Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
For the DS9 episode with a similar title, please see "Past Prologue".

Lorca plans to move forward with a coup against the Emperor, propelling Burnham to make a quick decision to save not only herself, but the USS Discovery.

Summary Edit

Act One Edit

ISS Charon central orb

Discovery realizes the damage the Charon is doing to the mycelial network

In the mirror universe, aboard the Terran emperor's flagship, the ISS Charon, Gabriel Lorca frees his followers from a chamber filled with agony booths, including his loyal partner Commander Ellen Landry. Lorca and his men seek out Paul Stamets and use his bioweapon to start killing the Emperor's crew.

The Emperor is informed of the casualties of her crew. Michael Burnham advises her to allow her to contact USS Discovery again, but the Emperor does not agree and decides to imprison her in the brig. Burnham is forced to flee and escapes through a small hole in the wall.

Aboard Discovery, Airiam detects mycelia in the central orb aboard the Charon, which Stamets diagnoses as pulling power and poisoning the mycelial network.

Aboard the Charon, Lorca taunts Georgiou, and invites her crew to join his rebellion to preserve the empire. Georgiou identifies his location in the main labs, and leads her troops to "take the fight to him."

Act Two Edit

Emperor Georgiou leads her troops

Emperor Georgiou leads her troops into battle

Emperor Georgiou's forces come head to head with those of Lorca, after which she alone escapes being killed using an emergency transport system. Lorca orders Stamets to kill the emergency transport system and they secure the throne room.

Burnham accesses the Charon's communications system to contact the Discovery, warning them that Lorca is in fact from the mirror universe. The crew convey the importance of bringing down the containment field around the energy orb powering the palace ship. Burnham promises to take down the containment field.

Entering the throne room, Lorca's confidence that fate had brought him to this point grows, before killing the mirror universe Stamets. Landry is informed of the ship-to-ship transmission.

Act Three Edit

Gabriel Lorca Mirror Universe

Lorca asks Burnham to consider that the Federation is an experiment destined for failure

Lorca tracks Burnham to level 3, and attempts to convince her to join him in his rebellion against the emperor by describing his past with the Burnham from his universe. Landry attempts to capture her while Lorca is distracting her, only to find Burnham had rerouted the communications feed masking her location.

Michael Burnham mirror badge

The Emperor thinks back to her relationship with Burnham from her own universe

The emperor, too, is thinking back to her relationship with the mirror Burnham, when Commander Burnham finds her. Burnham explains the parallels between her betrayal of her Georgiou, and the mirror Burnham's betrayal of the emperor. Together, the two discuss the plan to defeat Lorca.

Aboard Discovery, the crew discuss options to destroy the energy orb, but the only option seems as though it will also result in the Discovery's destruction. Saru rallies the senior officers, indicating he does not sense death in their future and that they will defeat this "no-win scenario."

In the throne room aboard the Charon, Landry reports to Lorca that the emperor's crew has either been killed or joined their movement. Lorca's guards capture and bring Burnham and Georgiou to Lorca. Burnham agrees to offer Georgiou and herself, her mind only, in exchange for letting Discovery return to their universe.

Act Four Edit

Tilly and Stamets discover a way to escape destruction, if they ride the mycelial explosion in conjunction with the warp drive.

Discovery receives a message from the Charon and drops out of warp, then receives a hail from Lorca. Burnham sends a coded indicator to attack, and the Discovery launches its attack, kicking off a hand-to-hand battle between Lorca and Georgiou, and Burnham and Landry. Georgiou eventually defeats Lorca by stabbing him through the heart with her sword, before kicking him through a force field out into space to be vaporized in the ship's mycelial sun.

Lorca defeated, Georgiou prepares to buy Burnham time by fighting off Lorca's remaining followers. Burnham grabs Georgiou, pulling her into the transporter beam and bringing her to Discovery.

Mycelial network

Stamets navigates the mycelial network

Discovery attacks the Charon's energy orb – setting off the mycelial shockwave, which Discovery combines with its strategy to jump to warp to ride back to the prime universe. Stamets struggles to navigate the recovering mycelial network until he can remember Hugh's advice.

