Star Trek: Discovery: What's Past Is Prologue
January 28, 2018 9:41 PM - Season 1, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Lorca plans to move forward with a coup against the Emperor, propelling Burnham to make a quick decision to save not only herself, but the U.S.S. Discovery.

Quote
Cadet (Captain) Tilly: "Um, I just ran the simulations. Discovery's shields aren't strong enough to protect us from the energy wave that will be released when the network is freed. The shockwave will incinerate us. I don't think we can make it out alive."
Captain Saru: "It is well known that my species has the ability to sense the coming of death. I do not sense it today. I may not have all the answers. However, I do know that I am surrounded by a team I trust. The finest a Captain could ever hope to command. Lorca abused our idealism. But make no mistake: Discovery is no longer Lorca's! She is ours. And today will be her maiden voyage. We have a duty to perform, and we will not accept a no-win scenario. You have your orders. On your way."
posted by zarq (111 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I really liked the early episodes of this series, but this review from the AV Club seems pretty right on to me: Discovery has become a mess of twist after twist and incoherent plotting and there doesn't seem to be a way to "go back" to what was initially working. With Lorca gone it's a little hard to understand what a second season of this series is even going to be about...
posted by gerryblog at 10:15 PM on January 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


That was THE BEST HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT FIGHT SCENE everrrr in Star Trek! Because MICHELLE YEOH!!!

And from here on out, Discovery is going to be about the first non-human captain of a main ship in a Trek series!! Wow.

[But where's Culber?]
posted by brainwane at 10:28 PM on January 28, 2018 [19 favorites]


Ahaha I came in to post brainwane's exact comment.

I loved this! I feel like the twist ending that they return to prime universe late and end up at the end of the Klingons winning the war is the first big surprise this show has delivered to me. I'm excited about where this goes and bummed that there are only a couple episodes left before a long break.
posted by potrzebie at 10:38 PM on January 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was still hoping they'd land back 200 years in the future, post-Voyager, though realizing that the Federation was actually 20% occupied by Klingons in a losing war ten years before TOS certainly changes the way we look at that series and its assumptions...
posted by gerryblog at 10:45 PM on January 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


[But where's Culber?]

I am assuming he is that little green spore thing that landed on Tilly and that he'll be reconstituted using space mushroom magic soon.

With Lorca gone it's a little hard to understand what a second season of this series is even going to be about.

Here is my guess: I think that there is enough time left in the season to resolve the Klingon war plot. But this episode set up a new interdimensional threat: if the mycelial network is lost, all life in the universe will perish. This explains why the Federation doesn't just upgrade their fleet to just use spore drives (I imagine Stamets will destroy his research rather than risk anything happening to the network, which is what separates him from his mirror universe counterpart). But it's also a plot driver: Discovery becomes responsible for finding and removing threats to the network.

I think it is interesting that we have no straight white men on the show any more. I am hoping the second season focuses on the bridge crew more now with Lorca out of the way. I want to know more about that robot looking lady and the black lady with the dreadlocks, for example. They both look rad as hell and I want them to be fully developed characters.
posted by JDHarper at 11:14 PM on January 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


Kind of a video-gamey battle on the Emperor's ship, I thought, when Lorca first freed all his peeps. And kind of disappointed to find out Lorca is more crazy racist than the Emperor.

Why does the mycelial network take all life with it if it dies? I have missed this bit of sciencing.

Did we ever learn why Michael is named Michael?

I kind-of miss Captain Killy!

Also Saru is SHOCKINGLY BADASS.

Oooooh, what does it mean that Tilly got a mycelium on her?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:16 PM on January 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Was that the first captain’s log of the show?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:38 PM on January 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


I think you're right. Thats a nice touch.
posted by Uncle at 12:13 AM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


This episode disappointed me. It resolved the issues more or less as expected in broad terms, but in the details it felt rushed and a bit leaden with everything being spelled out in dialogue rather than allowed to be shown and developed in a more suitable manner.

There were some fine moments, mostly on Discovery, but the rest seemed underdeveloped and lacked some more imaginative touches we'd seen to this point. The Emperor being overthrown in a moment despite having superior forces, little in the way of interesting strategy, and the troop battles weren't realized well. The final fight, echoing the one on the Klingon Ship of the Dead early on was fine, but the way they got there and how they solved the, sigh, containment field lowering problem was more than a bit by the numbers for these sorts of dramas and I hoped for something more.

Mirror Lorca turned out to be far less interesting at home than he was on the away field, Mirror Stamets was largely wasted, and the Emperor didn't seem all that formidable aside from her personal fighting abilities. Too much build up for too little reward was my feeling on the end of the mirror part of the season.

The new ability shown for the spore drive to move through time will certainly open up more possibilities for getting Culber back among other things, and the hints of what the show might be like next season where they've promised more exploration and crew developments is still promising. I just hope they resolve the rest of this season more imaginatively than they did the mirror universe issue, where they can show us the conflicts in values rather than just rely on the characters talking about them with heavy underlining as they did a bit too much here.

I didn't hate the episode or anything, I'm just underwhelmed by it given the promise it had.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:46 AM on January 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Holy mother forking shirtballs that was a good episode!

I’m like the opposite of an action fan and the scenes in the throne room had me on the edge of my seat. So glad we didn’t lose the Emperor, she is such a badass (if still totally evil).

I honestly like that they didn’t waste anymore time in the Mirror Universe or with Mirror Lorca. I enjoyed both but I was keen to get back to real-Universe consequences. However, given that Lorca perished in the orb, I wouldn’t be so certain that he’s gone forever either.

