After all of last week’s head-spinning revelations about who’s who in the Mirror Universe, Star Trek: Discovery had to up its game and keep our heads spinning with major action and duplicitous behavior, leaving us again with many questions about who and where things stand within the multi-verse.
The episode started with what felt like a huge gaping hole in the action. Stamets is completely well and ready to get back to navigating the ship via the spore drive, and Lorca has managed to free all of the emperor’s prisoners, who happen to be all of his crew including Landry who we last saw in the fourth episode. Who we didn’t see this week was Tyler/Voq and L’Rell, but Saru and the Discovery crew had a lot more on their hands than dealing with them.
Mainly, trying to figure out how to get back to their own universe, not an easy task since the Terran version of Stamets has completely infected the mycillian network, making it virtually impossible for the Discovery to return home. But there is an option — blowing up the energy core on the emperor’s ship … which would release enough energy to destroy the Discovery. But if the network dies, all life in every universe goes with it. Kind of a Catch 22 situation, or the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
But with the notion of certain death ahead of them, Saru reminds his crew that his species senses imminent death and he is not sensing that outcome, which spurs Tilly to work on a solution — ride the energy wave back to their universe. But to create a weapon strong enough to destroy the core, Stamets says they have to use their entire spore reserve which would make it impossible for them to return home. Luckily, while riding the wave, the spores will be regenerated and collected allowing them passage back home.
But Saru can’t and won’t leave without Burnham, who is now trying to avoid capture by her former colleague Lorca. After Lorca has his Stamets flood a deck of the ship with a nerve gas, Burnham warns Georgiou that he is trying to bait her into bringing the fight to him. The emperor says she knows how Lorca’s mind works but goes to his location anyway and walks right into an ambush. Luckily, the emergency transporters were still operational (something Lorca was not happy about considering Stamets was supposed to make it easier to capture her) and she got away, but Lorca warned his men not to harm Burnham.
Finding Georgiou in her “safe haven,” Burnham and the now failed emperor had a heart-to-heart. Georgiou felt that she had been betrayed by both Burnhams, and Burnham felt the same way but insisted she was going to protect the one in front of her. But can they work together and succeed? Because Lorca is clearly ready to let anyone go who is no longer of any use to him, as his Stamets learned. RIP Mirror Universe Paul Stamets.
Lorca’s men located Burnham and Georgiou (or they surrendered, a point not made clear) and brought them to him, Georgiou now his prisoner and Burnham ready to make a deal — she’ll stay with him in exchange for the safety of the Discovery crew. And she’ll have to let Georgiou die in the process. It’s a deal he’s willing to make, even when the condition is he only gets to use Burnham’s mind, but he makes the mistake of turning his back on the women long enough for them to get the upper hand on the guards.
A battle erupts in the throne room, crew members vaporizing left and right, until it basically becomes Burnham going head-to-head with Landry and Georgiou battling Lorca. Unfortunately, she corners herself in her little enclosure in the middle of the room and gets knocked unconscious, but Burnham gains the upper hand, pointing a phaser right at Lorca and explaining to him why the Federation is necessary and why it works — because it means she’s not going to kill him.
But that didn’t stop Georgiou who took the opportunity to ram her sword through his chest, opening up a panel in the floor and dropping him into the heart of the energy core. RIP Mirror Universe Gabriel Lorca. All of this gives Burnham the chance to lower the shield protecting the core and the Discovery the opportunity to shoot its torpedoes at it once Burnham is safely back on board. But with the remainder or Lorca’s men about to breech the doors to the throne room, Georgiou offers to sacrifice herself to give Burnham time to be beamed back to her ship.
As the lop-sided battle raged and Burnham made the call to Saru to be beamed back, she made the snap decision to grab Georgiou, landing them both back aboard the Discovery. The not quite thankful fallen emperor angrily asked what has she done? But the Discovery launches its torpedoes and rides the shockwave long enough to start replenishing the spores, but with the network regenerating so quickly, Stamets isn’t quite sure which exit to take to get back to their universe.
Then he remembers the words of Hugh, reminded of the “clearing in the forest.” His vision of the network becomes clear and he manages to send the Discovery back before the shockwave completely engulfs the ship. Star coordinates indicate they are indeed back in their universe but … they’ve overshot by nine months. Attempting to hail Starfleet, the Discovery is met with silence. Not even an answering machine is turned on because … well, in the nine months the Discovery has been missing, the Klingons have won the war.
This whole storyline has nicely made the early part of the season make a lot more sense, particularly as to why Lorca pulled Burnham off the prison transport and made her a member of his crew. But with the death of the Terran Lorca we’re left to wonder if the Federation Lorca is still alive. And just how long had the Terran Lorca been living within the Federation? And with the Klingons now ruling the universe, what becomes of L’Rell and Voq? And is the Federation Tyler still alive? And after all this is over, what happens to Burnham? With only two episodes left in the season, will there be a resolution? We have a lot to ponder!