“Terra Firma, Part 1”
Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 9 – Debuted Thursday, December 10, 2020
Teleplay by: Alan McElroy; Story by: Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt & Alan McElroy
Directed by: Omar Madha
After some middling mid-season entries, Discovery returns to form with a laser-focused episode rich in the show’s own mythology. Strong performances from Sonequa Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh carry the day, with some very able guest stars assisting. While just the first part of an arc, “Terra Firm, Part 1” still delivers a story that feels complete, albeit leaving you wanting more.
WARNING: Spoilers below!
“A crew member is drowning”
Kicking things off with the return of David Cronenberg as the curious Kovich to drop some exposition with a little help from a hologram of a 24th-century Kelvin Universe time soldier (OMG) was a surefire way to captivate right from the start. Bottom line, Georgiou is going to die from the cosmic one-two punch of jumping universes and a millennium, and this cold-hearted mystery man recommends they just let it happen. But Dr. Culber, with a little help from the ship’s evolving AI computer, has a long shot solution: Send Georgiou to a distant planet where there is some unknown potential miracle. And in a nice twist from the regular episode setup, it is Admiral Vance giving us some “old salt” depth, convincing Captain Saru the ship should take the mission, even with the Emerald Chain breathing down Starfleet’s neck. The needs of the one, he’s told, are also the needs of the many.
As for Phillipa, she is resigned to her fate, trying to provoke everyone to strike her down so she can go out like a boss. Like a not-so-passive-aggressive mother, she tries to provoke her new adopted Michael with “killing me would be the greatest honor of my Burnham’s life.” But this Burnham’s savior complex is far too strong for that, and so the Emperor agrees to the Dannus V mystery cure. But before departing the ship, some actual pleasantries, mutual respects—and even an awkward hug—are shared with Captain Saru and (yes, she still is) First Officer Tilly. It’s all a bit much and feels very final.
“This is obviously… this”
If displays of Terran affection weren’t strange enough, things get really weird on the icy planet in the middle of the galactic nowhere. With some beautifully desolate location shooting, Michael and Phillipa have come full circle since the series pilot as they trudge through the snow, guided only by the annoyingly enigmatic Sphere Data. But the trek through the snow gives the pair time to banter and bicker more about how the two Michaels are not the same. Duh. What is it about evil universe that’s so confusing here? If you listen closely, you’ll learn about something that wasn’t part of the season one Mirror arc… it was the Emperor herself who killed Mirror Michael.
Arriving at their final destination they find Carl. That’s right, the Sphere sent them to an enigmatic dad-joking fellow in the snow reading a newspaper… tomorrow’s newspaper, announcing Georgiou’s death BTW. Oh, and he has a door that appears to go nowhere but promises to send her where she needs to go. This curious classic character played with a Kringle-on-crack twinkle by CSI’s Paul Guilfoyle is just what the doctor ordered. But he is also an ominous gatekeeper, warning her that her terminal condition may be solved, but there are unspecified dangers on the other side. That’s good enough for Phillipa, so with a new will to live, through the looking glass she goes.
“They were Kelpiens”
Even though this episode is primarily focused on Georgiou, back on the ship there are a handful of intriguing stories happening, if only to briefly remind us there is still an ongoing season arc. Adira remains out of sorts over their ghost boyfriend ghosting them, but new surrogate dad Paul is there to offer support and help get that algorithm done to determine exactly what is inside the nebula pinpointed as ground zero for The Burn. The cynical and smart money was on a Burnham or another USS Discovery, but it turns out to be 31st-century Kelpiens.
Captain Saru is intrigued. But finding out more about Captain Issa, the pre-Burn dilithium-hunting mission of the KSF Khi’eth, and the Starfleet ship that may have been destroyed trying to penetrate the radiation barrier of the nebula will have to wait for another episode. Book is also hovering around the USS Discovery, reminding us he exists and looking for something to do. In what is likely some foreshadowing, Captain Saru recommends he bone up on Starfleet regs, and suggests he bide his time for a moment to shine at a later date, in a future episode.
It should come as no surprise that Carl’s cure for Georgiou’s molecules jonesing for home was to send her back to the Terran Empire, but her arrival on the 23rd-century ISS Discovery unsettled Philippa for the briefest of moments. Back on solid ground and greeted with the title of the episode (“Terra Firma!”) she unskillfully tucks her now-green life-alert bracelet away to quickly reassume the commanding dominance demanded of an Emperor. Captain Killy is back—but with a new hairdo—to greet her, along with an honor guard headed by a grim-faced Mirror Owo. And the arrival date is auspicious, as this is the day of the launch of her ISS Charon flagship and the day Lorca launched his attempted coup against her, resulting in Mirror Michael’s death as his accomplice.
And right on cue, evil adopted daughter shows up for second chance theater, and this time Georgiou vows she is going to keep Michael on Team Georgiou. The risk: The first rule of Terran Club is you traitors have to die, and sparing lives is for wimps… as noted by Tilly, with Owo paying close attention. As mother and daughter attend a frightening party complete with life-threatening drinking games and people self-agonizing, Sonequa Martin-Green relishes every moment in her debut as Mirror Michael, making it super clear she is bad to the bone. Michelle Yeoh also impresses here as she appears to be almost pretending to be the Emperor, even though she actually is the Emperor. Michael Prime has changed her.
“As of this moment, our future is unwritten.”
This new and improved (but only from a Prime POV) Georgiou makes her first point of divergence by sparing slave Saru’s life, smartly using him as a spy to get the dirt on Lorca and Michael’s plot. Michael claims innocence, but Saru spills the tea about their treasonous pillow talk. Dressed for genocidal success, the Emperor attends an acrobatic dance telling her humble origin story, narrated by Mirror Stamets. This all leads up to the big reveal of her new ship, and her effortless thwarting of Paul’s fumbling assassination attempt, in which he’s the one who ends up bleeding to death on the shiny floor.
This all sets up the final showdown between the Emperor and Burnham. The jig is up as too many people know she is in on the coup, so she fesses up with some serious villain monologuing: “Your weakness grows every day,” and that sort of thing. Mirror Michael taunts mother to strike her down, and in a reflection of an earlier scene with Mike Prime, the Emperor feigns a head-chop sword swing. And with that, the Emperor starts to rewrite her future with this do-over given to her by Carl. But will she survive in a world where merely torturing your own daughter is a sign of failure, and both Captain Killy and Owo are ominously watching… and waiting like we are for Part 2 to arrive next week.
With a focus on Georgiou’s story, “Terra Firma, Part 1” shows how to tell a story without getting distracted by trying to serve too many plotlines. The writing team of Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt along with Alan McElroy show off their deep understanding of the show and its characters, which is critical in making this trip back to the Mirror Universe intriguing.
Everyone seems to be working at a higher level to get things right in the Terran Empire this time, including excellence in production design, props, costumes, location shooting, effects, and acting—especially Sonequa Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh who carry most of the load. And they were not alone, helped along by the return of David Cronenberg’s Kovich (who is more mysterious than ever), Oded Fehr’s Admiral Vance, who is showing a bit of his vulnerable side, and Paul Guilfoyle, introduced as the delightful Carl the universal doorman.
Director Omar Madha is new to Discovery but a veteran of many TV shows and hit the Terra Firma running, with great pacing and the right twists for each half of universe-bifurcated this episode. This was helped by Jeff Russo and his team of musicians, who also relished their return to the Terran Empire, helping reset that darker tone.
One quibble for this episode is how it may be playing it a bit loose when it comes to remaining consistent within the show’s own canon. This episode’s arc pivots around Georgiou changing her choice to kill the original Michael. However, it was never actually established in the season one visit to MU that Georgiou killed Michael, who was just said to be lost and presumed dead. This bit of retcon helps tell a sort of redemption story for Georgiou so it’s understandable why they did it, and some headcanon could imagine Michael’s death was hushed up, but even some handwaves to the discrepancy wouldn’t be unwarranted.
Is this goodbye?
We began this season wondering what Georgiou was even doing with the rest of the crew in the 32nd century, beyond just knowing the producers of Discovery love Michelle Yeoh and want to include her in things. Eventually a storyline for her has emerged that includes bringing in Cronenberg’s Kovich. This episode (and presumably next week’s follow-up) feel like a nice culmination of that arc. But it could be more than just that.
With so much going on in season three, it is a bit curious they would devote two out of the five remaining episodes mostly to Georgiou’s story. And not only are they giving Yeoh and Georgiou some focus, but they are doing it in style, sparing no expense as noted earlier. They couldn’t muster up a location shoot for a Vulcan ritual, but they did so here, to good effect. They also brought in multiple guest stars and created new props, costumes, and set pieces.
This all sort of feels like they are setting up a swan song for Georgiou’s Emperor, at least for Discovery. That scene with Saru, Tilly, and Georgiou and their expressions of surprising respect had a bit of the feel of Neelix’s goodbye two episodes before the series finale of Voyager. And they certainly made a point of mirroring (ha) Michael and Prime Georgiou’s first scene in Discovery‘s series premiere with this one, changing the setting from desert to snowy wilderness, but keeping the tone and even some of the sweeping camerawork, making this feel like a bookend for Yeoh on the show.
