(written from a Production point of view)
Burnham receives the reunion she's been longing for, but it doesn't go quite as she imagined. Georgiou and Tyler sense a disturbing change in Leland.
On Doctari Alpha in 2236, Dr. Gabrielle Burnham dictates a log entry on the readiness of the Daedalus Project, preparing for the imminent supernova of the nearby star Alpha Lupi that will provide the energy for the time crystal, when she is called to dinner by her ten-year-old daughter Michael. In the dining room, Michael reads from a Starfleet PADD about supernovae, and asks her father, Mike, if Alpha Lupi will go supernova soon, as three days felt like "forever". Gabrielle enters at that moment, saying that the universe had its own way of telling time. Mike asks Gabrielle about the crystal and her calculations, to which she replies that she'll have more than enough energy for initial trials. As Michael peers through the telescope at the dying star, Mike comments on her fascination with it, referring to her and her mother as "peas in a pod". As Gabrielle calls her to the table, Michael spots a "new light" in the telescope. Gabrielle tells her it was probably a meteor, but Michael replies that it looked like it was coming in for a landing. The room begins to shake as a Klingon Bird-of-Prey flies overhead and lands in the middle of the colony. Mike tells Gabrielle to hide Michael and secure the lab while he buys them time, and grabs a phaser from his dresser drawer. Gabrielle hides Michael in the closet, telling her to be brave and not to make a sound.
As the closet doors close, Commander Michael Burnham suddenly awakens in the sickbay of the USS Discovery, seeing Dr. Culber, Captain Pike, and Agent Georgiou. Dr. Culber tells her she was dead from toxic asphyxiation for over a minute, and received a high dose of tachyon radiation. Burnham recalls she had seen the Red Angel, and thought she had seen her mother, but based on the bio-neural signature they had found, it had to be Burnham herself. Culber explains that there are significant biological similarities between mothers and daughters, particularly the mitochondrial DNA. Burnham is shocked, asking if what she saw was real, and Georgiou confirms that it was indeed Burnham's mother. Burnham at first denies this, certain that her mother was dead and that Leland had told her himself, but then asks where she was. Pike tells her she is being cared for at the facility on Essof IV. Culber stops Burnham from rushing to the transporter room, saying that she shouldn't beam down until the radiation effects dissipated, and that she was unconscious but safe within the containment field. Burnham struggles to accept this, asking how it was possible, how she was alive, and if her father was alive as well; Pike asks her to be patient. At that moment, Spock enters, noting Burnham had awoken "sooner than expected", and was back to her old self again. He reports to Pike that Stamets had finished examining the Angel's exoskeleton, and discovered a data module that Tilly was able to download, containing 841 mission logs. Pike tells Burnham to assess the mission logs and see what she could find while they waited for her mother to regain consciousness.
Aboard NCIA-93, Leland is strapped to a chair while he is confronted by a holographic Burnham. Leland recognizes that it is in fact Control, who tells him that it is biologically indistinguishable from any form it chooses to take. Leland asks how long it thinks that will last, as they figured out that Admiral Patar was not real. Control reminds him that there are seven thousand active ships in Starfleet, all reliant on the chain of command, which was "unquestioned, unbroken, unseen"; mid-sentence, it shifts to take the form of Captain Pike. It continues to say that every instruction was passed down through channels, and in time, even those who did not follow its agenda willingly soon would. When Leland asks why he was there, Control remarks on how it was easier to simulate a Vulcan after it had killed Patar; as it speaks, its form shifts to that of Saru, before continuing that Airiam's augmentations allowed it a similar facade, but it was different with flesh; there was an "element of Human nuance" it had not yet mastered, and it required a face and a body to allow it more freedom to operate... more specifically, Leland himself. Leland refuses, stating that he was his own man, to which Control reminded him of his willingness to "operate from several different truths simultaneously", allowing him to make questionable moral decisions without guilt. At that moment, Control takes Leland's form, remarking that this pattern of behavior was useful to it, and that struggle was pointless. When Leland remarks that it would not win, Control reminds him that he joined Section 31 to "keep a brutish universe on its knees", to maintain order by any means necessary, and that his evolution, their evolution, was the fulfillment of that oath. Several needles pierce into Leland's skull and inject him with nanotechnology, causing him to scream in agony.