I think this is probably the first episode that had a few surprises that most didn’t see coming. I suspected there would be a time jump but didn’t know when (hoped it was post-Voyager too) but on reflection this is a better outcome - with good Discovery having to clean up the mess Evil-Discovery has made. If Evil Discovery is still there does that mean Captain Killy could be one of the leaders in the Klingon reign? It’s also a good dovetail to see how this brings back the story to Voq and L’Rell. They’re probably going to be just as unhappy about this turn of events.

Seeing Saru turn into a proper leader was a thing of beauty, as was seeing more of the bridge crew in action.

I have no idea where this is going next and I’m psyched for it!
posted by liquorice at 1:44 AM on January 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm foreseeing a big ball of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey coming up.

Whether the writers can navigate it without just hitting the plot reset button remains to be seen.

(That said, this is about the fourth or fifth episode in a row where my reaction has been 'holy crap, what on earth happens next?')
posted by Major Clanger at 1:56 AM on January 29, 2018


Bryan Fuller's original plan for the show was for it to be an anthology series with each season being a different point in the Star Trek mythology. I think that plan has changed but this feels like it will be a complete story by the end of the season - and maybe then I can figure out if I'm enjoying this show or how much I like it or not. It's a bit too reliant on twists but I did love Saru becoming Captain and his speech - and the title, What's Past Is Prologue, suggests that this is a huge turning point in the story and maybe, just maybe, the rest will feel more like Trek to me. I guess two eps to wrap it up will sort out the Klingon War and bring Culber back to life, but after that, I want next season to be about exploring strange new worlds and civilisations. Boldly going, and all that.
posted by crossoverman at 2:19 AM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


“We will not accept a no-win scenario.” I may have let out a little squeak.
posted by liquorice at 2:28 AM on January 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


Gawddamit that fight choreography was superb
posted by Faintdreams at 3:38 AM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Overall, I liked the episode, and was genuinely not anticipating at least two of the twists: killing off Lorca before the season finale (I assumed that he would die, just not right now), and the accidental time skip. The Trek Technobabble was maybe just a tad too prominent. Also agree that the wrap-up to the MU plot was too fast.

Mirror!Landry and Prime!Landry apparently had identical personalities, which explains why Mirror!Lorca glommed on to her.

Burnham has still not figured out how to balance her tactical skills and her emotional impulsiveness; while I'm sure there will be plot payoff in rescuing/kidnapping the Emperor, it was still a *multiple headdesk* moment (and seemed to involve bypassing the button that read "this is an evil Emperor who has murdered lots of people right in front of you, are you sure you want to save her life?"). I do like the irony that Saru, who we know felt like second banana to Burnham while they were on the Shenzhou, has matured into the Captain after all, complete with rousing speeches.

Was that an allusion to chucking people out the GoT Moon Door?

I agree that Green Dot on Which We Lingered for a Suspicious Amount of Time is probably Culber.
posted by thomas j wise at 4:11 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Was that the first captain’s log of the show?

No. I believe the first Captain's Log was from Captain Harcourt Fenton Mudd, in episode 7.
posted by zarq at 4:51 AM on January 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


That was a fabulous episode. I loved all the hand to hand fighting and gunplay. Particularly the sound effects of the gunplay; Discovery has done a great job of paying homage to TOS sounds while updating them a bit for modern audiences. Pew pew pew! Some of the fight choreography went on a little too long, like Michelle Yeoh doing one chorus girl kick was cool but two was a bit silly. Overall though fun to see Star Trek deliver hardcore brawling like that. Even if it was mirror brawling.

(Speaking of silly, what was it early on when Burnham slid through the little hole in the wall in the throne room? Where did that come from? Does the Terran Empire have giant mice?)

I'm fine with the resolution of the whole Mirror Universe escapade. Lorca may or may not really be gone; he's gone to the mushroom kingdom now, chilling with Culber. Maybe he was the spore destined to be washed off of Tilly's uniform, not Culber. Nah, probably it's Culber, and probably he comes back.

The most interesting hook they left is now Mirror Philippa is in the prime universe. Very curious what they do with her. I hope she disappears and builds her own new ruthless empire which will seem eeevil but then turn out to be just the ruthless power humanity needs to destroy the Klingon threat.
posted by Nelson at 6:13 AM on January 29, 2018


(Speaking of silly, what was it early on when Burnham slid through the little hole in the wall in the throne room? Where did that come from? Does the Terran Empire have giant mice?)

Michael shot the grate just before she was sliding into it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:32 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ah, perhaps the Jefferies tubes run just behind the drywall in the throne room.
posted by Nelson at 6:44 AM on January 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Michael shot the grate

à la a certain reckless space cowboy in a brig breakout scene in a neglected sff film franchise you're most likely unfamiliar with

enh, meh, i guess. action is boring even when it's well-done, and the phaser battle in the hallway was actively stupid. I'm glad they are back in the Prime universe.

Where's Ash? Dead?

The green dot could just as well be Lorca, whom we saw dissolve away into mycelial particles - sure, the handwavy orb was gonna cause the end of all life everywhere (no, you didn't miss the sciencing, they just had Paul make that statement out of the blue) and it was destroyed but the network was therefore connected to it when Lorca went for a dip.

Finally, we don't really know what the fate of Prime!Lorca is. Was he killed by MU!Lorca when MU!Lorca handwavily destroyed the USS Buran? Did he trade places with MU!Lorca and die on the ISS Buran? Did the ISS Buran get tossed into Prime, and the USS into MU? Sure seems like a lot of the ISS Buran crew were around and in conveniently-accessible telephone booths for this episode.