We know that there are plans afoot and ongoing work for her own Section 31 show, which was originally set to go into production after season three. While those plans have changed, it’s not clear if they changed before or after his arc was produced. It’s possible that Georgiou’s do-over in her past can somehow fix her future self and she can return to the 32nd century—perhaps after aligning the Mirror Universe more with the Prime—but it would not be surprising if next week’s episode is her last for the season, if not the series.
Lorca, Lorca, Lorca!
There is an elephant in the room, and that is Captain Gabriel Lorca. Once things switch over the MU, everyone can’t shut up about him. The whole coup is his idea, and he put Michael up to it. His evil henchwoman (in all universes) Landry (Rekha Sharma) showed up, so where was he? The rules of storytelling make this feel like a Chekhov’s Gabe at this point, so it seems inevitable that we’ll see Mirror Lorca back for Part 2. This could be why Jason Isaacs took “the fifth” when asked if he was coming back earlier this year, after spending a couple of years openly advocating for that return.
Oh, and while they are at it, they might as well bring back Connor, just to kill him… again.
Part 2 now, please
What’s left to say except this was a highly entertaining return to form for Discovery? Season three is back on track, and even though “Terra Firma, Part 1” feels complete, “Part 2” can’t come soon enough.
Random extra bits
- This is the first episode that has referred to the Mirror Universe and Prime Universe as “Mirror” and “Prime” in dialogue.
- This is also the first mention of any awareness of the Kelvin Universe (the new timeline created by the incursion of a Romulan mining ship) in the Prime Universe.
- By showing how Lt. Commander Yor crossed over from the Kelvin Universe into the Prime Universe, it again firmly establishes these are separate parallel universes, just like the Mirror Universe.
- The Discovery computer has “every Starfleet database” from the 32nd century along with 23rd-century databases lost to the burn, along with the Sphere Data… making it possibly the smartest thing in the galaxy.
- Even though they talk about the sentient AI that has merged with the computer, it is still voiced by the regular actress Julianne Grossman. The Zora AI voice actress Anabelle Wallis was last heard in episode 304.
- Title sequence doesn’t roll for 11 minutes, making this one of the longer Discovery teasers.
- It appears the new Starfleet hand phasers can collapse into a small programmable matter device worn on the sleeve, like the Emerald Chain hand cannons.
- Paul’s fix to Adira’s stuck algorithm was to turn it off and on again, which feels like advice he could have gotten from the The IT Crowd.
- Dr. Issa was played by Hannah Spear, who played Saru’s sister Siranna.
- Hannah Cheesman, who played Airiam 2.0 in season two, played a member of the ISS Discovery crew, but had no lines in Part 1.
- The Starfleet ship that first responded to the KSF Khi’eth’s distress call was the USS Hiraga Gennai, named for an 18th-century Japanese doctor/artist/inventor.
- This episode is the first appearance of Mirror Culber, although his red medical uniform was developed during season one.
- David Benjamin Tomlinson (Linus) played the Kelpien servant who spilled the sauce on Landry.
- In the Mirror Universe, the DOT-7 robots are black and evil looking.
- There is a lot to say about Carl, his door, and his newspaper, but we will leave that for an upcoming in-depth theory analysis, so stay tuned.
More to come
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New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery premiere on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. Episodes are available on Fridays internationally on Netflix.
Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.
No mention of the Guardian of Forever?
That was the first thing I thought!
…just a matter of time (no pun intended), I imagine.
Yes. As noted in the final bullet point at the bottom of the article there is time to get into speculation and Theory. As we’ve been doing all season long we have been breaking those kinds of things out and focusing the reviews on the episode at hand.
Except this isn’t speculation and theory–elements of “City on the Edge” are specifically included in the episode. Carl is very clearly a Guardian.
How so? I don’t see any similarities.
“Let me help.” Read the newspaper!!!!
Gotcha. I didn’t notice that. Even so, I don’t really see any similarity between Carl and the Guardian. Carl seemed more like a Q or even a Mr. Atoz type. Not saying the series won’t make him a Guardian; just saying I don’t see any of that reflected in Carl himself.
So how is that a similarity?
How is him reading the same newspaper used in “The City on the Edge of Forever” a similarity?
That is called “fan service”.
Dude, why have you always got to complain about something is wrong in the article? Anthony and co.are doing fantastic work here for us. They don’t have to, you know.
Everything made post “Generations” ignores the Nexus as well, even though Data seemed to have quite a bit of information about it.
Yeah, well if one couldn’t physically get out of the Nexus it would be a pretty decent thing. But to have it so characters can leave to whenever and wherever they want… Yeah. Like the Guardian of Forever, best to just let it go.
I never even thought about that. Quite frankly, it’s better that way. It’s an amazing power that can get anyone out of any situation. So let’s just enjoy TCOTEOF (and perhaps even Yesteryear) on it’s own and move away from the guardian.
Hey Anthony, I still love your subtle and wry reviews after 10+ years. About your quibble: my instantaneous interpretation of what you’re calling contradictory stories is that M Burnham went down the trapdoor on the Charon – like Lorca. She just disappeared her. So killing and disappearing would be consistent.
Here’s my one hot take on this episode. As soon as she goes through the door, M Georgiou stops behaving like the character we have come to know in the Prime universe. Yeoh stops the sneering and changes her voice, but her lines were written to suggest (my interpretation) that in the MU, Georgiou was in fact softening. M Lorca’s complaints were based in some kind of fact. This in turn suggests that what we’ve seen of M Georgiou in S2 has been an act – a psychological projection. I don’t think that she was just changed by her experience in S2. I think she was always more complicated than the one-note, fish out of water character we’ve seen so far.
M Lorca traded places with his counterpart in similar events, did they not? I can’t say for sure, but my recollection is that M Lorca’s ship was attacked, the swap happened, and M Georgiou’s forces killed Prime Lorca. I think Lorca’s in deep space during the Coup.
The most interesting question, though, is what do we call the universe that M Georgiou just created? If there’s only one single TL, then our character in the Prime Universe are gone. Things will not happen as they did in S1-S2. But since we know we have multiverse of infinite timelines, this episode may have just created the the Georgiou Timeline.
Thank you for your kind words and it’s always nice to see a regular reader for so long. As I said there’s plenty of wiggle room. But let’s not forget that Michael masqueraded as her mirror counterpart. That means no one knew Michael was dead for sure. So there couldn’t have been a very public display or if so it was hushed up. Again those things are possible but this episode wouldn’t have had to establish that the emperor killed Michael early on if it had been established earlier. So this is clearly something new they were introducing because they wanted to use it as a pivot point for her character arc. Fair enough. But it isn’t so simple as saying it all fits nice and tidy.
In S1, M Georgiou sure seemed to know Burnham was not her M Burnham, when even her crew was unaware of reported death. They left room for a pivot, but I’m increasingly skeptical of the Trek meme that ‘the DSC writers room was chaos and nobody had a plan.’
So what is it, the Georgiou Timeline? I need a ruling.
Anthony do you think we are headed toward a soft reboot of the Original Series? All this conversation about Time Travel and Temporal Wars allows some wiggle room to change things. How can you reconcile the tone of the Original Series and Discovery? I am looking forward to the Pike Show.
Or maybe in the chaos of the original assassination attempt Michael gets to a shuttle or beams aboard another ship intending to meet with Lorca before being pursued and blown up.
The back of the newspaper had references to the TOS episode city on the edge of forever, could Carl be a guardian!?!
Carl holds a newspaper with the same name as the newspaper that reports EK’s death, etc. in ‘City.’
That is a real nice touch, respects what came before.
So? Not sure that makes him a “Guardian”. All that is is a bit of fan service.
What if, all this time, the title of the Georgiou Star Trek Discovery spin off, Section 31, was a misdirect and, all along, the spin off was instead going to focus on the Mirror Universe?
I’ll see your speculation and raise: What if M Spock’s also in the Georgiou’s Mirror show?
Peck might show up once or twice,but not regularly.
The return to the Mirror Universe was fun. Carl the doorman was fun. What is Carl? Is he a Q? Is he some kind of space demon or shapeshifter or projection of an AI? Hopefully that will be explored.
The problem I had with this episode is that there is this huge mystery about why the entire galaxy has been crippled by The Burn and instead of constructing an interesting narrative about that, the show runners are interrupting the narrative to do a riff on It’s A Wonderful Life, only with a Space Hitler character instead of Jimmy Stewart.
Discovery is a narrative mess. In no season have the producers successfully figured out how to do a season long narrative.
The first season was supposed to be about a Klingon war, but that got backgrounded into Lorca hijacking the ship for his revenge plot and Burnham’s love affair with a Klingon sleeper agent. The war storyline was almost an afterthought, but the producers probably knew that they had screwed up the Klingons by that time and did what they could to get out of their own horrible story problems.
The second season started off great with the introduction of Pike and young Spock. The producers did what they could to return the Klingons to something recognizable. There was a fairly interesting mystery about the angel character popping up all over with mysterious signals. But then out of nowhere the show became a junky galactic Terminator rehash worthy of a Roger Corman movie.