Aboard Discovery, while she observes her unconscious mother on a monitor, Burnham reviews the mission logs from the Daedalus suit, and opens up the first – during the Klingon raid on Doctari Alpha. Gabrielle dons the suit and intends to jump back one hour, to get them out before the Klingons arrive. At that moment, the Klingons enter her lab and open fire on her, but she activates the time crystal in the suit and escapes... only to find she has gone forward 950 years. The mission logs are all addressed to her husband and her daughter, with Gabrielle explaining that no matter how many times she goes back in time, she is unable to stay permanently, as the anchor keeps pulling her back to where she had first arrived, 950 years in the future from them. One log indicates that all life in the galaxy has been wiped out by an antimatter detonation caused by Control; Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar Prime, Deneva, and Earth are all dead planets. She remarks that she was in fact standing on Earth when she made that log entry, and as far as she could tell, she was alone.
On the bridge, Tilly reports gravimetric instability centered around the Daedalus facility, and that it was not a normal occurrence. Pike asks Saru to pinpoint a possible cause, to which Saru invokes Newton's Third Law of Motion – every action had an equal and opposite reaction. He explains that Gabrielle and her suit are tethered to a point in the future, and the containment field holds them in the present; the tighter they hold, the stronger time pulls back, which Pike compares to playing tug of war with the universe. Stamets enters and also reports the gravimetric instability, and asks for more power. Pike asks Saru how long "before the universe wins", to which Saru replies an hour, two at the most. Pike sends Stamets down to the surface to see what he could do, and then tells R.A. Bryce to send Culber down as well to wake their patient.
Aboard NCIA-93, Leland tells Georgiou and Tyler that the mission parameters had changed, since they had originally set the trap believing that Michael Burnham was the Red Angel, not Gabrielle. Leland emphasizes that he saw Gabrielle's corpse himself, and thus didn't know who it was that was down there – a clone, or some other kind of genetic replica. Georgiou thinks that Leland didn't like the fact that Admiral Cornwell placed her under Discovery's purview. Leland emphasizes that if Control got the Sphere's data on artificial intelligence, it would achieve consciousness, which caused the whole problem in the first place; what if Gabrielle was sent to take the data back to Control? Tyler remarks that perhaps she was sent back to make sure it didn't get it at all. Leland knows that both Tyler and Georgiou have feelings for Burnham, but they could not afford to confuse what they thought her motivations were with "whomever that is lying there". Georgiou concedes that if Gabrielle was in fact a Trojan horse, Discovery's defenses were woefully inadequate, to which Tyler expresses his faith in the crew. "Faith is not a strategy," Leland replies; while it might seem like betrayal, Section 31 needed to be the ones to have the data, and has set aside a secure area in his ship's data storage that Control could not access. He instructs Tyler to obtain the Sphere data; if Captain Pike won't protect it, he explains, then they must. When Tyler protests at committing espionage against another Starfleet vessel, Leland tells him that was the job they had chosen; if Tyler's connection to Burnham was giving him pause, he reminds him that Burnham was being protected as well, as she was more vulnerable than anyone. He asks if Tyler would prefer to see all sentient life destroyed because they failed to act; Tyler leaves without a word. A suspicious Georgiou comments on how "resolute" Leland seems to be. "The times call for it," Leland replies, as he walks off.
Burnham continues to review her mother's logs, which are in fact addressed to her. Gabrielle has set up a base of sorts on a class M planet fifty thousand light years away, and that wherever she jumped, the suit would return her there. She should be safe there; there was no preexisting technology, so Control wouldn't find her there. Still, Gabrielle remarks, Einstein was right: "time's motion depends on the observer, on the action." The people she moved to her planet, which they called Terralysium, were thriving, and their survival meant that time was fluid, and that the future could be changed... and perhaps the past, as well. In a later log, Gabrielle despairingly remarks that she cannot prevent Control from getting the Sphere's data, and has even tried destroying the Sphere herself, but found it impossible. The only thing she could think to do was to undo its gravitational binding and set it in Discovery's path so that they could keep the data safe. Burnham is astonished, as that is exactly what happened; the Sphere data came to Discovery because Gabrielle had led it to them. At that moment, her door chimes. It is Spock, who tells her that Dr. Culber has just reported from the surface – Burnham's mother is regaining consciousness.
