Star Trek: Discovery – What’s Past Is Prologue – Back to the Future


This was a pretty good episode but it moved really quickly and involved some head-scratchers. First, why is everyone aboard the Discovery OK with vaporizing the crew of the Charon? Second, where is the real I.S.S. Discovery? Why was Emperor Georgiou’s ship so easy to overthrow? Why, after dealing with the threat of Lorca’s rebellion was Georgiou not able to retain power? Ah well, the Klingons are taking over Federation space!!!
What’s Past Is Prologue
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After a four-episode stint in the Mirror Universe that ended with What’s Past Is Prologue, the crew of the U.S.S Discovery is back in their own reality … probably. Due to a slight mycelial piloting error by Stamets, the U.S.S. Discovery returns to their own reality nine months after it left. Though gone longer than they had hoped, a six month absence shouldn’t pose much of a problem to a ship full of intrepid Starfleet explorers, except that during their time spent A.W.O.L. the Klingon Empire appears to have won its war against the Federation — oops. A long-range scan shows that space that was previously under the jurisdiction of the Federation is now under the jurisdiction of the Klingon Empire. Way to go, Stamets.

But, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Before discussing what’s in store for the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery over the course of the final two episodes of Discovery’s maiden season, I should first talk about What’s Past Is Prologue, which rounded out the first season’s exploration of the Mirror Universe. This episode featured a pretty significant change to the show’s format. The loss of Gabriel Lorca, even though he turned out to be Mirror-Lorca, means a big change for Discovery, both the ship and the show.

What’s Past Is Prologue – Captain Saru?

The question on many fans’ minds now is likely, “Who will captain the U.S.S. Discovery now that Lorca is gone?” All signs point to Saru, Discovery’s first officer, but one wonders if a) viewers will be OK with the show featuring an alien whose face is covered in prostheses as captain, and b) if Doug Jones is interested in staying on for the long haul.

One very interesting part about Lorca being revealed as a Mirror Universe interloper is that now that he’s out of the picture, the crew of the Discovery can start their mission in earnest without fear of being manipulated by a power-hungry madman from another dimension. Whether or not this will make Discovery seem more like a Star Trek show than the dark vision of the future it has been so far remains to be seen.

What’s Past Is Prologue – “You Must Kill Zem All!”

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Although I found this episode to be one of the better ones to air so far, it did have its problems. I found that the most offensive transgression against the Star Trek franchise’s core philosophy of unity and peacefulness was the Discovery crew’s willingness to vaporize the entire crew of Georgiou’s ship, the I.S.S. Charon, in order to return home. True, the orb that powered the Charon was destroying the mycelial network and subsequently all of reality, but maybe there was a less violent way to solve these problems.

As I said in a previous article, it’s not like everyone in the Terran Empire is a bad person who deserves death. Like anyone from the Prime universe, inhabitants of the Mirror Universe are sentient beings with the agency to do both good and evil. I suppose we should just add the names of Emperor Georgiou’s subjects aboard the Charon to the growing list of Burnham’s collateral victims.

What’s Past Is Prologue – Trading One Dead Captain for Another

Speaking of the displaced emperor, she’s in for a serious period of adjustment. Beyond simply having to get used to all the bright lights, which represents one of the stupidest bits of writing Discovery viewers have had to sit through so far, Georgiou will also have to limit her consumption of cooked Kelpien. I doubt Discovery’s acting captain keeps much in the ship’s galley.

If Georgiou survives long enough to see the Federation’s eventual re-emergence as the prevailing power in the Alpha quadrant, it’ll be interesting to see how Starfleet deals with her unique case. Having to detain a deposed emperor from an alternate reality is a pretty rare assignment. Maybe Starfleet will be forced to call upon the morally questionable Section 31 to get the job done …

What’s Past Is Prologue – Final Thoughts

After five episodes that either involve or take place entirely within the Mirror Universe, Star Trek: Discovery has now tied Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for most episodes involving the Mirror Universe. But now that they’re home, it looks like the crew of the Discovery will have their work cut out for them as the only visible Federation ship deep in newly defined Klingon territory.

Throughout their jaunt in the Mirror Universe, viewers got no indication of what the I.S.S. Discovery was doing in the prime reality. Is it possible that the newly fortified Klingon Empire is a result of actions from that ship? Based on the trailer for the next episode, The War Without, The War Within, viewers can expect to see the return of both Admiral Cornwell and Sarek. Unfortunately, the trailer also features a lot of rhetoric about how Federation methods aren’t working. Luckily for them, Emperor Georgiou is there to guide them in the ways of war mongering.

It will be a shame if, after ridding Discovery of one power-hungry madman, the ship simply becomes home to a power-hungry madwoman in the person of Emperor Georgiou. It’s been … interesting to see this dark side of Star Trek, but now that we have, it would be great if Discovery started to be a show that features the positive effects of fair dealing and altruism, even when dealing with an enemy who shoots before asking questions.


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Michael Bedford
Under intense scrutiny by the Temporal Authorities, I was coerced into actualizing my capsule in this causality loop. Through no fault of my own, I am marooned on this dangerous yet lovely level-four civilization. Stranded here, I have spent most of my time learning what I can of the social norms and oddities of the Terran species, including how to properly use the term "Hipster" and how to perform a "perfect pour." Under the assumed name of "Michael Bedford," I have completed BA's with specialized honours in both theatre studies and philosophy, and am currently saving up for enough galactic credits to buy a new--or suitably used--temporal contextualizer ... for a friend.
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