Captain Saru is just dandy.
posted by mwhybark at 6:52 AM on January 29, 2018


It would explain why MU!Lorca was the only survivor on the USS Buran if he materialised after everyone had been killed.
posted by fullerine at 6:58 AM on January 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


James Hibberd, EW: Interview with Jason Issacs, Star Trek: Discovery actor on that surprising death. (with video)
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:59 AM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


TrekCore: Cast and Producers on “What’s Past is Prologue” Events, a roundup of early coverage from different sites.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:08 AM on January 29, 2018


I was shouting KILL HIM keeeeeel hiiiim at the TV and throwing punches in the air whenever Lorca basically breathed on the screen, so once the fight scenes started, it was pretty awesome. The death by giant spore-fireball means they can bring him back as a handy space ghost as needed to creep out Michael, but oh, he's such an awful horrible person once it's clear how little he cares for anyone but himself. Even Michael - were she not the Emperor's daughter, he'd have murdered her casually too.

I was super confused about Stamets because I thought they'd switched bodies and was worried Mirror!Stamets was on Discovery plotting mischief, and then rather liked the idea of the two of them paired up as competitive twins, one a jerk and the other a genuinely evil scientist. Oh well.

Saru, Saru, o my captain Saru!
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:19 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Now you've done it, Nelson. Mushroom Kingdom? I'm imagining Disco/Mario crossovers and DAMN.
posted by rikschell at 8:33 AM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I hope at least some of them keep their Mirror Universe hairstyles for the fight with the Klingons.


Asymmetric haircuts for asymmetric warfare!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:36 AM on January 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


As soon as Saru mentioned the team he trusts I turned to my spouse and said "finest" and sure enough in the next sentence he said "The finest a Captain could ever hope to command" and even though I knew what this was going to be I still misted up and mist up.

Mirror Lorca literally advocating Making The Empire Glorious Again and basically endorsing the Great Chain of Being was chortle-out-loud to me, as in, "well I guess they've decided who their fanbase is!" And Olatunde Osunsanmi, director of this episode and of "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", is Nigerian-American, I gather.

Mirror!Landry and Prime!Landry apparently had identical personalities, which explains why Mirror!Lorca glommed on to her.

So the actress who plays Landry is Rekha Sharma and she looks like my sister and my spouse has a hard time remembering the name "Landry" so we sometimes call her "Tory Foster" (her character from Battlestar Galactica) and sometimes we call her "Evil [my sister's name]".
posted by brainwane at 8:36 AM on January 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Anyone else scared Saru is going to die soon because this show kills off good, wise, inspiring captains?
posted by potrzebie at 8:43 AM on January 29, 2018


I'm not worried that Saru is going to die. I'm more scared that Georgiou will tell him all about what she and Michael had for dinner recently.
posted by Uncle Ira at 9:21 AM on January 29, 2018 [19 favorites]


If Saru dies, will someone eat his ganglion? It'd be a shame to let it go to waste...
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:28 AM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Klingons get their death cry, Kelpiens get their moment as an appy...
posted by fatbird at 9:34 AM on January 29, 2018


This episode was GREAT! The fight scenes were so exciting, and I was delighted when Michael took the "I'm not the kind of person who would kill you" route with Lorca and then Mirror Phillipa straight up slayed him. My first thought with Mirror Phillipa is that she would be a great liason between the crew and the Klingons, as they share a similar love of honor and brutality. Someone's going to have to talk to the Klingons and figure out what's up in this future, and I'm not sure how much I trust the other Klingon(s?) on Discovery.

I groaned when Mirror Stamets got chucked into the orb- because what if the epic love story of Stamets and Culber is mirror Stamets and standard universe Culber in the mushroom forest? I'm still not sure what to make of that whole situation.
posted by Secretariat at 9:55 AM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I do wonder if Prime!Lorca would have made the same choices that MU!Lorca did after they switched places. Would he have gone for the Discovery when it became available, or setup a private lab? For that matter, why would MU!Lorca allow non-humans in the Discovery's crew?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:56 AM on January 29, 2018


Also, the image in the upper right corner resembles the Imperial Badge design. Some think it might have been a clue.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2018


TrekMovie: [Co-executive producer] Ted Sullivan Talks Mirror Universe And ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2 In Twitter Q&A

This show sure does have a lot of producer credits.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:10 AM on January 29, 2018


I groaned when Mirror Stamets got chucked into the orb

Mirror!Stamets was not chucked into the orb.

Lorca threatened him with it but instead dematerialized him with a phaser, grimly chuckling "I hate poetry". I suppose that line is a reference to Lorca's apparent namesake.
posted by mwhybark at 11:11 AM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


so we sometimes call her "Tory Foster" (her character from Battlestar Galactica) and sometimes we call her "Evil [my sister's name]".


The person I know who looks like Rekha Sharma actually is evil, so it makes things much easier.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:48 AM on January 29, 2018


One of my favorite things about Star Trek shows is when they show a ship's crew working together to figure out a problem. TNG did it often. Deep Space Nine and Voyager did it relatively frequently. Enterprise, only every once in a while. This is practically a Star Trek trope: the crew works together to accomplish something and everyone contributes to the whole. Discovery excels at those scenes.

