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Star Trek: Discovery - What's Past is Prologue

episode 1.13

USA 2018
produced by
Aaron Baiers, Ted Miller, April Nocifora, Gretchen J. Berg (executive), Bryan Fuller (executive), Akiva Goldsman (executive), Aaron Harberts (executive), Heather Kadin (executive), Alex Kurtzman (executive), Rod Roddenberry (as Eugene Roddenberry, executive), Trevor Roth (executive) for Roddenberry Entertainment/CBS, Netflix
directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi
starring Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs, Michelle Yeoh, Rekha Sharma, Emily Coutts, Jeremy Crittenden, Patrick Kwok-Choon, Sara Mitich, Oyin Oladejo, Ronnie Rowe
screenplay by Ted Sullivan, series created by Bryan Fuller, Alex Kurtzman, Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, music by Jeff Russo, special effects by Alchemy Studios, fx3x, visual effects by Pixomondo, Spin VFX

TV-series
Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek

review by
Mike Haberfelner


Ok, this one's a bit of a garbled mess, story-wise: Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs), who has been evil Lorca all along, as was revealed last episode, breaks free from his prison cell and incites a coup. Meanwhile Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) wants to make Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) her captive, but Burnham somehow escapes and contacts the Discovery. In that conversation she learns that the Imperial (space) palace is actually driven by the very same spores that feed Discovery's spore drive, but the spores in the palace's drive are irresponsibly handled to such an effect that it might destroy all spores in all universes, good and evil, and with them life as we know it. So for that to happen, the Discovery has to hit the palace's drive with a photon torpedo, but it's up to Burnham to turn off the palace's shields so the torpedo can hit its target. And the only way for her to do that is to get into the throne room ...

Meanwhile, Lorca and his crowd have successfully overthrown Georgiou (whose defenses against such a thing were really rather weak), but she has fled ... and Burnham of course has no problems at all to find her - and persuade her to accompany her to the throne room as her prisoner. Once in the throne room, apparently Lorca is as ill-equipped against a coup as Georgiou was, as after a modest shoot-out and fistfight, most of his guard are down and he's stabbed by Georgiou and thrown right into the core of the palace's spore drive. Then the shields are turned off and the Discovery prepares to fire and to teleport Burnham back on board - but in a last second effort, Burnham clings herself onto Georgiou to force her to be teleported with her. And then the Discovery makes the jump back to its own universe as its spore navigator Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is fit enough to do so again. But back home, it's nine months later, and in the meantime the Klingons have won the war and destroyed the Federation of Stars ...

 

Frankly, this is an episode not without its entertainment values - but storywise it's rather hard to follow, as too many narrative threads are resolved all at once without any sort of homogenous storytelling, which might be ok for binge-watchers, but the occasional viewer is bound to feel left out, really. Plus, some sequences are really underwhelming, like the coup that's achieved by nothing but one quick shoot-out, or Burnham and Georgiou taking back the throne room mostly by hand-to-hand battle and coming out unscathed despite being vastly outnumbered - it pretty much seems the episode is more interested in ticking off plotpoint after plotpoint without caring much about how it's done. So a less convoluted story written with more care would have done this one heaps of good. However, the ending and set-up for future episodes is nothing short of promising ...

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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