WHAT’S PAST IS PROLOGUE
Ending with last week’s episode’s BIG reveal about Lorca, Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 13 asks a thoughtful question about destiny and fate. How do we perceive our destiny and fate and how it will all end? Destiny. Fate. Reality. Quoting Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” “What’s Past Is Prologue” and Star Trek: Discovery’s writing have great backstory that is necessary to understand and enjoy the full effect of each of them. Mixed with the allusions of MacBeth’s”Vaulting Ambition” Ted Sullivan’s writing this week does justice to Star Trek: Discovery. And it keeps with the tradition of Star Trek’s obsession with The Bard alive.
MAIN AND GUEST CHARACTERS, WRITERS AND DIRECTORS
Captain/Science Specialist Michael Burnham
First Officer/ Captain Saru
Lt. Ash Tyler/Voq
Captain/Cadet Sylvia Tilly
Captain Gabriel Lorca
Director: Olatunde Osunsanmi
Cinematography: Glen Keenan
Writer: Ted Sullivan
Airdate: January 28, 2018
In the Agonizer room, Lorca releases his crewmen who were imprisoned in the agonizer chambers for following him in the rebellion against the Emperor-Georgiou. This includes Commander Landry (her counterpart died
fighting a tardigrade in the fourth episode.) Lorca promises to make the empire “glorious again” by transmission seeking more followers for his resistance against Georgiou. He seizes control of the ISS Charon and threatens to uproot Georgiou revealing his location to her for a showdown. He also is told by Mirror Stamets his folly of leaking the coup to Georgiou without Lorca’s consent. Lorca finishes Stamets for that later. In the meantime Mirror universe Stamets provides Lorca with a new biological weapon to use in the war.
Georgiou listens to the transmission and orders Burnham into the Brig not allowing her to contact the Discovery to them of the upcoming battle between Lorca and Georgiou. Burnham escapes Georgiou’s crewmen. Lorca urges Burnham to join the rebellion and notifies his team not to injure her.
The Discovery is en route to the palace ship Charon when Saru releases Stamets for work as engineer. Stamets levels with Saru and the crew about Mirror universe Paul Stamets corrupting the mycelial network for evil gains-using its resources to power the flagship Charon.
In the corridor, Georgiou is met by lone Owosekun, the sole survivor of the massacre on her party by Lorca. She is to give a message to Georgiou reporting the events of the fight. Soon after delivering this message, Lorca and his team kill her starting a phaser fracas. All of Georgiou’s team are dead except for Georgiou herself who beams away to another part of the ship.
Meanwhile, Burnham contacts Discovery. She has the unpleasant duty of wising Saru and crew that Lorca is from the Mirror universe and cannot be trusted. Ordering them to leave quickly, Burnham briefs the crew of Discovery about the hostilities between Lorca and Emperor Georgiou.
Saru, on the other hand, updates Burnham on the corruption of the mycelial network that Stamets learned while in the mycelial forest and in his comatose state. Due to the palace ship’s unhealthy use of the network as an
energy source, the mycelial reactor must be obliterated to save all universes and every timeline. Discovery must be in proximity to fire a spore filled photon torpedo. However, the shock wave from the explosion consume the ship and devour the spore drive. Discovery will be stranded in the mirror universe.
Burnham decides to help Georgiou rout Lorca and his rebellion. They allow themselves to be captured by Lorca and his crew. They are brought to the throne room. Bartering herself for the release and escape of Discovery’s crew, Lorca blabs to the Discovery crew about Burnham’s decision. This gives Saru time to fire on the ship and Georgiou and Burnham to stage a comeback against Lorca’s forces and lower the containment shields on the mycelial reactor. Burnham struggles against Lorca in the throne room until she wins pointing her phaser at him. She confesses the Federation would have helped Lorca return to his mirror universe if he had asked for help. She spares his life, however, Georgiou does not and in a twist of fate, stabs Lorca in the back. Georgiou then throws Lorca into the reactor chamber.
Gerogiou hands Burnham her communicator to contact her ship and admits that fighting alongside Burnham reminded her of the Mirror universe
Burnham quite a bit. Georgiou knows her time is short with the rest of Lorca’s rebellion advancing to the throne room and realizes her own demise. She will prolong the rebellion’s advancement as long as she can so Burnham can transport home.