Think about the end of Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad, when the crew works together to defeat Harry Mudd. Or the scenes in Despite Yourself when they transform the ship and themselves into the ISS Discovery. In this episode we have the scene in Engineering and then on the Bridge during the battle with the ISS Charon. I hardly ever used to notice the music in Star Trek shows, but in those scenes it takes on a more strident, insistent tone and gives us a sense that Our Heroes Are Solving Problems and Getting Stuff Done.

That battle scene, with Saru in command, Owosekun at Ops, Detmer at the Conn, Rhys at Tactical, Airiam at the Science station and Bryce on the Comm. All working pretty seamlessly together.

That's the Trek I signed up for, and it's the sort of thing I hope to see.

I also really like the depth that the show gave Lorca and Mirror Georgiou. To the end, Lorca is/was a pretty well-fleshed out character. We understood what drove him and recognized his weaknesses. Georgiou was willing to sacrifice herself so Burnham could escape. Even in the mirror universe, Philippa has a code of honor. Now to see what havoc she can wreak on our side of the network.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on January 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


That was awesome.
posted by sldownard at 12:13 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Some of the fight choreography went on a little too long, like Michelle Yeoh doing one chorus girl kick was cool but two was a bit silly.

Pffffft.

Pfffft, I say.

Burnham: "We would have helped you get home if you had asked. That's who Starfleet is. That's who I am. That's why I won't kill you now."
Georgiou: "BUT I WILL!"

She was awesome.
posted by zarq at 12:19 PM on January 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


OH! One piece of fun trivia. Lorca used a transporter during an ion storm and wound up in our universe.

That's also how the TOS Enterprise crew crossed over in Mirror, Mirror.
posted by zarq at 12:22 PM on January 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


Some of the fight choreography went on a little too long, like Michelle Yeoh doing one chorus girl kick was cool but two was a bit silly.

It's what she does.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:24 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


> Mirror!Stamets was not chucked into the orb.


Oh that's right! I now remember being briefly confused when I was watching about how he had some sort of spore gun. Why my brain filed that away as using a completely made up spore gun instead of just normal phaser dematerializing is unclear.
posted by Secretariat at 12:28 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Did we ever learn why Michael is named Michael?

In universe, no.

Interview with Showrunner Aaron Herberts:
Why is Michael Burnham’s name… Michael?

All right, so here we go. We've worked on a number of Bryan Fuller shows… Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies. Many of his female protagonists have typically what you would call male names. Chuck was one. Jaye was another. When we all sat down, of course, the idea was going to be that she was going to have a male name, or typically male name. We were just pitching around the writers' room. We had a couple on the board and I said, "Well, how about Michael?" Because I had remembered a gossip columnist in Chicago. I used to work in Chicago in publicity, and Michael Sneed, she wrote for the Chicago Sun Times. Then, there was the bass player for The Bangles, a musician named Michael Steele. I'd always thought that the name Michael was just really cool and different. We pitched that to Bryan and he was like, "Let me think about that." That's how we seized on it, but I think it's a really cool name, and maybe we'll see some more women Michaels. Who knows?

posted by zarq at 12:29 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


It is well known that my species has the ability to sense the coming of death. I do not sense it today.

I seem to recall a lot of "How could a prey species defined by being scared of death ever be officer material?" stuff back on the thread for the first episode. I guess this answers that. (Especially if there's only one officer of that species hanging around, so nobody can call him out for lying...)
posted by tobascodagama at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


How could a prey species defined by being scared of death ever be officer material?

Define interesting.
posted by zarq at 1:06 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I've wondered if Michael was also partly named along with Gabriel as the archangels. Is there a Raphael kicking around Disco?
posted by Nelson at 1:33 PM on January 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


The switch from Lorca being a shady but effective captain with a dark past > Xenophobe pedophile> Dead was so abrupt that it lost a lot of impact. It also begs the question, why did they need to finish the mission to scan the klingon ship before going to mirror universe? Why didn't lorca send them over there as soon as possible?

It's also very strange the amount of sympathy posed for Georgiou, she's clearly a super xenophobic genocidal tyrant. I'd be happy with an ending where Michael kills her off herself with good reason to preserve order in the prime universe.
posted by Ferreous at 2:29 PM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's possible that given the chance, Lorca wanted to win the prime universe war against the Klingons before going home, on the basis that even the compromised Federation is better than the alien Klingon Empire. His timetable only got moved up by Stamets only making One Last Jump.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:46 PM on January 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's possible that given the chance, Lorca wanted to win the prime universe war against the Klingons before going home, on the basis that even the compromised Federation is better than the alien Klingon Empire.

Certainly possible. My theory is that Lorca wanted the cloak breaking algorithm for his own personal use.
posted by mordax at 2:49 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm still pissed about the "Lorca was a pedophile who preyed on Michael". Including his broadcasting some snarky comment about "bedroom chatter" on a public channel. Do not make Michael a victim in this way. It really wasn't necessary and added nothing to the show except a shorthand about why Mirror!Lorca would be obsessed with Michael.

I think Lorca had to make all the funky Klingon jumps because he was using it to calibrate some tech magic to then set the spore drive to what he needed. Staments said as much this episode, and it was implied before.
posted by Nelson at 2:56 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Do we have any idea what happened to Prime Lorca? Is there a chance of Jason Isaacs showing up again?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:58 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Do we have any idea what happened to Prime Lorca?

The fact that Lorca came to the Prime Universe via transporter & ion storm, like Kirk in the original series, suggests he changed places with his counterpart - which is what happened in TOS. We never saw Prime Lorca in the MU, but I bet he was there somewhere.

