Star Trek: Discovery — Episode 13 Thoughts: ‘What’s Past is Prologue’

 This article contains spoilers for this episode! 

I’m going to start this one by saying this: I bloody love this show! I am a Star Trek fan and I absolutely love this series (it’s okay to say it!). This episode, in particular, stands out as the best 43 minutes of Trek that I have ever watched. This episode, placed within the context of the prior two episodes, proves that the decision to serialize this show has absolutely worked. You just cannot get this sort of build up and pay off within an episodic model. Anyway, let’s get stuck in!

The Mirror Universe

So this episode wraps up Discovery’s stint within the Mirror Universe (for now?), did it work? Why, yes it did! The decision to visit the mirror universe (that more closely reflects our real world than the Federation-idealized world of the Prime Universe)  allowed the show to explore and expose some disturbing ideologies that should both shock us and encourage us to protect the liberties and values that we currently enjoy in the real world. Make no mistake, the Mirror Universe is not some caricature-world that could not exist, rather it most definitely could exist and this show should act as a reminder to us of what humanity could quite easily become.

This episode kept it simple with just three story strands:

  1. Lorca’s rebels trying to take over the ISS Charon and ultimately overthrow the emperor.
  2. Michael playing John McClane by hiding from Lorca in the Jefferies Tubes and orchestrating his demise.
  3. Saru and the rest of the Discovery Crew seeking a way to save both Burnham and all the universes whilst, at the same time, finding a way back to the Prime Universe.

Mirror-Lorca

Well didn’t he turn pantomime villain really quickly? I honestly feel a strong sense of betrayal with his evil-shenanigans! I really liked him, despite his not being typical Starfleet. Jason Isaac’s is such a good actor and was perfect for this role (will Jason get invited to ‘All the Captains’ Conventions?). But despite the awesomeness of Jason, Lorca is just full-on evil. He uses a bio-weapon on a large number of ISS Charon’s crew, he has Mirror-Stamets killed with a crew and cowardly shot in the back…the list could go on.

His weakness? Obviously Burnham. His weird infatuation with her was disturbing and ultimately cost him his life (or did it?).

I was hoping that he wouldn’t get killed off and was sad when he was – however, I cannot deny that his death via the moon-door was an awesome way to go!

Here are a few theories that I think are potentially credible:

  1. Lorca is not dead. Perhaps he survived and is now living in the mycelial forest. If Dr. Culber’s consciousness somehow (maybe) survived within the network, and Stamets was able to live there briefly, then maybe Lorca is too? Also, others have mentioned the little green spore that landed on Tilly – maybe that’s Lorca posession her or something? Okay that last bits not credible.
  2. Prime Lorca will make an appearance. Now, this is my preferred option! We’ve seen bad-Lorca, what would good-Lorca look like? We need to know what happened to him and I have a hunch we will find out more about this in the remaining episodes.

Captain Saru

My, my! What an inspirational speech by Saru this week! Doug Jones should honestly win many awards for his performance so far in this show. This episode is the closest the Discovery crew has come to being ‘typical trek’. Now that Lorca has gone, it’s almost like a shadow has lifted and we now are able to see the crew properly for the first time. Surely it’s no coincidence that under Lorca the crew remained largely nameless, but under Saru the minor characters of the bridge are getting more time to shine (and also even a few lines).

I’m hoping that Saru gets the command permanently! Though, I’m not sure he will 🙁

Emperor Georgiou

Wasn’t it a bit too easy to overthrow the Emperor of the Terran Empire on her flagship palace/fortress? Perhaps there were many of her undoubtedly massive crew that had secretly sworn loyalty to Lorca? Either way, Georgiou’s ongoing and developing relationship with Burham is taking on a weird twist.

Prime-Burnham perhaps is making the same mistake with Mirror-Georgiou as  Mirror-Lorca did with our Prime-Burnham. She is projecting the virtuous characteristics and memories of her own Prime-Captian Georgiou onto Mirror-Emperor Georgiou. When she looks at Mirror-Georgiou she hoping that there is a bit of Prime-Georgiou inside of her, somewhere. Well, I’m thinking this will turn out to be a very big mistake!

This is how I see this one going. Back in the Prime Universe Burham will try to reform Emperor Georgiou and will nearly succeed, but this arc will ultimately end in failure – with dramatic consequences too (as this is what happens in tv shows).

How this arc plays out, it is a very interesting development indeed!

Throne Room Fighting

I have to admit, this scene was awesome. As I was watching, I genuinely felt scared. Not for Burnham’s life but for Lorca’s – and I’m not even sure why. This scene was a lovely throwback to the second episode in the series with Georgiou and Burnham fighting side-by-side.

Back to Prime

Finally, the episode finished with the Discovery finding its way back to the Prime Universe and only ‘missing’ by 9 months.

I’m going to write this next sentence in bold. This was the perfect opportunity for the show to jump forward to beyond the year 2400 – to the future basically. Post-voyager, post-TNG, post-everything!

This would have solved a lot of the show’s percieved problems! It would answer a lot of the questions that hang over the show (the spore drive etc) that were created by the fact that this is a prequel.

Opportunity missed!

Instead, we have jumped forward 9 months to discover the Federation is all but gone! Just a stray thought – as a prequel, doesn’t this development re-write the history books? I don’t recall the Klingons ever completely defeating the Federation? It’s all a bit confusing but I trust that the showrunners know what they are doing.

Anyway, enough of my thoughts! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

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