‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Recap: ‘What’s Past Is Prologue’ But The Future Remains In Question

What's Past Is Prologue

Returning 2020

The fate of the universe—scratch that, make it universes, as in all of existence—hangs in the balance as Burnham faces off against her ultimate Terran nemesis… Captain Lorca, formerly of the USS Discovery.

Lorca, having released his old co-conspirators from their Agonizer cells, rallies the troops to remount the coup he’d intended to stage, uh, however long ago (time is a flat circle in this brave new multiverse). But Burnham and the crew of the Discovery aren’t about to go down without a fight. Michael even manages to get Terran Emperor Phillipa Georgiou onboard with a daring (read: not all that likely to succeed) plan to outmaneuver Lorca—but at no small cost.

What's Past Is Prologue

Prime Universe Stamets and straight-haired Tilly have figured out that Terran Stamets has been exploiting the mycelium network to power the Palace Ship, ultimately poisoning it and spreading the contamination across the multiverse. In short: the Terran’s self-centered greed is on the brink of bringing an end to life as everyone everywhere knows it. But there’s hope—however tiny that sliver is. After a rallying speech from Saru, the ship’s brightest minds devise a long-shot scheme to stop Lorca, save the mycelium network, retrieve Burnham, and navigate the path home in one do-or-die move.

What's Past Is Prologue

Engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with Lorca, Burnham marches Georgiou into the throne room, offering up the Emperor and herself in exchange for the safety of the Discovery and its crew. Lorca, blinded by his obsession with Michael, agrees, but the two women aren’t about to give up so easily. Despite being hugely outnumbered, they launch an attack on Lorca’s troops, besting them in hand-to-hand combat. Just as Burnham is about to show Lorca some classic Federation mercy, Georgiou runs him through with her sword and tosses him into the ship’s mycelium core. It’s pure poetry—and exactly the way we’d except a Terran to dispatch an enemy.

The unexpected moment comes when Burnham grabs Georgiou at the last second before being beamed back to the Discovery—both of them are transported aboard and Georgiou seems less than thrilled. Seconds later, Stamets is engaging the mycelium drive and attempting the jump back to the Prime Universe. There’s no going back. Instead, the ship goes forward just a little too far. Nine months too far.

Upon announcing their return to Federation space, the Discovery receives silence and a surprise instead of a hero’s welcome home. The Klingons have won the war and the Federation has retreated. Looks like the Discovery has bigger problems than Leather Lorca.

What's Past Is Prologue

5 questions we have about the latest episode

1. The biggest question: What the hell happened in the Prime Universe during the nine-month gap that the Discovery was missing?

2. To follow up that question, how did the Klingons manage to come back from the destruction the Discovery had done to their fleet just before its exit and actually WIN the war? And so quickly, too.

3. How is Terran Georgiou going to adapt to the Prime Universe? One thing’s for sure, she’s going to be a great asset if the Discovery crew decides to keep fighting the Klingons.

4. Where’s Tyler? Is he alive and/or conscious?

5. Finally, and most importantly, in all that chaos and high-stakes manoeuvring, when did Tilly have time to let her hair go curly again?