After all the discussion of the USS Defiant (from TOS and Enterprise), I'm surprised we never saw it and it played no part in Disco's return to the Prime U.
posted by crossoverman at 3:09 PM on January 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Do we have any idea what happened to Prime Lorca? Is there a chance of Jason Isaacs showing up again?

Also MirrorLorca got mycellial activity around his wound before the rest of his body, might we see him rise 'search for Spock' style? That was a very big ball of lifey stuff he fell into.

Crossoverman: the emperor wrote off the defiant plan in ep 12 by pointing out the crew all lost their minds, so there was no use for that way back.
posted by biffa at 3:20 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Has anyone mentioned time travel yet? Surely that has to be at least a possibility for solving the war situation? This is star trek after all.
posted by biffa at 3:24 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


This was certainly a lot more fun that I'd expected, not generally being a fan of the MU stories myself. It was also a reasonably clever way to get Michelle Yeoh back onto the show. I look forward to seeing more of her character.

I'm really lost at all the "Lorca's a pedophile" comments though. Burnham's an adult. Lorca's an adult. Her character has to be around 30, and unless the word "pedophile" has lost all meaning, its use doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 3:27 PM on January 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I guess it's not exactly pedophilia, it's more of a Woody Allen sort of disgustingness. From episode 12:
Philippa: In Lorca you saw a father.. Until you grew up and it became more.
Michael: You're saying Lorca and I..
Philippa: He groomed you.. he chose you..
This all in the context of Philippa explaining she was like a mother to Michael, and Michael having flashbacks on how Lorca in the Prime Universe acted all interested in her.
posted by Nelson at 3:39 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I agree that MU Lorca was creepy AF - doesn't matter what label you throw around. But I don't think that makes our Michael a victim. It never happened to her.
posted by liquorice at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Yeah, and Michael's certainly not troubled by victimhood. She deals with Lorca as she needs to, kicks his ass and then spares his life. Still I wish they could have just left the whole creepy story detail out entirely.

I think I figured out what really bugs me. I love the originally presented story about why Lorca chose Michael for the Disco. Because he saw something impressive in her and he had the authority to put anyone he needed on his ship. Because she was special. Now that's been cheapened to "Mirror Lorca wants to shtup her" and I'm mad for Michael.
posted by Nelson at 4:55 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


To be honest, I think it's probably a combination of both. He always found her impressive - in both Universes - which probably drew him to her in the first place. But I can see how the grooming aspect sullies that a bit.
posted by liquorice at 5:06 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Crossoverman: the emperor wrote off the defiant plan in ep 12 by pointing out the crew all lost their minds, so there was no use for that way back.

Ah, thanks. I missed that detail.
posted by crossoverman at 6:59 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I agree the fight choreography was really good in this but the whole thing felt very... Star Wars-y, right down to the "get the timing just right to hit the weakness in the space superweapon" and "lets all stand around shooting each other in a corridor". And I know they're in dire straits, but really, they are going to kill every last man, woman and child on the throne ship to get back to their own universe? I mean, ok, sure, threat to all life, but there's not one person on the Discovery who is even thinking about a non-shooty solution to this problem?

Also, could I politely request a moratorium on the whole "Mu!Lorca" convention? It doesn't express anything that "Mu Lorca" couldn't but it makes me think I'm reading smalltalk or something. Is it a tumblr thing?
posted by whir at 9:34 PM on January 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


but the whole thing felt very... Star Wars-y

Yeah, that's how it felt to me too, except here "Luke" sides with the Emperor and lets Darth get thrown down into the reactor.

I have to wonder if that was an intentional riff meant to add weight to the whole, there is no fate, I choose my own destiny thing.

And, really, this all just points to the sad lack of entertainment options in the Terran Empire, and probably the Federation as well, when the old I'm gonna pretend to surrender and use you as a hostage then we'll turn the tables on them trick still works. If they'd seen any movies everyone would have that one memorized by now. Evidently they must use holoprograms more like Barkley did than for action/adventure stories where that trick is as old as they come.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:26 PM on January 29, 2018


Incidentally, the idea that Starfleet would or should help someone who they should consider a war criminal get back home so they can get on with the killings is, at very best, a questionable value to claim as a legacy.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:07 AM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is it just me, or was that the most dialogue the rest of the bridge crew has had all season?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:13 AM on January 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Michelle Yeoh doing one chorus girl kick was cool but two was a bit silly

She kicked a knife out of the air.

Do we have any idea what happened to Prime Lorca?

My assumption was he died on his ship along with the crew, possibly because Mirror Lorca blew up the ship to allow him to take Prime Lorca's place.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:09 AM on January 30, 2018


It's also very strange the amount of sympathy posed for Georgiou, she's clearly a super xenophobic genocidal tyrant

Yeah but....Michelle Yeoh! Plus evil Georgiou is a really interesting character, with some really interesting story potential too - can she learn to be a civilized Star Fleet sort or will she stay a genocidal barbarian? Nature vs nurture...etc.

I really hope there's more Jason Isaacs because both Lorcas are really interesting (also I like Jason Isaacs, sue me).

I LOVE the fact that the main character of this show is a black woman and that's not a plot point in any way, shape or form, AND that she's a fully-developed real character with real depth. Sonequa Martin is amazing, I don't know why I wasn't familiar with her before ST:D, she's an incredible actor and she completely IS Michael Burnham, I'd probably watch her in anything, I'd probably watch her eat soup and enjoy it. And the gay characters are just people with their own character arcs, not LOOK AT TEH GAYS! I think they really hit it out of the park with so much of this show, the casting, the writing, the production, everyone is bringing their a game.

