Published On: Fri, Apr 12th, 2024

Discovery’s Final Season Is Sharing DNA With Another Iconic Sci-Fi Franchise

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Science fiction has always been a genre where we could ask ourselves the big questions: why are we here and what does it all mean? Last week’s episode of “Discovery” is bookended by scenes of Captain Burnham reflecting on meaning and purpose, two core facets of her identity that have come undone following the revelation of the Progenitors. Where her duties to Starfleet once provided all the answers she could ever need, her latest mission has thrown everything she once thought she knew into total disarray. The first act of “Prometheus” isn’t very different from this, focusing on scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) whose initial enthusiasm and earnest willingness to explore the origin of the human species feels right at home with any Starfleet officer.

How these two properties go about tackling these similar themes couldn’t be more different, of course, but there’s unquestionably a shared ancestry and a common driving force behind these respective concerns. Few (if any) Trekkies went into this fifth and final season of “Discovery” anticipating lines to be drawn between the Progenitors and the Engineers — two sets of bald-headed weirdos from mind-bogglingly advanced societies whose motivations and worldviews may be entirely beyond our capacity to grasp. But where “Prometheus” and “Alien: Covenant” reached the conclusion that some things simply can’t be understood without coming at the cost of our own humanity, “Discovery” appears to be setting up a season-long arc about the merits of bravely facing the esoteric and unknown, striving at all costs to find common ground and mutual understanding. And the key, as proven demonstrably by episode 3 and its focus on Trill, is to do so together.

New episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” stream on Paramount+ every Thursday.

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