Klingons have won the war map 2257

"If the map is to be believed, it appears, the Klingons have won the war…"

Discovery seeks to confirm the date and location they've returned to, with no response from Starfleet. Stamets finds that they've returned nine months ahead of the point that they left, to which Saru immediately asks Rhys to update their map of the war effort. The map reveals a major expansion of Klingon territory, with Starfleet having all but lost.

Memorable quotes Edit

"One year, 212 days of torture... of agony, my friends... my followers. But I have returned to give meaning to your suffering. Today is the day we reclaim our Empire!"

- Gabriel Lorca (Mirror)

"Hello, Paul."
"Gabriel! I really hoped you were dead."
"Well, you can't always get what you want."

- Gabriel Lorca (Mirror) and Paul Stamets (Mirror)

"It is well known that my species has the ability to sense the coming of death. I do not sense it today. I may not have all the answers; however, I do know that I am surrounded by a team I trust. The finest a captain could ever hope to command. Lorca abused our idealism. And make no mistake, Discovery is no longer Lorca's. She is ours. And today will be her maiden voyage. We have a duty to perform, and we will not accept a no-win scenario. You have your orders. On your way."

- Saru

"What the hell are they doing?… Is the containment field up?!"

- Ellen Landry, seconds before the Discovery destroys the Charon

Log entries Edit

Background information Edit

  • After Trek "Episode 12" discusses the making of, and events in, this episode.
  • "What's past is prologue" is a phrase from Act 2, Scene I of William Shakespeare's The Tempest. It also inspired the title of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Past Prologue" as well as Jake Sisko's story "Past Prologue" in DS9: "The Ascent" and the Pocket TOS novel Past Prologue.
  • Shazad Latif (Ash Tyler) does not appear in this episode.
  • Counting Ash Tyler as a Klingon character, this is the first DIS episode that does not feature any Klingon.
  • It's revealed the mirror Gabriel Lorca arrived in the prime universe via a transporter accident the same way Kirk, McCoy, Scott, and Uhura entered the mirror universe in 2267; in Lorca's case, it was while beaming up to ISS Buran during an ion storm.
  • This is third episode of the series without a teaser, after "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" and "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum".
  • This episode marks the first time a main character who is a commanding officer has been written out of their series of origin.
  • The mirror universe Michael Burnham's serial number, SHN4790 4600CS, mostly mirrors the prime universe Burnham's Starfleet serial number: SC0064-0974SHN.
  • The visual effect of the inter-universe mycelial travel bears a certain resemblance to the Slipstream travel in the TV show Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda – the animation as well as the "Shake, Rattle 'n' Roll". The score of that scene (classical-style aria) also bears a similarity to a similar scene (return to the prime universe after a longer stay in another universe) in the Andromeda episode "The Heart of The Journey (Part 1)".

Production history Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit


Special guest star Edit

Guest starring Edit

Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

Stand-in Edit

References Edit

agony booth; Alpha Quadrant; ambush; battalion; Battle of the Binary Stars; bioweapon; black alert; border; brig; Buran, ISS; carrier address; Charon, ISS; clearing; containment field; coup d'état; emergency transport; emperor; energy dispersal; flash grenade; forest; Georgiou, Philippa; hack; Harlak; hypergravity; ion storm; life sign; lord; magnetic field; mirror universe; multiverse; mycelial energy; mycelial network; mycelial shockwave; mycelial spore; mycelium; nanometer; noose; no-win scenario; parallel universe; pathway; photon torpedo; physics; pillow talk; poetic justice; poetry; poison; Priors World; race; rebellion; revolution; sanctuary; senior officer; Starbase 46; subatomic analysis; super-mycelial reactor; superstructure; sword; terahertz; throne room; torture; transporter signature; United Federation of Planets; vaporize setting

Rhys' tactical star chart Edit

Acamar; Carraya; Celes; Paulson Nebula; Starbase 157

External links Edit

Previous episode:
"Vaulting Ambition"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 1
Next episode:
"The War Without, The War Within"
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