Fans have had a very long wait for Star Trek: Discovery season three, with around a year-and-a-half gap between the second and third seasons of the sci-fi adventure series following the shocking cliffhanger in 2019 finale episode Such Sweet Sorrow.
In fact, it’s been such a long time since Discovery was on our screens you’d be forgiven for forgetting exactly what went down in the most recent episodes – which is where we come in.
Ahead of the new season’s debut on CBS All Access and Netflix, we’re here to give you a quick recap of everything that went down the last time we stepped aboard the USS Discovery, as well as exactly where we left all the characters in the season finale.
But first, let’s see where season two began…
Star Trek Discovery season 2 recap
After the events of season one (which saw the Discovery end the Federation-Klingon war, travel to a parallel universe and lose its traitor Captain Gabriel Lorca), season two opened with the crew travelling to pick up a new Captain – until the USS Discovery was instead commandeered by original USS Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), Captain Kirk’s predecessor who appeared in the original Star Trek TV pilot.
Pike took Discovery on a mission to track down mysterious signals caused by a strange “Red Angel” figure, with each signal dropping the Star Trek Discovery cast into a new adventure. Meanwhile, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) learned that her adoptive brother Spock had been particularly affected by the Red Angel, suffering a mental breakdown after receiving some of the signals.
Over the course of the season the Discovery crew search for the missing Spock, encounter a mysterious outer-space sphere that gifts them a huge amount of information and learn of a deadly threat posed by Discovery’s teleporting “spore drive.” Later, the ship’s deceased medical officer Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) is returned from the dead via the spore drive, while Saru (Doug Jones) learns the truth of his prey species’ true nature.
The crew also have to contend with the machinations of shady Starfleet department Section 31, who recruit Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh, above) and Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) and try to frame Spock for murder. After Spock is found and healed, it’s revealed that Starfleet’s artificial intelligence defence system Control is behind forged footage of Spock’s crimes.
Control continues to be a significant threat to the Discovery crew for the rest of the season as it takes over Section 31 boss Leland, corrupts crew-member Airiam and tries to access the data provided to Discovery by the Sphere.
Soon, the Discovery crew also learns the truth of the Red Angel – it’s actually the presumed-dead biological mother of Burnham, wearing a time-travel suit and trying to prevent Control’s eventual destruction of all life. While she was assumed to have died in a Klingon attack during Michael’s youth, she’d in fact used the experimental suit to escape, travelling over 900 years into the future and witnessing the devastation caused by Control.
The crew decided to prevent Control getting the sphere data by sending it, and the time-travelling suit, far into the future – but when the suit was damaged, they had to make a new plan….
Star Trek Discovery season 2 ending explained
In the final few episodes, it’s agreed that Discovery must be destroyed to keep the sphere data away from Control – but when Control stops the detonation, another plan (yes, another one) is formed. Using her mother’s suit and a recently-discovered time crystal, Burnham will fly hundreds of years into the future, taking Discovery with her, where it’ll be far from Control’s influence. However, she’ll be stranded, leaving everything she knows behind.
As a pitched battle between friend and foe goes on around them, the crew of the Discovery decide to accompany Burnham on her journey to the future, and after they depart through a wormhole their exit is officially recorded as the Discovery’s destruction, with Spock and the other Starfleet officers agreeing to cover up the truth.
As she leaves, Burnham sets the initial signals that started the season two storyline off, sending them back through time as she heads into the far future with her friends in tow – which is where we pick up again in the new season.
Star Trek Discovery season 3 storyline
No spoilers here, but Star Trek Discovery season three begins with Burnham’s arrival into the far future, over 900 years later than when she left. Now, Discovery is no longer a Star Trek prequel – it’s a sequel – and over the course of the coming episodes Burnham will have to track down her ship and save Starfleet in an era when the Federation has been all-but destroyed.
Based on season two alone, we can probably expect the story to get a lot more complicated – but for now, the future’s bright. Because in this future Control never destroyed human life – and where there’s life, there’s hope.
Star Trek: Discovery season three begins streaming on Netflix on Friday 16th October. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.