Star Trek: Discovery

"Terra Firma, Part 1"

3 stars

Air date: 12/10/2020
Teleplay by Alan McElroy
Story by Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt & Alan McElroy
Directed by Omar Madha

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Terra Firma, Part 1" works best if you think of it as the universe trying to teach its central character a lesson, like Groundhog Day did to Bill Murray. The mirror universe version of Philippa Georgiou, who has been a fish out of her universe's water since she was brought over in the first season, has been walking around the corridors of Discovery for the past two seasons acting mostly like an insufferable jerk who is more caricature than character. That caricature has at times been amusing (the one-liners are sometimes creative, and her aversion to all things Starfleet makes her an occasionally useful outside voice, when she's not merely insulting everybody), but it has also become very repetitive and started to wear thin of late. But I'm suspecting now her unremitting abrasiveness this season was a deliberate ploy to set us up for this episode where she has to face the music.

The result is an interesting take on Georgiou (and a good turn for Michelle Yeoh), probably the best one since she's been aboard the show as her mirror version, which is that her standoffishness and cartoon anger mask hidden depths. She's a product of her origins and she doesn't fit in on this side of the looking glass, but perhaps there are things she has absorbed while being here, and now she no longer fits in on the other side either.

It turns out that interrogator Kovich (David Cronenberg) didn't actually do anything to Georgiou except debrief her. Her psychological, physical, and now phase-shifting problems are a result of, he explains to Culber, her being too far outside her own time while also separated from her universe. Her very atomic structure is literally trying to pull her back through space-time, which will inevitably kill her unless a miracle cure is found. Kovich knows of none in previous examples of this phenomenon.

Enter possible miracle: The sphere data (how handy to have that!) points Discovery to a planet that may be the only hope of a solution (I believe it's estimated at a 5 percent chance), even as it's not clear what that solution might actually be. Upon traveling there, Burnham and Georgiou beam down and are greeted by a mysterious superbeing named "Carl" (Paul Guilfoyle), who's in the TOS mold of matter-of-fact down-to-earth chaps (wearing a derby and smoking a cigar), who possesses all sorts of otherworldly knowledge, sitting atop a snow-covered hill next to a wooden door to nowhere, while reading tomorrow's newspaper — which, of course, foretells Georgiou's painful death. The only hope Georgiou has is to step through the mystery door and face whatever is on the other side, which may be her salvation or her doom.

Georgiou steps through the door and finds herself back in the mirror universe aboard the Terran version of Discovery, quite some time prior to the events where we first entered the MU with Lorca in "Despite Yourself." She realizes immediately where she is and recognizes this as an opportunity to change fate. She knows she's about to be betrayed in a coup attempt by MU Burnham courtesy of Lorca — something that ended with her killing Burnham the first time around — but she hopes to change it this time, because killing Burnham, who was like her daughter, has haunted her.

Your mileage with all this may vary depending on how tired of the MU you are. (Once Georgiou steps through the door, we spend the rest of the episode here with her.) But I felt this was an effective and entertaining use of the MU — big, lively, brassy, aggressive, and operatic, right down to its inclusion of a dramatic performance tailored just for dictators. Georgiou knows she's about to be betrayed and is determined to change her reaction, and there's tension in all the margins. We meet MU Burnham, and she's a truly repellent individual; Sonequa Martin-Green is good at selling the simmering (and, eventually, boiling over) madness of a sociopath who is pent up with rage from years of feeling personally stifled.

For Michelle Yeoh, she's finally given a chance to provide some depth and shading, with the gears in her head turning. She has a scene with the enslaved Saru (whom she sees in a completely different light now) that reveals how much Georgiou has actually changed even though she still acts like a barbarian when around all those Starfleet saps. But now her problem is this universe is so set in its evil ways that even if she spares Burnham's life, it may only serve to weaken her own position.

Given that Georgiou is changing history (she kills MU Stamets here during the assassination attempt, and then she spares Burnham's life), I wonder where we will end up by the end of part two. Given how the universe is granting Georgiou a do-over, and the fact that Yeoh is supposed to headline the still-in-development Section 31 series that's forthcoming, I have to assume that by the end of this two-parter one of the following has to happen: (1) Georgiou remains in the past and doesn't return to the 32nd century, and ends up in Section 31 in the 23rd century. (2) This experience will be a major character-building moment that will snap her out of her one-note villain funk so she can later join Section 31 in the 32nd century after her return. (3) Something else. I guess I've covered all possibilities there.

But I can't imagine this will be a return to the Georgiou status quo, because this is clearly leading us somewhere quite different from where we are. Georgiou is not who she used to be. All those Starfleet types and their silly values have gotten to her, as much as she's tried to deny it. Will her personal growth be her salvation in the MU, or her doom?

Now for the clip:

  • Because it holds lots of bullets — get it?
  • Admiral Vance continues to be pretty awesome. As Trek admirals go, he's up there, coming off as simultaneously authoritative and empathetic. His conversation with Saru about helping Georgiou — which is not paramount to Discovery's strategic position, but may be necessary as a piece of crew morale — comes across as experienced, well-reasoned advice.
  • There are scenes here continuing the investigation into the mysterious distress call from the Verubin Nebula, including the revelation that the origin of the message came from a Kelpien ship, which is of notable interest to Saru. These are good scenes of Trekkian analysis, and keep the Burn mystery plot moving along in the background. Really, this season has done a pretty decent job of devoting B-plot scenes to running down this investigation while focusing on A-plots that are mostly standalone outings.
  • And other nice details keep the ship feeling alive, including a scene where Adira continues to fret over Gray "leaving," and Book looking for ways of being useful on Discovery by listening for intelligence from his courier sources.
  • This series rarely avoids an opportunity to pour on the schmaltz. The scene where Georgiou says goodbye to Tilly and Saru (and Tilly even gives her a hug!) is laying it on thick in a way I don't think the relationships support. Burnham, yeah. Everyone else, no.

Previous episode: The Sanctuary
Next episode: Terra Firma, Part 2

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122 comments on this post

Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 7:38am (UTC -5)
Well, that was surprising. And a big step up from the last few episodes. Though I still do have a few quibbles here and there.

Though I suppose the MU tell was right in the title, I still didn't quite expect this. More than that, I was surprised that after Georgiou passes through the doorway, the show stopped cutting back to the real Discovery. It certainly made narrative sense to do so, given the episode was framed from Georgiou's POV. It also made casting sense, because basically the entire main cast can may their MU counterparts.

I thought the episode was very effective for what it was. Obviously the MU is a good excuse for grimdark camp, and we saw that on display here. But there was a surprising level of depth in terms of Georgiou's character here as well. We get to see that even though she's way too comically evil to fit in with the Discovery crew, she's been changed by her experience there to the point she can't just slide comfortably back into her old role. SMG was incredibly effective as MU Michael. In contrast, Mary Wisemen disappointed as Killy. She was just...there. Not adorkable like Tilly, but not campy and evil either.

My main issue with this episode though is in a serialized show with a limited number of episodes this seems...kind of self-indulgent? They are using a two-parter to get Georgiou irrevocably off the show, but by nature of the story they're telling now nothing that happens in the MU will impact the PU characters at all. As far as the Discovery crew are concerned, the relevance of Georgiou ended when she passed through that door. In episodic Trek this would be fine, but here I don't get why you do it when you can write Georgiou out of the series with more economy. And while I enjoyed this episode, they're really just retreading Season 1 plot points (albeit in a better way than was done in Season 1). I think Georgiou going to the 32nd century of the MU would have been more interesting, but undoubtedly it would have been harder to deal with from a casting and set perspective.

I dunno how I would rate the episode overall. As a standalone story, perhaps three stars, though as I said, I have some issues with how little this fits into the Discovery Season 3 arc. Of course, a lot hinges on Part 2.
Mike C
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 8:25am (UTC -5)
18:58 - Egad! It’s the Squire of Gothos!
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 9:44am (UTC -5)
The acting across the board in this episode was so absolutely terrible .. only the Guardian of Forever guy (Car) seemed to be giving just the right performance
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Perhaps it's because overall I dislike this season, that this episode feels surprisingly good -- episode after last week's mild drudgery. Though I have taken it upon myself to re-watch a few episodes from DISCO season 1, it never occurred to me that I might be nostalgic for more of its Mirror Universe. I'm not sure what technobabble device allowed Georgiou to reenact events from her past, but from a storytelling point-of-view, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the episode sells this snapshot of Georgiou's history and makes it really work with some incredible acting by Discovery's regular cast and the revival 1960s-retro Terran Empire set. These sinister performances were always campy in previous Star Trek installments (perhaps most notably so on DS9), yet this time the Terrans have become three-dimensional with a set of Lawful Evil ethics the audience can understand and follow.

It's not unlike Avengers: Endgame when we encounter an earlier Thanos and Gamora who get to make different choices while staying very much true to character. We see that the Terrans aren't just evil, but have their own set of values that could either elevate them in Terran society or lead them to an early grave. Michelle Yeoh plays the part of the conflicted Terran especially well. In every scene it shows she's been compromised living aboard the Prime Discovery, and is consequently conflicted acting out the wicked threats she spouted out all season. Another point that works for this story is that it brings us back to an earlier time in Discovery's own history with some characters like Landry and Lorca being around, Saru's Ganglia and other yet-to-be-unfolded tales from that era.

Although this is a two-parter, this first part has a good standalone story where we know a revolt is about take place, and Georgiou will need to kill Mirror Burnham to stop it. When Georgiou attempts various methods to avoid a confrontation and quell the rebellion before it starts, it looks like history is destined to repeat itself. What's more is that Burnham, in a jaw-dropping performance by Martin-Green, acts with so much treachery that for a moment Georgiou seems justified in dolling out corporal punishment and saving her own neck. And yet this isn't how things unfold. Perhaps the regular Burnham really got to Georgiou or perhaps she simply doesn't wish to repeat a mistake, but she spares Burnham's life in a touching scene that could've been completely telegraphed and overacted. The real shocker is it wasn't!

The potential drawback to this great setup is that we have no idea where this two-parter will land. Discovery has often failed in its attempts to pay the audience back for dragging it through riddles, but at the very least this week’s show was entertaining in isolation.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 10:33am (UTC -5)
If you'd asked me a week ago what I expected from the next episode of DISCO (I never watch previews), "Georgiou and The Q: Tapestry II" was not what I was going to first. I'm going to take this scene-by-scene, because we have several winners here, and I want to highlight exactly why I think so.

