SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from Star Trek: Discovery episode “What’s Past is Prologue.” Proceed with caution.
On the newest episode of Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek payed homage to another sci-fi franchise in a galaxy far, far away. When the crew of the Discovery learned that the Empress’ ship was powered by a Mycelium core, Burnham was sent on a mission to disable the core’s shield. With the shields down, Discovery could blow up the core — a la a Star Wars style Death Star trench run. This episode also uncovered more of Terran Lorca’s plans, which included the overthrow of Georgiou’s Empire. Let’s explore the themes and plot points of the episode, “What’s Past is Prologue.”
With Lorca out of containment, he was able to free his former rebellion teams. Together, they took over the Empress’ ship and demanded Burnham be unharmed. Lorca then proceeded to explain how he was still alive. During his first coup in the Terran Mirror Universe, his ship was being attacked. Just as he beamed back on board, his ship hit an ion storm. This storm, combined with the transporter beam, sent Lorca to the Prime Universe.
Once in the Prime Universe, it was only a matter of time before Lorca found Stamets, found Discovery, found the Spores, found Burnham and plotted his own course home. After Lorca explained what happened, he and his band of rebels began executing Georgiou’s crew until she surrendered.
Burnham’s Counter Plan
While Burnham was hiding from Lorca, she contacted the Discovery. The Discovery had found a way home — the destruction of the Mycelial core, but they needed Burnham to lower the shields around it. Burnham used Lorca’s obsession with her to bargain for the life of Discovery’s crew and then pretended to surrender Georgiou to gain access to the throne room. Only from the throne room could she disable the core’s shields, a la Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars: A New Hope.
The fight sequence in the throne room was almost shot for shot, Burnham and Georgiou’s fight on T’Kuvma’s sarcophagus ship in the first two episodes of the season. This fight, however, ended very differently. Instead of Georgiou falling at the hands of T’Kuvma, or in this case Lorca, he fell at her hand. Georgiou killed Lorca and threw him into the core. Burnham then disabled the containment field around the core and requested transport. While Georgiou had planned to go down with her ship as a disgraced Empress, Burnham grabbed her and together they beamed back to the Discovery.
Once the containment field was down, the Discovery simultaneously blew up the Mycelial core and used it’s energy to create a warp bubble. Once their own Spore Drive was engaged, the Discovery was able to plot a course back to the Prime Universe. At first, Stamets was overwhelmed by the Drive’s navigation, but his memory of Dr. Culber helped calm his mind and find home.
When the Discovery finally stopped traveling through space and time, Stamets confirmed that they did indeed return to their own universe but that they overshot by nine months. During the time they were gone, the Klingons won the war and destroyed over 1/3 of Starfleet. This is not the history of Star Trek as we thought we knew it. Can the Discovery go back in time? Or does Star Trek: Discovery now take place in an alternate timeline?
Only time will tell.
Star Trek: Discovery airs Sundays at 5:30PST/8:30EST on CBS All Access and globally on Netflix the following day.