Star Trek Discovery: 1.13 What's Past Is Prologue
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With the revelations of the last couple of weeks out the way, all that was left was for us to watch as Mirror Lorca enacted his endgame; take control of Emperor Georgiou's ship and install himself as the new supreme leader of the Terran Empire. With a title like “What's Past Is Prologue” I had hoped that we would be shown Mirror Lorca's past, exactly how he wound up in the Prime Universe and how he concocted his plan to commandeer Discovery, get his hands on Burnham and ride the spore drive all the way to victory against the woman he initially failed to overthrow. Unfortunately, no such backstory was forthcoming, at least not in the way of flashbacks. Instead we were treated to a few lines of exposition here and there to bring us up to speed on Mirror Lorca's near-death escape from the Emperor's clutches and his plan to get her back. It wasn't too bad, but if ever you have the chance to show or tell your audience something, especially a dimension hopping backstory filled with sedition, murder and interstellar travel, then you bloody well show it!
Thankfully Jason Isaacs, who has been brilliant as Lorca up until now, was phenomenal as Mirror Lorca, chewing the scenery as his evil counterpart (that he was all along). Espousing messages about destiny, he led a band of loyal separatists recently freed from the Terran's agony booths in an attempt to take the Imperial flag ship by force - including the Mirror version of Commander Landry which was particularly cool as her character had been killed off in episode four and it did seem such a waste of a good actress. What followed was straight up Star Trek action, albeit with a Terran twist. So often due to the peace keeping nature of Star Trek's central philosophy, full on warfare is avoided and when engaged in combat, Starfleet officers often look silly rushing into a fight armed with a phaser, a boiler suit and strong code of ethics. Here the Terrans, many of whom were Mirrors to the Discovery's crew, fought to the death for control of the ship, as they knew being on the losing side was not an option. The action set pieces, including a simple shoot out in a crowded corridor were great to see, with both sides using the sci-fi setting and various underhanded tactics to try gain ground over the other.
Amid all this Michael slipped away from Emperor Georgiou and managed to message Discovery updating them on her situation, Lorca's big secret and to devise a plan to stop the Terrans in the use of their own spore drive, as you see back on Discovery, Stamets had discovered something huge. Mirror Stamets, who was unceremoniously, almost comically, killed off by Lorca once he had served his purpose, had not created a spore drive that worked in harmony with the mycelial network, but one that drained energy directly from it instead. Whist this gave the Imperial Palace ship its impressive mini-sun core, it threatened to destroy the network and thus all life, across all realities, forever. In their arrogance over tapping into this natural energy source, the Terrans, who were always meant to represent humanity at its worst, threatened all life everywhere. Discovery had to come up with a plan to stop them.
At first faced with a no win scenario of sacrificing themselves to save the multiverse, Discovery, with Saru stepping up to take full command following the revelations about Lorca, tasked his crew with finding a way to beat the odds. Long-time fans of Star Trek should be familiar with this ideology, and they formulated a plan that would involve destroying the Imperial ship’s core, saving the multiverse and riding the shockwave all the way back to their own dimension. As ridiculously over the top as the plan may have seemed it was the perfect time for supporting cast, who have quietly been the backbone of the show since the pilot, coming together as a crew, sworn to uphold the tenets of The Federation in the preservation of life and functioning as something better than the sum of its parts. As they manoeuvred Discovery into place to execute the plan, I found myself rooting for every bridge officer, from tactical to helm, all of whom I had grown familiar with and given silly nicknames to in lieu of learning their real names, to Saru himself looking every bit the Captain in the chair to succeed. Pinpoint precision would be needed to pull it off. But just as Saru did, I had faith in this crew. I’ve since gone on to learn their names.
Michael and Emperor Georgiou dispatched Lorca and his loyalists, which was equal parts entertaining and disappointing as I had grown to love Isaacs in Star Trek: Discovery. But with Lorca impaled by the Emperor’s blade and his body dropped into the core below, the Imperial ship's heart was exposed and Discovery was able beam Michael to safety, blow the whole thing to kingdom come and warp out of there riding the mycelial shockwave all the way back home. With Stamets remembering what “Ghost Hugh” had told him in the network, he guided the ship home back to their own universe, recharging the network and saving all existence along the way, a unique mesh of science fiction and faith crossing over. It was when they got home that a further twist was revealed and not one fans could have seen coming this time.
You see Discovery may have got home to their own universe, but they had over shot the exact point in time they left. As such Discovery had skipped over 9 months. Not too bad I thought, but quickly they discovered that in the time they had been gone, the Klingon Empire had defeated the Federation and won the war for the Alpha Quadrant. This could have been a season finale for any other show but instead we still have two episodes to go and frankly, I have no idea where. Brilliant isn’t it? There also the added complication that Michael had at the last second, grabbed Emperor Georgiou as she was beamed back and brought her with her. Surely, Michael couldn’t be so blinded by sentiment to forget that this version of Georgiou was (is?) a genocidal conqueror? Either way, with Issacs gone I’m more than ok with Yoeh returning to the series to fill the void.
With these final two episodes to follow, I have not a clue where Star Trek: Discovery is headed. More time travel? Another trip through the multiverse? How are Ash or The Emperor going to come into play? I’m genuinely thrilled for these final chapters in what has been to my mind, a more than worthy entry into Star Trek canon.