Admiral Vance and Saru: **** FOUR STAR - PERFORMANCE

Oh man. There is no way that Chuck Vance is a bad guy at this point. I got Sisko chills watching him and Saru talk. This guy's 5000% Starfleet, or else the world's most deceitful liar. That played, man. Saru and Vance are excellent off of each other here.

Burnham talks Georgiou into it: **** FOUR STAR - WRITING+DIRECTION

There are few times in Star Trek's history where they've ever built up to a character reveal quite in this way. If you were wondering why Georgiou is constantly antagonizing everyone she even speaks to, the meaning is made absolutely plain here; Georgiou screams "FIGHT ME!!"

My eyebrows might have damaged the stratosphere, let me pull them back down. Ohhhhhhhhhh. So that's it.

It didn't occur to me, in a show full of characters with long, tragic backstories that determine the complex psychological makeup of the character as they appear in the moment we are watching them on the show, that there might be someone who *just plain wants to fight and kill and just flipping can't.*

It took me by surprise and it's really quite simple and plain. She wants to beat the shit out of everyone she sees, and it has nothing to do with her condition or her broader psychological profile; this woman is tired of our (to paraphrase Wesley Snipes in "Demolition Man") 'Candy-butted, Feline-Whipped Brady Bunch Version' of the universe she knows. The explanation for what is happening to her is also not super techno-babble-ey, but deft plotting combines with dead-on characterization (of both Georgiou AND Burnham!) to make this plus the previous scene a powerful opening.

I want to highlight that this was the most raw I've ever seen SMG play Burnham, and Georgiou nails her directly to the wall character-wise with the statement "You still just want to manipulate people to get what you want. The only difference between you and (Mirror Burnham) is that you lie to yourself about it."

SMG's Burnham, faced with that description of her (which honestly is extremely cutting, even a bit true), doesn't blink an eye. I could almost hear Thomas Riker saying "You shouldn't go fishing today."

And that's just the first 12 minutes of this Crescendo. Because that's what Terra Firma 1+2 are, a building Crescendo. It cuts right in the middle of the build, and I can only hope that next week's episode can cleanly continue building in volume from here.

I mean... I don't have time to describe everything I liked about this ep; but it largely boils down to it being good with its characterizations of each person it examines in either universe. And tbh, this plot calls all the way back to Mirror, Mirror itself. You do recall what happened when James Kirk failed to order the death of Chekhov, I hope.

... Apparently... it wasn't good things ;)
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 11:57am (UTC -5)
The following may be and seems to be a minority opinion, but I am of a mind that most every, if not every, modern mirror universe episode has done a disservice to the original (i.e., 'Mirror, Mirror'). Yes, progress is rarely linear or easily come by, and alternative realities may be fun to play around in, but I just haven't been able to invest myself in a universe where Mirror Spock's efforts ultimately failed and evil won the day. I'm not particularly interested in that story. For that reason, once Georgiou crossed back, I became bored with this episode. None of what followed that moment really mattered, to me. And to dedicate two episodes to the universe when the seasons are so short... (exasperated sigh).
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 12:35pm (UTC -5)
Well... That was. Yeah. I'm sorry, but why is it a good idea to do a Mirror Universe two parter? Yes, it's entertaining, yes it's well acted and executed, but basically we're looking at Georgiou's two part backdoor pilot for the Section 31 spin off.

Apparently, the writers feel you can't do a Trek show with a purely evil main character (I guess they haven't seen Voyager j/k). But redeeming Philippa in this manner feels undeserved. Just as all the hugging and heartfelt farewells... The woman is a mass murderer who prides herself on her kill count.

As for Georgiou's change of heart... Another rushed and unrealistic writing choice. She's only been in the prime timeline for a few months at this point. Does that already undo a lifetime of Terran conditioning? I think not. She should have slipped back right into her old role as soon as she stepped through the door.
Cody B
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Entertaining in a complete sh*t show kind of way. “Killy”. More and more I find myself wondering why I continue watching this show
Chris L.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 2:18pm (UTC -5)
That was... something.

It was fun, and developed the mirror universe in a pleasant way. It was entertaining and I enjoyed watching it.

I guess my main criticism is that it felt like a good MU filler episode from some previous trek incarnation that had a 26 episode season? It does nothing to forward the story arc of the season, and at episode 9/10, I’m still not even sure what the main story arc is. It focused on Georgiou, one of my least favorite characters, but it finally gave her the context and gravity she deserves to not be a cartoon villain. Maybe this episode should have happened much earlier in the season?

That said, it did well enough. Discovery in general does well when it takes the camera off of Burnham for awhile and lets other characters flesh out. I wish they had just killed off Georgiou ages ago and fleshed out someone else here, like Detmer or the often neglected Owo. But it worked.

A two part MU episode is not how I would have guessed that this season would or should end. I guess I’ll wait and see how this plays out. But it entertained in its own ADHD kind of way on a smattering of season long arcs, and I guess in the end I can’t complain too much about that. I just wish it were more Star Trek. I always thought that the MU was an indulgence for the writers, and it basically operated as occasional filler fanfic episodes. I guess we’ll have to see where this is all going next week. It could end up tied together well, or end in random hanging plot threads that don’t make a lot of sense per usual. In the meantime, I’ll give this one a 3/4.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
It was batshit crazy but fun, and we haven’t really had any fun episodes this season so it was due. I like CaptainMercer’s reference to the Guardian of Forever and Chrome mentioned Endgame which sounds about right for the Marvel Universe vibe the showrunners were going for. SMG had some heavy breathing scenes but otherwise the acting stood out above the normal. I do wonder how any of this story is supposed to save Georgiou’s medical condition, but I guess that’s going to be big soul-saving reveal in the follow up.


“A two part MU episode is not how I would have guessed that this season would or should end.“

This is a 13-episode season so there’s still time to keep working on The Burn story, I would guess.
Chris L.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
@Preconia -

That makes a lot more sense then. Thanks. I still think a two-parter is an awful lot of real estate in a short season for the MU, but at least I know it won't end in a weird MU cliffhanger. Probably, anyways.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
An enjoyable episode, 3 stars from me. I always enjoy the mirror universe episodes and Discovery pulls them off especially well because their tendency to overplay emotional scenes is a natural fit with the mirror universe characters. Some thoughts:

The scene with Vance was great, I like how he was able to impart some of his wisdom on Saru. Also, this scene pretty much confirms he's not a bad guy, but it also confirms that there's another shoe to drop in terms of the Federation having some serious skeletons in their closet. They have been building this up for a while (Vance saying "I made some bad decisions in the past" in this episode and everyone in previous episodes speaking poorly of the Federation). This will likely be related to the cause of the burn.

The idea that Discovery's computer is unique with all the sphere data in addition to having ancient long lost databases and the databases from the future was intriguing. This combined with the spore drive makes it more believable that Discovery can still be relevant in the future.

I liked Georgau's development here. While she has been largely one dimensional in prior episodes where all she does is make snarky comments, it's basically a defense mechanism for her. When you lift the curtain, you realize she has changed quite a bit. I hope this marks the turning point for her character, because if she's going to lead the Section 31 series she will need to be a lot more complex than what we have seen so far (minus this episode).

Anyone else think a Lorca sighting is coming in Part II? Given all the name dropping this episode, I will be really disappointed if he doesn't cameo.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Plot: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Discovery. Its 800-year mission: to cry upon sparsely populated worlds. To revisit old stories and seek out woke civilizations. To them them they where no them has every they’d before.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
Norvo said: "As for Georgiou's change of heart... Another rushed and unrealistic writing choice. She's only been in the prime timeline for a few months at this point. Does that already undo a lifetime of Terran conditioning? I think not. She should have slipped back right into her old role as soon as she stepped through the door."

I have to disagree here. She's been in the prime universe for 1.5 seasons now, that's a pretty long time for a TV series. I get what you are saying, but it's not like there's 20 seasons to flesh this out over. I personally think having a mirror universe character as a season regular is a fresh idea and I think exploring whether someone who has been that horrible can be redeemed is intriguing. Though I don't think Discovery has been doing a great job executing on this concept as her character was only used for comic relief up until this episode.
The Queen
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
This episode was written for me. It addresses many things which have bothered me.
1. Character Development. Adm. Vance refers to “bad calls” in the past that he has learned from, and he explicitly calls Saru “green.” This works not only for him but for the 31st century attitude toward the Federation as a whole. Tilly is growing well into her new role. Even Burnham is apparently learning to restrain herself (though I’ll need a lot more convincing of that). And of course Georgiou! I was unsettled about her sudden kindness when leaving the ship, but the scenes in the MU prove that she’s actually acquired a conscience AND - note this - Mirror Burnham remarks that even before her return, people were questioning her developing “weakness.”

2. Plot Development. This eppy was well thought out. They are finally handling the serialization on a level somewhere near The Good Place, Babylon 5, and The Blacklist - dropping clues about the future in every episode and building intelligently on those clues. In trying to be true to Star Trek tradition, they are making episodic stops along the way, but unlike with the Enterprise show (and their own season 1), they’re no longer getting completely off track for weeks at a time.

I know some people are objecting to going back to the Mirror Universe, but I don’t mind. I’m pretty sure it’s only for these two episodes, and I love the idea that Georgiou has changed enough from her sojourn to want to change the MU. Ever since it first appeared, I’ve always thought the MU was too one-track violence. In fact I never liked that the MU was intrinsically bad in the first place, because that implies that ours is intrinsically good, which is silly. The universe is neutral. In the MU, just like in the Prime, people have kind and cruel feelings, good and bad motivations. It’s dumb to pretend otherwise, and I’m delighted that we’re going to see how Georgiou can change it. Having her go back in time to her MU was a great idea that I didn’t see coming. By killing Stamets, she has already changed it.

Last episode, in my personal mini-review (not posted here), I said, “I like the development of the Burn plot, but if only it had been a non-Federation ship which Starfleet had tried to rescue.” And wahoo! My wish is their command. At least, I assume that a “KSS” ship is not Federation, even though the Kelpians were part of the Federation. Not sure about that point.

Special favorites:
Carl the Doorman, who reminded me of Jeff the Doorman in The Good Place minus his frog.
Stamets reciting the pseudo-Shakespearian poem in the extravaganza.
Georgiou’s saying, “Our future is unwritten. Let’s make it count, shall we?”
The Adm. Vance scene.
Georgiou telling Burnham, “Learn when to shut up!”