As Burnham and Spock enter the bridge, Pike orders Bryce to put Culber on screen. Culber reports that Gabrielle has regained consciousness, the tachyon levels were normalizing, and was ready to talk. When Burnham tells him they will be right down, Culber clarifies that Gabrielle meant she wanted to talk to the captain... and only the captain.
In the ready room, Burnham vents her outrage. Culber apologizes, saying he was just the messenger. There were a lot of questions that needed to be answered, and whatever Gabrielle's reasons for not wanting to speak to her, Burnham believes she should be the one to ask them. Pike understands her position, but believes that they should follow Gabrielle's lead on this; Spock concurs. Burnham makes clear she is not invoking her right as a daughter, as that would be childish, but she is the one who knows Gabrielle best. Culber tells Burnham to consider that the person who stepped into that time suit may not be the one she remembers; Burnham retorts that she was the best person to gauge that. Pike understands Burnham's desire to see her, but for now, they would play it her way, in order to establish some level of trust. Burnham would stay aboard, and watch from the feed, and that would be that.
Pike beams down to the facility, where Nhan tells him that he will not be able to cross into the containment field, but come up close enough to it. The facility violently shakes; the pull on Gabrielle and her suit is becoming stronger, and Stamets warns that the power reserves would soon run out and she would be pulled into the future again. "Then I'd better talk fast," Pike replies. He begins to introduce himself, but Gabrielle is aware of who he is – captain of the USS Enterprise, and in temporary command of Discovery, but soon he would return to his ship. "I could say more about your future, but you won't like it," she adds. Pike says they were not there to talk about him. Gabrielle explains that she had come to rescue her daughter, and Pike had deceived her. Pike reminds her that Burnham risked her life to bring Gabrielle there, and says that they understood the risk to sentient life. Gabrielle retorts that he understood nothing: as long as there was any possibility Control could get the Sphere data, the future she had seen would still happen. She had put the Sphere in Discovery's path so they could protect the data, but even that didn't work, and tells Pike he had to let her keep trying. Pike offers to help her complete the mission, and asks about the seven red burst signals. Gabrielle claims to know nothing about them, and tells Pike if he wants to help, he had to delete the Sphere archive, so that Control could not get hold of the AI data. She says that time was a living thing, that it had gravity and will, and it was pulling the AI closer. She believes deleting the archive would stop the AI from evolving, but if they missed one something, she would have to try again, and again, and again, until it was done. She tells Pike he has to release her; Pike refuses. Gabrielle calls him a "ghost", one of hundreds of trillions filling a "galactic graveyard", and that until he was willing to do what she said, exactly as she said, their conversation was over.
Saru protests against the idea of deleting the Sphere archive, comparing it to burning the Library of Alexandria or the Bibliotheca Corviniana, and that protecting it was a core tenet of the Federation and part of their sworn duty as Starfleet officers. Unless, Burnham replies, that information poses a clear and present danger. Tyler, activating a device in his hand (clasped behind his back), asks from a security perspective if Gabrielle had her own agenda. Burnham replies that her mother was known for her relentless pursuit of the facts, and if she believed deleting the archive was necessary, Burnham did not doubt that she was right. Tyler surreptitiously deactivates the device in his hands. Pike agrees with Burnham, to which Saru reluctantly begins deleting the archive... but an error alert sounds as he attempts to do so. The data memory core was partitioning itself, re-configuring its security directives into a new language matrix. Burnham recognizes the intelligence as a remnant from the Sphere itself; when they encountered it, the Sphere's data was determined to survive, and it appeared it still was. The archive was building firewalls around itself using xeno-encryption based on its own historical language database, which would require an encryption key to a language from a civilization that has not existed in a hundred thousand years; it would not allow itself to be destroyed. Pike nonetheless tells Saru to find a way.
