TL;DR – Tonight’s episode takes the twist from last week and ploughs forward at 100km an hour
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
So right out of the gate, I have to say that last week’s episode Vaulting Ambition (see review) completely caught me off guard. Lorca’s (Jason Isaacs) reveal was such a masterful stroke on the part of the writers, it was a surprise but it was also hiding in plain sight all the time. That is such a difficult thing to nail, especially when you were setting it up all the way back in Context is for Kings (see review). So it is in the afterglow of that reveal that we start this week’s episode, the continuation of our now four episode Mirror Universe arc, where we discover a number of things, including that I was completely wrong last week and that reactor is totally not Romulan.
So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s episode, Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green) discovered from Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) that Lorca was originally from the Mirror Universe. Well of course, just as that bombshell was revealed Lorca broke out of his cell, strangled his captor, and at the start of this episode he is breaking out all of his former comrades who were being tortured for over a year in his absence. His second in command now is Ellen Landry (Rekha Sharma) whose prime universe version was killed by the tardigrade all the way back in The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry (see review) which of course is put in a new light given Lorca’s manipulations. So it is coup time on the ISS Charon, the USS Discovery is coming in hot not knowing all hell is about to break loose, and Michael may be in the most precarious position she has ever been in since the Battle of the Binary Stars (see review). Now before we jump into the review proper, we have just enough time to do our customary warning that there be [SPOILERS] ahead.
One of the things I loved about this episode was all the small character moments that we saw amongst the episode, and it is a real testament to the cast and writers that these moments felt genuine. The first was the brilliant scene between Saru (Doug Jones), Michael, and Stamets (Anthony Rapp) as she climbed through the bowls or Jefferies Tubes of the ship after escaping potential imprisonment. Michael’s first priority is to contact the Discovery and warn the crew that they are flying into an unfolding disaster and also that their captain cannot be trusted. The very idea was preposterous but when presented with the evidence Saru trusted Michael, which shows the progression of their relationship across the season. Indeed we see this taken a step further a bit later in the episode where Saru is presented with a no-win scenario, their very own Kobayashi Maru. Sensing that the crew was concerned Saru rallied their spirits and pushed them to work out a way out of their situation. Not in the way say Lorca would have pushed but by appealing to their good natures. I think Saru is fast becoming a favourite of mine in the show because he is the Federation personified, and as the episode progresses he shows that he is more than worthy of the title Captain of the Discovery. Indeed, one of the things I loved about this episode is how we got to see more of the Discovery’s bridge crew, and it is great to see them start to develop these characters more and I hope we see more of that over the last two episodes. Of course, we have to mention the weird Mirror Lorca/Mirror Georgiou/Prime Michael relationship mess, which is only sort of resolved by the sword through Lorca’s heart.
Another key aspect of this episode is the number of really well-crafted action sequences that we got. We start with Michael’s escape from the Emperor, where she blasted some guards, on stun I believe, and then slide into a Jefferies Tube after blasting away a grate. It was short, to the point and really well choreographed, and that would have been great just on its own, but no the episode is not finished with you yet. Because Georgiou starts hunting Lorca down in the bowls of her ship, and well the two come to blows. The fight between Lorca and Georgiou might be the best phaser battle that I have ever seen on Star Trek. There were shields, people firing from cover, hidden weapons positions, even the odd disintegration or two. There was a flow during the battle as each side pressed their advance only to fall back and then press again. Even still this was not enough for the episode because we get an even bigger set-piece moment at the end when Michael flips Lorca’s manipulations back on himself setting them up for a final battle that includes the Discovery’s phasers punching holes in the ceiling of the throne room. In what was emotional quite a deep episode, it was great to see in punctuated with these moments of high action.
Now more than recent episodes, the ending of What’s Past is Prologue left many more unanswered questions than what we had at the start of the episode. What’s happing with Ash (Shazad Latif) and L’Rell (Mary Chieffo)? What are they going to do with Mirror Georgiou? How are they going to get more mycelium? What was that green grain of mycelium that landed on Tilly (Mary Wiseman)? How are they going to go back in time nine months and stop the Klingons from winning the war? Is Prime Lorca dead (likely because of the transporter switcheroo but who knows)? Is Mirror Lorca dead (being stabbed in the heart and tossed out an airlock only to be disintegrated by an energy vortex seams very definitely dead … but did he die or get sucked into the network)? Well we only have two more episodes to go this season and at least some of these will probably be answered, or we will get a ton of more unanswered questions, ok one of the two, or maybe both.
In the end, do we recommend What’s Past is Prologue? Yes, we do. It was an action-packed episode, it concluded the Mirror Universe arc, it provided us with great character moments, and it propelled the series towards the ending at Warp Speed. Goodness, if this is the show now, it is going to be exciting to see how it ends in a fortnight.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you seen Star Trek Discovery yet?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Star Trek Discovery
Directed by – Olatunde Osunsanmi
Written by – Ted Sullivan
Based off – Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
Created by – Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman
Starring in Season 1 – Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman & Jason Isaacs with Michelle Yeoh, James Frain, Jayne Brook, Chris Obi, Mary Chieffo, Rainn Wilson, Kenneth Mitchell, Rekha Sharma, Damon Runyan, Clare McConnell & Wilson Cruz