The Final Frontier is getting dangerous. In Episode 7 of Star Trek: Discovery Season 4, “...But to Connect,” one character makes a drastic decision that will change the rest of the season in a huge way. The big moment also references a weapon last glimpsed in the 1998 film Star Trek: Insurrection. It’s a game-changing cliffhanger made all the more dramatic because Episode 7 is the mid-season finale for Discovery, meaning the rest of the season won’t be seen until February 10, 2022.
Here’s what this mid-season finale means for Discovery, what we think could happen in Episode 8 next year, and how all of this could have a domino effect on the rest of the Star Trek shows slated for 2022.
What is the Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Episode 8 release date?
The rest of Season 4 resumes airing weekly on Thursdays starting February 10, 2022. The assumption is that the back half of Season 4 will consist of at least six more episodes, for a total of 13, which would match Season 3. However, Season 1 had 15 episodes and Season 2 had 14, so the episode count isn’t set in stone.
The last time Discovery did a mid-season finale was the game-changing episode “Into the Forest I Go,” of Season 1 in 2017. Back then, Discovery picked up with five more episodes in 2018 starting with “Despite Yourself,” where the crew turned up in the Mirror Universe.
The storyline of Season 4 is wildly different, but it’s possible we could get a similar paradigm shift. We’ve already been promised that Tilly will return, but what else will happen? Discovery seasons tend to have big surprises hidden somewhere in the middle (the Mirror Universe in Season 1, Talos IV in Season 2, and the Guardian of Forever in Season 3), so it’s a good bet that something huge is coming on February 10.
What could happen in Discovery Season 4 Episode 8?
The final moments of “...But to Connect” find Book (David Ajala) siding with rogue scientist Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) on a daring plot to use Isolytic weapons to destroy the Dark Matter Anomaly. This all happens after the Federation Council votes against using this dangerous weapon to take out the Anomaly, and after we learn that Ruon Tarka is from some sort of vaguely defined alternate universe.
In addition to Book defying Burnham and Starfleet, the revelation that Tarka wants to go to an alternate and more peaceful universe feels like a huge plot point casually dropped into the episode. Are we going to see yet another parallel universe on Discovery? Tarka claims he needs the power source from the Anomaly to get to this other universe where a man he loves is residing. Is he telling the truth?
Tarka’s plan also requires using technology we haven’t heard mentioned since 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection; an Isolytic weapon. In Insurrection, the Son’a used this weapon to destroy subspace. In both Insurrection and Discovery, it’s mentioned that Isolytic weapons were “outlawed by the Khitomer Accords,” a series of peace conferences that occurred between The Original Series and The Next Generation.
In Trek, everyone uses subspace to send hyper-fast messages and travel at warp speed. In the Voyager episode “The Omega Directive,” it was made clear that without subspace you can’t warp at all. And in Discovery Season 3, Book told Burnham that the Gorn destroyed a big chunk of subspace, which means that in the 32nd Century of Trek these destructive shenanigans have already occurred.
One huge part of Discovery Season 4 is the Federation pursuing alternatives to warp travel, which President Rillak mentioned in the very first episode. And in the mid-season finale, Tarka reveals a portable version of a “next-generation” Spore Drive. So, like Discovery, he can take himself and Tarka anywhere in the galaxy in an instant.
Interestingly, the last time Discovery had a mid-season finale, in 2017, the plot also involved an appropriated Spore Drive and an alternate universe. Combined with the subspace-destroying Isolytic weapon, it’s fair to say that when Discovery returns in 2022 the chances of holes being ripped in the fabric of space are pretty darn high.
When is the Star Trek: Picard Season 2 release date?
On Star Trek Day, better known as September 8, 2021, Paramount+ revealed that Star Trek: Picard Season 2 would debut in February 2022. However, if Discovery Season 4 is now airing new episodes in February, does that mean Picard is getting pushed back to March?
There are precedents for different Star Trek shows airing new episodes at the same time. In fact, it happened this year; Star Trek: Prodigy aired “Terror Firma” on November 18, the same day Discovery Season 4 debuted.
More prominently, this was routine in the 1990s. From 1993 to 1994, Seasons 6 and 7 of The Next Generation aired at the same time as Seasons 1 and 2 of Deep Space Nine. Then, from 1995 to 1999, Voyager aired at the same time as Deep Space Nine. TV seasons were considerably longer back then, but it’s not unheard of to air two Trek shows in the same week.
However, as pundits and journalists have suggested, it feels more likely that Picard Season 2 will simply start airing later than initially announced, probably right after Discovery Season 4 wraps up. If true, this means Picard Season 2 will release in March 2022 instead of February. Paramount hasn’t confirmed this schedule change, but we have reached out and will update this article with any new information they provide.
How does Prodigy fit into the 2022 Star Trek schedule?
Although Discovery won’t be airing new episodes in January 2022, the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy will. After that series quietly had its own mid-season finale back on November 18, it will return for four more episodes starting on January 6. Oddly, Prodigy will take another break after Discovery returns, and will air another 10 episodes sometime before the end of 2022.
How will Strange New Worlds change Star Trek history in 2022?
Because Discovery is airing the back half of Season 4 in early 2022, there will be at least four — and maybe even five — distinct Star Trek series airing in the new year, which has never happened before. Here’s how it shakes out:
- January 6: Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 resumes
- February 11: Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 resumes
- February/March: Star Trek: Picard Season 2 debuts
- Sometime in 2022: Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 debuts
And, just to make things interesting...
- Lower Decks Season 3 is also expected in 2022
Although 2021 was the second year in a row that three different Star Trek shows aired — Lower Decks Season 2, Discovery Season 4, and Prodigy Season 1 — five different shows airing in 2022 would be a historic shift. Although Star Trek has no real aspirations to be the next MCU, the sheer number of different shows coming is still impressive.
Star Trek is, in many ways, the original geek mega-franchise. From its humble origins in the 1960s to Trekkies sparking convention culture in the 1970s, there are several good reasons why Star Trek has lived this long. But it’s never prospered — or proliferated — quite like this before.
All the new Star Trek shows are streaming on Paramount+ in the US and on PlutoTV globally.