The cast of Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 assembled

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 1 Recap

The fifth and final season of Star Trek: Discovery is here, launching one last mission for Captain Michael Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery. With so many moving pieces and major moments, here is a recap of the Season 5 premiere episode of Star Trek: Discovery.

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Star Trek: Discovery’s Final Mission

Saru stands on the bridge

Several months after the events of Season 4, the Discovery is still regarded as heroes for their role in saving the galaxy, but Burnham is still uneasy about the rupture of her relationship with Book. Sylvia Tilly is continuing to settle into her new role as an instructor at Starfleet Academy, reuniting with her friends at a gala back at Starfleet Command while Tilly flirts with a party guest. Saru, the Kelpien First Officer of the Discovery, meets with his paramour T’Rina, the President of Ni’Var, the reunified Vulcan/Romulan planet. The two ponder their future together, with Saru contemplating an offer to leave Starfleet in favor of a diplomatic position.

Burnham is called away to meet privately with Doctor Kovich, a Federation official who oversees the black ops side of Starfleet’s activities around the galaxy. Kovich tasks Burnham with leading the Discovery to a derelict Romulan ship in a debris field on the fringes of the galaxy to recover a valuable item without revealing what it is. Burnham leaps at the opportunity, especially since she is aware that the Discovery’s signature Spore Drive is set to be surpassed by Starfleet’s next line of starships.

New Enemies and Old Allies

Burnham rides a ship at warp speed. This image is part of an article about Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 1 recap.

To Burnham’s surprise, Kovich personally accompanies the Discovery, underscoring the importance of the mission. Learning that Admiral Charles Vance is also unaware of the full scope of the mission, Burnham privately has Tilly use her access to the highest levels of Starfleet’s systems to learn what her assignment actually entails. Burnham leads a small landing party on the Romulan wreckage, encouraged by Kovich to shoot to kill if necessary in successfully recovering their target.

Burnham discovers they have been beaten to the target by two scavengers, Moll and L’ak, who incapacitate the rest of the landing party before making off with the object, a diary, in their own vessel. Burnham rides the exterior of the scavengers’ ship while it’s traveling at warp speed and tries to plant a tracker before safely returning to the Discovery, but Moll and L’ak anticipate this and flee to parts unknown. Kovich is understandably frustrated by this, but Burnham decides to enlist Book to use his illicit connections to locate the malevolent couple.

A Confrontation Gone Wrong

Burnham rides a speeder bike in the desert. This image is part of an article about Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 1 recap.

Book returns to the Discovery, revealing his penance involves him helping underprivileged communities around Federation space that were affected by the singularity. Book identifies a planet outside of Federation jurisdiction where Moll and L’ak are likely to try to fence their ill-gotten goods. Determined not to let the relic slip through his fingers again, Kovich has the Discovery accompanied by the USS Antares and its commanding officer, Captain Rayner.

Book’s hunch pays off, with Moll and L’ak indeed at the planet he anticipated. Book, Burnham, and Rayner go down to investigate. After realizing how valuable the diary they hold is, Moll and L’ak kill their fence when he tries to claim it from them and run away again, with the landing party pursuing them across the desert in speeder bikes. Rayner tries to have the Antares intercept them, but Moll and L’ak trigger a massive landslide that threatens to engulf a nearby city. As Moll and L’ak make their getaway again, the Antares and Discovery use their deflectors to completely shield the city.

The True Scope of Star Trek: Discovery’s Final Season

L'ak and Moll at their fence's hideout. This image is part of an article about Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 1 recap.

Kovich concedes that he should tell Burnham what exactly he is having her obtain and lets her know it’s a diary containing information about the Progenitors, an ancient species from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Progenitors cultivated intelligent life in the galaxy, explaining why there are so many humanoid species around the cosmos. The diary in Moll and L’ak’s possession can lead them to Progenitor technology, capable of reshaping life in the galaxy, making it exceedingly important that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

As Burnham and Book have a chance to compare notes, they acknowledge that something has changed between them, with their reunion not as happy as they had hoped. After reflecting on his place in Starfleet and his relationship with T’Rina, Saru decides he will take the diplomatic position once his mission is completed, with the couple agreeing to marry. Deducing that Moll and L’ak have moved on thanks to Tilly’s research, Burnham leads the Discovery to track down the culprits and confiscate the diary from them.

And that’s a recap of Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 1.

Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream on Paramount+

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Sam Stone
Sam Stone is a longtime entertainment news journalist and columnist, covering everything from movies and television to video games and comic books. Sam also has bylines at CBR, Popverse, Den of Geek, GamesRadar+, and He's been a freelance contributor with The Escapist since October 2023, during which time he's covered Mortal Kombat, Star Trek, and various other properties. Sam remembers what restful sleep was. But that was a long time ago.