‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Ends With A Recipe For Principled Extinction: Season 1, Episode 15 Recap
“The philosophy that we need today is not to pick the right morals to be absolutist about, but rather to embrace moral particularism, where we recognize that different situations call for different actions. When we have hundreds or thousands of school shootings per year, at what point do we say, “you know, maybe we do need some form of gun control at some level,” versus saying, “we have an absolute, uninfringeable right to own, possess, and bear arms?” As former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer put it, “no single set of legal rules can capture the ever changing complexity of human life.” So it is with moral rules as well. The prime directive is the inviolable rule of Starfleet. You know, the one that every Captain absolutely violates when morality calls for it. But in a huge moment of disappointing cowardice, Discovery looks for a deus ex machina instead: that their enemies will suddenly give up everything to empower a new leader using a terrorist, hostage-taking strategy.”
In the final episode of Star Trek: Discovery’s first season, there’s a terrible dilemma facing the crew. Do you sacrifice your principles to destroy an entire planet of innocents, a consequence of war that must be taken to save your planet, species, and the entire Federation? Or do you allow yourselves to be destroyed entirely, at the whim and mercy of your attackers? In an incredibly disappointing stroke of cowardice, Star Trek: Discovery chooses the latter, gussying up a lack of self-preservation and pacifism as moral. It isn’t moral; it’s a recipe for getting steamrolled. It’s a recipe for letting the bullies win. It’s a recipe for martyrdom. The season had its definite ups-and-downs, and for the second half of the season, I was rapt. With this season finale, a titanic performance from Michelle Yeoh is overshadowed by an awful lesson in terrible morality.