Star Trek Discovery Season 5 Episode 9 Review: The Finale May Be in Trouble

The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery is a heist story that takes place on a Breen dreadnought, but it largely serves as set up for next week's finale.

Star Trek Discovery Season 5 Episode 9
Photo: Michael Gibson/Paramount+

This Star Trek: Discovery review contains spoilers

Apologies to those who thought the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery season 5 might finally give us some concrete information about what the Progenitors’ mysterious and potentially universe-altering technology might be, because it doesn’t. Although “Lagrange Point” is a fast-paced and fairly action-packed hour, it is also largely setup for next week’s finale, and answers none questions any of us have about the larger story of this season. This isn’t exactly a new problem for Discovery—a show that has long struggled with pacing—but suddenly everything just feels uncomfortably rushed. 

We now have a single episode left to find Michael and Moll, stop a Breen war, locate the magical MacGuffin technology we’ve been chasing all season, wrap up the Progenitors story, and say a final goodbye to this show and its characters. It feels like there can’t possibly be enough runway left for those goals to be accomplished satisfactorily, and it makes me resentful of midseason clunkers like “Mirrors” or “Whistlespeak” who could have used their time to say or do something more relevant to the larger story this season was telling. (Or at least been fun to watch.) Instead, no matter what the larger Progenitor reveal turns out to be, it seems as though we’re all probably destined to be disappointed.

Named for the positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion, “Lagrange Point” finally takes us to the location of the Progenitors’ supposed power of creation, suspended at a point of stasis between two black holes in a binary system around one another. It’s a fantastic image—but once again, like the inclusion of the Badlands last week, the episode doesn’t do much with what is on the surface a super cool idea. I mean, isn’t this kind of like a Chekhov’s gun situation? If there are two black holes introduced in an episode’s opening act, shouldn’t something get sucked into one by the end? But, hey, at least the visuals are cool.

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“Lagrange Point” is, at its heart, a heist story. Although the Discovery manages to repair its spore drive in time to reach the mystery map coordinates ahead of the Breen ship, Moll and her crew easily steel the large oil drum-shaped container out from under Michael’s nose with shockingly little effort. But, thanks to Mindscape!Book from the Eternal Gallery, we know they won’t be able to open it because they don’t have the secret extra clue that solving the library puzzle provided. This means there’s time for the Discovery team to fabricate some Breen uniforms, download a translator to help them understand the grunt-filled language they speak, and find a way to steal the Progenitor tech back. 

What follows is a whole bunch of things that don’t make sense: Michael’s plan to sneak aboard the Breen ship is pretty contrived and really shouldn’t work at all, and the episode spends entirely too much time engineering awkward run-ins with crewmembers that the disguised Discovery team must escape—though admittedly, the bit where Book aggressively flirts with a soldier he barely understands as a distraction technique is pretty hilarious. Moll being in command of Ruhn’s faction is still patently ridiculous on its face, and a disguised Michael and Book are caught embarrassingly easily, although surprisingly not during the completely ridiculous moment where Michael decides to take five during a life-or-death mission to have a heart-to-heart about her vision of her ex from last week. And the minute the portal to the Progenitor tech was revealed it was incredibly obvious that Michael and Moll would both end up going through it. At least the hour’s big set piece—Discovery literally crashing into the rear end of the Breen dreadnought to force both the container and their own teammates to be jettisoned into space so the transporter could grab them—was pretty fun to watch. Jonathan Frakes did his best, y’all. 

On the plus side, this episode does have its moments. Saru returns for the first time since the season’s third episode (we missed you, Doug Jones!), determined to insert himself into Discovery’s face-off with the Breen, although T’Rina is clearly less than thrilled about him maybe getting himself killed weeks before their wedding. There’s little reason for any of this besides the show’s obvious desire to get Saru back with his former crewmates in time for the big finale—surely someone else is more qualified for this particular diplomatic mission—but, at least we got a really cute Saru/T’Rina scene out of it. Sorry to anyone else who was hoping Discovery was going to do something interesting with Saru being part of the Federation instead of on the ship’s crew this season, rather than what they ended up doing, which is not much. If we don’t at least get to see these two crazy kids get married before this show is over, Paramount+ is getting a sternly worded letter. (Come on, everybody happy and partying at their reception as the credits roll is the tacked-on-at-the-last-minute, whoops it’s actually a series finale kind of ending we deserve.)

But it is Callum Keith Rennie who continues to steal much of this season out from the series regulars. His Rayner has had the most satisfying arc of any of the major Discovery players, emerging as a compelling character in his own right, and providing a genuine reason to care about this season during some of its dullest moments. The hour’s final image, of Rayner finally sitting down in the captain’s chair and accepting his place among the ship’s crew, felt like an earned and deserved victory for the character. Plus, his surprising friendship with Tilly is adorable. All that’s left, now, is his clearly telegraphed imminent face-off with his personal Final Boss in the form of the Breen commander who subjugated his home world. 

As for the series finale, it’s probably best if we start managing our expectations now. It’s not the show’s fault that the folks in charge of Discovery didn’t know this was going to be the series’ last season when they shot it. But it’s really hard not to feel as though we’re being robbed of the chance to say a proper goodbye to these characters, who, let’s face it, are a big reason many of us kept watching this show through some of its lowest narrative ebbs. Here’s hoping whatever the series went back to film will at least give us some sort of satisfying conclusion for their stories and where there adventures will take them when we’re no longer watching.

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3 out of 5