Star Trek: Discovery – S1, E13 – What’s Past Is Prologue

For the first time all season, we finally see the crew of the Discovery come into their own. Now that they are freed from the rule of the Terran Lorca, they are truly working together as a team, with everyone contributing equally. Lorca’s leadership did not provide an ideal environment to foster the trust, collaboration, and equality so prevalent in other crews on Star Trek, but now that he has been ousted the ideals of the Federation are allowed to reign supreme on board the Discovery. Saru’s speech to the crew, erasing the past and christening the Discovery anew to start its true maiden voyage, was such a perfect Trek moment. It gave me chills; it just felt right. It has taken almost an entire season of growth, but now the crew of the USS Discovery is finally ready to perform as a fully functioning unit — and more than that, as family.

Even though he is off the Discovery and on board the Emperor’s flagship, Lorca has not given up trying to convince Michael Burnham to join him. He argues that he has been recruiting her from the first moment when he decided to bring her onto Discovery from her prison shuttle. Lorca claims that destiny brought them together repeatedly in both universes, and that the Federation’s Burnham has even more potential to work alongside him than her now-deceased Terran counterpart.

His argument centers around Terran ideals: “The Federation is a social experiment doomed to failure. Childish idealism. Every species, every choice, every opinion is not equal, no matter how much they want it to be. The strong and the capable will always rise.” Lorca chose Michael to help him because he believed her choices at the Battle of the Binary Stars showed that she understood that. However, Michael has come a long way since betraying her captain on that day. She rejects Lorca’s plan for her future, no longer willing to let someone else determine her fate.

Michael comes to this conclusion in the presence of Emperor Georgiou, whom she eventually brings with her to the Federation’s universe. Georgiou had resigned herself to the fate of falling on her own sword after her defeat, but Burnham wants Georgiou to see that her story does not have to be over yet. Even though Michael was the one who caused Georgiou to leave the Mirror Universe behind, it represents the possibility of a fresh start for her character. Michael could not bear to see another version of Georgiou perish, so she saved her, choosing to see the good in the Terran Emperor Georgiou rather than focus on the evil from her past. Everyone deserves a chance at redemption, no matter how much of a monster they may be. May we see everyone with the same eyes as Michael sees Emperor Georgiou.