Burnham was not a very likable or successful character in these seasons. She was a collection of malfunctioning plot points instead of an actual character, despite the constant efforts of Green to do what she could with her great acting skills. FINALLY the writers gave her a consistent personality and a coherent character arc. This season has been a deconstruction of what wasn’t working with Burnham and attempt to correct it, and also for the show in general. There is finally a coherent crew camaraderie and Saru as captain has literally steadied the ship.
Unfortunately it looks like the show is headed back into its consistent inability to sustain a narrative. Instead of engaging us in what is going on with The Burn and why the Federation was essentially destroyed, that is getting backgrounded for another joyride through the Mirror Universe and a family quarrel on Book’s planet.
Carl is a Guardian of Forever. That was pretty clear from the newspaper.
That is a really interesting plot point that I did not pick up on.
I don’t think it was clear at all. There is absolutely nothing suggesting he is.
Seems like your real complaint isn’t that DSC doesn’t or can’t nail a seasonal arc, but that you only want one seasonal arc.
Not really. DS9 and Enterprise showed that Trek can successfully weave episodic shows and ongoing character subplots into a main narrative arc. For some reason Discovery is incapable of doing this.
True but DS9 and ENT also had 20+ episodes every season. Discovery only has 13 this season so it’s harder for them to do more standalone stuff and focus on the main story. The amount of episodes does matter to a degree. That and every Discovery storyline so far are usually very big galaxy stakes type of stuff.
Typically, a (good) series will successfully introduce seemingly separate stories, and gradually weave them together. Discovery just doesn’t do that successfully. Their approach is very ham-fisted, and the timing of things is off. Like where was the plot point about Zora in the past few episodes? They just drop the ball on these points for too long, and get to them whenever they feel like it. To me, that’s a sign that they’ve introduced more plot elements than they can handle. And I’m still not entirely sure how Georgiou’s story here fits with the stuff about the Burn, or the Emerald Chain. Or how Book (with all the focus they’ve had on him) fits with everything else. And the real frustrating thing is, they like to drop in these ‘twists’ that are supposed to resolve certain plot points, with little to no setup beforehand. People like to guess the outcome, and see if they’re right or close. But when there’s literally NO supporting information for it, then it’s impossible to make an informed guess. These things make me have little faith in the writers, but to be fair, it could also be the fault of the producers.
I think they are trying to do 24 ep plots in half the eps allowed, so things are a lot more condensed and plots feel rushed/missing.
I’m still enjoying this season far more than the previous 2.
If that’s the case then it just proves my point. It’d be one thing if it were the old guard trying to adapt to new standards, but no.. These people should be used to it by now, especially by season 3. I personally don’t care if ‘the stakes have never been higher’ every season, or if there’s a twist every other episode. I’d be happy with a whole season that was just coherent, and tightly-focused. And something that developed the characters more instead of bouncing between them as pieces of some hyperactive plot.
Couldn’t agree more. There’s no way as a viewer to invest in the main arc because the show itself doesn’t bother. All three seasons so far have opened interesting doors and then halfway in, we’re off in what has consistently been a far less interesting direction.
Burnham still doesn’t feel likeable or relatable and as she and Georgiou are the only characters the writers seem interested in fleshing out, there’s just no ‘in’ to this show if you don’t like them.
Well put, blackmocco.
in each season, it seems the story digresses from the main arc, but in each season, it became far more interesting, season one’s best moments while in the MU, season two, it seemed like we were seeing Pike’s adventures on Discovery, and now season three, we suddenly are back in the MU but I’m engaged in the MU all the way.. best episode of the season tonight.
Well, I’ll just agree to disagree but glad you’re enjoying it.
Glad you enjoyed the shifting of gears part way through each season. I felt otherwise. I felt the trip to the MU in season one destroyed the entire season and was a complete waste of time. After a couple of episodes in S2 it became obvious the show had no idea what it was going to do with a potentially interesting premise. Then turned into tired Sci-Fi from 30 years ago. To their credit it looked like they finally decided what this show was going to be for this season. Still terrible but at least it looked like they had some sort of plan. Time will tell of this MU detour is the switch that leads it to yet another train wreck.
I’m with Just Another Salt Vampire here; while the episode was most likely the most intriguing look at the the Mirror Universe since ENT “Through a Glass Darkly,” I just don’t see why we need yet another a foray into the Mirror Universe when there are plenty of unexplored plotlines in the 31st century Prime Universe. Sure, it’s a chance for the actors to ham it up, which SMG clearly relished. I just don’t get this obsession with Mirror Universes or, for that matter, alternate universes in general.
I know the MU is popular among some fans. I get that. I really do. I just never was all that happy with it. It sorta worked in TOS as it was a way to show a different side of the characters. But one episode there is more than enough. The MU gets very tiring very fast. Out of 35 episodes this show has now spent… What? 4? episodes there? That is the largest ratio of any series. Only DS9 was there more. But they had twice as many episodes each season.
Don’t you guys do anything else but complain?
If you could figure out a way to turn Star Trek fans’ hatred of Star Trek into a power source…
If only we could.
Yes, we constructively critique the show. Do you do anything besides snidely troll, A34? It does not seem so.
I just enjoy the show. If I didn’t like Star Trek I wouldn’t be here.
I have to agree, the Mirror Universe is path worn down to bedrock by this series. It’s machiavellian, brutal, even psychopathic, we get it. Beyond the tediously well-established brutality, I don’t get the appeal. It seems like a lazy retreat for the writers to pad out the paucity of their ideas. It probably keeps the actors amused, at any rate.
And it is a real waste.
In one TOS episode a one-dimensional brutal, psychopathic is ok.
But with more episodes you have to add new layers. Facism doesn’t work like that. This kind of system would implode instead of conquer.
You have to take real facist countries as an example and explore what made them successful, what kind of organisations, ideologies, … held them together so that they don’t kill each other all the time.
In my opinion DS9 tried to make the MU more realistic by turning the tables and make you like the Terrans. Discovery on the other hand doesn’t bring anything new to it.
ST:D compared to TNG or DS9 is like a child’s painting compared to art.
Well, the difference is DS9 was doing a sequel to the MU a century after the fact while DIS is doing a prequel to it (and now the ONLY thing from the show that is close to TOS timeline). So they can’t go crazy with it because we are only talking a decade of difference (ala Discovery in season 1 and 2 vs now ;)).
I would love to know what is happening in the MU by the 32nd century. MAYBE we will get that if they do find a way to cross over into that universe again.
Carl’s newspaper references the Jenolan, the T’Kon, the 21st street mission, good soup, and “Let me help!” – so the COTEOF rumors could be true!
Daughter of Rome seems to confirm that the Empire is a continuation or successor to the Roman Empire.
Hardly; we’ve seen a wide of polities claim the mantle of Rome, including the Byzantine Empire (“the Eastern Rome”), the Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Empire, Russia (“the third Rome”), Nazi Germany, and (more subtly) Italian politicians like Mussolini and Silvio Berlusconi.
There’s no reason why the Terran Empire is any more authentically Roman than those.
This is perhaps my favorite all time episode of Discovery. Lots of things to praise, but what happened to those great mirror universe uniforms for the female crew?
The uniforms look the same.
They remade the MU uniforms. They do look better.
I think we were generally seeing more MU elites on the Charon in S1, and a smaller selection of the MU Discovery crew.
I fully expected Lorca to pop up for the cliffhanger. Given he didn’t, I’m inclined to imagine he won’t now.
They mentioned him like 30 times in the episode… I’m sure we’ll see him next week(God I hope so, he was the best thing of season 1)
I hope we see him too. I really liked his character. And Jason Isaacs has said before that he’d love to return. It’d be a shame if they created that opportunity and didn’t deliver.
What if, at this point, it’s Prime Lorca not MU Lorca?
Can Georgiou use the door to get Prime Lorca back home after the events of season two?
I’m thinking that this is going to be more than just Georgiou staying in the MU and trying to make things right.
I hope not… If MU Lorca makes a brief appearance, that’d be nice. But adding him in as a regular with everything else that’s going on would be a mistake. And it’d be an even bigger mistake to throw in Prime Lorca, who hasn’t even been established. There’s already more than enough going on. If they had brought him in before they went ahead, I might have been fine with that.
I did want to see MU Lorca again though. Not necessarily in this way, but I think they left an opportunity for him to return. He fell into something like a mycelial reactor, but given what’s been established about the mycelial network and how it recycles things or renews life, it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to say he survived in some way or form. But if Georgiou’s actions end up changing the timeline, well.. I guess that wouldn’t be a thing anymore.
Well… He was until he was the worst thing in Season 1.
I rather enjoyed the MU arc from Season 1 – but turning Lorca from a complex and morally compromised individual to a mustache-twirling villain was, well, not great. I kept hoping that the real twist would not be that he was from the MU, but that he was actually a good guy in the MU! The storyline could have played out similarly, but instead of Lorca trying to overthrow Georgiou because he thought she had become too soft, he was apart of the rebel underground trying to overthrow the entire Empire.