Let me be clear: I’m not saying Discovery has great writing or great acting yet. But most of the actors have always been good, sometimes excellent. In this eppy I even thought Mirror Burnham was good, even with the whispering. And the writing is clearly at a different level now.

So, I'm on board for this one.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 8:27pm (UTC -5)
I don’t understand how someone in the MU can make it to the bathroom without being assassinated six times! Can someone explain this to me? How did these people manage to conquer so much of the galaxy when pretty much all they do is plot against and kill each other?

I like the actress who plays Georgiou but for the past few weeks I’ve been like, “Can we just kill her off, please?” This feels like the opposite of that but maybe if she survives she’ll work out some of her issues because she’s just been a PAIN this season.
Thu, Dec 10, 2020, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
Started off quite well before degenerating into more Mirror Universe crap. Have to wonder what these writers are doing here -- is this arc shaping up like PIC S1 where there were a lot of ultimately inconsequential events and it basically boiled down to Picard and Data? Maybe some of these things like Georgiou, the Emerald Chain etc. are also inconsequential and it'll just come down to a Burnham character examination or something existential about her and she'll save the universe. Or maybe this is setting up to actually kill the Georgiou character -- which would be an improvement going forward.

I liked the idea Cronenberg discusses with Culber about Georgiou being uniquely affected by traveling through time and dimension and even that the sphere data finds another solution. Also interesting that the decoded distress signal has to do with Kelpiens (giving Saru more incentive/motivation) and that it's tied to some dilithium nursery.

Admiral Vance has become one of the best characters this season for me -- liked how he guides Saru as a captain to not abandon a drowning crew member (Georgiou) so as to not lose his crew.

As for the Mirror Universe stuff, this is where the episode goes downhill for me, big time. Everybody looking at each other as if prepared to spring a hit on someone, the over-the-top nonsensical evil, a stupid fight between 2 bridge officers. Thought DSC had evolved beyond this shit, but here we are again -- all for Georgiou to put right something (I think).

I really don't think whatever ties Georgiou and Burnham have and their relationship and understanding of each other is meaningful, representative or interesting for that matter. Both characters are so contrived -- but they obviously care for each other like mother and daughter and we are forced to accept that.

Unfortunately, I guess, we might get Part 2 next week or at some point in the future. But if the writers have concocted something ingenious with the Mirror Universe involved in the Burn, then maybe it'll be worth it. But the ending for PIC was not totally worth all the smoke and mirrors we had to go thru.

Barely 2.5 stars for "Terra Firma, Part 1" -- definitely better than "The Sanctuary" because of the stuff that would seem to be more relevant to solving the Burn -- the non-Mirror-Universe part of the episode. I've really had enough of the Mirror Georgiou character and this was definitely not one of Burnham's better performances (being so skeptical of going thru the door, not clueing into the riddles) -- and what was this "trash heap" that she was master of again? I think the season has lost its momentum after "Scavengers" with now 3 weaker episodes.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 12:22am (UTC -5)
This season has been one long exercise in how to recycle ste stories and spin your wheels

Hardly any new movement on the Burn each week

No interesting insight into the 32nd century in any significant meaningful way and no the lip service and that’s really all.It was with Vulcan and Romulans dont count

Instead we get trading post chases, western saloon bad guys, hostage rescues, double crossing brothers, Warmed over bullies with the emerald chain, stake uninvolving romances

This week we get a pointless umpteenth revisit to the mirror universe—an idea that was fresh and intriguing in ToS Mirror, Mirror and that was on the way to wearing out its welcome with DS9 starting with Through the Looking glass. Now we get another two episodes to waste on it after DIS spent several episodes in season one on it. Yawn

And once again the writers are too proud of themselves with these insular fangirl ideas of making the guardian corporeal and human with a door middle of nowhere reading a newspaper. It’s not sublime . It’s not clever. It’s lame. Pretentious. Too cute by a mile
It sadly seems they put more thought in something like this than the script itself

And did we need to really visit the Mu chatacters again when the audience barely cares about the regular weekly cast

I’d call this a loser episode 1.5 stars. This season is a loss. The first three episodes were bores, the fourth was average, the fifth was the strongest but would be just a solid typical episode on TNG or Ds9

The sixth episode another loser. Unification iii was a loser 2 stars. The most interesting part of that episode was on the world building it could have explored but didbt choosing to focus on the. Least interesting aspects and upending the possibility of jettisoning Burnham from the series by having her leave Starfleet bf go off on adventures with Book

The last episode was boring too. So by my count
2 stars, 2, 2, 2.5, 3, 2,2,2. I think I enjoyed enteeprise season two more and voyager season three more which up until discovery and Picard I had considered the worst trek seasons produced.

Ashame all the money is being wasted on such a ho hum show
Dave in MN
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Now this is the off-the-wall demented story tangent I have come to expect ... because a Mirror Universe episode is totally what no one wanted at this point, so of course they would.

MB and Georgiou, I just don't care about their relationship. I suspect the majority of viewers feel the same way, which makes the tone-deaf plotting choices really funny. Picturing my fellow a Trekkies gnashing their teeth the absurdities unfolding did make me chuckle a bit

Heaps of cringe, lots of scenery chewing, a lack of narrative logic, clunky dialogue, the Neverending Soundtrack of the soundtrack attempting to manipulate the viewer .... this show is a Flash Gordon matinee serial with T & A, violence and profanity.

I hate that that's the state of things with Trek, but I've accepted this program for what it is: lunacy built on subverting expectations to the point of hilarity. It's "The Room" in space.

Discovery is so mediocre that it almost achieves a sort of inverse surreal greatness. I laughed my ass off pretty much the whole episode.

I award ⭐⭐⭐ for the delicious campy awfulness.
Dave in MN
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 12:40am (UTC -5)
PS .... for the record, I hate the retcon of the Guardian. But the fact they did it anyway is amusing in its ineptitude.

A meager harvest this season.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 3:32am (UTC -5)
Surely the only cure for Georgiou is to send her back in time to the point before Discovery jumped?

Is Carl the Doorman a Q???

Enjoyed this episode. However if Lorca doesn't show up next week that's going to be really disappointing after all the name dropping.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 3:53am (UTC -5)
I found it interesting that Georgiou's time the PU has made her a better tactician eg in not killing the MU Saru she gained a useful set of eyes and ears. Impossible to work out her reasons for sparing him - this, some kind of grudging respect for PU Saru, mixture of both.

Curious the MU Saru knows she isn't a threat to him (not a ganglia in sight).
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 4:08am (UTC -5)
- Two or three episodes back I started to read reviews before watching the episode and I so hoped that I would see it like Dave. Just made it past the fight scene and I'm basically laughing all time. This is all so silly. I still don't like Burnham's eye make up, though. I subtract half a star for that. That's 5 imploding gas giants minus half a star which equals...
- the music, the scenery it's all so bad hahaha
- watched a minute after the intro on 1.5x speed. Not as good. Can't recommend.
- OMG did Saru just say that he learned as much from murder Georgiou as from normal Georgiou?! WTF
- When they sent her away I almost expected a group hug. Tilly praising her is also funny. "Through your abuse I have grown so much." Thanks Tilly for defining co-dependent. OMG she actually hugged her... this seems wrong and not only because of Corona
- Another NuTrek staple beaming people down somewhere and then walk to where they need to be so that we can have a nice exposition dump.
- ok I'm calling it. There will be a space whale or something in the Nebula that makes dilithium, then Burnham solves the Burn and boom the Federation is back on track.
- Stop having nonsense conversation and go through the door! Stop it! Please, I beg you!
- An evil disposition seems to come with lots of make up... even Burnham's is more excessive... but she definitely pulls off that lipsticks. Ok, lots of make up means evil. got it.
- hahahaha even the little flying robots have evil red eyes!
- Why aren't the men in on the make up. Get some guy liner, people!
- Let me get this straight she is empress of a gigantic realm and all they have at her ceremony is this lame dance number.
- ok MU Culber wears eye make up now. I take it all back.
- Nice to see that Martin-Greene gets an opportunity to show us her full range of acting. She has found a new level of hammy in the process.
- I can hardly wait for episode II looking at the unmoving botox face of Georgiou.

I guess they will tie this into the main story somehow. This episode makes me care even less about DSC then I already did.

Mirror Universe count:
TOS: 2 episodes out of 79
ENT: 2 episodes out of 98
DS9: 5 episodes out of 176
TNG and Voyager both 0
DSC: 6 episodes out of 38 (soon 7 out of 39). Not counting the fact that we now had two seasons of the three that had someone from the MU in the main cast. Almost every sixth episode is now a MU episode. Let that sink in for a moment...

It is in a way impressive how the NuTrek writers found the worst and silliest aspects of Star Trek and amplified them. Section 31 and the MU.

As Dave said. This show is mediocre at best, stupid nonsense at worst. Strangely enough that stupid nonsense is the most entertaining thing.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 4:20am (UTC -5)
Just to nit pick the ceremony was for the new ship. Maybe you were watching at the wrong speed and missed that!
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 4:36am (UTC -5)
@ artymiss
yeah the ship/station/thingamabob is the new headquarter of the empire. I think that is why MU Stamets tried to kill Georgiou. He knew that after such a lackluster ceremony he would be killed.
Tim C
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 4:47am (UTC -5)
Was not expecting to go back to the MU! But I really enjoyed it, and still maintain that of all the Treks, Disco's take on the MU has been the best. There's something about the show's production that just lends itself really well to the savagery of the MU.

Who the hell was that guy sitting by the door? Will we ever find out? I almost hope not, because I found it really effective and striking imagery.

As others have mentioned, taking a two-part detour from the prime universe feels rather self-indulgent in a show with a short season. But I'm fine with that if the results are as reliably entertaining as this.

Standout performance of the week has to go to SMG. Psycho Burnham is genuinely terrifying; the rage in her eyes burns out of the TV and into your own. Great effort.
Paul M.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:32am (UTC -5)
Yeah, let me echo the sentiment of many other posters: I have no idea why DIS writers find the Mirror Universe so interesting to keep going back and indeed insist on having an MU main character, even if she brings nothing worthwhile to the table.

I liked -- not loved, mind you, just liked -- the way DS9 and ENT dealt with the Mirror Universe. It was an entertaining enough foray into the over-the-top crazy land where actors can have some fun playing upside-down version of their characters. The thing is, on DS9 it was only a 1-in-26 episodes thing, a little side quest that is completely compartmentalized from the Prime Universe; nothing that happens there is really relevant over here except for some fleeting character touches. It was like an annual musical episode some shows have, a carte blanche to indulge in total silliness, which was perfectly fine because it didn't affect the main story and characters in any significant way.

