Kobayashi Marie #37: Star Trek Discovery Sn 3 Ep 9 – Terra Firma Part 1
I am a man of widely varying interests.
Oh wow. I was not ready for this episode to go where it did. And I have mixed feelings about it.
But before we delve in to the Mirror Universe, let’s spend a moment reflecting on what else has been happening on board Discovery this week.
Most of this seems to have Saru’s (Doug Jones) involvement. He’s still trying to find his feet as captain, and sometimes making the right decision is hard. Does he follow the regulations and commit himself and his crew to supporting in the fight against the Emerald Chain? Or does he allow the ship’s resources to go on a crazy mission in the slim hopes of curing Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) from her illness? In true by-the-rules fashion, he decides that the needs of the many out-weigh the needs of the one, only to be immediately over-ruled by Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr). I like the little interchange between the two, with Vance giving Saru some avuncular words of experience which I took to be supportive rather than reprimanding. I’m enjoying that we’re seeing a captain who is still a bit unsure of himself in his new job. He’s a thoughtful soul, not one who is a maverick, and he’s still learning how and when it’s OK to break the rules.
Saru is also directly impacted by the information in the decoded distress signal, as the beings sending it turn out to be Kelpien. Even more, the figure in the hologram message looks very much like Saru’s sister Siranna – of course it isn’t her (a descendant, perhaps?), but is played by the same actress, Hannah Spear.
I was delighted to get to meet up with Kovich (David Cronenberg) again, even though we actually still don’t know exactly what his role is. He just appears, delivers a few lines, and then disappears again, and we’re none the wiser. But as long as he pops up now and again, I’m happy.
And it’s Kovich who introduces us to the concept that Georgiou’s condition is as a result of her travelling across both times and dimensions, and that the prognosis is not good. But the Sphere data merged with Discovery’s computer has determined an outside chance of survival if they visit Dannus V.
If it’s Georgiou’s time to die, she wants to die gloriously and sets about provoking everyone she comes across into a fight so that she can die in combat. She’s going to have to work harder though as people are not rising to the challenge.
Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Georgiou transport to the planet’s surface together in scenes that distinctly recall the opening of the very first episode of Season 1. There we also see the pair walking across deserted land – the difference this time being that it’s snow and not sand underfoot. If this is the last time we are to see the two together, then it closes the loop perfectly.
After a little meetup with Carl (Paul Guilfoyle), Georgiou is persuaded that going through a door is her only chance, and she takes it. (By the way, who is Carl? What is his purpose? Where is he from?)
And on the other side of the door, Philippa finds herself being greeted as Empress back in the Mirror Universe. The fun part of this is clear. Seeing our usual characters – familiar but different – is always a treat, and gives the actors an opportunity to stretch themselves a little. There’s a full-on fight between Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) and Gen Rhys (Patrick Kwok-Choon), and we even get a few moments with Landry (Rekha Sharma) who of course isn’t dead yet at this point in the proceedings.
We’re also reminded of the position of the Kelpiens in this universe, in which Saru is definitely not captain. And Georgiou gets two chances in this episode alone to kill Michael – and stops short both times. She’s a different Georgiou now, that’s for sure, even though she is loath to admit it.
All of this is great to watch, but at what cost to the story arc? If Georgiou is bent on preventing Lorca’s challenge against her and she changes the train of events, does that not stop everything that happened in season 1 from coming to pass? Remember, Burnham was only saved from her incarceration and reinstated on Discovery so that Lorca could get to Georgiou. If it doesn’t stop all of that, does it at least create yet another timeline?
I know that it’s necessary to find a way for Philippa to be healthy and in an earlier timeline. Was the Mirror Universe the way to do it? We’ll no doubt see next week, because it’s a two-parter, with the conclusion coming very soon. They wouldn’t slip in a nifty Jason Isaacs appearance now, would they?