the mouths of many, as at the end of the day there was no change in the status quo. Just a predictable end that many people expected. Discovery promised the answers to one of the franchise's earliest questions and failed to deliver in that regard.

Its shortcomings should end the idea that any other past episodes should be further farmed for a season's worth of content.