Star Trek: Discovery’s Coolest Idea Makes Absolutely No Sense

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Star Trek: Discovery had a shockingly great final season, one that included some major references to previous shows while also introducing some cool new concepts into the canon. One of those concepts was the Eternal Gallery and Archive, a giant library that had been around for at least 900 years and was the ultimate repository for knowledge in the galaxy. It’s one of the show’s coolest ideas, but it doesn’t really make much sense because we discover this is a library that is nearly impossible to access.

The Eternal Archive

Star Trek: Discovery eternal archive

One of the reasons that the Eternal Archive is such a great idea is that it arguably serves as the embodiment of the franchise’s ideals. Starfleet is all about seeking out new life and new civilizations, showcasing how humanity has been able to grow by learning so much from other cultures. Therefore, the idea that the galaxy has a singular library with the rarest documents, artifacts, and knowledge is downright comforting … a confirmation that all of the knowledge that countless people have worked so hard to acquire will always be available and accessible.

Not Your Average Library

Star Trek: Discovery eternal archive

However, the Discovery episodes featuring the Eternal Gallery and Archive quickly reveal that this cool idea makes no sense. For one thing, the location of this library changes every 50 years, which is supposed to keep it safe from anyone who might want to plunder their resources or even destroy it. The library is deliberately difficult to find, but what’s the point of having a single repository of galactic knowledge when most people in the galaxy have no way of even knowing where it is?

Nearly Impossible To Access

Star Trek: Discovery eternal archive

Compounding that problem is that even if somebody knows where the Eternal Gallery and Archive is, they won’t be able to access it without a special metallic library card. We don’t get much info on these cards, but they seem very rare, something illustrated by the fact that one such card was used as a hidden clue for those seeking information on the mysterious Progenitors. The Eternal Archive is supposed to be completely neutral and available to everyone, but that is meaningless if few people know where it is and even fewer people have the means to access it. 

Good Luck Getting There Alive

Star Trek: Discovery eternal archive

As an added issue, the only Eternal Gallery and Archive location that we know of is deep inside the Badlands, a notoriously dangerous area of space. The only way to safely access the library is to have the aforementioned metal card; otherwise, any ships trying to enter (with the exception of a giant Breen battleship, apparently) will be destroyed. Therefore, unless a crew has completed two steps–finding the always-moving location of the archive and finding a hidden card–they will be unable to access this vast repository of knowledge.

If You Thought The Dewey Decimal System Was Complicated…

Star Trek: Discovery eternal archive

There are some other problems with the Eternal Gallery and Archive, including the fact that making the librarian mad can get you thrown into a dungeon. But the point should be clear: Discovery came up with the idea of the galaxy’s ultimate library and then made sure that almost nobody in the galaxy could access it. This sounds like the very definition of “pointless” to us…too bad looking up that definition in this particular library will require special connections, a fetch quest, and the ongoing risk of death.