Taken from a review of the final episode of the season.
All of which is to say, we can at least have a discussion about how this show goes about its business without one of us stomping out of the room. But if you have a credible defense of why in the hell this is all happening before the start of the original series, I’m all ears. The more time goes by, the more nonsensical the decision becomes. The technology is too advanced; there have been too many plot developments that will need to be undone to make this all fit into continuity; and, maybe worst of all, literally nothing has been gained from any of this. I thought at first that the point was to bring us back to a time when the Klingons were still a threat, but Discovery has done such a thorough hatchet job on the species that I’d really rather they hadn’t. Apart from a few nominal signifiers, the writers seem to have as much interest in exploring Klingon psychology as they do in presenting us with a Federation near the start of its existence; to whit, none at all.
Seriously, if you’re going to do a prequel you need to at least pretend like you’re trying to earn it, and Discovery hasn’t bothered. Watching “The War Without, The War Within,” I made an effort to forget when the hell this is all supposed to be taking place and just enjoy the nonsense on its own terms, and I had a fair amount of fun doing it.