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Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Ending Explained (In Detail)

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The USS Discovery finally came face-to-face with Species 10-C in Star Trek: Discovery season 4’s finale, which resolved the major storylines and set Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) on a path towards exploring the future. As the Dark Matter Anomaly nearly destroyed Earth and Ni’Var, Burnham and her Starfleet crew had to stop Dr. Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) from attacking Species 10-C and complete their First Contact mission in order to save their homeworld and the galaxy at large.

The first half of Star Trek: Discovery’s spectacular season 4 finale, “Coming Home,” dealt with two major problems: stopping Dr. Tarka, who held Cleveland Booker (David Ajala) and Commander Jett Reno (Tig Notaro) prisoner aboard Book’s ship, and discovering who aboard Discovery helped Tarka and Booker to sabotage the First Contact mission. The latter was easy since General Ndoye (Phumzile Sitole) confessed to being Tarka’s conspirator but she acted out of her desire to save her homeworld, United Earth. Ndoye then volunteered to pilot a shuttle to stop Book’s ship from destroying Species 10-C’s powerful hyperfield. Ndoye rammed Book’s ship, which led to its destruction. Ndyoye was beamed back aboard Discovery but Book’s signal was lost mid-transport. As for Tarka, he met his demise along with Book’s ship. Thankfully, Book’s cat, Grudge, was safely aboard Discovery all along.

Meanwhile, United Federation of Planets headquarters warped to Earth with Admiral Charles Vance (Oded Fehr) and Lt. Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), who left Discovery to teach at Starfleet Academy, leading the evacuation. Tragically, only 400,000+ could be evacuated by Starfleet from Earth. Regardless of the impossible odds, Vance and Tilly continued the evacuation and bonded thanks to their impending doom. But they and Earth were spared when Discovery’s heroes successfully talked Species 10-C into withdrawing the DMA. Unlike the prior season finales of Star Trek: Discovery, season 4’s climax did not rely on action or Captain Burnham saving the day with risk-taking heroics. Instead, the pivotal First Contact between the Federation and Species 10-C relied on the exchange of emotions and each sides’ best ideals to find a common solution. “Coming Home” crystallized a new direction for Star Trek: Discovery that embraces the highest ideals of Star Trek.

Star Trek Makes Real-Life Stacey Abrams The President Of Earth

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Stacey Abrams was revealed as the President of United Earth in a shocking, climactic cameo at the end of Star Trek: Discovery’s season 4 finale. Abrams is a diehard Star Trek fan who even hosted an online Star Trek event in 2020 to help the elections of Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Star Trek: Discovery’s director, Olatunde Osunsanmi told Screen Rant in an interview that Abrams was friends with Wilson Cruz, who plays Discovery’s Chief Medical Officer and Counselor Dr. Hugh Culber. Though Cruz, Abrams met Star Trek: Discovery’s showrunner, Michelle Paradise and executive producer Alex Kurtzman, and they arranged to have the Georgia politician cameo in the show, eventually deciding to make Abrams United Earth’s previously unseen President.

Abrams’ appearance as the President gave her the opportunity to act alongside Sonequa Martin-Green’s Captain Burnham, and she also formally announced that United Earth is rejoining the Federation. Earth broke away from the Federation after The Burn happened and remained an isolated world for over a century, redesignating itself as United Earth. The fact that Discovery’s homeworld was missing from the Federation was a painful reminder of how broken the 32nd century was, but United Earth returning to the fold marks a bright new beginning for the Federation and Earth. It’s unclear if Stacey Abrams will reprise her role as United Earth’s President in Star Trek: Discovery season 5 but it was a jaw-dropping cameo nonetheless.

Star Trek: Discovery’s Species 10-C Explained (Fully)

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Species 10-C is a Star Trek alien race unlike any other in the franchise. Star Trek: Discovery wisely took the opportunity to create a thoroughly alien species that would test Starfleet’s heroes patience, understanding, and their commitment to seeking out new life and new civilizations. Because they reside in another galaxy beyond the Galactic Barrier, the intriguing Species 10-C wasn’t bound by Star Trek’s tradition where most aliens are humanoid in appearance. Instead, Species 10-C is the size of skyscrapers and, because of their completely alien brain patterns, universal translators are useless. This required Burnham and her team to find a new way to communicate with them. But Species 10-C has a complex system of emotions as the basis for their language, and this gave Discovery the building blocks to begin First Contact.