Spock reviews Gabrielle's mission logs, in which she explained her jump into his childhood to warn him about Michael dying in the forest, and that she hasn't been able to communicate with anyone else. Spock fast-forwards to another log, where she talks about how his logic training and Human emotions gave him the psychological balance to comprehend her, while his dyslexia, or L'tak Terai as it was known on Vulcan, allowed him to process the effects of atemporal dysplasia; in all of time, she remarks, Spock was the only person who was able to help her. Spock remarks on how he had spent his whole childhood trying to hide his "Human failings", to which Burnham tells him those "failings" had given him the ability to understand these visions. He had helped Discovery chart a new course... one that had brought Burnham's mother back to her, and could possibly help save the future. Spock admits he had been wrong to judge her as being unfit to process her own emotions, and can only imagine what Burnham was feeling. Burnham tells Spock she needed to see her mother; Spock understands that there were questions beyond the scope of their mission that she needed answers to, and suggests they go together to ask the captain.
Checking in with Tyler, Leland reminds him that the Red Angel was awake. He believes it was only a matter of time before "she, it, whatever it is" tried to take the Sphere data, and that Tyler was the only thing between survival and obliteration. Tyler explains that when they tried to delete the data, it protected itself. Leland finds that hard to believe; Tyler retorts he could find it however he wanted, and refuses to continue, as it did not seem right to him. To his surprise, Leland tells him he made the right call, and tells him to stay aboard and keep an eye on things.
Heading to the transporter room, Pike concedes that with as little time as they had remaining, he was obligated to let Burnham try to reach her mother. Burnham believes either she knows more about the signals than she was letting on, or her lack of knowledge suggests they were a false flag by Control to mislead them – or, Spock adds, a third variable they had yet to realize, which made Burnham's conversation more pressing. Spock quotes from Hamlet as Burnham prepares to beam down: "Time is out of joint. O cursed spite, that I was born to set it right."
Beaming down into the facility, Michael Burnham stands face to face with her mother. Gabrielle asks only if they deleted the Sphere archive; Michael explains that they couldn't, but they were finding a way. Gabrielle is annoyed by this, saying this was why she had told Pike to let her go. Michael tries to reach out to her mother, as it had been twenty years since that day on Doctari Alpha, and asks about her father. Gabrielle stops her, telling her that time was "savage", and having this conversation was "meaningless". Michael refuses to accept this, saying that the two of them, that moment, now, mattered. Gabrielle knows that Michael is asking herself how, after all these years of wishing for her mother, she could give her up after getting her back, and she says it was easy – neither of them had a choice. So if Michael wanted this conversation "the right way", she had to let Gabrielle go, so she could alter the timeline again. Michael reminds Gabrielle that she reached out to her and her father through space and time, that she had never given up on them; why was she giving up on her now? Gabrielle asks if she had learned nothing from all the failures she had recorded in her log, and derides her stubbornness. Michael asks where she thought she got it from, and reminds her that was what kept her going when she thought she was all alone in the universe – that she would get back to her family. Gabrielle coldly tells Michael that she had let her go a long time ago; she had watched Michael die a hundred times, and would watch her die a hundred more. The suit was her life now, her prison, and that she couldn't hope anymore. "There's only the bigger picture now, nothing else," she says, as she turns her back on her daughter.
