Star Trek: Discovery S01E13 “What’s Past is Prologue” REVIEW

Star Trek: Discovery S01E13 “What’s Past is Prologue” REVIEW

0 comments 📅16 September 2018, 09:00

Airing in the US on CBS All Access and in the UK on Netflix
Written by: Ted Sullivan
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Lut De’ ghoS (spoilers ahead)

Just two more episodes left in season one and all indications are that we’re going to be left with the mother of all cliffhangers that will – if CBS has thought this through properly – have fans of Discovery debating what comes next for the eight months before season two.

So, where are we? Incidentally, “What’s past is prologue” is a line from Act II, Scene I of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest”. It also inspired the title of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Past Prologue” (S1, Ep2) as well as Jake Sisko’s story “Past Prologue” in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “The Ascent” (S5, Ep9) and the Star Trek (1966) novel “Past Prologue”.

Lorca (Jason Isaacs) sets about at once freeing his faithful followers from their Agonizers aboard the Emperor’s ship, the ISS Charon – apparently they’ve been in the there for over a year and a half. That’s gotta hurt. And yes, in the final chamber that slowly opens, we see former Head of Security and Final Five Cylon, Commander Landry (Rekha Sharma) and it turns out she is in fact from the Mirror Universe and the idiot who was hilariously tragically killed by the tardigrade in episode four was actually the Original Universe. Bummer.

Weapons are handed out and a plan is formed to take the ship. Upon entering the science lab, Lorca finds MU Stamets (Anthony Rapp) cowering behind a hologramatic projection of a interior panel. So there wasn’t a switch up between the two Stamets as they woke from their spore-induced trip, despite it certainly looking that way last week, so much the better.

Lorca reveals in a monologue that he ended up in the OU by way of a transporter accident when the ISS Buran came under fire from the ISS Charon close to an ion storm. He unleashes a bio-weapon Stamets had been developing for the Emperor through the air vents and we cut to many of Georgiou’s (Michelle Yeoh) crew spasming and foaming at the mouth à la The Rock (1996).

Interestingly, Jordon Nardino, writer of episode last week’s episode “Vaulting Ambition” explained how the many titles of Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) on Twitter.

“When we began digging into the Terrans last year, I had just read a newer history of Rome and was excited to use it as inspiration. Father of the Fatherland is easy, we turned that into Mother of the Fatherland, even tho we de-gendered Emperor, it felt right

“Overlord of Vulcan: an early conquest of the Terrans, they see themselves as their protectors. It’s paternalistic / delusional. Dominus of Kronos: Terrans are very proud of conquering Qo’noS. Dominus is a harsher title the Emperor at the time took as a result (and Georgiou kept for herself). We own them. Qo’noS mispronounced out of cultural chauvinism. Regina Andor: Andoria is a jewel in the Terran crowd. Subjugated warrior race. Early Terran conquest, pre-Sato. The title was created to celebrate this achievement

“Now as for Georgiou’s many names, Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius. Philipa Georgiou: her given name and her family name, just like Prime. Augustus: the Terrans see themselves as inheritors of the Roman Empire so their Emperors take the title of its first Emperor. Iaponius is Latin for Japanese. This, in my fever dream, is a title Hoshi Sato adopted when she named herself Empress, to honor her homeland.

“So, is Georgiou descended from Hoshi!? Well, Hoshi was Empress. One hundred years later, Georgiou is Emperor. Georgiou took one of Hoshi’s titles as her own to connect them. So Hoshi’s legacy as Empress must be good and Georgiou must either be connected to her in a chain of succession or might want to create that connection. But they have different ethnic backgrounds. Hoshi is Japanese, Philipa is Chinese-Malaysian. So I don’t think it’s likely Philipa is a direct descendent like a great-grandchild. Cousins is possible. More likely though – whoever inherited Hoshi’s throne was someone she adopted as a child and heir, the way most Roman emperors did. And that Emperor adopted his/her heir, and so on, until we get to Georgiou.

“And she is proud of the connection and flaunts it with the title Iaponius. But it’s not canon until it’s on screen so that’s just one writer’s opinion. As for Centaurius, I figured it was the first system colonized by the Terrans since it’s closest to Sol so it was a title the Emperor at the time took in tribute. Hope someone found this informative!”

So now we’ve got that cleared up. Georgiou is monitoring Lorca’s progress from the throne room and denies Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) the chance to warn the Discovery, instead commanding that she be taken to the brig. Without hesitation, Burnham disables her guard and escapes.

OU Stamets learns that the mycelial network is dying, as a result of abuse from the MU Stamets and if it dies…then all life in the universe dies too! Not sure if TOS-era, Kirk-style, over-dramatic theatrics sit well in Star Trek: Discovery, but what can you do. Seems that big sun-like thing in the middle of the ISS Charon is powered by the spores and to cut a lot of technobabble out, that’s what’s killing the mycelial network.

An interesting firefight ensues ion the cathedral-like corridors of the Charon. It seems even in the Mirror Universe it’s necessary to have your gun make a safety on/off sound to signify your willingness to use it. Georgiou has a personal shield that Lorca must get through and in doing so he happily lets half his faithful fall. However, she manages to escape by engaging an emergency transport.