Discovery, however, insists on "legitimizing" the MU, the writers are playing it totally straight. Which is fine for a one-off, like on TOS, but to continually involve the goofy worldbuilding and those caricatures that inhabit the MU with the "Prime storytelling" is self-defeating in the extreme. I mean, who the F cares about emotional growth of a mirror universe cartoon character?
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:55am (UTC -5)
If MU Stamets is dead this is going to change the Discovery timeline from season 1 - all that stuff with PU Stamets wandering around with him in the wotsit network.

My head hurts...
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 6:00am (UTC -5)
I don't mind the MU stuff. I'm assuming the next episode will be the last of them for Discovery unless there's a cross-over at some point in the future with the MU spin-off and STD. AND honestly, I've never enjoyed any of the MU episodes in the other Star Trek series, so I'm impressed they've managed to get me to enjoy them here.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 6:02am (UTC -5)
PS Lorca in the next episode will actually turn out to be PU Lorca who will wander off into the sunset with Georgiou to work with Section 31, or be temporal agents together as MU Georgiou here proves her worth as someone able to tamper with time for the greater good. Or something.
Chris W
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 6:16am (UTC -5)
I have no idea what I just watched 😳
This episode was... um... a bit too much off the deep end for me.
It's all so uninteresting and trivial. I, like a poster above, lost all interest immediately when Georgiou went back to the MU; I could not care less about her or the MU.

Is this really, truly the best "Star Trek" they could've come up with? For the 32nd century, a 900 year time jump? My god 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ it was a chore to get through this. I honestly don't understand how they thought this was the best direction for Discovery and it's characters. So disappointed.

At this point, I cannot wait for Lower Decks Season 2. There's wayyyyy more Star Trek (and entertainment) in that show than this drivel.
Mike C
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 6:27am (UTC -5)
@Paul M.

“I have no idea why DIS writers find the Mirror Universe so interesting to keep going back and indeed insist on having an MU main character, even if she brings nothing worthwhile to the table.”

From what I’ve read on Trekmovie, this is supposed to be the episode where Georgiou gets written off the show for good and so they’re giving her story its swan song. It’s kind of like Neelix finding his gerbil people before Voyager continued on its merry way home.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 6:38am (UTC -5)
You remember things from season 1?!! Sadly (or thankfully) I don't remember anything. Did the Stamets save Culber by going into the mushroom?
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 7:31am (UTC -5)

“Yor here, traveled forward from 2379 and across from an alternate universe created by the temporal incursion of a Romulan mining ship.”

Does this confirm that people can travel to and from the Kelvin timeline?
Paul M.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 7:36am (UTC -5)
@Mike C: "From what I’ve read on Trekmovie, this is supposed to be the episode where Georgiou gets written off the show for good and so they’re giving her story its swan song. It’s kind of like Neelix finding his gerbil people before Voyager continued on its merry way home."

Let's hope. I'm unsure why TPTB felt we needed Mirror Georgiou in Seasons 2 and 3 in the first place. What exactly was the point of her character aside from constant snark and insults? Mirror Kira was fun precisely because we got to see her only once a year. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to watch her chew scenery 24/7 on DS9. If they were so in love with Michelle Yeoh -- and I did like her in the pilot episodes -- well, tough luck. Shouldn't have killed then. No crying over spilled milk, right?
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 8:09am (UTC -5)
I was have expecting the changelings to show up on the ice planet near the Gamma Quadrant!

I really didn't buy the adoration for Georgiou from Saru and Tilly. I still don't get why she seems to have free reign on the ship. She is a comic book villain. That said, there did seem to be growth from her in the MU. But like others have said, how does it function?
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 8:22am (UTC -5)
PU Stamets was in a coma and mentally travelled into the spore network thing where he met MU Stamets who was conducting experiments on the network which nearly killed it.

MU Stamets was conspiring with Lorca against Georgiou which she no doubt remembered when she killed him. In Season 1 it's Lorca who kills him, throws him into that pit thing.

I've banished the stuff about Culber coming alive again from my head...
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 8:55am (UTC -5)
I guess I have banished a little bit more than mushroom Culber. :D
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 9:23am (UTC -5)
I think the mirror universe of Discovery is a better show, maybe just leave it here.

I liked this episode, why does it seem the characters have more personality in this universe? Georgiou was great, well acted and written, I didn't cringe everytime she talked. Burnham is still an overly dramatic emotional psychopath.

Treks mirror universes were always one off almost campy "what if" episodes, you got maybe a handful per series. I love a good mirror universe episode but... The writers this show have used mirror universe far to much, they are not that big of a pillar to trek. I'd rather get a holodeck episode and a legit away mission.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 10:25am (UTC -5)
2379 is in the 24th century.

I really find it hard to believe that this kind of rookie writing mistake made it into the series.

Wrath of Khan takes place in 2285. The 23rd Century. The booze that McCoy brings Kirk is 2 years old. "2283?" "Yeah well it takes this stuff a while to ferment."

Mike Okuda confirms this in his text commentary for the Director's Edition DVD.

We are in the 21st Century, right now. 2020.

2379 sounds more like it's when Picard takes place. In the 24th Century.

-_- They seriously said 2379 and meant 2279. I am willing to let it pass, but good lord.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Since Lor was wearing a season 1 TNG uniform it seems like the year was intentional. I guess at some point in the Kelvin Timeline TNG uniforms exist and temporal wars break out.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 10:46am (UTC -5)
So, how many folks here thought a Keplian ship was going to be in that nebula and sending a distress call? HAHA.... not me for sure.

While Michelle Yeoh gets more to work with in this episode than she has had the entire series (and she does really well). But this episode had some head-scratchers for sure.

To start with, I was a little disappointed that "the glasses" didn't have something to do with all this. So Culber calls upon Kovich for assistance and he can't help and thinks no one can. We learn that the time jump in concert with Georgiou's dimension (universe) jump is something that can't be recovered from. Her molecules are striving to return. Then Culber queries the computer (and sphere data) for a solution and boom, it provides one. 5% if she goes, 0% if she stays.

Headscratcher #1 - what exactly WAS the solution? What are they supposed to be looking for on the planet? What exactly gives her a 5% chance to live? Does the computer know Carl?

Saru brings this to ADM Vance. Sending her down to Danes V seems to be the only chance she has. Saru says Discovery can't go because of a pending "military exercise" scheduled to be conducted by The Emerald Chain. In not so much of a surprise, ADM Vance agrees to the trip... provided CDR Burnham answers a question... he brings up that Michael was unable to open the airlock and space Arium and Vance want to know if Michael will be able to let Georgiou go if this doesn't work.

Headscratcher #2 - What frakin difference does it make? Are you saying Discovery can't go on this mission if Michael can't "let her go"?

Of course, we get a dramatic Michael growth moment. She has learned from her inability to "make the hard call" and that will never happen again.

Headscratcher #3 - I'm guessing that question is the only reason Michael is present at this meeting. Where is our #1? ...

The ADM and Saru then converse after everyone left. I thought this exchange was a very good one. Giving Saru a reason why he overrode his decision was good and the reason he gave was even better.

Georgiou is letting off stress by hitting a punching bag when Michael brings her the news. All she wants Michael to do is kill her. I thought they missed an opportunity to include a Suus Mahna evasive technique here. More whispering from Michael. Georgiou decides to go. Pretty good scene aside from the whispering.

Black Alert, they arrive and Saru and Tilly show up to send them off. Then...

Headscratcher #4 - Saru tells Georgiou that he has learned as much from her as he did from Philippa (prime universe). Good lord, Captain Georgiou picked him up from seaweed duty on his planet, got him into SFA, and nurtured his entire career through the rank of Commander. That's got to be at least 20 years...

Of course, the recently food-covered Tilly has to give her a hug. Which visibly affects Georgiou.

Michael and Georgiou beam down to the planet (where the computer indicated) then the computer indicates they have to head in a specific direction. Not sure why the computer couldn't have just put them down where they needed to go. I guess we needed time for them to walk and talk. That scene reminded me of the walk and talk we got from Captain Georgiou and Michael in the opening scene of Discovery, albeit on a snow-covered planet instead of sand. I was half-waiting for an areal shot of a Star Fleet comm badge here.

Stamets and Adira figure out the message and Stamets tells her to go find Saru. Of course, we must have a Stamets/Adira moment concerning Gray... I thought Adira's performance here was her worst to date. Not that it was really bad, I guess she had set the bar pretty high.

Headscratcher #5 - Go find him? Don't we have these things called comm badges?

Then we get Book meeting up with Saru and Book states his intentions of wanting to stay on Discovery. Saru basically tells him to review protocols and wait for a moment to prove himself...

Headscratcher #6 - Saru refers to these protocols as "United Federation of Planets" protocols.... what happened to "Star Fleet"? This has happened quite a bit.

Michael and Georgiou stop and we meet "Carl". Probably my favorite part of this episode and sure to spawn many theories as to what the hell Carl is. I was immediately getting a ‘Deathwish’ type "Q" vibe with him and his newspaper and door, but I can't figure out why "Q" would be involved in this at all. Unless this is some kind of moment where he's leading them back to what really caused the Burn and how to fix it maybe? Our time with Carl was quite mysterious, humorous, and enjoyable. One key point (maybe) is that when Georgiou is hit with another "episode", Carl states "it's not my work you're seeing here". Georgiou decided she's taking this opportunity and going through the door. Kind of weird that Michael didn't go with her? ... or even volunteer to go with her?

Georgiou's best line of the series? "God.. Michael, learn to shut the hell up?"

... and BOOM... Georgiou is now Empress Georgiou and in a time in her universe, BEFORE Michael is killed and Lorca attempts to replace her. I have to say, this really piqued my interest. I can understand going back to her universe as a remedy for her ills, but why at this time? Is this all going to tie together or are we here just because we can be? Georgiou is bound and determined to change history because she already knows what's going to happen. She's going to save Michael!

Without going into the whole drama of what unfolded in the Mirror U, I'll just highlight a couple of points. SMG plays a pretty good badass, Stamets dies again (lol), Owosekun ROCKS as a bass ass, and Tilly is a much better "Captain Killy" than she was in season 1. The entire set/costumes are done to the hilt. Michael is caught and instead of being killed by Georgiou, she was taken off to the agonizer... (muahahaha). Everything in this setting is done very well IMO.

