Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

With Mirror Georgiou at the helm of the plan to end the Klingon war once and for all, the USS Discovery crew struggles to fathom and tolerate her hostile tactics. Memories of past hardships are rekindled within Burnham. (Season finale)

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

As Klingon forces bear down on the Sol system, the USS Discovery mirrors their approach as it closes in on the Klingon homeworld, Qo'noS. Specialist Michael Burnham muses on fear and how to defeat it, as Emperor Georgiou gathers status updates from the bridge crew, the crew (who are still under the impression that she is her counterpart) reacting with surprise at the hostile and belligerent attitude the Terran puts forward – declaring the Klingons to be animals, and uncaring as to what the ship's sensors are detecting.

Saru asks Burnham to assist him with an issue, before exclaiming unease at having to follow the orders of someone with such ideals, which Burnham responds to by noting that this was at the request of the Federation. Georgiou orders Burnham back to her station and challenges Saru, making reference to the fact that, in her universe, his species is a Terran delicacy. Burnham then attempts to expose Georgiou's origins by commenting on that remark and quizzing her on her counterpart's birthplace in Malaysia. The former emperor deflects the questioning easily, ordering the specialist to walk with her.

Out in the corridor, Georgiou warns Burnham not to attempt such an action again, or she will find herself in the brig. Burnham comments on the Federation's desperation in agreeing to give the Terran command of the mission, which Georgiou notes is in exchange for her freedom. She comments on Burnham's actions at the Battle of the Binary Stars, suggesting that her failure was a lack of following through on her intentions. The specialist grabs Georgiou by the arm, and demands to know the real plan. Georgiou tells her that the Federation is losing the war, and that Burnham must decided whether she will stand with or against her, before walking away. Burnham resignedly agrees that she is with her.

Act One Edit

Georgiou and Burnham visit L'Rell in the brig. L'Rell is surprised to see Georgiou, since she and other Klingons, had consumed her corpse but Georgiou explains that she is not that Philippa Georgiou. Georgiou displays a map of Qo'noS and explains that there are seven entry points to a dormant volcano system on the planet, and that she wants L'Rell to tell her the best place for a landing party to start a trip there on foot. After L'Rell refuses to, even after an additional plea from Burnham, Georgiou shocks L'Rell through her restraints and enters the cell to torture her for the information, but L'Rell does not break. Burnham screams for Georgiou to stop, and says there is another way to obtain the information.

The two visit Ash Tyler who has the memories of Voq, and he agrees to help. At a briefing, Burham explains that the plan is to release a drone to map the surface of the planet for military targets that can be attacked by Starfleet. Tyler tells the briefing that the best place to do that is a location with a shrine to Molor that is now on land that was given to the Orions for an embassy and outpost. Georgiou decides that Tyler will accompany Burnham and Georgiou, as well as Sylvia Tilly. Tilly is initially under the impression that the Emperor is the Philippa Georgiou from her universe, but the Emperor quickly makes it clear who she is by telling Tilly she had fun with Tilly's counterpart subjugating the Betazoids and wiping out Mintaka III. Tilly is assigned the task of carrying the drone. The Discovery then jumps to Qo'noS and beams down the landing party.

Act Two Edit

The party arrives at the outpost, and offers to trade Nausicaan weapons for two thousand darseks. Tilly feigns hunger to pull Burnham to a food booth and ask if she knows what the Emperor is up to. Burnham does not, but Tilly tells Burnham she has her back. Georgiou and Tyler then arrive, and after informing Tilly that she was eating gormagander meat, they all enter a bar. Georgiou gives Tyler some darseks and tells him and Burnham to go elsewhere and buy information needed to find the shrine. Georgiou remains and purchases some time with a male and female Orion, while Tilly waits in the bar.

Tyler and Burnham visit a cabaret where a game is being played that Tyler is familiar with, through Voq's memories. Tyler plays the game and wins some money, while Burnham is clearly upset by the Klingons' laughter. Tilly, moves about the bar and sits near an Orion who offers her the chance to inhale some volcanic vapor. After initially refusing, Tilly agrees to do so and subsequently faints.