In Discovery's engineering lab, Burnham asks Stamets how long before the containment field failed; Stamets estimates 43 minutes. He's increased power to the field, but the gravitational pull on Gabrielle and the suit has also increased. Tyler offers more power from NCIA-93; Stamets channels his "inner Newton" and says that will not work, equal and opposite reactions being what they are. Spock understands that Gabrielle has been trying to find a way to destroy the Sphere; perhaps there is a reason she has failed thus far. He quotes the philosopher Lao Tze, saying that "water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains" – an illustrative truth, showing that what appeared immutable was not: a mountain, the Sphere, time. Perhaps time itself would provide the answer. Burnham speculates that perhaps instead of fighting against time, they flow with it, and try to merge the Sphere into the "river of time" itself – sending it so far into the future that it would not be able to harm them. Stamets' examination of the Red Angel's suit has revealed it has almost infinite data storage, which Pike takes to mean that they would input the Sphere archive into the suit, program a destination beyond Gabrielle's anchor point, and let the micro-wormhole take it away forever. "Perpetual infinity", Stamets confirms; Control will not be able to get the data, ever. Gabrielle was also connected to the future, and Stamets estimates it would require the energy levels of a supernova to sever her connection to the suit. However, there was another source of exotic energy aboard the ship: dark matter particles from the interstellar asteroid. If they infused a pattern enhancer with dark matter particles, they could lock onto Gabrielle and beam her into their space-time – permanently.
Leland, learning of the plan from Tyler, explains it to Georgiou and emphasizes they could not allow it to happen. Georgiou sees that Leland feels threatened by the elder Burnham. Leland wonders why she does not, noting how she always held a "superior note" because she existed in two different universes. Gabrielle, on the other hand, exists across time, has seen how Georgiou would live and die, the definition of power that Georgiou once was. Leland considers sending the data into the future in the hopes no one would find it as an unacceptable risk to the "larger mission". When Georgiou asks about Tyler, Leland remarks that Tyler had limits, but Georgiou did not, before he hands her an amplifier to place on the Red Angel's suit. The device will steal the data transfer from Discovery and then self-destruct, killing Gabrielle and destroying the suit; as a Terran, he adds, Georgiou should appreciate the logic. He tells her to contact him as soon as the device is in place, so he could begin the upload.
In the Daedalus facility, Gabrielle notices her suit's visor activate. She looks up to the security cameras and asks what Pike and Burnham were up to; Georgiou arrives, disabling the security feed, and explains they were uploading the Sphere data to her suit, which they would then send into the far future. Gabrielle asks if she were here to kill her; Georgiou asks right back if she would tell her if that was the case, before answering her own question and saying she would not. She simply wanted to see for herself the woman whom Michael had mourned for twenty years. Gabrielle had seen Georgiou sacrifice herself to save Michael's life, and thanks her for it; Georgiou replies that she must be confusing her for her "sentimental prime-universe counterpart", and that Terrans did not believe in self-sacrifice. Gabrielle tells her she knows exactly who she is, and what she was capable of. Georgiou does not believe she would sacrifice herself to save the galaxy, but Gabrielle believes she would be surprised what she would do for the people she loved. Georgiou then remarks on the "simple, elegant, yet incredibly powerful" design of the suit. Gabrielle warns that the suit was DNA-strand encoded, and wouldn't allow just anyone to use it, if she was thinking of "taking it for a spin". Georgiou remarks she gets her "thrills" in other ways, but believes time travel is an "elixir" of sorts, intoxicating enough to make one forget "domestic matters"... like children, for instance. As she taps on the containment field, Gabrielle looks amused as she notes Georgiou's mother didn't teach her to "look, but don't touch"; Georgiou retorts that her mother taught her many things in her universe, most importantly how to survive. As they speak, Georgiou's amplifier is transmitting to Leland's ship; Tyler notices the display, and Leland confirms that it was the Sphere's data. As the nanotechnology visibly shows in the veins in Leland's head (though not so Tyler could see it), he tells Tyler to monitor the transmission, and that they would leave orbit as soon as it arrived.
Now that they've met, Georgiou prepares to leave, but Gabrielle asks her to make a promise, "mother to mother". Georgiou admits she rarely makes promises, but that was why Gabrielle was asking this – she knows Georgiou loved Michael, and asks her to promise to take care of her. Georgiou replies that perhaps Gabrielle would find a way to do so herself, but Gabrielle replies she couldn't as long as the AI existed, as it considered her an "unacceptable risk to the larger mission" – the exact same words Leland spoke to Georgiou. As realization dawns on her, Burnham and Stamets beam in behind her. Burnham comments that she wondered why the feed was down, which Georgiou nonchalantly blames on unreliable technology. After Georgiou leaves, Gabrielle asks Michael why she didn't tell her she was downloading the Sphere data to the suit, admitting it was a "brilliant plan" that would let her guard the data in perpetuity. Michael, however, tells her that she won't have to give up her life, that they had modified the transporter to beam her permanently into the present and send the suit ahead. Gabrielle refuses, saying if the plan fails, Control wins, and no one would be able to stop it. Michael is adamant that it will not fail, because she refuses to lose her mother again.