Crucially, Species 10-C isn’t a villainous or malevolent race. They are a lifeform that has achieved a higher state of evolution and technological superiority to the point where they were unaware of and didn’t consider the denizens of the Milky Way Galaxy to be higher life forms. While they were confused by Discovery’s appearance and by Book and Tarka’s attempt to attack them, Species 10-C was patient and curious about Discovery’s peaceful overtures. Species 10-C also didn’t use the DMA as a weapon intentionally; the anomaly was simply a device they employed to harvest the boronite they needed to power their protective hyperfield. Curiously, despite reaching an understanding with Species 10-C, the Federation delegates didn’t attempt to ask them what they prefer to be called. They remain “Species 10-C” and it remains to be seen if the Federation will maintain contact with the extragalactic race or if Species 10-C will even join the Federation.

How Book And Discovery Saved Earth At The End Of Season 4

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The USS Discovery faced a ticking clock as the DMA neared Earth, with Species 10-C, again, unaware of the damage their device could cause. But Species 10-C also rescued Book because they intercepted his transporter signal when Discovery tried to beam him aboard. Thus, Species 10-C was able to return Book safely, so the former courier was never dead. However, the same cannot be said of Dr. Tarka. Tarka was presumably killed when Book’s ship exploded and he was unable to use his device to harness the hyperfield’s energy to send him into the Multiverse, which was his goal all along and why Ruon was willing to risk a war between the Federation and Species 10-C. While anything can happen in Star Trek, Tarka is probably dead.

Once back with Michael and the Federation delegates, it was Book who successfully pleaded with Species 10-C to deactivate the DMA. Of course, the DMA destroyed Book’s homeworld of Kwejian. As the person who lost the most because of the DMA, it was fitting that Book was able to make Species 10-C realize the devastation their Anomaly sowed in the Federation’s galaxy. As a Kwejian, Book has powers that attune him to the emotions of living beings, and this allowed him to reach Species 10-C and convince them that their DMA was dangerous and hurt living beings. Species 10-C agreed not to use the DMA any longer and safely sent the USS Discovery through a wormhole back to their own galaxy.

Saru And President T’Rina Are Officially Star Trek’s Newest Couple

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Captain Saru (Doug Jones) and Ni’Var President T’Rina (Tara Rosling) were attracted to each other from their first meeting in Star Trek: Discovery season 3, but their slow-burn romance has finally become official and it was Saru’s primary Discovery season 4 storyline. Although they shared several intimate moments in Star Trek: Discovery seasons 3 and 4, Saru was confused and disheartened when the Vulcan behaved cooly toward him during their First Contact mission with Species 10-C. However, Saru came to understand that T’Rina had to focus on her duties and responsibilities as President and diplomat during the crisis. After their First Contact with Species 10-C was a success, T’Rina and Saru finally decided to pursue romance. On a show with many love stories like Burnham and Book and Dr. Culber and Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp), the Kelpien and the Vulcan are, at last, Star Trek: Discovery’s newest couple.

Book’s Punishment Compared To Burnham’s From Discovery Season 1

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Although Book was able to make Species 10-C stop using the DMA, the fact remained he went rogue and nearly plunged the Federation into a war with the extragalactic aliens. However, Book was only doing what he thought was right. In this way, Book echoes Michael, who also acted unilaterally to do what she thought was right but ended up sparking the Klingon War in Star Trek: Discovery season 1. However, as President Laira Rillak (Chelah Horsdal) said, “reasons do matter,” and Book was spared a prison sentence. Instead, he was assigned to help refugees who were displaced by the DMA, although this separates him from Michael for the foreseeable future. Still, compared to the prison sentence Michael served in 2256, Book’s lenient punishment is a sign that the 32nd century Federation has learned the vital lesson that “reasons do matter,” compared to the 23rd century Federation. The similarities between Book and Michael are another powerful sign that they were made for each other.

Discovery Season 5 Will Explore Star Trek’s 32nd Century Future

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After facing down the back-to-back intergalactic crises of The Burn and the DMA and emerging victorious, the USS Discovery’s crew finally earned rest and they disembarked for vacations. Discovery’s heroes get to spend quality time on Earth for the first time in 930 years. However, Captain Burnham and Star Trek: Discovery will definitely return for season 5. While Star Trek: Discovery’s season 4 finale didn’t end with a cliffhanger or an explicit setup for the next season, clues can glean what’s next for Burnham and her crew.

Thanks to Ni’Var and United Earth rejoining, the Federation is growing stronger. When Captain Burnham spoke to United Earth’s President, she noted how much is left of the galaxy there is to explore. Star Trek: Discovery’s 32nd-century setting allows it to write all-new canon but, thus far, the past two seasons have been focused on season-long threats. After the success with Species 10-C, Burnham’s desire to explore could signal that the USS Discovery will finally spend more time seeking out new life and new civilizations. Star Trek: Discovery season 4 was noticeably less action-oriented and featured a greater focus on moral and ethical dilemmas in the classic style of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Star Trek: Discovery season 5 may let Captain Burnham and the USS Discovery boldly explore to see who and what’s out there in the 32nd century.

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