There are very few shows I actively look forward to. This is one of them.
posted by biscotti at 3:19 AM on January 30, 2018 [13 favorites]


they are going to kill every last man, woman and child on the throne ship to get back to their own universe?

No, they're going to do it because unless the Super Spore Reactor is destroyed it's going to be the end of all life everywhere (because Plot Reasons). Indeed, their plan is to go ahead and do this even when they think they are all going to die in the process, and it's only Tilly and Stamets coming up with the mother of all INSERT TECHNOBABBLE HERE plans that lets them do this with even a hope of surviving.
posted by Major Clanger at 4:41 AM on January 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


While the mystery of who was playing Voq was in full swing last season, a Twitter account under the name of the actor said to be playing him was created. @RealJavidIqbal. (Profile text: "I am a real actor on #StarTrekDiscovery") The person behind the account was widely assumed to be Shazad Latif (Ash Tyler) trolling the internet. (In almost every tweet, Iqbal would refer to himself as a "very real actor." Tweets would usually include badly photoshopped shots of Voq posing with the cast, etc.)

On January 15:

Star Trek Writers: @StarTrekRoom: "We thank @RealJavidIqbal for all of his very real actor contributions to #StarTrekDiscovery." https://t.co/x6bhfRKDsc

A response to that tweet:

@stevepic1: "I’m almost positive it was actually @shazad. Wouldn’t surprise me if @marythechief was in on it too 😂"

L'Rell actress Mary Chieffo replies:
@marythechief: "We actually truly have no idea who was behind it!"
posted by zarq at 6:14 AM on January 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


Yeah, gosh, how could they have blown up that cityship I mean Star Trek has never been warlike in the past it is a mystery this sudden shift in tone *cough* Borg *cough*.

I dunno, I'm 100% on board with it, nonstop twists and all. I think they've been walking a fine line between a neurotically cerebral show and all action, all the time and I think they've been coming up all right.

Honestly I half expected the time shift would've been the other direction and somehow ended up with Emperor Georgiou slipping in and creating some kind of causality violation at the battle of binary stars way back at the beginning of the series. But coming in late and deep into a Klingon expansion works, too. ("Listen you pacifist space hippies, the way you beat a xenophobic military empire is with an _even bigger_ xenophobic military empire!" and all the discussion of what that means for Starfleet along the way.) I'm sort of worried they'll hit a plot reset at some point because they've written the series into a canon violating corner, but until then, woooooo.
posted by Kyol at 7:02 AM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


> I'm really lost at all the "Lorca's a pedophile" comments though.

Ah, I'm glad someone said this. Me too! I understand the word "groomed" is creepy, but lots of things in the mirror universe are creepy so we could assume that many mirror characters have very dark unpleasant pasts. All we know about Mirror Michael's formative experiences with Lorca are based on this one phrase from an evil emperor. And even without this we already knew Lorca is a gross evil dude; we also know the exact moment he met Prime Michael and that they've only known each other as adults. So while something icky is implied, I don't feel like the show is intending to portray a pedophile.
posted by Secretariat at 8:36 AM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, gosh, how could they have blown up that cityship I mean Star Trek has never been warlike in the past it is a mystery this sudden shift in tone *cough* Borg *cough*.

I like to cite Wrath of Khan, since it's universally beloved. We learn that Kirk's gesture of mercy in Space Seed pretty much turned Khan into a bottled evil. The resolution of the plot hinges on a climactic space battle and Kirk's understanding of military strategy. Etc., etc.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I love the originally presented story about why Lorca chose Michael for the Disco. Because he saw something impressive in her and he had the authority to put anyone he needed on his ship. Because she was special. Now that's been cheapened to "Mirror Lorca wants to shtup her" and I'm mad for Michael.

Lorca's whole plan was to return to the MU, and then use Michael to get him on board the Emperor's ship. That's why he was always so protective over her- she was a central and irreplaceable part of his gambit for the throne.
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:53 AM on January 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


My assumption was he died on his ship along with the crew, possibly because Mirror Lorca blew up the ship to allow him to take Prime Lorca's place.

Although the first rule of genre fiction is that no one is actually dead unless you see them turned into a million little pieces and often not even then.
posted by Grangousier at 12:54 PM on January 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


About @RealJavidIqbal possibly being Shazad Latif: anyone who's watched Toast of London knows that of course the actor who plays Clem Fandango is a troll.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, could I politely request a moratorium on the whole "Mu!Lorca" convention? It doesn't express anything that "Mu Lorca" couldn't but it makes me think I'm reading smalltalk or something. Is it a tumblr thing?

It's a fandom thing that's older than tumblr. Usually used to label a character in a fanfic as embodying a particular aspect of their character or diverging from the canonical version in a certain way. To my mind it carries a stronger implication of identity than adjective use in general.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:00 PM on January 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


Well, Lorca certainly believes he's gone.

@jasonsfolly: Yes yes. Me me. I've kicked the bucket, I've shuffled off my mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible. I. Am. An. Ex. Captain.

Captain's costume for sale. Size XS. Fits bloody nobody.


I actually quite liked his performance, and am sad to see him go. While I'm glad to have Michelle Yeoh back, I'm not all that interested in the Emperor.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 2:06 PM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


GhostintheMachine: And do you believe him? I don't. As zarq pointed this out in a previous thread, to quote Jason Isaacs: "For all those asking if mirror Lorca makes it, if he or prime Lorca will be in season 2 or if this is the end of the mirror universe in #StarTrekDiscovery, why would you trust me? I’ve been lying to you from the beginning! #BelieveMe #LiarInChief"
posted by Pronoiac at 2:32 PM on January 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


And do you believe him? I don't.