Now Saru learns that the signal is coming from a Kelpian ship sent to the nebula to investigate a dilithium nursery. The message is over 100 years old and estimated to be a few years before the burn. Saru decides to gain more information before telling Vance and Stamets and Tilly think they can breach their computer. Not sure if this decision is prudent, or because Saru feels the need to protect the Kelpians. It was kind of weird that Tilly asked Saru if she should brief Vance.... why wouldn't Saru do that?

I'm guessing how fondly we look back on this episode will be determined by how things turn out next week. Is this all just for fun or is there a means to this madness that is smart and links to "The Burn'? I guess we'll find out.

Carl ... I just can't figure him out... I can't figure out how Q could fit in, but that's the vibe I got... this doesn't seem to be anything like the time travel thing we saw in 'The City on the Edge of Forever" or the "Portal" we saw in 'The Last Outpost' or might it be Iconian related? Sure will be interesting to find out.

3 stars, that could possibly rise if next week’s episode is what it needs to be.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 10:51am (UTC -5)

"Since Lor was wearing a season 1 TNG uniform it seems like the year was intentional. I guess at some point in the Kelvin Timeline TNG uniforms exist and temporal wars break out. "

Yeah but why then was it Georgiou who was supposed to have time traveled from 2379, unless I'm mistaken? Maybe I should re-watch the scene.

There's no way that Georgiou could have traveled from 2379, because she was hanging out with a young Michael Burnham, who would have been very dead by that time, almost 100 years in the future, or at least very old.

...I'm gonna watch it again
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 10:54am (UTC -5)
Ok so

"Yor here traveled forward from 2379"

was heard as

"You're here, traveled forward from 2379"

I thought that line sounded a little weird when I first heard it. Yor is the guy's name. Oh.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 11:01am (UTC -5)

"“Yor here, traveled forward from 2379 and across from an alternate universe created by the temporal incursion of a Romulan mining ship.”

Does this confirm that people can travel to and from the Kelvin timeline?"

I believe it does. I can't think of another way Kovich has that knowledge.


I'm predicting we get a Prime Lorca appearance next week, and that maybe he returns to Discovery?
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -5)
Bugger. I liked the season 3. Not perfect but view and enjoyable.

I started to whatch the episode and suddenly realise that ,oh they are going to get rid of Giorgiou. OK, her charater was a stub. I would not miss her.

And suddely like a book from C.S.Lewis we land in the alterante universe again. What a dissapointment. I really hope there are only two episodes and we can returm to the future.
Cody B
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Mirror universe is supposed to be a silly gag. The viewer gets to think “oh it’s the characters I’m used- BUT EVIL!”. It works for one episode. Or if it’s a long running series maybe twice. This is all basic common sense that most people natural just understand but I guess Discovery writers need told this
Tommy D.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Pretty much loved it. The scene with Burnham, Georgiou, and Carl somewhat reminded me of a scene in one the Q trilogy novels by Greg Cox, where Q first meets 0 on an icy world ( or something like that its been years since I have read the trilogy). Either way I really enjoy the imagery of the Carl and the door.

I thought SMG and Michelle Yeoh were very good in this episode, especially in the mirror universe. Doug Jones as well. I also enjoyed the the interior of mirror discovery and the costume designs. Cool stuff.

I think my only real complaint would be the pace seemed to drag a little at times with a lot of the dialogue.

3 stars
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Divide Burnham into Burn Ham
Rather than space whale, I figure Pigs In Space.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
Wait a minute, so Kovich is saying that this Yor character actually crossed over from the Kelvin Timeline?

So now the PU and MU have a ... KU?

This is gonna involve "Parallels" levels of bad quantum mechanics generalizations at some point, if they don't keep it to just these 3 timelines.

As for Carl, I'm getting the sense that he knows the actual answers to what Burnham is asking, but is not saying them on purpose. If the next ep doesn't come clean about who/what he is, I am gonna be irate.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
It all makes sense now...
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
God this show is such a mess. I don't even think the people who write it know what it is.

As a teacher, it reminds me of when students have nothing original to write in an essay and just end up remixing the same paragraph over and over again.

Shouldn't Paramount hire writers who are EXCITED to write for Star Trek and represent the future???
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
I actually enjoyed this episode quite a lot, but a lot of the mirror universe sets felt... cheap, compared to those in S1. Especially that little play with narration from Stamets.

If there are any Red Dwarf fans here, the whole thing reminded me of Demons & Angels
Wouter Verhelst
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
What the bloody hell type of deus ex machina crap was this?

I've so had it with you, discovery.
Mike C
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
“I actually enjoyed this episode quite a lot, but a lot of the mirror universe sets felt... cheap, compared to those in S1. Especially that little play with narration from Stamets.”

Coulda been worse. Rapp could’ve started belting out “Seasons of Love” for the ultimate omega cross-reference extravaganza!
Latex Zebra
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, way better than last week but I, like others are over the MU. If it take two episodes to get it done and then 3 to get us to a nice point for season 4 then so be it.
It's me
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
Some random thoughts...

1. If Georgoiu has changed the past in the MU, does Lorca now not travel to the PU (my recollection is the he went through only with Michael's death at the hands of the emperor)? Then the whole of S1 and DISC's history is rewritten...

2. It would have been so much better if the Burn was the final act in the Temporal Wars, a parting strike by the losing side to topple the Federation.

3. My approach to the MU is not to view them as EVIL, but rather as a more ruthless culture, inheritor of imperial Rome (which the episode all but shouted to us in the titulature of the emperor). The ancient Romans had attitudes and customs that we now find barbaric, but were considered civilized by them. This episode at least was not as cartoony as previous MU episodes, for which I am grateful.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
Its interesting how the topic of the MU is very polarizing. People seem to either love it or hate it.

I will echo what many people have said, SMG does a better job with mirror Burnham because her tendency to overact emotional scenes is a natural fit with the MU characters and their inherent ridiculousness. I guess that isn’t a ringing endorsement of SMG or prime Burnham but it was quite enjoyable in this episode.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
"Terra Firma" opens with David Cronenberg talking to Doctor Culber about Phillipa. In a scene which seems to exist solely to get Phillipa off the show and into Alex Kurtzman's "Section 31" spinoff series, we're told that Phillipa will soon die due to technobabble.

As a result, Michael and Phillipa travel to an alien planet where they conveniently find a Superbeing with a Magical Gate. Phillipa travels through this gate and ends up back in the Mirror Universe.

This is all contrived, overly convenient and unwanted. Nobody cares about Phillipa the character, nobody buys her relationship with Michael, nobody understands why exactly the Discovery's crew like her, nobody understands whether she's a genocidal warlord or goofy comedic sidekick, and nobody wants a return to the Mirror Universe. All these things serve only to remind of the bad decisions made in season's 1 and 2.

Even worse, is nu-Trek's inability to STAY ON TOPIC. Season 1's Klingon Civil War quickly gave way to Mirror Universe Madness. Season 2 started off as a cosmic mystery and then ended up with parallel spore lands and Mommy Red Angels. "Picard's" first season promised a tale of refugee crises, and ended up with Borg cubes, tentacle monsters and magic holograms.

Season 3 of "Discovery" seemed to be avoiding Kurtzman's Attention Deficit Disorder tropes, seemed to be sticking firmly on-topic, only to now deliver what seems to be a Mirror Universe two-parter, which either exists outside its main "restore the Federation" arc as a device to get Phillipa into her own show, or will be tied into the arc, and so render it silly.

Yes, this episode is "Discovery's" best Mirror Universe episode. Yes, it is interesting, dramatic, well-directed, clever in places, and the tension between Mirror Michael and Phillipa is gripping in a tawdry sort of way. The way Phillipa returns to her past and finds herself presented with a means of re-writing her future is also intriguing (how changed is she by her experiences in the Good Universe?).

But the episode also derails the flow of the season. The "restore the Federation" arc can stand on its own. It doesn't need constant asides and interruptions. And even a good Mirror Universe or Phillipa episode only serves to remind how bad the idea of Mirror Phillipa is in the first place, and how poorly written this aspect of the show has been in the past. This stuff should all be ignored. If you want Phillipa out of the show and in her own series, do it quickly and fast, like ripping off a band aid.

Maybe the season ties this respectfully into the Federation arc - perhaps the super being revealed here is responsible for the Burn - but it's hard to see how.

Anyway, despite these complaints, "Terra Firma" is one of the season's better episodes. Adira and Stamets continue to work well together, Saru continues to be one of Trek's greatest captains (tragically stuck in a schizophrenic series), Admiral Vance gets a great scene in which he teaches Saru about lifeboats and Michael's mostly fine. Meanwhile, over in the Mirror Universe, Evil Phillipa gets, for the first time, material with some nuance and complexity. We also get a glimpse of Evil Michael, who's convincing as a sociopath.

There are some minor bad moments - an alien superbeing incongruously says "pissed off" (this show too often slips contemporary slang into its dialogue), Phillipa tries to kill Michael in the gym with an axe (Why do people let this woman walk around unguarded?), characters nonsensically chant "Terra firma!" (Why are they shouting "Dry Land!"?), and the USS Discovery fully turns into a Mary Sue Ship (it has an insta-spore-drive, programmable matter technology, and now has a computer filled with data from an all knowing Sphere; the ship is now officially the smartest Federation ship in Trek!) - but given how awful season 1's Mirror jaunts were, this episode is kind of classy.

In a way, the episode makes lemonade with a whole lot of totally unwanted Alex Kurtzman lemons. Did anyone, last week, really want a Mirror episode? An episode about Phillipa? An episode which sets up a Kurtzman spinoff? An episode which again stalls the Federation arc? No. But if Kurtzman is ordering to you to juggle his sour lemons, it takes some skill to make it as palatable as this episode was.
Frank A. Booze
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
This episode sucked.

I so badly want Georgiou off the show. I’ve gotten to the point that I cannot enjoy an episode if she is in it. And to have an episode with her as the focus, and in the stupid mirror universe which I never want to see again...I am starting to hate this show (again).
It's me
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 11:54pm (UTC -5)

"characters nonsensically chant "Terra firma!" (Why are they shouting "Dry Land!"?)"

Literally "solid land", in this context, the Latin "Terra Firma" can be translated as "the Earth holds firm" (so the Terran Empire is strong and steady, like solid land).