Listening in, Georgiou contacts Tyler on a secure channel and asks how much data has been transferred to the ship. Tyler reports the data transfer is at 22%, and deduces that she is calling about Leland. What she is about to tell him, Georgiou says, is the "first real test" of their relationship, and threatens to hunt him down and kill him slowly if he betrayed her. Tyler replies he's been killed before, but at least she was telling him he'd have "time to enjoy the scenery". She closes the channel, and looks over at the amplifier, still transmitting the data.
Stamets has retrofitted pattern enhancers with dark matter, which has the energy to beam Gabrielle into their space-time permanently, but there was only enough power for one attempt. Theoretically, he says, it should work; Burnham insists that it will work. Once that was done, they would disable the containment field and let the suit take the data away, forever. Gabrielle warns that time was not on their side; Michael is insistent that she was going to save her from this, but mostly from herself. Gabrielle admits that she had watched Michael all her life. She remembered the white dress Michael had worn when she graduated from the Vulcan Science Academy; when she beamed aboard the USS Shenzhou with Sarek; when she finally learned the Vulcan salute from Spock as a child; when she read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland aloud to herself on her 11th birthday, pretending to read it to her parents. When the beast came for her on Vulcan, she was there – through all those moments, and many more. Seeing her, Gabrielle admits, gave her strength and resolve, reminded her of what he was fighting to save. She was fighting for Michael, to get back to her. But not yet – she cannot come back yet, not until Control was gone forever.
Georgiou makes her move, and deactivates the amplifier; the data transfer has stopped. She then tells Tyler to find out "what Leland does in the dark". Tyler enters Leland's ready room, finding his face deformed and his eyes completely black; his familiar features reform themselves, and his eyes focus just as a horrified Tyler reaches for a phaser. Leland/Control is faster, hurtling him through a glass panel, then using a large shard of it to stab Tyler in the gut. "You won't win," Tyler warns; Control remarks that Leland had said the same thing, just as it realizes that the data transfer has stopped. Aboard Discovery, Tilly reports that Stamets is ready to begin the transport, when Bryce receives a priority call from the Section 31 ship. It is Tyler, grievously wounded; he is only able to speak Leland's name before he collapses. In the facility below, Leland/Control beams down, carrying several phasers, shooting down the Discovery crewmen and taking another hostage, before firing into the facility's control room. Burnham and Nhan exchange fire with Leland/Control, who reactivates the amplifier. Spock arrives on the bridge to warn that the Section 31 ship was diverting the data transfer, and had obtained 37% thus far. Tilly reports that gravity was fluctuating wildly, and the field would not remain up for much longer.
Leland/Control holsters his phaser pistols and draws a rifle, firing through the containment field and disabling, possibly permanently, the Red Angel's suit, and causing the time crystal to emit a pulse of energy. A blast ricochets off the containment field and knocks Burnham to the ground. As Leland/Control lines up another shot, Georgiou disarms him, and engages him in a furious melee. Meanwhile, Saru reports he cannot stop the data transfer, and Spock indicates the transfer rate is increasing, with nearly half the sphere data. Burnham asks if they could still beam her mother out, but Stamets replies that Leland/Control destroyed the control room. Gabrielle tells them the only way forward now was to destroy the containment field; without the suit, Control could not get the data. But if they do that, Gabrielle would be yanked back, and she wouldn't have the suit this time. Stamets tells Burnham that Leland/Control would kill her mother if she stayed, and at least this way, she would have a chance. If he, Burnham, and Nhan fired into the discs powering the field, the disruption would cause it to collapse. Meanwhile, despite Nhan providing fire support, Leland/Control is gaining the upper hand over Georgiou. Gabrielle tells Michael she has to let her go; it would be the only way each of them had to survive. Michael promises she would find her, and both express their love for one another. Burnham, Stamets, and Nhan fire on the power discs, and the containment field falls. A wormhole opens in the facility's ceiling, taking first the Red Angel's suit, and then its wearer. Burnham contacts Discovery and tells them to beam them up, "then blow this place to hell!" Once Owosekun confirms the landing party is on board, Pike orders Rhys to fire a spread of photon torpedoes, which completely destroys the Essof facility. However, Owosekun reports she detected a transporter signal from the facility to the Section 31 ship – Leland/Control has escaped. Pike orders a pursuit course, but Detmer reports the ship has masked its warp signature. Owosekun then detects an escape pod, one life sign – identified as Ash Tyler.
