Star Trek: Discovery season 5 episodes 1 and 2 recap and review - let's fly

Witness the beginning of the end of one of Star Trek's finest series with these two incredibly exciting episodes premiering its fifth and final season.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Marni Grossman/Paramount+
Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Marni Grossman/Paramount+ /

Happy Star Trek: Discovery Return Day for those who celebrate it!

Strap in and crank up the warp drive because Star Trek: Discovery has just launched into its fifth and final season, and let me tell you, it's setting phasers to "mind-blowing." This isn't just another voyage into the final frontier - it's the grand finale that promises to take us further than we've ever gone before. With Commander Michael Burnham at the helm, the USS Discovery is not just exploring strange new worlds; it's delving deep into the heart of what it means to be a part of this vast, cosmic tapestry.

According to everything I've heard from the excellent and talented starts Sonequa Martin-Green, Mary Wiseman, Doug Jones, David Ajala, and co-showrunners Michelle Paradise and Alex Kurtzman, this final season is about to take "boldly going" to a whole new level.

As the curtain rises on this epic conclusion, the stakes are higher, the aliens are weirder, and the plot twists? Let's just say they're twistier than a double helix nebula. Whether you've been on board since the maiden voyage or you're just beaming in, this final season of Star Trek: Discovery is crafting a legacy that will resonate across the galaxy. It's not just a mission; it's a journey - a journey that challenges the crew, the Federation, and fans alike to discover what lies beyond the stars and within themselves.

Let's talk about the two-episode season premiere, shall we?


Season 5
Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. TM & © 2022 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved. **BEST POSSIBLE SCREENGRAB** /

Episode 1 review - "Red Directive"

The episode kicks off with Captain Michael Burnham quite literally riding the waves of warp on the hull of a starship. As she communicates with Saru, we learn she's on a mission to recover something of vital importance stolen from a vault, only for things to take a nosedive into "imminent warp failure" territory. Flashback to four hours earlier, and we're mingling at a Federation Headquarters soiree, with Burnham rubbing elbows with Discovery's finest, including Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber, and catching up with the now Starfleet Academy professor Sylvia Tilly. Amid "Tonic 2161" cocktails and bittersweet farewells to the Spore Drive program, President Rillak and ever-so-handsome Admiral Vance drop a bombshell on Burnham: a mission classified under "Red Directive," involving an 800-year-old science vessel and a vital security threat to the Federation.

The Discovery crew, now briefed and beaming with determination, sets course for an uninhabited planet to investigate an abandoned Romulan vessel - a mission that quickly turns south as they encounter identity-concealing thieves, Moll and L’ak, and a near-mummified Romulan corpse. The stakes skyrocket when the thieves make a dramatic escape, leaving Burnham stranded on their decloaking ship as it jumps to warp. The episode shifts gears with a high-stakes chase, clever misdirections, and a tractor-beam tug-of-war that would make even Captain Kirk sweat. Enter handsome devil Cleveland "Book" Booker, brought in for his unique insights as Burnham and crew pursue the thieves across the desert planet Q’Mau, leading to a marketplace showdown, a high-octane sand runner chase, and an avalanche-induced crisis that puts the entire city at risk. As Discovery and the USS Antares heroically shield the settlement, Burnham and her team are left pondering the implications of the thieves’ mysterious Romulan puzzle box and the ancient, powerful technology it hints at - technology connected to the Progenitors and the very origin of life in the galaxy. This is a nice little nod to Star Trek: The Next Generation's episode "The Chase". Five-year-old me squealed at the connection.

With Saru contemplating a future as a Federation ambassador (and a marriage proposal from T’Rina), and Stamets reflecting on his legacy, "Red Directive" is not just a thrilling start to Discovery's final season; it's a love letter to the enduring themes of Star Trek. The chase for the Progenitors' technology, wrapped in the legacy of Jean-Luc Picard's adventures, sets the stage for a season that promises to explore the depths of space, the bonds of family, and the pursuit of knowledge that has always been at the heart of Star Trek.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5
L-R Doug Jones as Saru and Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery, season 5, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Credit: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ /

Episode 2 review - "Under the Twin Moons"

This episode takes us on a ride through the stars that’s more twisty than a barrel of Tribbles.

Captain Michael Burnham kicks things off with a deep space musing about life, the universe, and everything Progenitors. Cut to a scene where Burnham and the gang find themselves in the principal's office, aka a hearing with President Rillak, where they're chewing over Captain Rayner's wild west approach to space diplomacy. Spoiler alert: not everyone's a fan. Meanwhile, Booki s having a heart-to-heart with his cat, Queen Grudge, proving once again that in space, even your pet has royal status.

Next up, we're off to Lyric, a planet with more history than a Vulcan's bookshelf and the potential resting place of some seriously old-school tech courtesy of the Progenitors. Think of it as the universe's most epic treasure hunt, with Burnham and her space posse decoding ancient riddles, dodging killer drones (because what's a treasure hunt without a little peril?), and racing against the clock to unearth secrets that could redefine life as we know it.

On this planet of puzzles and peril, Burnham and "Action" Saru (Doug Jones) – yeah, that's his nickname now, courtesy of Jet Reno, and it's sticking – are Indiana Jones-ing their way through ancient ruins and drone attacks. These aren't your garden-variety drones, either - they're the galaxy's most unwelcoming committee, armed to the teeth and ready to explode at the first sign of grave robbing. Back on the USS Discovery, the crew's putting their heads together to crack the code of the Romulan scientist's diary and figure out where the Progenitors’ tech is hiding. It’s like the Federation's version of a book club, but with more at stake than just snacks and gossip. Meanwhile, Book's playing interstellar detective, trying to suss out the whereabouts of our favorite space outlaws, Moll and L’ak, and their romantic Bonnie and Clyde routine.

As Burnham and Saru navigate the deadly dance of drone dodgeball on Lyric, they stumble upon a clue that's hotter than a phaser set to stun: a piece of a cosmic map hidden in plain sight, pointing the way to the next piece of the Progenitor puzzle. It's a race against time, with Moll and L’ak hot on the same trail, and only one team can come out on top. In a twist that ties the past to the present, Book uncovers a personal connection to Moll that's as surprising as finding a Betazoid at a Klingon opera. And just when you thought the drama couldn't get any thicker, Captain Burnham makes a play that could change the course of their mission and their lives, offering Rayner a shot at redemption and a chair as her right-hand man.

"Under the Twin Moons" isn't just a title; it's a metaphor for the dualities within us all - the scientific curiosity versus the preservation of sacred grounds, the thirst for adventure against the respect for those who came before, and the search for new horizons while holding onto the relationships that define us.

As the Discovery races against time, and Moll and L'ak, to uncover the next piece of the Progenitor puzzle, we're reminded that in the vast expanse of space, it's not just the stars that guide us, but the bonds we forge along the way.

Discovery. A+. Star Trek: Discovery's final season rocket beyond the final frontier with mind-bending mysteries, heart-pounding adventures, and a depth of character exploration that sets a new standard for the series. Every step reveals the grandeur of the universe and the intricacies of the soul, proving this season is not just a victory lap, but a triumphant leap into the unknown.. Camila Domingues, Redshirts Always Die. Star Trek: Discovery season 5 2-episode premiere

Don't forget to tune in next Thursday, April 11th, for the 3rd episode in the epic 10-episode season and series finale.

dark. Next. Here's why Star Trek: Discovery is ending with its fifth season. Here's why Star Trek: Discovery is ending with its fifth season