Though most likely, the writers just liked the way it sounded...
Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 12:22am (UTC -5)
The only time people in the Navy shout about dry land is when their ship is sinking.

Sounds about right for this show, haha.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 2:44am (UTC -5)
@Frank A. Booze

Completely agree with first statment.

Partly with the second. I very much like the aprocach with , I don't dare to sa older, but mature or grown up women in action and important roles. In this serie it has mainly been the charcter of Giorgiou, Cornwell and Reno. I definetly liked the character Cornwell played by Jayne Brook. But Michelle Yeoh is the bigger name. Her action sceenes ar magnificent. We saw to little of the original Giorgiou. The parallel character has mostly been "strange". It looks like how can we get a "star" like Yeoh to appear. I had hoped that she could develop but I realised that her character had no place in this universe and sending her back was a good ideaa. But there was no need to make two episodes of it,

In season one the side chracters like Detmer got very little space, they were more like visual fillers and reoccuring decorations. I n the paralell univers they did get to act a little. That was of cource nice for them. Now in the third season they have (mostly) all developed. There is waste of time to put them is this sidelined overplayed galactical drama. Lets' t hope that there will only be a part two.

I have not really somethong against the paralell univers concept. In other serias thy have been quite funny and a contranst.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 3:34am (UTC -5)
God, is the Section 31 show still happening? Are there people looking forward to that?
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 5:16am (UTC -5)
I honestly can't believe enough people are. I'm actually more excited about the new SW shows than any new Trek. Disney made some blunders, but they seam to have their shit together now. Trek is a lost cause, in my opinion.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 5:24am (UTC -5)
The season isn't over but the sun is setting fast.

That would be four seasons of NuTrek that were a miss. That is more than enough proof that these people will never create anything good.

I think Aristotle said it best
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 6:19am (UTC -5)
“Is the Section 31 show still happening?”

It’s still being written and has no production schedule yet. That means Picard 2, which films in January ‘21, will be the next show to release followed by Lower Decks 2 which is rumored to air Fall ‘21.
Eric Jensen
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 7:36am (UTC -5)
Well, the acting is better here, by MY who plays Georgiou.
She is much comfortable here.
The story isn't moving forwards
And I am not getting the sense of this "cure".
Will she go back to the Prime Universe?
Will she stay in the MU?
Saru is distracted...
Enterprise did a two parter
Eric Jensen
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 7:50am (UTC -5)
I was just looking at scenes from the Prime Captain Georgiou in season 1. You can see her acting is much better there. It is directors and the writers who are making Emperor or Empress Georgiou look like a moustache curling villain, too cartoonish and out of place...
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 8:35am (UTC -5)
This was pretty good! I think that makes two out of the last three episodes that I have enjoyed. Interesting that Empress Georgiou finally shows some nuance only when brought back to the MU.
Nick P.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 8:55am (UTC -5)
I’m sorry, but some of these comments saying Anthony Rapp can’t stage act have me cracking up. Stay classy, Jammer’s forums!
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -5)
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned it yet, but the CGI effect in which Georgiou "decomplies" as if she were a hologram is totally ridiculous.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 1:27pm (UTC -5)

"This was pretty good! I think that makes two out of the last three episodes that I have enjoyed. Interesting that Empress Georgiou finally shows some nuance only when brought back to the MU."

Michelle Yeoh really did well in this episode. She's shown more acting prowess here than any other time in the series.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
@Yanks: I would mostly agree, although I also liked her in the pilot.

But looking just now at the season index, I see I misspoke. I actually wasn't fond of the TWO episodes prior to this one. So rather than enjoying two out of the last three, I should have said I enjoyed two of the last four. Still, I liked the sixth and ninth episodes better than any of the first five (and, I think, more than anything in the first two seasons for that matter), so it's still a fairly positive sign.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
This episode was interesting, but I wasn't really into it. I couldn't give it more than 2.5 stars. It was certainly better than last weeks episode, however, and Georgiou is definitely much more tolerable in this episode. Perhaps there'll be significantly better character development for her in the future. One can only hope.

Some of the things that interested me, I only discovered later on after doing some research. There are all kinds of Easter eggs on the paper that Carl is reading front and back, referencing different episodes, like TNG: "Relics," TNG: "The Last Outpost," TNG: “Parallels,” TOS: "The Gamemasters of Triskelion," and of course the name of the paper Carl is reading, as well as, one of the headlines from TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever." There are others, but I'm not sure which episodes they harken back to.

People mostly noticed the last one. However, there are no time displacement waves coming from the artifact, like there was in "City on the Edge of Forever." The badge tricorder detects nothing at all, let alone time disruptions. There are no ruins of a vast city either, this is probably not the Guardian of Forever. The being behaves like a Q or something similar. Q also read a newsmagazine, seen in VOY: “Death Wish,” with headlines in the Q continuum. Recall from VOY that Q weapons trigger spontaneous supernova as a side effect. There is a headline on the front saying, "Supernova Threatens Tkon Empire."

There are at least two different Star Trek apocrypha that have associated Q with the Guardian of Forever. In one of the apocrypha, Q encounters a being called 0 shown to him by the Guardian of Forever. 0 is apparently in another dimension, inhabiting a cold, snowy, barren world, similar to Rura Penthe, when he's invited to the Star Trek Milky Way. He seems harmless, well dressed, and mischievous, but he is actually malevolent. He has Q like abilities, but his power has been crippled (he can no longer travel at warp speed- sound familiar?). After causing a civil war that fails to destroy the TKon Empire, he ends up prematurely triggering the supernova that the TKon Empire was trying to escape from. He was subsequently banished from the galaxy and the galactic barrier was erected by the Q to keep him out.

This may be unrelated, but others have pointed out that there are similarities between Carl and Anubis from Stargate: SG1. At first, he's a seemingly harmless, jolly, obese ascended being, who is actually a very malevolent entity. He's also constantly reading a paper, The Ascended Times, with current event headlines of the Stargate universe. Paul Guilfoyle as Carl is a different actor than the guy that played Anubis, though. Perhaps it's nothing, but I don't think so.

If what I suspect is true, this episode has more to do with the Burn than I originally thought. If DSC is drawing from this apocrypha then such an entity may indeed be both capable and evil enough to cause such an event. Although, without the Q, I don't see how they would stop him.

As far as Georgiou's predicament, it's possible the solution that she is there for will result in her sparing Michael, thus eventually (this is going to really piss off Burnham haters) saving the Terran Empire and bringing it back into alignment with the current timeline. This will save her life. Georgiou might then either remain in the current timeline or end up back in the past of this timeline.

In any case, I hope the final three episodes, after Terra Firma part 2 brings it on home. Lets hope for a strong finish. The seeds of it are there. They just have to pull it together.
Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
The dimensional door standing in the middle of nowhere is lifted wholesale from the Dark Tower II: Drawing of the Three and the time guardian who speaks in riddles is straight out of 11/22/63.

Ripping off Stephen King isn't clever or original.
Tommy D.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)

"There are at least two different Star Trek apocrypha that have associated Q with the Guardian of Forever. In one of the apocrypha, Q encounters a being called 0 shown to him by the Guardian of Forever. 0 is apparently in another dimension, inhabiting a cold, snowy, barren world, similar to Rura Penthe, when he's invited to the Star Trek Milky Way. He seems harmless, well dressed, and mischievous, but he is actually malevolent. He has Q like abilities, but his power has been crippled (he can no longer travel at warp speed- sound familiar?). After causing a civil war that fails to destroy the TKon Empire, he ends up prematurely triggering the supernova that the TKon Empire was trying to escape from. He was subsequently banished from the galaxy and the galactic barrier was erected by the Q to keep him out"

Yes. This is the Greg Cox "Q Continuum" trilogy I was referencing. Really cool story.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 4:47pm (UTC -5)
@Tommy D.
Glad someone else remembered that story.

@Dave in MN
That may be your favorite or perhaps the only instance of it that you recall, but "the lonely door" is a well known trope, not nearly exclusive to the Dark Tower (neither are riddle speaking guardians by the way). There was literally already nothing new about the lonesome dimensional doorway when Stephen King did it, so I'm not sure how DSC could be indicted for the very thing that Stephen King himself is guilty of ripping off.

George MacDonald's book Phantastes in 1858 featured a deserted, barren island with a lone, windowless cottage bearing four doors. Each door opens to a different world. Was Stephen King "original or clever" because he got rid of the cottage and kept the doors? Sorry to say, but the manga/anime, Doraemon, did that more than a decade before King. And C. S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle" did it in 1956.
Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 4:55pm (UTC -5)
Sometimes everyone can be pedantic (myself included), so I won't condemn you, but I wasn't arguing that King invented camouflaged dimensional gateways. Obviously he didn't.

However, there is a big difference between a structure with internal doors vs one door incongruously appearing in a natural setting.

The VERY Specific imagery of a single conventional door (unconnected to any larger structure) functioning as a dimensional portal is pretty much owned by King's opus.
Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
And I don't believe that a room full of writers were unaware of the best selling novelist on Earth's creations. They nicked his imagery.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 5:02pm (UTC -5)

"@Yanks: I would mostly agree, although I also liked her in the pilot."

Oh yes, I really liked her as Captain Georgiou.

Quincy, wow. Lots to think about. Thanks for sharing.

I still think one of Carl's most important lines is: "it's not my work you're seeing here"
Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
In the interest of being equally pedantic, I had to look up the Last Battle. I haven't read it since I was a kid (I hated the ending once I figured out the whole thing was a Biblical allegory. I renember young me chucking the book across the room. I don't even think I finished it. )

Anyways, in the instance you cited, the door was in a stable. Stables have doors.

No incongruity, no natural setting, no stand alone door in the forest or at the beach. The two images are not comparable.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
I would say the standalone door and the guardian who speaks in riddles are just sort of collectively owned tropes. When it comes to science fiction, the saying "there's nothing new under the sun" comes to mind. It's not quite true that there's NOTHING new--occasionally a very clever writer pens a new, really "out there" idea (one that comes to mind, I frustratingly can't recall the name or author: a colony is living on a terraformed lunar surface centuries after a war destroyed nearly all metal, sending them involuntarily back to the Stone Age; they drink soup that has small amounts of metal in it so the metal can be harvested from their bones). But you'll almost never find any truly new concepts in TV shows or movies, so I just try not to worry about that and enjoy seeing the little wrinkles they come up with and how it relates to characterization.