Alas, the writers of Season 1 (and I actually lay a lot the blame on Bryan Fuller as much of Season 1 was mapped out before he departed) showed they couldn’t handle such nuance.
Hope so. Lorca is my favorite Captain.
Michelle Yeoh is great in this episode. Returning to the Mirror Universe was fun. I’m surprised the Kelvin universe got mentioned in this episode. We still don’t know much about The Burn and what was behind it. I loved this episode but Discovery is a disjointed narrative mess so far.
I think the entire season is excellent. Yes, Michael has been overly weepy (until recently, though she has had a lot of trauma) and there is the “small universe” syndrome (which I think is unavoidable to a large degree because of all the Trek canon). The coherence of the season’s narrative arc won’t be clear till the end imho. I very much like how Federation values are being examined from many different perspectives and contexts. Thanks to TrekMovie for the judicious reviews.
For a moment I saw her eyes look really reflect-y and I started to think… Oh no… Not again!
So is the show acknowledging that this is or isn’t in the Abrams/Kelvin universe? I can’t imagine Burnham not being affected by the loss of the Vulcan planet. Which occurred during the second or third season of DISCO.
The reason I’m asking cause we saw in DS9, Voy, and ENT that Starfleet had the Department of Temporal Investigations, Temporal Integrity Commission, and Temporal agents through the respective shows. So they dropped the ball big time in letting the Abrams/Kelvin time line to continue.
Enjoyed this episode and if Lorca doesn’t pop up in the second part probably well love this two-parter. I hope it sets up the Georgiou/Section 31 series.
Discovery is part of the Prime, they acknowledge this and the Kelvin timeline is in a different universe like the MU.
Dude, give it a rest. We saw Vulcan two episodes ago, alive and well in the 31st century.
Vulcan got sucked up in the Kelvin timeline. Not in the Prime.
Not sure how “letting the Kelvin timeline exist” is the fault of Temperal Affairs. How can they even know it exists? And if it does, it doesn’t have much to do with their department. If your point is they shouldn’t have even allowed Spock to use the Red Matter to collapse the star, I don’t think time travel was part of the plan.
The show runners have unequivocally stated that this is the Prime universe on multiple occasions, and both “Unification III” and this episode flat out confirmed it. With Unification III showing Vulcan (now renamed to Ni’var), and this episode straight up referencing the Kelvin timeline as a different universe.
We literally just saw Vulcan back in episode 7 of this season. It has a different name but it was made very clear it’s the same Vulcan Burnham had grew up on. The only reason she could even request the hearing over SB-19 because she was still considered a citizen of the planet and graduated from the Vulcan Science Academy. Did you not watch it?
I ended up liking this episode pretty well despite my heavy resistance to any and all Mirror Universe content outside of “Mirror, Mirror” itself. It’s a concept I didn’t need ever to be re-explored. Even so, this was enjoyable enough — especially Sonequa Martin-Green, who is fantastic throughout. I even liked Michelle Yeoh pretty well here, and usually don’t.
I am entirely unconvinced by Mary Wiseman as evil Tilly, though. That sort of thing doesn’t appear to be in Mary Wiseman’s bag of tricks.
I disagree about Mary Wiseman. Having a smile on her face the whole time made her alarmingly more creepy for me, especially considering which universe we are in and her nickname. I thought she was splendid.
To each their own! But for me, she was pretty bad. And looked ridiculous, on top of that; like mediocre cosplay.
As for the nickname, bleh, no thanks. I have a hard enough time taking the real Tilly seriously, much less this one.
Loved this episode until she passed through the doorway, then I was absolutely crestfallen. The Mirror universe reached it’s peak in TOS and I’ve never enjoyed it since.
Agreed. I wish they had never revisited it.
Same page. Was nice once. More than that…. No thank you.
I enjoyed “Crossover,” but not the diminishing returns afterwards – totally could have left it there.
The best MU ep was in ENT.
It was good. I wish DS9 had never gone there. I’m tired of it.
DS9’s mirror universe episodes, save for the first one (“Crossover,” IIRC), were dull. They’re a big reason why I don’t buy this “OMG OMG OMG, DS9 is the best Trek evah!” narrative that the DS9 fans keep pitching.
Because every other Trek show’s batting average was soooo much better. Come on, now.
DS9 had 170+ episodes. You’re talking about 5 of them. And most liked the first one a lot as you mentioned. It was the ‘sequels’ not everyone loved.
And it’s OK if you’re not a big fan of the show, but clearly for many others they are, that’s OK right? It’s my favorite Trek show bar none…evah! But not everyone is going to love the same thing even if the majority loves it and that’s completely fine. There are people on this actual board who don’t think TOS or TNG is all that great either. No big deal, Star Trek fandom is not a monolith and it’s big enough today where opinions can widely vary between all the shows and films.
Agreed. I could have dealt with it had it only been the one episode. But they returned to it too many times.
Yep. I did enjoy that version. But mainly because of the fan service more than anything else. It provided an excuse to see a Constitution Class again and for another cast to be in the TOS uniforms. It was sort of their version of Trials and Tribbleations.
Yeah the Enterprise MU are my favorite out of the four shows that did it so far. But I also liked DS9’s a lot but the last two were pretty bad IMO. The first two were great.
It used to be an allegory back in TOS and afterwards it became a crutch for lazy writers who don’t want to write Utopian characters but super hero movie cartoons… and the latter was never more true than for the Discovery writers, seeing that super hero movies have long seeped into the prime timeline even!
First episode this season to actually hold my attention. Just sad that it had to come from another Mirror Universe episode. Not that I mind them too much, but if we have to go to another universe for the show to be interesting, then that’s a problem in my opinion.
If Carl is somehow (a/the) Guardian of Forever, then we’ve seen that altering the past has consequences in the present, rather than creating a parallel timeline. Considering what happened to Mirror Stamets, that would presumably affect things. Prime Stamets would no longer meet Mirror Stamets in the network. I suppose things could still work out in the end since from what I recall, Mirror Stamets might not have been crucial to the plot resolution, but still… it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. I’m expecting this to be a reset situation though, because I don’t think they’ll radically change the events of the series, and I’m not confident that they’ll think all the potential changes through to make them still work with established events. But there’s a lot up in the air right now, so we’ll have to wait and see…
It does seem that Georgiou was becoming molecularly decoherent. So my question still remains… Did the same thing happen to the Defiant? Hopefully now that we’re in the MU again, maybe that question can be answered, or at least addressed somehow.
Good catch. If simultaneously travelling between the Mirror and Prime Universe, and across time, causes molecular degradation or what not, the Defiant shouldn’t exist.
But she didn’t do it simultaneously. She did it in two very separate events. Only the return did she jump universes AND time at once. This door. So according to that theory she should have started to decay in this episode.
Shouldn’t matter if it were simultaneous or not. I suppose maaaybe the spans of time might make a difference, but I think that’s just a technicality. If you take into consideration all of time, there shouldn’t be any difference between 100(ish) years and 900 years. So if Georgiou’s situation causes molecular decohesion within a few weeks or months, surely there’d be some noticeable effect on the Defiant. And it’s only worth mentioning because it was so important in the MU. If anything happened to it, Georgiou would know about it, and so I’d think that would be on her mind. It’d be a nice bit of continuity if she mentioned this same thing happened to the Defiant, and now she knows why. It would certainly help me in making all this seem less contrived..
I find the entire concept of “breaking down because you swapped universes too long” to be weak. How long was Lorca in the PU? Was it years? Feels like SH has broken their own rules here. But whatever. I really should stop expecting sense from Secret Hideout Trek.
Yeah, it seems rather contrived. Which isn’t necessarily a problem in itself, but I don’t know that they completely thought it through. For example, Spock should have been similarly affected. At first I thought he would have been protected because the universe branched off after he got there, but Nero got there first so Nero would have been okay. Spock arrived 25 years later, meaning he did time-travel and entire a separate and established universe. So he should have been affected in the same way Georgiou was. Since his cause of death was never specifically mentioned (that I know of), I bet they end up retconning things so he died this way, which would be a damn shame.
Here is the thing. We have no idea if she is even REALLY in the MU. All she did was walk through some sort of portal that looked like a door. The entire thing feels fishy to me.
And for me, I was bored to tears the instant it was clear this was a Georgeau centered episode. Was even less interested once she stepped through that door.
Whoa! So much to write about. Great episode. I did not wanted to see the Mirror Universe, seriously, Season 1 again!? Surprisingly, I REALLY liked the story, pace, acting, customes, scenery, liked it all.
The Emperor is more natural in the Mirror Universe. Michael too, she is awesome, her acting, her face, she is acting like she is a totally different person.
Is Lorca back next week? Which one? Prime or Mirror? MU Saru, is he going to be MU Phillipa’s right hand? Are characters from the Kelvin Universe going on board? Can’t wait to read TG47 and Tiger2 posts, for their review. Can’t wait to see the outcome of all this!
Congratulations to the Discovery Production Team. Everyone gave their heart out to make this episode an instant classic. Can’t wait to watch it again tonight. =D
I’m still digesting this one Jay (but tickled that you are interested to hear my view).