The Captain doth protest too much, methinks.

(After all, he's dead. That doesn't mean he can't appear.)
posted by thomas j wise at 3:11 PM on January 30, 2018


He's probably hanging out with Culber in the mushroom network.
posted by liquorice at 3:26 PM on January 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I loved this episode. Every time they have a crisis on Discovery they have a little democratic huddle where they technobabble their way out of it. A demo-bubble-techno-babble-huddle. Saru is an excellent starship captain. I will say though, that in a sick system it's managers like this that get wrung out and hung out to dry. Or, in the mirror universe, eaten.

O my god the speech. "We will not accept a no-win scenario." yeah mate and by the way we're cancelling the apocalypse.

Oh okay, tiny tiny little little bit of dissatisfaction in that fascist Captains are much more boring than ambiguous captains. But what are you going to do, plots that don't resolve are worse. But yeah but no, how could he possibly have been an admired and respected leader in the diversity-valuing prime universe if he actually believed such a reductive ideology? I want the future plot to solve this incongruity.

Nah, I love DiscoTrek it can do what it likes I'll only complain a little bit.

only why would you haul about a bloody big sword when you've got phasers right there

This is completely random but Yoruba (Nigerian) names are literally very meaningful. The surname Owosekun would mean, I think 'wealth is increasing' (implication is it's the birth of a child (the named child) that causes this) and the actress's first name is Oyin, honey, sweetness (like the Greek Melina). There's probably more words in the full name that state what the honey is invested in like maybe honour?
posted by glasseyes at 4:12 PM on January 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


Captain's costume for sale. Size XS. Fits bloody nobody.
Those uniforms. I did wonder, looking at the crew, if they could even get them on after they'd had a sandwich.
posted by glasseyes at 4:20 PM on January 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


As Stamets piloted them through the spore network, I was convinced he'd take a wrong turn and land them in yet-another-parallel universe, and the rest of the series would be them trying to get home, Voyager-like.

Not sure whether I'm relieved or saddened that it's just a timeshit
posted by coriolisdave at 4:29 PM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, instead of going into an entirely different universe, they just made a bit of a jump to the left...and then a step to the right...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:36 PM on January 30, 2018 [12 favorites]


TimeshitTM
posted by Coaticass at 4:51 PM on January 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


I just received my Disco t-shirt and am convinced it is tiny-actor sized, unfortunately, I have eaten a sandwich.
posted by Coaticass at 4:52 PM on January 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


unfortunately, I have eaten a sandwich
Well we'll have no more of that nonsense!
posted by glasseyes at 4:54 PM on January 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Those uniforms. I did wonder, looking at the crew, if they could even get them on after they'd had a sandwich.

I have liked that they let Mary Wiseman (Kaptain Killy) be something other than Standard Hollywood Twig or Hollywood Gymbunny.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:26 PM on January 30, 2018 [14 favorites]


This is also what I kind of love about Bobbie on The Expanse.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:19 PM on January 30, 2018 [7 favorites]


Dumb Names Thing Update: In addition to doing a Principal Scudworth-style "STAMETS!" every time his name is mentioned, Mrs. Fedora and I have also begun doing a GOB Bluth-style "Michael" every time her name is mentioned.
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:23 PM on January 30, 2018


OOOH THE EXPANSE WHEN WHEN
posted by mwhybark at 8:07 PM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


No release date for season three of THE EXPANSE yet. Not before March, but more likely April or May.
posted by crossoverman at 10:10 PM on January 30, 2018


how could he possibly have been an admired and respected leader in the diversity-valuing prime universe if he actually believed such a reductive ideology?
We have seen in previous episodes that Lorca is a master manipulator who is capable of lying outrageously and pivoting from one lie to another almost instantly when he understands that he has misread someone and needs to adjust his approach to tell them what they want to hear. I don't doubt that his message was carefully tailored for his audience -- a bunch of MU human supremacists he wanted to lure away from the Emperor's side.

I don't think we'll ever know for sure what Lorca actually believed re: other alien races. I think that he was genuinely contemptuous of the Federation's ideology and considered it a weakness which doomed them to failure.

I also think that he genuinely admired Saru as an individual on some level. These things can be true at the same time -- even the most virulent bigots can like and respect individuals from hated subgroups (because they have Transcended Their Origins, or are Not Like The Others, or are One Of The Good Ones, etc.).

On the other hand, his pleasantries right at the end could have been entirely for Michael's benefit; part of a long game to win her over completely. I really can't tell, because he's such a good liar.

This is one of the reasons that I can't understand the complaints that the last episode made Lorca boring and one-dimensional -- I disagree completely! Right up until the end we don't know for sure exactly what is going on inside his head.
posted by confluency at 2:59 AM on January 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


During the climactic meeting of Georgiou, Lorca, and Bernham and misc Terran redshirts in the throne room... why did they give the camera to the guy with the inner-ear infection? The camera was bobbing around to a degree -- or maybe someone made a really baffling choice in post-production, while a bunch of mostly stock-still actors read lines in a fairly close-up view. Maybe this unsteadycam was around in prior shots, but it's the sort of thing that's easy to miss during action, but this action hadn't yet started. It's like the director took lunch and left standing orders to "keep the cameras moving in the throne room scene;" it was tremendously distracting for me. What the hell?
posted by Sunburnt at 12:16 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


zarq
> One of my favorite things about Star Trek shows is when they show a ship's crew working together to figure out a problem.

