Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “What’s Past Is Prologue”

“You can’t always get what you want.”

A minute-thirty of deadly previews this time. Maybe these threads are just so confusing, we have no choice but to watch previews. When we last left off, we were in the Mirror Universe. Burnham reunited with surrogate mother, Philippa Georgiou, vaunted goddess-empress of the known Mirror constabulary, Lorca is the actual Devil, and evil-Mirror Stamets was responsible for opening the crack between the two Universes. I didn’t forget any of this, by the way. This being the “evil” universe, we have to trade evils.

Where the Goddess-Empress is the Supreme Baddie, Lorca is somehow worse. He escapes torture from the disgruntled crew, finds his loyalists (among them Ellen Landry, whose counterpart died a couple of episodes into the season, and evil-Stamets). He wants the “bioweapon” evil-Stamets created to mount an insurrection against Philippa. I don’t know who to root for because, while Lorca is a bad guy, he’s nowhere near as annoying as Philippa (or Michael for that matter), and that makes his motives, at the very least, interesting.

This is where we get some clunky voice-over from Saru to fill us in on evil-Stamet’s mission (even though the previous scene pretty much gave us that information). Our good-Stamets (Anthony Rapp) informs us if the crack between the Universes gets any bigger, it means—yeah, you guessed it—complete annihilation! Dun-dun-DUH! Again with the apocalypse! After an interesting firefight between Lorca and Philippa (in which both sides simply use their soldiers as fodder to break down their defenses), Philippa escapes and Lorca takes his fight to the throne room.

Caught in the middle of this lunacy, Burnham contacts Discovery and rats out Lorca and his coup against the Goddess-Empress. Again, just who are the bad guys here? It’s time to think about getting home and stop engaging with these lunatics any further, don’t you think? No! Of course not! We need Burnham to continue being a hero! Even if it makes no sense. Lorca takes the throne room and his first order of business is to execute evil-Stamets (also Rapp), which effectively ends Lorca’s plan right there to cause complete annihilation.

I’ve never understood bad guys in massive television story arcs. It’s always about destruction. How is that productive? He finds Burnham, and taunts her by telling her that her Federation is just a “social experiment doomed to failure.” Ooh, neo-conservative burn! Except it’s not. He even refers to the Federation as a cult. This is such a bizarre reversal from Jason Isaac’s world-weary Lorca of earlier episodes, it feels like a 4th quarter, thirty-seconds-on-the-clock rewrite. Nor does it make any sense to rewrite the Goddess-Empress as a marginally sympathetic character, except within the context of our recent history*.

Burnham reasons with Philippa, and demands an alliance to defeat Lorca. Huh? Even on Discovery, Saru gives a pep-talk in which he brands Lorca a traitor. I don’t understand why Lorca is the bad guy in this scenario when the entire Universe is the bad guy. Burnham and Philippa come up with a plan to make it look like Burnham has betrayed her, and this is the worst part: Lorca buys it! Unbelievable. Burnham and Philippa revolt and eventually capture Lorca, who is impaled with Philippa’s big sword and pushed into a mycelial storm, vaporizing him. Goodbye, Lorca – and a flight of angels sings thee to thy rest.

Philippa, by this time, has finally realized Burnham is not her Burnham. She buys Burnham time so she can be transported back to Discovery. Wait. Suddenly, she’s a good guy evil Goddess-Empress? Burnham grabs Philippa so that they can both be transported to safety. Discovery fires torpedoes at the mycelial storm and engages warp drive and with Stamets navigational help, the ship escapes from the Mirror Universe. They arrive back in their Universe, but apparently, the war with the Klingons has taken a turn for the worse. The Klingons have won the war! Uh-oh.

* Refer to my recent reviews of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

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