Tyler returns from the game and tells Burnham none of the Klingons he played with were aware of the shrine. He wonders why she left the game so quickly, and she tells him the story of how her parents were killed by Klingons at Doctari Alpha. Burnham had begged her parents to put off a family vacation to Mars so she could witness a nearby supernova, which resulted in them being present for the attack. As they killed her parents, they laughed, which she was reminded of during the game. She is now seeing the planet as an actual home for people and not just the enemy. Tyler then observes some Klingons who appear to be followers of Molor, and he goes to ask them about the shrine.

Georgiou, after the two Orions are finished, attacks them to get the information about the shrine's location. Meanwhile, Tilly is woken up by the Orion attempting to open her case. He explains about the volcanic vapors she inhaled, and tells her that they are fresh from the source and that Tilly's information about the volcanoes being extinct is incorrect. Tilly then realizes that a drone could not do its work as it would be destroyed by the volcanoes, and then opens the case to examine the drone. She then sees a hydro bomb instead of a drone in the case. She calls Burnham on her communicator to explain, but is knocked out by Georgiou.

Tyler and Burnham meet with Tilly who explains that detonating a hydro bomb in an active volcano would lead to an apocalyptic explosion that would render the planet uninhabitable, which was Georgiou's plan all along. Burnham calls Saru on Discovery to have Georgiou beamed up, but the shrine is shielded. The bomb cannot be beamed up either, and Saru wants to contact Starfleet, but Burnham believes Georgiou is following Starfleet's orders. She requests a conversation with Admiral Cornwell.

Act Three Edit

After viewing a simulation of what the hydro bomb will do to Qo'noS, Burnham pleads with Cornwell that genocide is not the way to end the war. Cornwell responds by saying that the Federation is close to defeat and that they do not have the luxury of principles. Burnham says that principles are all that they have, and that Cornwell sent the Emperor on the mission because she knew that the Terran could do what Starfleet officers could not. Burnham then notes that a year ago, prior to the Battle of the Binary Stars, she thought survival was more important than principles, but that she now knows that she was wrong. She threatens a mutiny to prove who they are as Starfleet officers, and the crew stands to support her. Cornwell then asks what Burnham is suggesting as an alternative.

Burnham visits Georgiou in the shrine and tells her to stop her plan, though her freedom is still guaranteed. Georgiou says that when she did the same thing in her universe, it did not wipe out the Klingons, and that it will not do so now. She offers Burnham the chance to join her, but Burnham again demands the detonator and Georgiou pulls a weapon on her. Burnham tells Georgiou that she can either turn over the detonator and leave with her freedom, or kill her and escape with the Federation hunting her down as long as she is alive. Georgiou cannot kill Burnham, and agrees to turn over the detonator to Burnham. However, Burnham does not want it, and calls in Tyler and L'Rell. As an alternative to her home planet being destroyed, Burnham offers L'Rell the detonator, which she can then use to unify the Great Houses under her rule. Upon L'Rell taking the detonator, Georgiou then leaves the shrine.

Act Four Edit

Tyler tells Burnham outside the shrine that he is going to go with L'Rell and try to help both sides, as he is no good to either side alone. They share a kiss and he departs. L'Rell then addresses the Klingon Great Houses and tells them that she is the leader to fulfill T'Kuvma call of unity for the Klingon Empire. The Klingons present scoff at her claim until she shows them the detonator. She then orders them to lay down their arms, and the Klingon fleet headed towards Earth veers off.

Discovery crew honored in Paris

Burnham is honored in Paris

Burnham is in Paris outside a Federation building. Her foster mother, Amanda Grayson, approaches her. Burnham is grateful to Amanda's advice when growing up about not forgetting her Humanity, something which Burnham did not appreciate until now. Sarek then arrives and tells Burnham how he is disturbed that he had nearly played a part in genocide, but Burnham says that he was desperate to save the Federation and that she understands. Sarek is grateful that she found an alternative, and he informs her that the President of the United Federation of Planets is as well. Sarek asked to be the one to inform Burnham of their decision to pardon her for her crimes, expunge her record, and restore her to her former rank of commander. He presents her with her Starfleet insignia. Burnham and several members of the Discovery crew are presented with the Starfleet Medal of Honor, including Hugh Culber posthumously. Paul Stamets is promoted to lieutenant commander and Tilly is given the rank of ensign and accepted into the Starfleet Command training program. Discovery then leaves with Saru in command as acting captain to take Sarek to Vulcan, as well as to pick up their new commanding officer. Stamets tells Burnham and Tilly that Starfleet wants to find a non-Human interface with the spore drive and as such it will not be used.