One thing that caught me about this scene was that the crew (and, thanks to the framing and music, the audience) was supposed to be demoralized because they didn't immediately come up with a solution in the first 20 seconds. Damn, let's take 30 minutes to think this one through a little before we start shitting ourselves.

Ultimately, that's what happened; I assume that two of the crew were spitballing the problem at different tables, overheard each other, and inspired Stammets to invent a new form of warp travel, again.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:25 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


From that Hibberds interview -- Hibberds in bold, Isaacs in Italics:
But what happened to Prime Lorca is now an open question …
It is.
[...]
Well, are you signed on for season 2?
I’m sorry, is that not a related question?

It’s my tricky way of asking if we’re going to meet Prime universe Lorca.
Oh God, that totally would have worked on me if I had the IQ of a sock.
posted by Sunburnt at 1:44 PM on January 31, 2018 [18 favorites]


This is one of the reasons that I can't understand the complaints that the last episode made Lorca boring and one-dimensional -- I disagree completely! Right up until the end we don't know for sure exactly what is going on inside his head.

That is boring to me though -- the idea that Lorca could really be anybody and we have no insight into his feelings or motivations. It invalidates all the interesting character work up til this point, and is basically a textbook plot-over-character soap opera move. I'm thinking about a similar revelation in The Good Place that actually has the opposite effect, recontextualizing the actions of a character in a way that provides insight and deepens how we view that character. But I guess that show has better writers.
posted by speicus at 2:17 PM on January 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


All this talk of Prime Lorca.... Do we know what happened to MU Michael? I'll much more interested in that one.
posted by schmod at 8:21 PM on January 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


@StarTrekRoom (Star Trek Writers Room): "And as many of you already know, Episode 10 was directed by..."
posted by zarq at 6:06 AM on February 2, 2018


Olatunde Osunsanmi released a little disco on Disco on Twitter.
posted by zarq at 6:15 AM on February 2, 2018


Do we know what happened to MU Michael? I'll much more interested in that one.

There is no MU Michael. In a weird quantum fluctuation she exists in both universes simultaneously, without conscious knowledge of the bifurcation. Sometimes the "sleeping" Michael affects the conscious one, leading to some very poor or inexplicable decision making.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:05 AM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


On rewatch, I am very sure that the random spore that landed on Tilly'shoulder is somehow Lorca. They made a point of showing him being thrown into the network.
posted by jojo and the benjamins at 9:19 AM on February 3, 2018


Huh, that would be kind of fitting, she could maintain some sort of "mirror universe captain/leader" character traits and people could wonder why.
posted by Secretariat at 9:28 AM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


The most interesting hook they left is now Mirror Philippa is in the prime universe. Very curious what they do with her. I hope she disappears and builds her own new ruthless empire which will seem eeevil but then turn out to be just the ruthless power humanity needs to destroy the Klingon threat.

She holds interesting potential with what she knows from the Defiant records, plus being the only person who can unlock them.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:34 AM on February 3, 2018


I'm hoping the "random spore" is Dr Culber myself. But you can't always get what you want.
posted by Coaticass at 1:19 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


My guess is that Former Emperor Georgiou will run for president of the Federation. The second season will be about the primaries and the campaign, with a twist on election day.
posted by haemanu at 2:31 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


True: it is vital that we continue 2017’s trend of every god damned TV show in America being about the 2016 election
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:16 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to note FOR THE RECORD that a comment in a comment thread has changed my mind: confluency's point about Lorca as a mirror rings true and explains why Jason Isaacs is playing the character so differently in the last episode. He's playing to a different crowd for nearly the whole thing now, so of course his personality seems totally different...

I'd overlooked this in my grumbling about the (still not great) pacing of this arc.
posted by gerryblog at 10:14 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


To follow up on my last comment, I don't think that the takeaway here is that Lorca is "just" a liar, we don't really know anything about him, and therefore all his characterisation up to this point was a waste.

I think that Lorca is a tragic character because despite having every opportunity to become a better person, despite being surrounded by moral people, despite having a flawless cover in a position of influence where he could be successful and respected, he is ultimately unable to escape the Mirror Universe influences which shaped him and see outside the obsessive pursuit of his original Mirror Universe goals.

He's so viscerally paranoid that although he should rationally know that he is in no danger of assassination he still sleeps with a phaser in his bed. He rejects Cornwell's friendship and help, and (through inaction) tries to get her killed when she gets too close to him and poses a risk to his command. Rather than being positively influenced by the people around him he exerts a negative influence over them, manipulating them and lying to them.

He desperately wants to turn Burnham into "his" Burnham, the Mirror Burnham, and he doesn't understand why this will never happen, and why Burnham finds the idea repellent; why she is horrified by the ideology of the Mirror Universe and could never accept it.

His last words, to her, are "we could have..." -- but of course Lorca himself could have done everything completely differently, and could have made completely different choices. But he didn't.
posted by confluency at 3:01 AM on February 5, 2018 [3 favorites]


Man. I was just starting to really like the series, but them making Lorca so one dimensional in the end, and then killing him, I am kind of throwing up my hands again. I want to know more about the backstory! What happened between him and MU Burnham?
posted by corb at 10:14 PM on March 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Psst, I'm just going to slip this in here, because it's delightful and it aired around the same time as this episode:

Mary Wiseman (Tilly) on NPR's puzzles/word games/trivia show, "Ask Me Another"
posted by duffell at 11:22 PM on February 20


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