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STAR TREK DISCOVERY “What’s Past is Prologue” Review

By on January 29, 2018

Ben Mark Holzberg





Will Surviving the Mirror Universe Create More Problems Than It Solves on Star Trek Discovery?

If you are starting to feel like these reviews seem to end with an inevitable “just when you thought things in the Mirror Universe couldn’t get anyone more twisted…” well that’s what this back half of the first season of Star Trek Discovery has felt like, hasn’t it?

We started off yet again dumped in the middle of the action we left off with last week. Michael is trapped with Mirror Georgiou who does not trust her, and she has just discovered that the Lorca she has always known is, in fact, Mirror Lorca after all. And he is coming to destroy Emperor Giorgio.

As if that wasn’t enough Discovery is dealing with the fact that in this universe the spore drive is effectively tearing apart the entire network in order to produce massive amounts of energy. If it isn’t stopped it will rip apart all life in every known universe, including our own. Discovery might be able to stop it by blowing up the drive on board the Mirror ship, but will she survive the attempt, much less get home to the world she knows? That’s just the start of the questions, really.

First We Have To Survive the Revolution

Almost immediately, Michael tries to assure Emperor Georgiou that if it comes down to contest between her and the Lorca impostor, she’s on her side. But of course, no Mirror Universe character lives on trust, so Georgiou orders her guards to take her to the brig. But she knows that Lorca is on the move and so she escapes, trying to get word to Discovery before they can rendezvous with the ship and find out the Captain is probably going to try to kill them all. Nevertheless, he gives a word that Michael is not to be harmed, and that he hopes they can still rule this empire together. Michael gets word to Discovery, then makes clear to Lorca she has no intention of taking him up on his deal. He’s still quite sure she will come around.

Instead, Michael goes in search of Georgiou, who was astonished that she was able to find her, especially since the bracelet she wears renders even her life signs undetectable. This reveals to her how well Michael must have known her counterpart in our universe. Michael quickly lays out a plan, letting Georgiou know she really isn’t part of Lorca’s scheme.

In fact, she’s here to stop him and make sure that she doesn’t lose Georgiou through an act of her own betrayal a second time. So they set the trap, and Michael allows Lorca to think that she will join him, and give him the Emperor as long as he lets her ship and crew go free. This involves making contact with Discovery to let them know how the deal is intended to go. When Saru sees Michael in position near the control for the drive containment field, and she lets them know she’s in the place she’s supposed to be, he says he has seen all he needs.

Ben Mark Holzberg

To Lorca, it seems almost bittersweet enough, but in reality, it’s a signal. A battle breaks out, Lorca and his crew vs Michael and Georgiou. Eventually it all comes down to a fight between Michael and Lorca. When he hesitates in killing her, she gets the drop on him and pulls a phaser, but says she won’t kill him. That’s not what Starfleet does. Georgiou has no such qualms, and runs him through her sword, then throws him into the open drive. She vows to hold off Lorca’s guards while Michael gets away so that she can live. But as Discovery locks onto Michael’s signal, she jumps at the last second and pulls Georgiou into the transporter beam with her.

And Then We Save the Universe

Meanwhile, amid the chaos, Discovery has had to figure out how they were going to destroy the Imperial ship with its universe contaminating spore drive – preferably staying alive and getting home in the process.

At first, it seems like a no-win scenario, any version the crew can come up with involves the ship being blown up in the ensuing shockwave. Plus, they don’t have to use all of their spore supply inside of the detonating devices in order to correct the damage to the network. So, even if they don’t get blown up, it seems they’ll unlikely to be able to use the spore drive to get out of this universe and back to our own.

But Saru who has assumed command of the Discovery insists that the crew not give in to a no-win scenario. He says it is well-known that his people can sense death coming — and he does not sense it today.

Eventually, it’s Tilly who is able to explain to Stamets that if they can just stay on the outer edge of the shockwave, they might be able to surf the outer edge of the network like a wave, and use the ambient spores to power their own drive home. Navigating correctly back to their universe will be tricky, but it’s a chance they realise they have to take. Stamets realizes too that they might be able to use the warp drive bubble as an added cushion for their shields in order to avoid being destroyed by the wave.

It is this plan of action that Michael returns in the midst of, clutching a confused Mirror Georgiou. There’s no time to explain as Stamets follows his ghostly lover’s advice and follows the music home – almost.

They successfully arrive back in their universe, but, nine months later. They can reach no one from Starfleet. In the missing nine months, the Klingons appear to have won the war. This raises so many questions: Will they go back in time at some point? Can they? What do they do with their new Mirror Universe ride along, to say nothing of their Klingon captive, and Tyler the converted Klingon? Is Prime Lorca still out there somewhere? Will Michael have to go back to prison?

Let’s hope the two remaining episodes of the season reveal at least some of these answers.

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