USS Discovery rendezvousing with USS Enterprise

The USS Enterprise rendezvouses with the Discovery, 2257.

In transit, the Discovery receives a priority one distress call. After some initial difficulty, the call is identified by communications officer R.A. Bryce as being from Captain Pike, the commander of the USS Enterprise. The Constitution-class starship drops out of warp and slows in front of the Discovery.

Memorable quotes Edit

"What's wrong? Are you scared, Number One? Where I'm from, there's a saying: 'Scared Kelpien makes for tough Kelpien.' Have you gotten tough since we served together on the Shenzhou, Mr. Saru?"
"...Affirmative, Captain. Very tough. So much so that many find me simply unpalatable."

- Philippa Georgiou (Mirror) & Saru

"Your Federation is losing. The Klingon armada is already headed toward your homeworld. My knowledge is giving you a fighting chance. Are you with me, or against me?"

- Philippa Georgiou (Mirror)

"You? How? Our Lord pierced your heart. House T'Kuvma feasted on your flesh."
"You have the wrong Philippa Georgiou."
"Either way, I can tell you require seasoning."

- L'Rell & Philippa Georgiou (Mirror)

"What is that?"
"It's a space whale."

- Philippa Georgiou (Mirror), Sylvia Tilly, and Ash Tyler, on the mysterious food Tilly is eating

"Oh, shit! That is not a drone!"

- Sylvia Tilly, upon discovering that the "drone" she is carrying is in fact a hydro bomb

"First of all, um, so I'm very high, uh... but you need to listen to me."

- Tilly, contacting Burnham after inhaling volcanic smoke

"A hydro bomb? What kind of damage can it do?"
"Detonated into an active volcanic system, it's just apocalyptic."
"A phreatic eruption. Water flashes into steam and triggers a massive explosion."
"Landmasses directly over the reaction center will be vaporized. Ash will fill the atmosphere. Within weeks, Qo'noS will be uninhabitable."

- Tilly and Burnham, describing the catastrophic consequences of Georgiou's plan to Tyler

"A year ago, I stood alone. I believed that our survival was more important than our principles. I was wrong. Do we need a mutiny today to prove who we are?"

- Michael Burnham

"You talked them out of it, didn't you?"
"Of planetary slaughter? Yes."
"Oh, don't be so dramatic. When I did this in my universe, it didn't wipe out the Klingons. A decent number should be able to save themselves, plus they'll have an advantage; no Terran ships firing on them as they try to escape."

- Philippa Georgiou (Mirror) & Michael Burnham

"You really are nothing like my Georgiou, are you?"
"No, and I never have been."

-Michael Burnham and Philippa Georgiou (Mirror)

"We are no longer on the eve of battle. Even so, I come to ask myself the same question that young soldier asked the general all those years ago: 'How do I defeat fear?' The general's answer? 'The only way to defeat fear is to tell it no.' No, we will NOT take shortcuts on the path to righteousness. No, we will NOT break the rules that protect us from our basest instincts. No, we will NOT allow desperation to destroy moral authority. I am guilty of all these things."

- Burnham, during her speech at the award ceremony

"Hail from Captain Pike, sir."
"It's the USS Enterprise."

- Bryce and Burnham, identifying the source of the distress call

Log entries Edit

Background information Edit

  • After Trek "Episode 14" discusses the making of, and events in, this episode. This is the last episode of Discovery to have a companion After Trek episode.

Story and script Edit

Cast and characters Edit

  • Clint Howard previously appeared as Balok in "The Corbomite Maneuver", Grady in "Past Tense, Part II", and Muk in "Acquisition". Howard has the distinction of being the actor whose appearances span the longest time interval, fifty-one years, in the franchise, having filmed "The Corbomite Maneuver" in early-June 1966 and "Will You Take My Hand?" in October 2017.
  • L'Rell actress Mary Chieffo was enthusiastic about a specific line of dialogue said by her character towards the end of this episode. "I love that one of her last lines of [the first] season, to Burnham, was, 'But I am no-one,'" Chieffo enthused. "You know, she really does not see herself as significant within the Klingon culture because her society has told her that she is not worthy." (The Ready Room: "Episode 2")
  • Despite being credited, Jason Isaacs (Gabriel Lorca) does not appear in this episode.