It’s very much the first episode of a two parter, and I’m relieved that we’ve only one week to wait.
So, first thoughts, I liked it.
Once again I’m impressed how Kurtzman is open to bringing super character actors, Cronenberg and Guilifoye in this case, in as recurring guests. They are so compelling and fascinating, and really elevate the episodes they’re in.
I rather liked the season one MU sets and costumes, so I’m not willing to say this is better done, but I do appreciate the continuity. The scale of the dance and acrobatic performance (Circ de Soleil) was unexpected and worked well to convey Emperor Georgiou’s personal myth to us, as well as reinforce the grand state.
We finally got to see a three dimensional MU Georgiou. I noted a few days back that Kim and Lippoldt, as showrunners for Yeoh’s series, should be giving us a better idea of what the character should be. Yeoh’s really delivering subtlety in her acting so that we are seeing the layers, and the director is clearly successful in bringing out greater depth in all the MU performances.
The progress on the Burn mystery seemed a bit too much by the numbers. As well, I have mixed feelings about Hannah Spear playing the holographic Dr Issa. She just looked and sounded too much like she did in the role of Saru’s sister Sirana. I know that getting tall graceful female actors who can work through the protheses is tough, but this is one case where there’s just not enough differentiation – at least on a semi-transparent holo image.
Last, I don’t want to go too far as Tony wants speculation for the later thread, but I’m surprised that others haven’t been reacting to this episode from the perspective of Kirk’s choices in the City at the Edge of Forever or TAS Yesteryear. I certainly couldn’t help thinking of the implications of those two precedents while I was watching.
Carl said that she would die tomorrow. given the newspaper, that wasn’t just a 32nd century Prime Universe death, but also a 23rd century MU death.
So, Georgiou may want to change the MU death of Burnham, but if she does will she cause a disastrous future as Kirk did with his first choice? She may realize that she doesn’t belong in the MU any more and needs to let the events go forward as they had.
Is it possible that Carl facilitated Georgiou’s transit, not so she could change things but so that she could intervene, the way that Spock did in Yesteryear, in order that other critical events could come about.
Cirque du Soleil — sigh again —
I hate predictive spelling. (…and of course that would be the time that the language didn’t flip over to French in the middle of writing something.)
LOL, I’m flattered you care! I didn’t see this until now (sooo many comments ;)) but I wrote mine already if you haven’t seen it. Generally liked it a lot, but not love it. But overall really liked the vibe and how they did such a great job of surprising us we were going back.
It’s also interesting we have no clue where any of it is going. That’s always a lot of fun.
This is the very first time I’ve enjoyed SMG’s acting in an episode. I’ve never been convinced before. I thought she was terrific.
This was absorbing from start to finish. Can’t wait for next week. Can’t believe I’m saying that for Discovery.
Because overemotional overacting fits much better with intentionally campy mirror cartoons than the supposed professional protagonist of a Trek series! I’m starting to think they should have switched actresses and Yeoh should have played Michael and SMG Space Hitler. I know, the age doesnt fit, but the natural narcissism of SMG vs. the classic understatedness of Yeoh always made both bad fits for their roles temperament-wise!
Interesting points. I don’t know if it would have worked better… They would still be stuck with the same writers and producers. But I would be curious to see how it would have turned out.
Is it the actor, writer or director though who decides to ham it up and let the tears flow for every single scene, or whisper all dialogue (just look how she teared up again when Saru decided not to help her bestie Space Hitler!)
I think its not just that Michelle Yeoh is incapable of such a crudely extraverted display of emotions – the writers and directors would have treated her differently as Michael than soapish, sappy SMG!
Insulting and denigrating a black woman. Really? This isn’t a good luck for anyone, even trolls like you.
Gee lookeeeeee…. just I made a comment below about the Gestapo making sure nobody unworthy ever passes judgment on our favorite endangered m*norities, and there it is :D
Carl is the Doctor. We’re looking at a BBC crossover.
Have you read the Doctor Who-Star Trek comic crossover? I think they fight the Borg and the Cybermen. I’ve only seen the covers.
If he’s anything from the Doctor Who universe, he’s the White Guardian. The Doctor would have had to use a TARDIS to get her to the Mirror Universe instead of a magic door.
At first I thought that door was the Tardis
Zoiks! Was this episode fun or what!? And re: Empress Georgiou— I couldn’t love her more.
Hey guys. So the Romulan mining ship from Star Trek 2009 was mentioned. Now Discovery is in the future, does this mean the series is now set in the Kelvinverse?
I think the show is in the Prime universe and the “time soldier” Yor came from the Kelvin universe. So they know about the Kelvinverse, or at least Kovich knows.
Nivar was destroyed in the 2250s in the Kelvinverse, so no.
It was stated clearly in dialogue that Yor came forward from the 2370’s and across from an alternate universe created by the Romulan mining vessel (the Kelvinverse). So disco is in the prime universe.
Personally, I’m happy they *didn’t* explicitly cite the Kelvin films, which (ten years out) grow less and less appealing. For fans of the Kelvin Universe, it’s a wink and a nod. For everyone else, the reference was to a random Romulan mining vessel. Works for me.
On another board, someone posed the question about whether the Kelvin Universe is now established to be known in the Prime Universe as “the universe where a Romulan mining vessel crossed over and back in time,” or just the “Romulan Mining Vessel Universe.”
I still think it’s funny ten years ago there were fans actively saying the prime universe should be relegated to the past permanently and let the Kelvin universe and its films to be the new way forward from that point on. Now a decade later even just mentioning them directly, even if still as a passing reference is a no-no to some fans.
Agreed on both counts. Kelvin movies are fun if you don’t think about them too much. Like, I love getting the group together – but cadet to Captain in a day and a half makes zero sense. I love Carol Marcus showing up – but why is she a weapons expert? I love the idea of Yorktown – but why is it bigger than anything we’ve ever seen in trek ever and why are there so many civilians living there? Also, why is the Commodore of Yorktown offering Captain Kirk a promotion to Admiral? It hurts my brain. lol
I don’t know if Carl is a Q or a Prophet or what. All I know is that I like him.
I don’t know. That whole situation felt silly and goofy to me. There was no real reason to go there. There was no real reason this had to look like an old timey guy and a door. It felt like they were trying to be “artsy” or “off” in a 2001 kind of way. I felt the entire thing had no substance whatsoever.
That’s what makes it fun though. He’s clearly an alien of some kind who reached in their mind and pulled stuff they might be familiar….like what Q or Trelane did. It’s hard to say how much substance until we know a little more about him.
I wouldn’t say “clearly”. It certainly is a possibility. But the question of what led them to that spot remains. I say it’s entirely possible Space Hitler isn’t in the real MU. But honestly I really don’t care that much to discuss the possibility any further.
Remember the data sphere is what led them there in the first place so it must know something about this alien presence, especially considering the planet is completely uninhabitable. So it does raise some crazy questions lol.
I thought you were a TOS fan.
This is a classic TOS kind of trippy thing. Just the sort of thing that was done in the 60s, but instead of ancient Greece or Lincoln’s head, we’ve got a transcendent being in 20th century dress and an old door.
I thought I was the one that said “Why do all those people on whatever TOS planet look like they were imported from 19th or 20th century USA?”
That was a feature from TOS I wasn’t a huge fan of but accepted because I understood the production restrictions. I didn’t really find it “trippy”. Just silly. There is a difference. And, to be fair, I was already turned off to the episode because it was obviously a Space Hitler centered one. She is the worst part of a bad show. Therefore, anytime she appears the show loses whatever shred of momentum it may have had.
And the episode was made all the more worse when we saw her grow soft from her days in the MU. Which, sadly, was predicted before the season ever started.
Yeah this is classic TOS. I pointed that out in my review too. This is trippy Star Trek which I love a lot! City on the Edge of Forever was trippy Star Trek as well!
People are suggesting he could be a humanoid form of the Guardian as well. But maybe something entirely new as well!
Call him Qarl. ;-)
About Carl: we’ve had a lot of references to Bajor this season. Georgiou’s experience in this episode reminds me a little of Ben Sisko’s visions of Benny Russell. Coincidence? Misdirection? Also interesting that this planet is on the galactic edge near the gamma quadrant. Hmmm. Probably random factoids.
Ooooh, good thinking Elrond.
Carl does have a bit of a Bajoran Prophets vibe. Especially when Carl was not responsive to Burnham’s questions and impatience.
So we’re getting Guardian + Q + Prophet indicators.
Looking forward to the speculation thread on that.
What speaks against a prophet is that they tend to appear as someone you already know. A prophet would rather appear as Lorca or Killy.
Fair enough, odradek. And Carl to me has a cavalier air of the Q about him. On the other hand, I’m not quick to think that Georgiou has actually gone back in time and is rather experiencing some kind of test taking place in her mind. That smacks of the Prophets. And it could always be the work of some entities we’ve yet to meet. Time will tell.