If they don't come up with any new spin on it whatsoever, I think that can bear more criticism--but even then, I would fault a show/movie less for that if the previous times it was used were either years ago or in some fairly obscure work few people are familiar with. We can't expect mainstream audiences to be familiar with the entire history of sci-fi and fantasy.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN
Pedantic it is, because that's what NuTrek detractors love the most!

@Dave in MN
"The VERY Specific imagery of a single conventional door (unconnected to any larger structure) functioning as a dimensional portal is pretty much owned by King's opus."

I'm pretty sure it's not. Pretty sure I've seen surrealism art from a long time ago that features lonely doors, but I can't find it on the web and can only guess if King is familiar with surrealism. Pretty sure also I've seen it in comic books, but I don't know if King has read the same ones I have or any at all:
Eerie #5 -"A Matter of Routine!" 1966

Doraemon has the Anywhere Door which you can put anywhere including a field of dandelions and go... anywhere, but though the series began in the 70s I can't verify when that particular plot device appeared and I don't know if King is familiar with manga, so I'll go with others.

The Last Battle has them go through a door which stands unattached to anything on the other side. Pretty sure King has heard of C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia series.

The Twilight Zone from the 60s says, "Am I a joke to you?!?"

Pretty sure King saw this Twilight Zone intro before he wrote his "opus."

There's a difference between the most popular conceptualization of a trope and the original.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 6:52pm (UTC -5)

Very welcome, Yanks. When I saw that guy, I was like, I've seen him before! I thought of Anubis, but was like no, that's not it. Then I recalled it was something I read, not watched. Thank the trek gods for Memory Alpha. My memory ain't what it used to be.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
"There are things known and things unknown, and between them lie the doors..."

~ Aldous Huxley, in a quote which would become the name of a well-known pop group at the time TOS was on the air

Star Trek has always had a sort of kitschy, off-beat, slam-bang take on hard sci-fi. Carl definitely qualifies; I was not aware of this 0 ... entity, from the Q Continuum Trilogy, though I do recall having seen a copy of one of the books in my dad's collection.

Drawing on expanded universe material would be nice. It would at least show that one writer on this staff is doing some reading up. I'd be tempted to give this season a solid thumbs up if we get a John De Lancie cameo in the next episode.

Man could act his way through neutronium. I'd love to see it.
Dave in MN
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
@ Quincy

Ok, so let's see who can out-pedantic the other. This should be fun!

The Last Battle door was supposed the Pearly Gates without the opulence (aa constructed by a carpenter like Jesus). CS Lewis disliked the trappings of wealth in representations of heaven. Akso, the tunnel of light is not the same as an interdimensional gateway.

Second, a relatively obscure manga doesn't have cultural permeation like a King work, and he doesn't read foreign graphic novels. You could ask 1000 Americans and you'd be lucky to find one who heard of that ... and you're not even sure if it predates a novel written in the early 80s.

I also don't consider a still painting from the Surrealist era to count as an application of writing. They don't keep Magritte in fiction or nonfiction at the library.

I also don't consider a two second flash if a door opening in a opening credits montage to count as a plot device: is literally one creepy image amongst many (and the door is not juxtaposed in a natural setting nor interacted with by any character or narrative).

Can you name any work of narrative fiction that has penetrated the mass consciousness that uses this specific imagery?
Tommy D.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 12:02am (UTC -5)

"Drawing on expanded universe material would be nice. It would at least show that one writer on this staff is doing some reading up."

Off the top of my head I can think of a couple of books that could have possibly made for a couple great episodes or films. " The Q Continuum" is one of them, an interesting villain in 0 (who also speaks in riddle and rhymes), and some tie ins to the Trek universe that could make for some compelling visuals.

The other is "Federation". It wouldn't have been possible given the age of the actors, but this would have been a great first film that bridged the gap between TOS and TNG, while also including backstory on Zefram Cochrane and other players in the Eugenics Wars.

And now I'm off to look for my books.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 1:31am (UTC -5)
@Dave in MN

Let's! Get! Brodantic!

Wait... wut... that didn't sound right.

Whatever metaphorical message Narnia was supposed to represent, how was it presented in the story?

I already stated why I was disqualifying this particular instance from consideration. However, to answer your charge, no one claimed it had as much penetration as Star Trek, but obscure?!? To older people maybe, but once something's made it to Minecraft and gets over 6 million views? Looking at all the English comments, I'm pretty sure it's no longer obscure even in America:
But as I said, I've no evidence King would've seen it.

However, I do have evidence that King wrote about the original Twilight Zone tv show:
Though it's unclear to me from different excerpts of the Glass Teat whether that influence was positive or negative, it's there. He saw it. He was influenced by it. He pilfered it.

In any case, I don't need to name any work of narrative fiction that has penetrated the mass consciousness (although without doubt The Twilight Zone and it's intro has done just that). I only need to name a work of narrative fiction that uses suspiciously close imagery, which has penetrated the consciousness of Stephen King, because my whole point was he pilfered it before DSC did.

Rod Serling is literally narrating that our freely floating lonely door, which appears on screen for 12 seconds, not 2, by the way, leads to another dimension, "The Twilight Zone" Not to mention, your "narrative fiction" line drawing is arbitrary and baseless. King wouldn't have to have stolen the idea from narrative fiction. He could've stolen the idea from a box of cereal. It literally makes no difference WHAT he stole it from, if he stole it. And he saw it on the television before he wrote it in his book. The Twilight Zone is close enough to his genre to raise the same eyebrow at him that you're raising at DSC.

The door appears to me to be floating in outer space. I'm pretty sure outer space is a natural setting.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 7:34am (UTC -5)
The Anywhere Door どこでもドア is an awesome door that can take anyone anywhere. The door in this episode is slightly less awesome because Burnham couldn't use it. Or wait, does that make it better?
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 8:37am (UTC -5)
Slacker said: "I would say the standalone door and the guardian who speaks in riddles are just sort of collectively owned tropes."

Yeah, the "magic door" standing there and "being policed by a guardian" is a trope that everyone's seen and absorbed at one point or the other. I'm sure I've seen this countless times in cartoons as a kid, then in comics, and twilight zone episodes, and encountered it in SF short stories or fantasy novels. It's a super familiar set of tropes and archetypes.

As for its appearance in this episode, it didn't bother me. I've always liked when Trek indulged this Twilight Zoney style of SF, which is very very hard to pull of nowadays.

Quincy said: "There are all kinds of Easter eggs on the paper that Carl is reading front and back, referencing different episodes, like TNG: "Relics," TNG: "The Last Outpost," TNG: “Parallels,” TOS: "The Gamemasters of Triskelion," and of course the name of the paper Carl is reading, as well as, one of the headlines from TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever."

A neat detail, and a funny selection.

The "gateway" we see in this episode itself seems like a "relic" or "last outpost" which grants access to "parallel" universes and which is presided over a "game master" akin to the rulers of the gate in "City on the Edge of Forever"
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -5)
Having rewatched the episode, and swallowed my irritation of going back to the mirror universe again, I must say that there were good parts in the episode. In fact most of them. Especially I did enjoy Carl, I did dislike Q character he was to chaotic although I must amit sometimes quit funny. Carl was good. A superhuman form of Kovich. The acting by Cronenberg and Guilfoyle is very good and wins due to beeing understated.

I will do my very best to enjoy the hopefully end of the mirror universe thread in the next episode. Perhaps as in a greek drama where everyone dies in a heap at the end.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
I need to make a confession...

I haven't re-watched an episode of Star Trek since Enterprise.

Tbh, I think the writing fell off a cliff in terms of quality around the time DS9 had that baseball game episode (the ep itself is ok, I'm just saying that's about the moment I started to wonder what was going on... cuz I mean a sports story in Trek was a bit out there of an idea).

I had of course stopped paying as much attention to it, cuz FF7 was out and wow

So, when Voyager began to be a thing and as Enterprise long roaded getting from there to here, and as Trek 2009 came along, and went "into darkness" while still being a hokey throwback action flick (Which you know it wasn't bad at. It's just that that's more or less all that the NuTrek Movies were).

I think maybe... Kovich mentioned the Kelvin Timeline. We've had a lot of mirror universe stuff in this series already.

Is Discovery trying to tie the Trek Series together? Is that what I think I am getting from this? ...It could stand to be done. The Trek Universe is kind of a continuity mess right now.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
That being said.

I gave "Terra Firma Part 1" a rewatch, just to try it again.

My 2nd viewing has more detail than the first.

There's never been a conversation as 1-sided in terms of antagonism as the one that happens in Georgiou's... Are those her quarters? It looks like a gym. There are swords everywhere. Why is she allowed swords?

Erm... anyway. The dialogue is what I like about it. SMG has a bad reputation for over emoting with this character. There is none of that here. "Does all that mean you're coming?" "Wear it anyway." Deadpan Burnham is good Burnham. I likey. This is what someone raised on Vulcan controlling their temper looks like.

I like the way tech problems are described in this series. As a computer afficionado myself, the thing Stamets talks about Adira needing to do to get the computer to work sounds pretty good. It's probably gibberish or whatever but it sounds good is the point. Richard Donner had a word for this in the Superman Movies ... "verisimilitude." Obviously a man flying around in red and blue spandex and a cape is gonna look unreal, but he tried to make it look as real as he could imagine it being.

Kovich doesn't seem like such a bad guy either. What I love about 30th Century Federation Types is that they are really professional when they speak. Star Trek has gotten away from this sort of "procedural" talk about Starfleet Ethics and mission briefings and such. It was one of the things Vanity Fair's review of TWOK cited, that Kirk + Co. all acted like trained professionals, unlike in the first film and TOS. It's Nick Meyer's philosophy of "nautical, but nice," which I think was how he described how he wanted the score to sound to James Horner.

On one hand, the way this ends (it carries it on a while) is basically just the plot of Mirror, Mirror again, but with a twist; a person who used to live in the Mirror Universe now must use her newfound civility to behave as a barbarian, which she had to learn from being stuck in the Prime Universe. She had previously had to learn to act civilized, being a barbarian. In a way, it's a riff on Spock's Closing Speech of Mirror, Mirror. What is it like when the inverse of his stated parameters happens, and someone from the MU learns to act as civilized as they think they need to to not get thrown out of an airlock?

... Now that I think about it, Lorca and Georgiou are like opposite takes on this riff. Lorca decided to masquerade as his PU self... Georgiou didn't have that option, I think. Burnham/the Discovery's crew already knew who she was.

