Star Trek Discovery: What’s Past is Prologue

Mirror Lorca has made his move, and now his followers are keen to help him dethrone Georgiou and take control of the Empire. Whilst Burnham joins forces with the mirror version of her former captain in order to put a stop to Lorca’s plan, Stamets has dire news. The mirror Stamets’ version of the spore drive is very different to the one aboard Discovery, and holds the potential to not only corrupt the entire mycelial network, but to destroy life in every universe.

In practical viewing terms, this episode marks a bit of a deviation from the norm. My occasional viewing companion and I took advantage of being in the US this week to sign up for a trial of CBS All-Access and enjoy Discovery hours earlier than we could have done in the UK. Consider that achievement unlocked.

But what about the episode itself? As the final entry in the mirror universe arc, this episode had a lot to achieve. Consequently, it felt a bit rushed and disappointing compared to all the set up and revelations of the last couple of episodes. This episode is basically the equivalent of the last thirty minutes of a blockbuster movie, with lots of phaser rifles, close combat and evil weapons of mass destruction getting blown up. As with so many plot lines, the denouement does indeed come down to “heroes blow up the big sphere of evil, thus saving the universe”.

As someone who prefers nuance and good dialogue to carefully choreographed fight scenes and massive explosions, this episode wasn’t really for me. And when you add in Lorca going on about fate and destiny at every turn, it’s actually a relief when he finally perishes.

I spent most of this episode fondly reminiscing about the old days, when Discovery was about a war with the Klingons. But it looks like we’re getting back on track with that in the next episode, so bring it on!

Mirror universe arc death count: Hugh Culber, Mirror Stamets, Mirror Lorca, Tyler’s human personality (maybe), Georgiou’s advisers, a nameless Kelpian, numerous generics.

Notes and Observations
• At the end of the last episode, I thought the two Stamets ended up in the wrong bodies, but that’s not the case here. Was this ever actually meant to be a thing, or did I misunderstand that scene?
• Why was there a trapdoor to the Charon’s spore core anyway? It seems as unnecessary as that perilous corridor in GalaxyQuest, and that was a deliberate spoof of needlessly dangerous architecture aboard starships.
• Lorca ends up crossing universes thanks to a transporter accident caused by an ion storm. This is exactly how Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and Scotty ended up in the mirror universe in Mirror, Mirror.
• Will mirror Georgiou become a recurring character? I liked that Burnham rescued her at the last second, thus saving an interesting character, demonstrating the complicated bond between them, and subverting the “I’ll buy you some time at the cost of my life” trope.
• The mycelial network has been saved from corruption, which puts paid to my theory that it would get destroyed here, thus explaining why it doesn’t show up in any other Star Trek series.

Summary – What’s Past is Prologue: And we’re back in the prime universe at last.

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