I get Q vibes from Carl. I think a Guardian is possible too. What was cool about that moment was how consistent that was with the Original Series. I thought the Kelvin nod was interesting. They probably know what really happened to Spock.
There is a lot of conversation about Time Travel and Temporal Wars. Does anyone remember when Burnham’s mother mentioned how Time Travel alters technology? We have already seen a retcon of the Original Series in some ways. The Pike show is going to be really interesting. I enjoy Discovery a lot.
This was just great. Can’t wait to watch it again!
Er, why does Discovery’s gym have real axes and swords?
Was wondering if anyone was going to bring up the axe in the gym. I asked the same question. “Why is there an axe in the gym?” Which begs the bigger question… Why is there an axe on board at all?!!
Don’t you have axes at your gym?
I dont know about you A34 but personally I prefer the painsticks to the axes! It drags it out a little longer ;)
At my gym painsticks are only for platinum memberships holders.
To use Carl’s parlance – the axe is there so Space Hitler can use it! ;) Makes this particular quip even more fourth wall breaking, no?
Sounds like an answer the movie pitch guy would say to the studio executive guy.
The Discovery has programmable matter now and I think they also mentioned holodecks in a previous episode. So you can probably get whatever training gear you desire.
I don’t remember seeing swords in the gym either. You might be right.
Wow good point. They may have just been in a holodeck simulation.
Would someone please mind explaining why everyone is calling it *a* potential guardian instead of *the* guardian? Thank you in advance 🖖
The Guardian of Forever was an object, not an alien species — no?
It was also stuck on that planet.
The ambiguity may be intentional to avoid wrangling over IP.
Harlan Ellison’s estate has firmly held the rights to pretty much anything beyond the title “Guardian” .
Another guardian and a portal that has a different form, located on another planet would avoid issues, and given the sophistication of the AI and100,000 year journey of the Sphere, it isn’t unreasonable that it encountered or was aware of any gates to other universes.
With that much data, the Sphere may have noted and tracked slight inconsistencies induced by time and universe hopping.
The Sphere consciousness itself may become the means work out the impacts of the Temporal Cold War.
The legal thing is yet another reason why it would probably be best to leave the Guardian of Forever alone and never mention it again. Not because it was a bad concept. It wasn’t. It led to a GREAT episode. But it’s existence really does create narrative problems.
Yeah, I don’t really understand how this ONE episode a single writer has so much influence over when the other 700+ episodes they can reference whatever they want over and over again.
Maybe this has nothing to do with the Guardian of Forever, but you’re right they could change the concept a little and make it clear there isn’t just one of them. I would be fine to see the concept evolved to actual life forms that has means to these portals for whatever reason.
Good question! I doubt “Carl” has anything to do with the machine called the “Guardian of Forever.” Of course, “he” may have no basis in any prior Trek, but his whimsy is a bit like a Q and his way of dealing with questions recalls the Bajoran Prophets. We’ll see.
That was rather unexpected, and a ton of fun! When Georgiou passed through the door, I was fully expecting her to return to the MU, but I was not expecting the rest of the episode to stay in the MU! I’m a bit in the minority in that I actually enjoyed the MU arc in Season 1 (despite Lorca turning from an interesting morally compromised individual into a mustache-twirling villain), so I’m really looking forward to where this is all going, and hopefully MU Lorca will make an appearance.
The big question is, is this all real – did Georgiou travel back in time and across universes? Or is this all happening in her head or in a construct (ala Q). If this is all real, and Georgiou does change events in the MU, how will that effect the Prime universe? If Lorca never crosses over, the entire first season of Discovery changes. Control and what not could still have happened, and Discovery could still have jumped to the future to prevent Control from gaining true sentience. The writers have shown that they’re more than happy to drastically shake things up (see the 900+ year jump to the future), but this shake up could be much more drastic. I do like the idea that the mystery man and doorway is actually the Guardian of Forever – which would allow for what Georgiou is experiencing to be real, but to also reset back to what originally happened. Regardless, I’m am really excited to see how this will all resolve.
As for the rest of the episode, the reveal that what’s in the nebula is a Kelpian ship came as a surprise, as I was really expecting it to be some version the Discovery. Perhaps, when the Disco goes to the nebula (which they of course will do), they’ll still discover (pun absolutely intended) another version of the Discovery in the nebula.
At this point, I’m not sure if we’ll find out the mystery of the burn before this season ends. I wouldn’t be surprised if the season ends with the cliffhanger of Discovery finally making it’s way into the nebula, and discovering something very unexpected.
I think the Burn storyline will last at least two seasons.
It depends on how you define the extent of the Burn storyline.
Finding out the cause of the Burn is just the first step. Same for removing the apex baddie in the Emerald Chain.
There are surely more complications than Burnham expects in rebuilding the Federation.
You’re definitely right. This season isn’t going to end with a nice bow on top.
It looks like the Burn (and everything surrounding it) will be something the show will probably be dealing with for the rest of its run. I’m happy by the end of season 3, the Federation just won’t be miraculously humming along as before and its going to take real time for things to get back to normal.
So many details on this episode. Mirror Universe looks amazing. Visually. These scenes look way better than Season 1. The lighting, like it better, it was less dark than last time. The costumes were so cool. The Emperor looked majestic, powerful.
Michelle Yeoh, her acting, superb, so real to see her face, to read her emotions. She felt confused for an instant, quickly changing to her (MU Season 1) self, but better. Really got me when dealing with Michael, Michelle was able to show her real emotiona of seeing her alive again, also protecting MU Saru.
Sonequa, was acting like a totally different person. Mary like her better as Killy, the bridge crew (Oyin, Patrick, Ronnie) as well, outstanding.
What I really enjoyed the most, is the combination of different Star Trek elements. The new additions from this show, the new, the old, Mirror and Kelvin Universe, it has a very nice combination of elements to enjoy.
So nice to see Hannah (Airiam 2.) and Rekha (Landry) one more time. Now I wish we can see Lorca (Prime, MU or KU), same for the Admiral Cornwell. Would like vety much to meet the nice Lorca. He could actually be MU Phillipa best ally.
Personally, I’m getting tired of this “kill off main characters, but bring ’em back in alternate universes” gimmick. It worked once or twice, like in Yesterday’s Enterprise or Parallels. But it’s easily a well they can go to too often. (That having been said, I can’t say I’d mind seeing Prime Lorca somehow.)
I wonder if there will be a twist of sorts were Georgiou tracks down Lorca, only to find out that it’s Prime Lorca, and MU Lorca has already crossed over. The MU arc in season 1 suggested that Prime Lorca died when he switched places with MU Lorca and transported to the MU Buran – but, as the old adage goes, since we didn’t actually see his death…
I’m leaning towards it being Prime Lorca at this point.
This was quite a compelling episode and the MU is always fun to see.
I know most fans want to see a more episodic series (and for SNW I want that too) but I for one miss Discovery’s more focused season long story arc. Today’s episode reminded me how good that can be… as long as there is a good story to tell. I have to tune in next week, to find out what happens next haha.
Even though Georgiou is a dislikable character, Michelle Yeoh is awesome and she once again showed why they want to keep her in the Star Trek universe. She is awesome and her character got to tell Michael to shut her mouth before going through the doorway – I am sure that was written in to laughingly placate those fans who sometimes get tired of Burnham, even though I like the Burnham character, I still laughed out loud. Btw the overhead of them walking together on the planet reminded me a lot of the opening scene from S1E1.
Was hoping to see Lorca, but sadly he was a no show. It was good however to see Landry.
Overall I rate this one an 8/10 and can’t wait to see what happens next week.
Oh my, that was… delicious! ;) Finally the writers declare creative bankruptcy and admit with this 23rd century mirror universe two-parter that came out of nowhere (just like in season 1) that no, this post-canon, post-Federation, post-everything empty draw board of the 32nd century is still not enough for them to come up with something intruiging. More intriguing than the Emerald Kazons which everyone including apparently their writers are intergalactically bored of already so much we need to take our exit back to that warm blanket of mirror canon again!
And thats not to say this hour wasn’t an entertaining, occasionally thoughtful, episode nearly superior on all levels to most other episodes of this season – that is exactly my point! Just as these writers admit they can’t and dont really want to write Utopian Trek (beyond preachy “We are Starfleet! That’s not who we are!” lines) but much prefer the Dystopian campy mirror versions of our characters, MSG’s melodramatic campiness is so much a better fit for Mirror Michael and I prefer this character infinitely to “our” Michael which says… alot about her failure as a prime Trek character!
The return of Landry, Ariam and, no doubt, Lorca next week as a sort of retreat of season 1 also harkens back to late Voyager habits (a la Shattered) where writers became more interested in playing around with their own past than creating something new AND consistent for their own characters! Just it took a couple more seasons for Voyager to arrive at this point…
Regardless, I do appreciate some character developments of this episode, even it is a rather strong rupture with the rest of the season. Finally Space Hitler is played straight as the murderous psychopath she never stopped being, instead of silly and sick comedic relief, and it was made amply clear why she just doesnt belong into the prime universe (which only increases the problem she should have been in the brig for the past 1.5 seasons and not just now as Vance suggests!)