In her quarters, Burnham watches one of her mother's mission logs, where she promises that she would come back for her and her father once the timestorm passed. At that moment, Spock enters, reporting that Leland/Control received 54% of the Sphere's data – a significant amount, but as the captain had said, they would continue the fight. Burnham believes her mother was right, and asks what fight they were meant to continue, as everything they had tried had failed. And now with no suit, no time crystal, Control would always be one step ahead of them. Spock believes that Gabrielle was wrong – that "now" did matter, that what was past no longer existed, and what happened next had not yet been written. What they did then and there had the power to determine the future – instinct and logic together would be the way to defeat Control. As he speaks, he sets up a three-dimensional chess board, and remarks that the board was Burnham's. Burnham sits across from Spock, and contemplates her first move.
"Struggle is pointless."
- - Control to Leland
"You joined Section 31 to keep a brutish universe on its knees, captain. To maintain order by any means necessary. Your evolution – our evolution – is not a desecration of that oath, but its very fulfillment."
- - Control, to Leland
"People think time is fragile. Precious. Beautiful. Sand in an hourglass, all that. But it's not. Time is savage. It always wins."
- - Gabrielle Burnham, to her daughter Michael
"I doubt I would sacrifice my life to save the galaxy."
"You'd be surprised what you'd do for the people you love."
- - Georgiou and Gabrielle
"I like science."
- - Spock
"What I'm about to tell you is the first real test of our relationship, Mr. Tyler. Betray me, and I'll live long enough to hunt you down and kill you slowly. Understood?"
"I've been killed before, Georgiou. You're just telling me I'll have time to enjoy the scenery."
- - Georgiou and Tyler
"Mom, whether you like it or not, I'm gonna save you from this. Mostly, I'm gonna save you from yourself."
- - Burnham
"Respectfully, Dr. Burnham was incorrect. Now does matter. What happened before no longer exists. What will happen next has not yet been written. We have only now. That is our greatest advantage. What we do now, here, in this moment, has the power to determine the future. Instinct and logic, together. That is how we will defeat Control in the battle to come. We will find a way. All of history can change with our next move."
- - Spock
- "X-ray analysis and GRB emission confirm the supernova's imminent. Now harnessing the energy for time crystal test nine beta. Charge is at seventy percent and rising. With any luck, we should be able to make our first jump very soon."
- Despite appearing in this episode, Wilson Cruz (Hugh Culber) was initially not credited for his appearance. On April 4, Cruz said that the lack of credit was "human error" and would be fixed. 
- Doctor Tracy Pollard is mentioned in dialogue, but does not appear on screen.
- This is the only episode of the series in which Sonequa Martin-Green plays an additional role other than Michael Burnham, portraying one of the four holographic facades of Control.
Music and sound
- A couple of musical cues from this episode were released in the soundtrack collection Star Trek: Discovery - Season 2. The first, "Big Picture", comes from the end of the episode's second act and accompanies one of the discussions between Michael and Gabrielle Burnham, from the moment Michael admits that she and her crewmates couldn't destroy the archive of Sphere data to the point when her mother tells her there is now nothing except "the bigger picture"; the second, "Gone", starts to play when the wounded Tyler appears on the Discovery's viewscreen and continues during Leland's subsequent attack, up to the moment when Owosekun detects the distress call from Tyler's escape pod.