Burnham meanwhile has accessed a communication conduit and is attempting to warn Saru (Doug Jones) and the Discovery. She tells them that Lorca is in fact from the Mirror Universe – this is the first time the crew have heard this. Saru even “hangs a lantern” to use a writer’s term, on the fact that his threat ganglia hadn’t sensed anything out of the ordinary.

Lorca himself has made his way to the throne room and his megalomanic monologue before he has MU Stamets executed is actually brilliant.

“We’ve reached a tipping point…where your usefulness to me is outweighed by the risk of keeping you alive,” Lorca says, sword in hand as he prowls the throne room. “I mean, I’m never gonna trust you…”

At which point Lorca’s loyal subjects level their weapons at poor Stamets.

With just a nod of his head, Lorca signals one his subjects to activate a hatch that slides open in the floor and reveals a sheer drop right into the centre of the energy orb powering the mighty ISS Charon.

“The living core of the mycelial network,” Lorca muses. “It’s poetic justice, don’t you think, the scientist destroyed by his own creation…”

“…just kidding,” he says and for one brief second, Stamets feels a sense of relief. “I hate poetry,” Lorca sneers and Stamets is disintegrated a barrage of blaster fire.

Bravo Mr Isaacs, bravo.

Burnham convinces Georgiou that she can stop Lorca and we aren’t 100 percent sure at this point whether Burnham is being totally honest with Georgiou when she says things like, “I lost my captain and I won’t lose you” blahblahblah or if she’s being very clever and telling the Emperor whatever it takes to get her help in destroying the energy orb and thus saving all life in the universe. We shall see.

Back on the Discovery it turns out there’s a problem. By destroying the orb, it will send out a very powerful shockwave that would also destroy the Discovery. Sensing the need to motivate the crew to find a solution, Saru steps up and his finest moment so far as he gives a stirring speech as acting ship’s captain. He’s matured nicely into this role now and it will be interetsing to see if he remains captain of the USS Discovery.

“It is well known that my species has the ability to sense the coming of death…I do not sense it today,” he says. “We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” Just kidding. He doesn’t say that.

Burnham and Georgiou allow themselves to be captured by Lorca’s forces and they are inevitably taken to the thrown room. Burnham offers Lorca the Emperor and even herself, in exchange (just her mind though) for the survival of the Discovery.

With the use of technobabble, Stamets and Tilly (Mary Wiseman) come up with a plan. So they’re going to reverse the polarity, reset the phase inducers and generate an inverted tachyon field – or something – and just like Snake Plissken in Escape from LA (1996) surf the shockwave out. Once we’re past all the gobbledygook, the Discovery drops out of warp and is hailed by the Charon. Burnham assures Saru she is safe and does that whole, less-than-subtle thing where she lets him know that its time to put the plan into action. Seconds later, both Burnham and Georgiou attack their captors and a fight ensues that, at times, somewhat stretches our power of belief.

The Discovery simultaneously opens fire on the Charon and everything kicks off. It’s a tag team as Burnham takes on Landry and Georgiou fights Lorca. Burnham gets to a phaser first and tells Lorca that they would’ve helped if he’d just asked, that’s who Starfleet is…and that’s why she won’t kill him.

“But I will!” screams Georgiou and thrusts the full length of a sword through Lorca before opening that hatch in the floor and unceremoniously kicking him out.

Georgiou and Burnham share a special moment as they ponder their victory. It’s highly unlikely Jason Isaacs is coming back from that one. The containment field surrounding the orb can now be lowered so the Discovery can blast the Charon to pieces and save all life in the universe.

The last of Lorca’s loyal troops try to enter the throne room as Georgiou gives a moving speech about how much of an honour it was to fight alongside Burnham and how she will buy her enough time to escape. As the Discovery begins to beam Burnham up, she leaps onto Georgiou and so she is taken too. The Discovery successfully destroys the Charon and engages the spore drive to travel back to the Original Universe…only they’ve arrived nine months after they left…and the Klingons have won the war.

Two episodes left to go people. How is the DASH drive going to be rendered inoperable as it never appeared in any other Trek series? Added to which, Georgiou was pissed at Burnham for bringing her back…probably a very selfish act on Burnham’s behalf.

Mexican wave ✓

 The TOS sound effect for Discovery’s photon torpedo and other, very subtle TOS sounds
 Ensign Daftpunk Airiam finally gets a chance to speak!
 Saru’s inspirational speech was damn inspiring
 Was nice to not be distracted by the whole Tylervoq thing this week
 Nice use is made of the reoccurring sentimental Starfleet badge, for both Burnham and Georgiou

Genesis wave ✗

 We never got to actually see the USS Defiant
 Pretty sure some of Georgiou’s high kicks were actually just a leg prop held off-camera
 In fact, that whole fight was like something out of Austin Powers “Karate chop!”
 Does this spell the end of Captain Lorca? He did fall into a giant space MacGuffin after all
 Landry’s death (again) feels like a missed opportunity

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Star Trek: Discovery – all episode reviews
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Star Trek: Discovery S01E12 “Vaulting Ambition” REVIEW
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