I like the idea she has just been thrust off her previous position enough though to not fit into her old life either, in sort of a reverse “Tapestry”, brought about by a sort-of Q, where its her old life that is the wrong one now. Fascinating! I’m pretty sure this is not where she will be left off for the S31 series, but after the first half of the episode rightly burnt all bridges to the prime universe, I pray it’s not a red herring and we go full-redemption either (as I elaborated). Her past life won’t ever stop existing, inside her at the very least, and that needs to be acknowledged.
Finally, the ship in the nebula turns out not to be Calpyso-Discovery but… a Kelpien ship? The Burn has sure been put on the backburner once more and this storyline starts to drag as it has never been explained what are the stakes and the endgame here (everyone else sure has moved on). After this further detour, let’s hope this “conflict” does not go out on a whimper like the Klingon War in season 1 did, because the whole Emerald Yawn one sure looks like it will! ;)
Yours is the best take I’ve read yet about this episode.
I can’t stop imagining how great it could be if this obviously enormous budget was spent on actually making new Star Trek instead of this B-grade fan fiction that they keep serving up.
Oh. My. God.
I know there are MU fans out there who likely loved what they did here. Apologies to them for what follows.
This episode was bad. Not just bad, but season 1 level bad. And I don’t mean Lethe. Which is still the diamond episode of the entire series. An entire episode (and sadly more than one it seems) centered around the worst, and dumbest and most ridiculous part of the entire show. And to make matters worse… What happened to her was exactly what was predicted would happen before this season ever aired. This episode felt like the longest episode of the entire show. I felt like it would never end. The entire explanation about why Georgeau is “dying” was silly. But then, her entire existence is silly so why should they stop now? Words cannot express how terrible this entire thing was. It would help if we actually cared or had even 1% of interest in the character. But we don’t. I know their plans for her involve her not dying but I still was hoping they would do it. THAT would be a real twist! Anyway, I could go on and on about how awful, boring, dumb, etc. this episode was but I think the point has been made.
There was a cute mention of the KU timeline. Nice bit but sadly, such things cannot save this anchor racing to the bottom of the trench.
ML31, we agree this repeated mirror stunt has a smell of season 1 all over, although this episode was more polished than any of those (and thankfully lacking the political connotations – so far!)
But you are right not all must be as it seems and in fact they may be using this connection with season 1 against us here and pull the rug out in part 2. It could easily be a Q-like character test only. In fact Carl seems to hint at it when saying she can still die in other ways after passing the door even if the band shows green (ie the 5% survival chance is for what happens after the door, not for deciding to step through it).
Nevertheless, it does not change the fact that production-wise this series has gone to that particular mirror well far more often than any other Trek series, especially considering its short seasons (and this is only season 3!)
Because she just walked through a door shaped portal I figured on the very real possibility that this was not THE mirror universe. But some sort of “Carl” led facsimile. But either way I just didn’t care much for anything that happened in the episode. So far, this was easily the worst episode of the season. And it isn’t even close.
Best episode ever.
I’ve been really surprised how people not from Ontario see that landscape. (And makes me wonder how differently I see desert from folks in the Southwest US.)
When everything is smoothed out by snow, just always feels endless to the horizon, especially when it’s truly cold and it takes many times longer just to trudge anywhere (sans snowshoes or skis).
On an other review site, one commentator wondered if it was Iceland.
Nope, that’s just snow on a barrenish area, with some Ontario bush on the horizon (light forest to those not from Canada).
My best guess is that this was shot at the old Lafarge quarry that was used for the MU resistance camp in season one and Talos V in season two. What do others from central Canada think?
I have seen neither snow nor desert in years so it all looks alien to me ;)
This episode is certainly not the way I thought it would go! ;)
This season is constantly filled with surprises while it continues on with classic Trek type of stories. This was very TOS/TNG in its veins. I didn’t really know what we were going to see when they beamed down on that planet but it was pretty crazy to see ‘Carl’ sitting there out of nowhere. Like a lot of people I automatically thought maybe it was the Q. This is literally something they would do and send Georgiou back through time. But a lot of people are thinking he could be part of the Guardian of Forever. Now THAT would be even more interesting. Funny thing, I was on Reddit reading some of the theories and a few fans had no idea what the Guardian of Forever even was. Kids today! ;)
But watching this story I first thought of ‘Tapestry’ seeing Picard back in his younger Starfleet days and things he would have to do to change in his past to save his life in the future. Georgiou going back to the MU in a previous event she experienced felt like the same idea, but this time having to kill Burnham again or not? I don’t think anyone saw coming, certainly not me! It was pretty shocking, but in a good way. I assumed we would see the MU again in this episode, but just in flashbacks as walked through the snow or something.
I knew It was nice to see MU Georgiou in a different light. She’s still pretty evil lol, but obviously being Discovery has had a real effect on her. I still don’t know if she should or even can be redeemed but clearly what they are going for. But I loved all the other characters on the ship. MU Burnham is pretty vicious but very fun to watch. Loved Captain Killy as well, the real one. The fight between Rhys and Owo was brutal. And was that Landry???
And yeah I’m also expecting to see a Lorca return next week!
But I’m trying to figure out (because I’m sure I’m the only one ;)) if this is really happening and she’s changing the timeline (which is kind of a Guardian portal thing) OR is it just a moral lesson of some kind and everything goes back to how it was before (which is kind of a Q thing). Or maybe it’s something totally new! Very excited to see where it’s all going and what any of it means, especially if it’s the former?
The one thing I was disappointed is just the lack of story that is happening with the Burn. It’s like they can only let out bits of info, like five minutes tops of every episode. However, I was very happy to see the theory everyone seem to have that it was another Discovery stuck in the nebula. I never believed that theory and it would’ve been REALLY disappointing to me if it was. Only because it would be nice we have one season where the entire storyline isn’t based on this crew over and over again.
Overall, I don’t know if I loved this one as others seem to here but it was definitely an 8/10. It wasn’t what I thought we were going to get but it still managed to be a really solid episode and it looks like it is a way to send Georgiou off to…wherever! So next week may reveal a lot none of us saw coming because I don’t think anyone saw this coming.
Again, have to give it to Kurtzman, they managed to take the story in a very different way and probably complete Georgiou’s arc at the same time. A week ago I thought we might be debating about the Temporal war and the Kelvin Timeline in this review and instead we’re now talking about the MU, Q and the Guardians. This is why I love Star Trek! ;)
I agree, surprisingly good episode.
Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek are my favorite things!
A solid episode, even if Carl was Discovery’s version of Q.
My favorite Georgiou line, directed to Burnham, “Gawd, sometimes you need to know when to shut up.” Very much my feeling towards Burnham, and I imagine a lot of other fans feel the same way.
“Very much my feeling towards Burnham, and I imagine a lot of other fans feel the same way.”
Oh yes! Of course, that makes all of us r*cist, s*xist p!gs, because the only person who is ever allowed to say that to a WoC is another WoC ;)
He lost, get over it.
Is doorman Carl’s last name Ton, because this sounds like a callback to the 70s and MTM production of RHODA (or was it PHYLISS?)
Carlton the doorman in Rhoda, I think.
That was Lorenzo Music. He also voiced Garfield in the animated version.
It’s strange how the recaps of this episode note the seeming inconsistency of MU Burnham not being lost while skipping over how MU Stamets was still alive in season 1, but killed here.
In other words, the emperor started changing the timeline right from the start. I have a feeling that this whole thing is going to end up as a pocket universe designed to show Georgiou that she’s grown far more than she cares to admit. I just hope we get a decent excuse for why some galactic superbeing is taking an interest in saving her.
Funny. When Kovich appeared a few episodes before, I instantly thought of Disneys Carl Fredricksen (Up). And in the last episode “Carl” appears. Easter egg or coincidence?
Let me guess, by the end of all this MU Burnham will be the Emperor and literal center of the universe which, frankly, is all we’re missing from the regular universe version. Star Trek: Burnhamverse GO! Good god.
Ugh, well another week, another episode down. Fully convinced I’m just watching out of obligation of finishing the season, but that the series just isn’t for me. As a lifelong Trekkie, that sucks to admit.
Anybody remember The Burn? May want to remind the writers. 4 episodes to go, with next week being more of the MU, and The Burn plot feels like an afterthought.
My thoughts exactly. I watch out of obligation because I’m a life long trekker
Yet another person watching ONLY because I’m a fan and out of respect for what Star Trek once was. Made all the more painful because I’m paying to do it. It’s like when I pay to go to a game to watch my team lose one of the 94 games they will lose that season.
Yeah I do feel frustrated the Burn is treated as such a big deal and yet we are lucky to get more than five minutes of info about it. They are dragging it out way too much.
It’s not even the amount of minutes but that we haven’t really been engaged in the mystery in any kind of compelling way once it’s introduced in the season premiere.
We hear about how important Burnham thinks this mystery is, and see a lot of emotional displays and rogue actions, but we’re told about the detective work, not shown.
-Burnham found 2 black boxes off-screen between episodes 301 and 302.
-Book found a 3rd black box through his information network (and had to be rescued).
