Eyes up, Guardians. The final mission event has dropped for Destiny 2's Season of the Lost, setting the stage for the newest premium expansion: The Witch Queen. While I would love to say that there was a lot to unpack this season, this might have been the most threadbare stretch of content the game has seen in a long time. There are things of merit to discuss and there are a few highlights as well as the implementation of some appreciated quality-of-life features, but they are few and far between.
Destiny 2 Season of the Lost - Savathûn, Mara, and the Exorcism
The central conflict revolves around the captured Hive God Savathûn and Queen Mara Sov. In short, Savathûn wants her Worm removed, and if Mara helps conduct an elaborate ritual to do just that, the Warlock Osiris will be returned to us. However, in order for the ritual to be performed, Mara seeks the help of our Guardians to recover her Techeuns from the Shattered Realms and prepare for the right time to perform the ritual which will be...in about five months' time.
That last part is what ultimately draws out and kills the tension of Season of the Lost's overarching plot. I referenced the scene in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight when The Joker was captured by Batman and the police back in my first impressions and it is still an apt comparison. Except, imagine in addition to all of the interrogation scenes and the rising tension of The Joker's next big play, it was revealed that the deadly bombs he had planted weren't going to go off in a few hours but a few weeks. Suddenly Batman and the police look like ineffective rubes and the audience is bored to tears.
Nevertheless, the pay off does manage to be hauntingly anti-climactic. After months of prep work with the Hive God of Cunning taunting and teasing us with dialogue from her prison, the mastermind Queen Mara Sov expecting some big double cross, and with the foreknowledge that Savathûn will escape, everyone was on edge. Yet, when the final Exorcism mission dropped where our Guardians teamed up with Mara Sov's corsairs to fend off an invasion by the Hive trying to stop the ritual, the conclusion was straightforward. Savathûn's Worm was extracted, she was freed from her crystal, and she gave Osiris back to us, unharmed. She even said "thank you," as if to taunt us for playing into her schemes.
Destiny 2 Season of the Lost - Crow and the Shattered Realms
Thankfully, Season of the Lost was bolstered by some supporting character subplots as well. The first is the final beats of Crow's character arc that has been a major focus throughout the past year. There is some great pathos to be found with Mara coming to terms that her brother is back from the dead in all but name, which is highlighted in the Ager's Scepter exotic weapon quest. In addition, Crow is shown something horrific by Savathûn; it is implied he was shown what he did in his past life as Uldren Sov, leading to him going off the grid to ruminate on this knowledge. On the whole, it leads to a natural midpoint for Crow as a character and helps bookend the year's themes to an extent: coming to terms with complexity and nuance in what was once believed to be simple.
Then, there are the Shattered Realms events. These were arguably the meatiest bits of new content for Destiny 2's Season of the Lost. They manage to be a good mix of weekly challenges packed with their own unique mechanics and hidden secrets, but give lore enthusiasts plenty to chew on with its worldbuilding regarding the Ascendent Realm and the different layers of reality that make up Destiny's universe. Compared to the agreeably fun but bland six-player event, Astral Alignment, I ended up going back to the Shattered Realms more often than not.
Finally, it must be restated that Season of the Lost was the debut of crossplay to Destiny 2. While this did lead to a few technical hiccups at launch, overall it is perfectly seamless. Half of the time I don't even realize other players in my fireteam are playing on Xbox or PC, but they're awesome all the same. The only time the difference of platform makes a difference is in PvP where they separate those who play with gamepads from those who play with mouse and keyboard for pretty obvious reasons.
Overall, Season of the Lost was Destiny 2 at its most lean in terms of story and plot progression. If it weren't for the indulgent but deeply enjoyable romp that was the Bungie 30th Anniversary Pack, I would have fallen off of the game all together. But with less than a week to go until The Witch Queen, Guardians from around the globe won't have to wait long to see what we've helped enable in our greatest challenge to date.