If this was their way of trying to tie the 2nd season up too, while they're at it, then I guess that's not a bad thing. I'm just wondering how we end up cutting back to the action that was going on besides this. Either Georgiou decides to come back, is forced to come back, or is not really there at all... and perhaps there are other possibilities. This is quite a mystery they've left me with for a week.

It really is kind of like the old days. Mirror Burnham just got introduced, too, you know. This isn't Prime Burnham acting like she's Mirror Burnham, this person was actually dead by the time the MU was introduced as a plot element, so I don't know if she's actually been shown in the series before now.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -5)

"perhaps there are other possibilities"
Georgiou's actions in the MU could reset the PU - Discovery will never travel to the future would be the most extreme possibility, I doubt the writers will do that though.

Perhaps PU Lorca will live because of her actions here, maybe he was never meant to die.

Personally I've found Georgiou's conundrum fascinating - very unwillingly dragged into the PU, learning about the PU, seeing what's she's learnt from the time there and how she applies it to the MU (not sure she's changed exactly, but she's learnt).

No those aren't her quarters. I think it's some kind of alarming martial arts gym.

We haven't seen PU Burnham in the series before, she's only been talked about. She turns out to be more alarming than I'd anticipated!
Tommy D.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 12:03am (UTC -5)

" I think it's some kind of alarming martial arts gym"

I'm curious as to why this is alarming.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 12:22am (UTC -5)
@Tommy D
Anything involving big pointy swords alarms me, along with any violence even when ritualised, but I'm a wimp. I imagined them doing a lot of Klingon style stuff in there.
Tommy D.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -5)

I see. I actually don't like blades (or guns) all that much either. So I can relate.

I was thinking more in context of the show, as a gym like that is probably necessary for a lot of reasons, from practicing combat to stress relief.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 2:46am (UTC -5)
@ Artymiss; Tommy D.
I think that is just the "normal" gym as disturbing as that is?! Maybe evil Lorca installed it and they just kept it?
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 4:08am (UTC -5)
Regrading the gym with swords, while not seen onscreen it’s possible this was programmable matter that allows you to customize the gym and add whatever equipment you want. So of course Phillipa added a bunch of swords to it.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 4:08am (UTC -5)
@Booming, Tommy D
Hmmm... Actually thinking about it they have all sorts of races on board who will have their own forms of exercise possibly involving very pointy swords. Letting PU Philippa loose in there though - not sure this is a good idea!

Do they have a holodeck? I don't remember one. Not sure if they exist in Discovery's original timeline.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 4:27am (UTC -5)
@Nick; artymiss
Holodecks is from the TNG era.
Considering that in actual battles you would either carry a phaser or a phaser rifle I find it really strange that there is a gym where you could learn to fight with axes and swords. Even in our times that is not something you learn. Why would that be useful? Phaser rifles don't even have bayonets. And Just think about the risks. With a steel axe, even one that isn't sharpened, you could easily crack somebodies head open. Let me make another suggestion. They wanted a "cool" fight scene with axes. So there had to be axes even though it makes zero sense. Agreed? :)
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 4:54am (UTC -5)
Agreed. You've definitely got the measure of these Discovery writers!
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Loved it! The TOS classic Mirror episode will always be a remarkable bottle episode, but this one marks the moment NuTrek overtakes the older shows in its portrayal of the Mirror Universe. The MU is no longer a one-trick pony where “everything is the opposite”, but a fleshed-out parallel universe with its own rules.

Of course much of what’s good comes from gargantuan DISCO budget, but beyond that the lines spoken by the actors as Terrans have a sense of conviction. In other words, DISCO may often be nonsense, but it’s good at peddling its nonsense.

Terra Firma! (Soon to be the signature line in my e-mail.)
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
@Booming I was referring to programmable matter, not the holodecks. We have seen examples of it on the Starbase (desk appearing, etc.) and we know Discovery has it.

So with programmable matter, you don’t need a huge space for a gym stacked with every conceivable type of workout equipment someone might want, instead you can have a smaller room, and whoever’s using it can fill the room with whatever workout equipment they want. It’s pretty sensible on a ship where space is limited.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
I'm pretty sure they had that stuff in there before.

Yeah programmable matter... I guess that can now basically explain everything, while itself it was never explained. It just matter that can do everything.

But they never showed that it was a room full of programmable matter and I'm pretty sure that they would have if that was the case.
It still think that they wanted a fight scene with a little extra spice because fighting with fists is for wussies.
Dave in MM
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
At least with the conceiti of the replicator, you were still recreating things to a known molecular template. The idea of "programmable matter" ignores everything we know about chemistry and physics. Carbon doesn't convert to another element without a lot of energy being involved.

Nanites or other similar tech would make WAY more sense.
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 8:10pm (UTC -5)

Me: Smartass m**********
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Hey Jammer,

It looks like the link to previous episode is busted. Just FYI. Love your site!
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 5:52am (UTC -5)
There is so much Carl talk. This has to be posted.
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
More Carl talk at Trekmovie...
Wed, Dec 16, 2020, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode. Carl was an interesting creature. I liked seeing the mellowing of Georgiou. Her time in the PU has softened her. Look at her reaction when Michael tells her she blinded and dismembered an artist to increase the value of his works.
Wed, Dec 16, 2020, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek has a very poor record when it comes to its relationship with the African people. But it can be acknowledged that it has made some effort here to correct those wrongs.

Africa is the birthplace of human civilization and for thousands of years Egypt was the crown jewel of humanity. The African man created knowledge and written language. He charted the stars and he explored the world. He built the pyramids and developed medicines and mathematics.

The ancient Africans were the most advanced and spiritual people in the history of the Earth. They created wonder after wonder, such as the pyramids, great temples and cities, science, medicine and the language of hieroglyphs. But how did they attain such inner and outer brilliance?

The ancient Africans were direct descendents of the beings who traveled through the stars and found Earth. Many of these beings are referred to as Gods.

For example, in African mythology Nut (also known as Newet, and Neuth), was the goddess of the sky. Her name translated to mean night was the guardian of the Moon. Nut was said to be covered in stars touching the cardinal points of her body. Her headdress was the hieroglyphic of part of her name, a pot, which may also symbolize the uterus. The ancient Egyptians themselves said that every woman was a nutrit, a little goddess.

Nut and the other Gods taught the original Africans the ways of the universe. They traveled to the stars and often visited the Moon in order to study the Earth from space. From the Moon, these Africans were able to create highly detailed maps of the Earth which enabled them to explore the world by sail.

Star Trek has an obligation to tell the FULL truth, not partial truth.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 1:32am (UTC -5)

@Jammer, nice review. I cosign all of it, including the overdoing of the schmaltz. What on earth makes Tilly feel the warm and fuzzies for Georgiou? Frankly, for the sake of maintaining her authority, I think she needed to discipline Georgiou somehow after the scene in the canteen.
Paul M.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:21am (UTC -5)
I thought the real truth was that Atlantis on the Lost Continent of Mu was the birthplace of human civilization?
Skye Francis-maidstone
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:48am (UTC -5)
Finally got around to watching this and I clearly losing interest in the show since it was after Jammer's review for the first time.

What stuck out for me mostly was how Michelle Y is so wasted. She finally got to do something and she was great. If you go back and watch the first episode she was a superb captain until Burnham got her killed.

A couple of other things..

- The recently demoted commander is still in the meetings with the admiral but not the First Officer.

- Are they trying to assassinate Saru's character? The admiral rightly pointed out that he was a poor captain and being a bit of a dick. Act like a dick and your crew will think you're a dick. Maybe it was slightly justified since she ate his people though tbh..

- The admiral is concerned about Burnham going on the mission so errr send someone else? Any reason the Science Officer keeps going down on missions alone? What happened to landing parties? Even ToS had 3-5 people? (ok 2 usually died within 10 minutes).

- If you're dying transport yourself a bit closer to the destination rather than walk a few miles in the snowy mountains.

At least it wasn't boring like the last 3 episodes I guess.

2 stars from me. Man Jammer is generous with DSC - getting softer age I guess.
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Nice review Jammer!!
Thu, Dec 17, 2020, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
Great review Jammer, as usual you back your points up well. I guess my "mileage," as you say, with the Mirror Universe says I've had enough, so I liked one half of the episode a lot more than the other.
Fri, Dec 18, 2020, 8:53am (UTC -5)
@Skye: "The recently demoted commander is still in the meetings with the admiral but not the First Officer."

Yeah, it's increasingly looking like this "demotion" was a sop to those of us getting frustrated with what Burnham gets away with, but in fact does not represent any substantive change. Lame. (I still liked the episode though.)
Paulus Marius Rex
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 2:05am (UTC -5)
I am fascinated to see there are people who liked this episode. I disliked it. A lot. I thought it was terrible. Abominably awful. 0/4. Granted, I am sick of the MU, and Georgiou, but I am also sick of terrible writing, overdone schmalz, and belabouring a storyline that should have long ago been wrapped up. Yawn. But I am sincerely fascinated that people liked it. It goes to show. Different strokes for different folks!
Mon, Dec 21, 2020, 12:12am (UTC -5)
Yeah, I agree with Cody B who said he doesn’t know why he continues watching the show. The MU has been done to death I think. I thought DS9 botched it 25 years ago, I have no interest in a universe where Spocks reforms meant weakening the Terran empire. So peace and reform equal weakness and humans becoming slaves? I’m sure Vladimir Putin would agree with that in trying to revive an authoritarian soviet style Russia because democracy is for weaklings.

I thought ENT did a good job with the MU in showing evil earth empire because that was the original point. And damn but Evil Hoshi looked great. Then DICSO season 1 takes us back to the MU with evil earth and I thought it was a pretty good take on it. But now we are back? Why? And all the hugging and goodbyes were totally unearned and out of character. There has been no arc of ghiorgiu learning to live in a new universe and learning to change her ways. Seven on nines arc on VOY going from Borg drone to human was well done but none of that character development here. Because Kurtzman and company don’t know how to write character development.

And if we are going back to the MU I want to see the sexy belly baring uniforms from TOS, which ENT didn’t shy away from.
Mon, Apr 4, 2022, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
The newspaper that Carl is reading, The Star Dispatch, may be the same publication that appears on Spock's tricorder screen in "The City on the Edge of Forever." It’s hard to be sure, because you don’t see the entire flag ("masthead," for non-journalists or people who didn’t major in journalism) when the tricorder scrolls up. But it probably is.

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