-Burnham’s (off-screen) analysis of Federation databases identified the Vulcan-Romulan research project and data.
-Adira and Stamets (with some help from Sara’s exceptional auditory processing) process data. This is the most real, as data analytics can be dreary from the outside, but it was shown in a way that wasn’t very engaging for the audience.
We haven’t even had any false trails yet.
Really good points.
You’re right, even the detective work has been mostly off screen. Even when they found where it originated, we were told they found it after the fact.
This is in general the one big disappointment because I thought they were going to be investigating the Burn on a deeper level, ie, going to different systems, planets, etc to figure out how it happened. But other than going to Ni’Var to pick up SB-19 and rescuing Book, that’s been about it in that department.
Maybe the last three episodes will do this, but now that they found the origin I guess there is no longer a need. And can someone explain why they didn’t spore drive their way to the nebula five minutes after realizing what it was?? I understand going inside is dangerous but why not go there itself to investigate?
“Anybody remember The Burn?”
Anybody remember the Klingon War?
Anybody remember that great debate on Science vs Faith for the red angel?
The more things change, the more they stay the same… in any century ;)
Yor would not be the first person that travels from one dimension to another and through time, that would chronologically be the crew of the Enterprise-C (which traveled from 2344 to an alternate 2362), followed by Yor in 2379, and then by the Tasha Yar from the alternate 2362, who traveled back in time to the 2344 of the Prime Universe.
Not exactly. Enterprise-C and Tasha travelled in time within their own (Prime) universe. That episode is about one self-contained temporal causality loop.
The “War” timeline was ostensibly erased when the C returned to 2344. If it had not, maybe arguably it would have become a branched-off Many Worlds alternate universe, becoming ever more different as time moved forward.
Whether Tasha was _always_ meant to go back to 2344 and give birth to Sela is a predestination paradox.
We don’t know if Sela existed on Romulus in the pre-incursion 2362, but if she did, then yes, it’s a “fixed point in time” as they say on Doctor Who.
We don’t have much canon evidence to show that her presence changed history or caused ripples, so if she was simply “always there” that is… fascinating.
How Star Trek deals with parallel dimensions has always been a bit handwavy, but it makes sense that why they’re parallel is maybe they are all branching alternate timelines in some sense.
I mean one would have to wonder why they’re so similar, and also, why they don’t travel to parallel dimensions where the laws of physics are incompatible.
So like… is Species 8472’s fluidic space, or the Sphere Builders’ transdimensional realm, or the dimension of the scary Cthulu synthetics from Picard, or the Q Continuum, the mycelial plane, or the realm of the Prophets a different take on “dimension” or are they hidden layers of our Prime universe, etc?
Remove Tasha from the equation, and the Enterprise-C still traveled from one era and universe to another era and another universe.
They didn’t exactly go to another universe. The Enterprise C went to the future. As far as they were concerned it just was the future, not an alternative future. Then they went back to their own time.
A question about the speculation over “Carl” …
Just thought about this … But I know there was controversy with “City on the Edge of Forever” and Harlan Ellison disliking how Roddenberry changed his story.
If Carl is a “Guardian on the Edge of Forever,” would they have had to get the ok from Harlan Ellison’s estate to use a character/story idea he wrote? And could that be a reason it has been (so far) left vague as to what Carl is?
That is why it’s left vague, I would think. City has been a real punching bag for Ellison over the years. I’m sure his estate would be watching very closely for anything that leads directly back to him.
If its really such a legal minefield 50 years later i dont think they’d even be vague about it but just make him a Q and be done with it!
Wouldn’t Paramount/CBS have the rights to anything that Ellison wrote for Star Trek?
There were legal wranglings with both Ellison and his estate.
This happened with another series “Star Lost” that he wrote the premise for, and which lasted only one season.
In both cases, what Ellison had written in the script was beyond anything that could have been brought to screen with the special effects of the day or within the constraints of broadcast television. The script rewrites were massive, and he is credited under a pseudonym, but has retained rights to the original concept.
It’s not the Guardian. The Guardian was an object not a dude with a door. It’s not a Q because Q’s don’t need a door or to sit in the middle of a snow plane.
Every iteration of the MU had sparse clothing indicating a heightened masculinity and sexuality. I guess Disco is too woke of a show to continue that and thereby have changed the MU for the worse.
I watch this show out of obligation to my life of loving Trek. there are moments of joy, but I can honestly say I don’t care about these characters. They are forced into every scene without any consideration for what fans of Trek want to see. Let’s put all the alternative life style people over here and we will write innuendo filled dialog to make a point. Lets put the bridge crew over here and limit any back story for many of them so we can focus on the lead character. Let’s put the insignificant captain over here and tag him with what is essentially a school girl to be 2nd in command?!!!!!
Michelle Yeo has improved over the previous seasons. Much better at understanding her and I see change in emotion that I haven’t seen before. That and Saru’s development are the only highlights that I’ve enjoyed.
This season they have done WAY too much to aesthetically to please us. Why? That’s not why we fell in love with Trek. My favorite TOS episodes were the ones they never left the ship. The characters, the dialog, the friendships. That’s what made good Trek. Sad to say, but I think those days are over unless they can pull back and do it right with Strange New Worls. LLAP
Yeah. After 3 seasons I still can’t remember all their names. And even if TOS was also focused on Kirk as lead character surrounded by Spock and McCoy as co-stars, and the bridge crew had also less back story… The whole bridge crew was known and loved by the viewers. There was a connection between them and between the crew and the vievwers, which is missing here.
Just a heads-up: Cronenberg has finally done an interview about his role, with Variety, and what an interview it is! Turns out he wont just be in more episodes of season 3, but season 4 as well! There aren’t many reasons to keep watching, but he’s certainly one!
This warrants a Snoopy happy dance.
In fact, most of the entire interview did – except the part where Cronenberg said he didn’t see himself directing an episode of Star Trek.
Yes, I regretted reading that too!
FWIW, his reason is the point I made to you recently, that tv directors have drastically less power and creative influence than their movie counterparts (as we now see Frakes-directed episodes have become nearly indistinguishable from the rest, minus more outrageous camera movements maybe) and understandably he’s not doing any work he doesnt control the result of creatively.
Interestingly, Mandalorian must deviate from that formula given that well known arthouse movie directors like Robert Rodriguez have taken up episodes recently.
After seeing Carl Entity and the door, I can see a Marvel Exiles TV series or an Exiles-style Star Trek series about characters from parallel universes teaming up and traveling through the Multiverse.
They are converging prime and mirror over the next few seasons.
Is this season going anywhere yet? It’s almost over and I am still not feeling excited about anything when compared to the first two seasons.
Me too. Discovery has become the same style as PICard. They could have told the story in 3 episodes. I suspect the cause of the Burn will be revealed in the final episode and the next season will deal with the Disco preventing the Burn, thus creating the Burn in the last episode and lead to some incident which segues into Calypso.
About the prime and mirror universes moving apart: it’s occurred to me that this factoid may not only have to do with inter dimensional “spacial” distancing but with their respective histories deviating more and more.
IF the MU began with Zefraim Cochran’s attacking the First Contact Vulcans (or maybe a Nazi victory in WW2), then what we’ve seen unfold in each successive Trek series in terms of who lives and who dies is an increasing disparity between the two realities. Perhaps Georgiou is now presented at a critical MU juncture where her actions could start making the two universes more similar again.
This could also connect to Jim Kirk SAVING Edith Keeler as the origin of the MU. This would involve the Guardian of Forever.
I know this contradicts my earlier posts here, but it’s fun to speculate, isn’t it?
Cochrane definitely wasn’t the point of divergence. The Enterprise theme song showed us that the universes were different well before First Contact. Phlox even mentioned comparing the classic literature of both universes to see the differences. Since Discovery has now confirmed that Terrans and Humans aren’t quite the same species, it seems that the two universes have always been different.
Thanks, Legate. I had thought to check that special Enterprise opening, but didn’t. So, the MU is different from the KU in not just being an alternate timeline but an entirely distinct universe (whatever that means).
I guess I’m back to not connecting the Guardian of Forever with Carl at all.
I’m say that the divergence goes back far enough that the physics are slightly different (light) and that Terran humans are slightly different at the subatomic level.
I’ve never seen so much money spent on a TV series to then make it so STOOOOOPID!
Look up the history of Super Train. It makes Discovery look like The Sopranos or Deadwood.
I get your point but I thought The Sopranos and Deadwood were massively overrated to the point where I would prefer Supertrain over each of them.
They finally remembered they had Michelle Yeoh just waiting around to finally get to do something more worthy of her talents.
Can’t say I was aching to get back to the MU considering how many Prime characters need work and personalities, but it was fun, all the same.
Don’t quite see what both Michaels have in common besides their physicality, though.
Was that “Terra firma” chant a thing in the previous series? I’m asking, because I haven’t watched every episode in English, but I don’t seem to recall any of it. If so, how does that fit into Mirror Universe canon? ;-)
Its new. Its just a Terran chant that we haven’t heard before on the handful of occasions that we’ve visited the Terran Empire.