by Eric Renner Brown | via Entertainment Weekly
“I have been to another universe and back,” Capt. Lorca tells mirror Cmdr. Landry (Rekha Sharma) at the outset of “What’s Past Is Prologue.” “You think I’d come all this way without a plan?” But as the episode demonstrated, having a plan isn’t the same as successfully executing that plan — and in Star Trek: Discovery‘s latest installment, Lorca and his group of Terran insurgents came to a fateful demise.
At the end of last week’s “Vaulting Ambition,” Lorca finally revealed that he had been a Terran all along, and he begins “What’s Past Is Prologue” by confidently taking aim at Emperor Philippa Georgiou. With Landry, Lorca tracks down mirror Stamets, explaining to the engineer how after he ruined his coup attempt, a freak ion storm incident catapulted Lorca from his Terran timeline to the Federation’s. “It was physics acting as the hand of destiny,” Lorca says. “My destiny.”
But the episode quickly dashes any hope that Lorca intended to overthrow Georgiou to make the Terran Empire a fairer, more hospitable place. “I’ve watched for years as you let alien races spill over the borders and flourish in our backyard,” he says, addressing Georgiou in a transmission to the entire I.S.S. Charon and impugning her for alleged softness. “Terrans need a leader who will preserve our way of life, our race.” And, in a thinly veiled Trumpian flourish, Lorca adds that he wants to “make the Empire glorious again.”
Events on Charon throughout “What’s Past Is Prologue” unspool as a cat-and-mouse game where both Lorca and Georgiou seek Burnham. Initially, Burnham — somewhat implausibly — escapes Georgiou’s throne room when the emperor refuses to let her contact Discovery to warn them about Lorca’s threat. Lorca, meanwhile, continues to send transmissions to the rest of the ship urging Burnham to join him in his quest for Terran domination.
“The Federation is a social experiment doomed to failure,” he says. “Childish idealism. Every species, every choice, every opinion is not equal, no matter how much they want it to be. The strong and capable always rise.” Lorca also lauds the Federation Burnham as having gifts that “far surpass” those of mirror Burnham’s. Lorca’s forces skirmish with Georgiou’s, including in a claustrophobic hallway fight sequence where both sides suffer serious casualties but Georgiou beams away unharmed.
To take down Lorca, Burnham initiates a — again, somewhat implausible — plan. First, she contacts Discovery, alerting them of what’s happened aboard Charon. In turn, Saru tells her what Discovery’s crew has learned: While their ship rides the mycelial network sustainably, Charon harvests the system’s energy in a way that threatens the safety of the entire multiverse. They’ll have to destroy Charon’s energy orb to ensure safety for all timelines, Saru explains. That leads Burnham to her next action: tracking down Georgiou and pledging to help the emperor defeat Lorca. “Both versions of me betrayed both versions of you,” Burnham says in an odd demonstration of fealty. “I won’t let that happen again.”
Click HERE to read the recap, “What’s Past Is Prologue (S1 E13)”