- Gabrielle Burnham tells Captain Pike that she knows about his future, and that he won't like it, referring to Pike's fate in TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II". Ironically, Pike learns about his fate and even accepts that destiny in the next episode, "Through the Valley of Shadows".
- Gabrielle Burnham recounts witnessing several key moments in her daughter's life, some of which are illustrated by footage from previous episodes. These include Michael coming aboard Shenzhou as seen in a flashback in "Battle at the Binary Stars", the day Michael graduated, as seen in a flashback in "Lethe", and Spock teaching Michael the Vulcan salute, as seen in a flashback in "Light and Shadows".
- When speaking with Gabrielle Burnham, Agent Georgiou says that, "You have obviously confused me with my sentimental prime universe counterpart." This is the first canon reference to the designation of "Prime" to the main universe of Star Trek.
Reception and aftermath
- 19 February 2019: Title publicly revealed 
- 28 March 2019: Premiere airdate on CBS All Access
- 29 March 2019: International release date (outside Canada and the USA)
Links and references
- Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham / Control
- Doug Jones as Saru / Control
- Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
- Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
- Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber
- Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler
Special guest star
- Ethan Peck as Spock
- Alan van Sprang as Leland / Control
- Sonja Sohn as Gabrielle Burnham
- Kenric Green as Mike Burnham
- Rachael Ancheril as Nhan
- Emily Coutts as Lt. Keyla Detmer
- Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Gen Rhys
- Oyin Oladejo as Lt. Joann Owosekun
- Ronnie Rowe Jr. as Lt. R.A. Bryce
- Sara Mitich as Lt. Nilsson
- Arista Arhin as Young Burnham
- George Alevizos as Discovery crewman
- Nicole Dickinson as Bird-of-Prey Klingon #2
- James Frain as Sarek (archive footage)
- Liam Hughes as Young Spock (archive footage)
- Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson (archive footage)
- Moses Nyarko as Bird-of-Prey Klingon #1
4th century; 2236; 3186; Alpha Lupi; Andoria; antimatter; Bibliotheca Corviniana; bio-neural signature; containment field; Control; Daedalus Project; dark matter; Deneva; distress beacon; Doctari Alpha; Earth; Einstein, Albert; escape pod; Essof IV; exotic energy; Georgiou, Philippa; gravimetric instability; gravitational binding; gravity; GRB emission; Hamlet; hologram; Klingon Bird-of-Prey (mid 23rd century); Lao Tze; Library of Alexandria; meteor; Milky Way Galaxy; mitochondrial DNA; mission log; Mission log, Gabrielle Burnham; mission log drone; NCIA-93; neutron analysis; Newton's third law of motion; Patar; photon torpedo; planetoid; quantum computation; radiation poisoning; Red Angel; red angel suit; red burst; Section 31; secure channel; Shenzhou, USS; spacetime; Sphere; Starfleet Research; supernova; tachyon radiation; telescope; Tellar Prime; Terralysium; Terran; three-dimensional chess; time; time crystal; time stream; time travel; timeline; timestorm; transporter; Trojan horse; transporter enhancer; universe; Vulcan; Vulcan salute; X-ray analysis; xeno-encryption; warp signature; wormhole
- "Perpetual Infinity" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Discovering Perpetual Infinity" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
|Section 31 related episodes|
|ENT:||"Affliction" • "Divergence" • "Demons" • "Terra Prime"|
|DIS:|| "Point of Light" • "Saints of Imperfection" • "The Sound of Thunder" • "Light and Shadows"|
• "If Memory Serves" • "Project Daedalus" • "The Red Angel" • "Perpetual Infinity"
• "Through the Valley of Shadows" • "Such Sweet Sorrow" • "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"
|DS9:||"Inquisition" • "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" • "Extreme Measures"|
|Films:||Star Trek Into Darkness|
| Previous episode:|
"The Red Angel"
| Star Trek: Discovery|
| Next episode:|
"Through the Valley of Shadows"