(SPOILERS, very obviously...)
I didn't think Cadet Tilly could be more endearing than when she said “Fuck” on screen but then she opened a conversation with “I'm really high...” having inhaled groovy volcanic ash with an Orion.
On a more serious note there was something about this episode that made it feel we were getting back to Star Trek being Star Trek. They ended a very action heavy and shooty season with an unconventional negotiated peace and a speech about facing fear and second chances. Between this and booting Evil Lorca into an artificial sun a couple of episodes ago it feels like the production team were very consciously bending the format up to breaking point before jettisoning the very things that were breaking it.
Not that I hated the series before now, far from it, I adored this run (DS9 is my favourite Star Trek so that probably tells you why).
And just to push the point home, in the final moments of the episode, the Enterprise turns up. This was either a very good idea or a very bad idea depending on how (or if) this plays out at the start of the next season.
On the one hand this series has spent so much time establishing its own style and soul that I'd hate for it to open its second season with fanservice. Yes, even if it gets us Michael and Spock interacting at last, though I admit I'm not clear on whether Spock would be on Enterprise at this stage. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see an extended take on the character of Captain Pike beyond the stern father figure the reboot movies had Kirk projecting all his sudden daddy issues onto.
Eh, we'll see.
As a last note, I am obscurely glad that Michael is reinstated as a science officer instead of just returning to the command track. I don't doubt part of the logic is that no way is Starfleet so forgiving as to put the woman who started a war anywhere near the centre seat but it is also probably meant to speak to development on Michael's part. I like the idea that she's returning to science and exploring the wonder of the universe after all this slaughter.
Also it means Saru still has a job since for some reason they decided not to make him captain, which is a pity. I absolutely think Doug Jones could carry the role and the way Saru has developed over the last few episodes into a more confident leader.
Also, just to place my bets now, I fully expect the Prime Universe version of Lorca (or the Mirror Universe version of Tilly) to make an appearance around about the mid-season break in the next run.