In so doing, Burnham has a thought and rushes Georgiou saving her from her own fate. They are transported back to Discovery. Discovery fires on the mycelial reactor and warps into its center. Using the mycelial network to jump, Discovery travels through its own universe with the help of Culber’s ghost reminding a confused Stamets through a rejuvenating mycelial network and showing him the way home. Discovery arrives in their universe-the prime universe. But they overshot their mark by nine months-in the future. The Klingons, it appears- have won the war.
THEMES AND OTHER LITERARY DEVICES
First in the title, “What’s Past Is Prologue” is a quote from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” Act II scene i. It means the past is only the beginning to a wonderful future if you follow through with your plan. In “The Tempest” it is Sebastian, the villain and very Lorca-like, who suggests to Alonso to kill his father to be king and take his place. Sound familiar? It hints to us that the writers even borrowed the plot of the Shakespearean tale in some respects.
Plans. One of the running themes that makes a blatant emergence. Georgiou even states directly to Burnham in the throne room,”It was a good plan.” She gives the impression that she is well pleased with Burnham’s plan and deception to Lorca. Let’s analyze Lorca’s long range plan of returning to his mirror universe. He, too, has been conniving the entire time misleading Lt. Stamets and putting Stamets’ life in jeopardy and lying to Saru and Burnham about how they arrived in the mirror universe.
Escapes. Lorca and Landry escape the agonizer booths. Georgiou and Burnham escape Lorca’s rebellion. After a plan is a way of escape. Skillful writing. Everyone in this episode has a plan almost like an effect for every cause.
Communicator. An expression of communicating with others. In the mid season cliffhanger “Into The Forest I Go,” Burnham is trapped on the Klingon ship of the Dead. She lays down the phaser and the communicator to face the Klingon leader Kol. Now, the device she needs is kept from her by the Emperor Georgiou. Burnham must contact Discovery. It must put as much distance between it and the Charon as possible. Again, Star Trek: Discovery uses death in Greek mythology in the sixth episode “Lethe.”
Salvation. Burnham saves the life of Emperor Georgiou. In the “Vulcan Hello,” Burnham was not able to save Georgiou or transport her body back to the USS Shenzhou. In this episode, Burnham delivers Georgiou to the USS Discovery unharmed from the doomed lot. Her flagship named the ISS Charon, literally is the ferryman of Hades in Greek mythology. He carried souls to across the River Styx to the world of the dead.
Star Trek: Discovery Episode 13 “What’s Past Is Prologue” displays the power, grace and talent of actresses Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh and actors Jason Issacs and Doug Jones. The crew of the bridge begins to gel with Captain Saru as acting captain and we are ready to acknowledge them and interact with them. Which is perfect.
Airam played by Sara Mitich, Emily Coutts as Detmer and Oyin Oladejo’s Owosekun unfurled more than just a close-up or an acknowledgment to orders in an episode. It was great.
The action was packed and suspense high as martial arts and CGI flourished superbly. Congratulations to director Olatunde Osunsanmi and writer Ted Sullivan for Saru’s pep talk to the crew after Lorca’s betrayal was uncovered.
As far as action in the Star Trek universe, this series is one of the best.
Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green highlighted the episode and will be at least in the upcoming episode. What chemistry!
Burnham had so much to gain with the Mirror Universe Lorca. In her universe, she is a prisoner with very little rights if any. Here Burnham could rule an entire galaxy. People obey her every whim. What would not be hers? She’s lost alot-Ash Tyler, for example. The deck is stacked in her favor with Mirror Lorca if he can be trusted. He attempts to sway her.
Instead, Burnham is bent on correcting her error in her universe that Lorca perceives as a plus in his universe. She is going to preserve Emperor Georgiou’s life. I like the subtleties in this episode. You must think for yourself.
Finally Burnham, Georgiou and Lorca share the screen together and it is magnetic. Hopefully the Star Trek: Discovery audience will score a Discovery movie deal in the future. Only they could pull off a movie devoted to the mirror universe on the big screen. The fight scene with Lorca, Georgiou and Burnham was excellent. Michelle Yeoh is as graceful as ever, maybe even more so. Jason Issacs as Lorca was a top-notch decision by the production and casting crew. Skillful decision-making.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Episode 13 was jammed packed with action and suspense. The crew of Discovery is not out of the woods yet. Now that they are back in their universe, the events have changed a little with the war with the Klingons. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Another problem to solve. Each episode is more heightened than the last. Interesting. Knowing that they have a following (Star Trek: Discovery and CBS All Access), how will this season end? Cliffhanger or resolution. We will have to stay tuned to see. Please comment below on this season thrilling end will be.