Pre-production Edit

  • To create the look of the Orion outpost on Qo'noS, the art department produced a series of illustrations and created many different stalls. For the Orion sex cabaret in particular, they reused the set of the graveyard chamber from the Klingon Sarcophagus ship. "We were trying to use what we had because this was the last episode," explained Production Designer Tamara Deverell. To create some of the set's Orion architectural aspects, Deverell took cues from Star Trek: The Original Series. Inspiration also came from the real designs of various Eastern cultures. She recalled, "We used Indian carved room dividers and Moroccan tapestry, and Far east fabrics [...] We were allowed to go crazy." [1]

Production Edit

Additional scene Edit

Continuity and trivia Edit

  • This episode marks the first time that urination was shown on screen in the franchise.
  • This episode's closing credits are set to the end credits theme of Star Trek: The Original Series instead of the usual theme.
  • This is the first time since the epilogue of "These Are the Voyages..." in 2005 that the original prime universe Constitution-class USS Enterprise has been shown on screen.
  • This is the first appearance of a redesigned CGI Enterprise intended to be a retcon of the original ship within the prime timeline. Previous CGI Enterprises were either intentionally unchanged from the original design – like in the remastered episodes, in which the recreation was so faithful that it used caliper measurements of the original studio model to create the most accurate CGI model possible – or explicitly in alternate timelines, like the alternate reality.
  • This episode shows the construction of the Earth spacedock that appears in four of the original series films, beginning with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • This is the first episode of Discovery to feature Earth.
  • The passing by of the planets in the solar system at sublight speed before the Discovery can safely go to warp at the end of the episode is very reminiscent of a similar scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • The actions of the mirror Philippa Georgiou in the Molor shrine reflect those of her prime counterpart in the first episode. In "The Vulcan Hello", the prime-universe Georgiou goes to a well and uses a weapon to bring life, by firing a phaser to open an underground reservoir of water for a drought-stricken people, while the mirror-universe Georgiou goes to a well and uses a weapon to bring death, by deploying a bomb to trigger catastrophic volcanic eruptions.
  • This episode incorporates backstory information from the Discovery tie-in novel Desperate Hours, by David Mack. The novel was the first to mention Burnham's desire to watch a star go supernova, which compelled her parents to delay their departure from Doctari Alpha and eventually led to their deaths.

Production history Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit


Special guest star Edit

Guest starring Edit

Co-starring Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

Stand-in Edit

References Edit

aircar; Amanda's mother; Andor; arms dealer; ash; automobiles; Betazoids; bioprint; black alert; boat; BortaS bir-class; bowline; bread and circuses; brig; Ceti eel; Command Training Program; crew manifest; Culber, Hugh; darsek; distress call; Doctari Alpha; Earth; Eiffel Tower; embassy; Enterprise, USS; esophagus; Europa; Federation president; Followers of Molor; genocide; Georgiou, Philippa; gormagander; half-breed; hawk; hydro bomb; isik; Jupiter; Lorca, Gabriel; Luna; Malaysia; Mars; mapping drone; Mintaka III; Mo'Kai; Molor; mutiny; Nausicaan disruptor pistol; Neptune; optical data network; Orion; Orion language; outpost; paralithium; paralithium cell; pardon; Paris; phreatic eruption; Pike, Christopher; pirate; polyalloy; Praxis; priority one; prostitution; Pulau Langkawi; Qo'noS; railroad; seasoning; security scanner; Shenzhou, USS; shrine; space whale; Spacedock (Earth); stabilizer beam; Starfleet Medal of Honor; sulfur; supernova; tattoo; T'Kuvma; Tellar; Terran; Terran Empire; train; tranya; Trill; t'Sang; urination; volcanic vapor; volcano; Voq; Vulcan; Vulcan cruiser (cruiser); water skiing

External links Edit

Previous episode:
"The War Without, The War Within"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 1
Next episode:
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.