I have to say that the most recent episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Vaulting Ambition,” is easily my favorite one yet. “The Wolf Inside” ended with the realization that Phillipa Georgiou is the Emperor of the Terran Empire in the alternate, mirror world dimension. That’s pretty big news, but nothing compared to the next big reveal.
The episode opens with Burnham and Lorca aboard a small transport vessel on its way to see Emperor Georgiou. While Saru was able to decrypt the data on the U.S.S. Defiance, none of it has proven useful and more information will be needed if the U.S.S. Discovery crew has any hope of returning home. Lorca is certain they can retrieve the information they need on the Emperor’s ship and encourages Burnham to remember that this mirror world Georgiou isn’t her Georgiou. She steadies her resolve and administers a shot that will help to prevent him from feeling as much pain while being tortured…which is pretty much imminent.
It becomes apparent quite quickly that the alternate universe Georgiou and Burnham were close too. In fact, after sending Lorca to be tortured, the two sit down for dinner.
Burnham does a good job pretending to be her mirror world counterpart, but not good enough to fool the woman who apparently adopted, raised, and trained her. Emperor Georgiou accuses Burnham of lying and shares that she’s known for a while that alternate-universe Lorca influenced her. The impression Georgiou gives is that in the mirror world, Burnham looked to Lorca as a father…and then possibly as something else? Regardless, Emperor Georgiou didn’t approve then and isn’t buying the rouse now. She orders Burnham be taken to the throne room for immediate execution by her hand.
Facing imminent death, Burnham comes clean about their real deception. She explains that she and Lorca are from an alternate universe, offering her Phillipa Georgiou’s Starfleet pin as proof. After testing the material to confirm it’s difference, Emperor Georgiou assassinates all but one of the officers in the room, has the remaining man standing swear secrecy, and promotes him for doing so.
As it turns out, Burnham’s story isn’t so unbelievable, but while Emperor Georgiou is willing to listen, she refuses to release Lorca. As the two discuss the situation, it becomes obvious that the information about the U.S.S. Defiant is “classified for a reason.” Apparently, all of the crew went insane and, as a result, the data regarding their arrival would be useless to U.S.S. Discovery.
Desperate, Burnham agrees to give Emperor Georgiou the schematics of the spore drive in return for her and Lorca’s freedom.
Speaking of the spore drive, Stamets is back in action! Kind of. His consciousness is apparently stuck in the spore drive network, along with the mirror world version of himself and the ghost(?) of Dr. Culber.
While the alternate version of Stamets seems decent at first, Dr. Culber soon reveals his intentions to be less than pure. What’s worse? There’s something very, very wrong with the spore network. If anyone in any universe is going to survive, Stamets needs to wake up right now and figure out how to fix it. And, after a few sweet moments with his now-dead lover, that’s exactly what he does.
To Tilly’s surprise and delight, Stamets wakes up and seems good to go…except the place he goes only leads to the terrible realization that he may already be too late to save the spore network. The spore forest aboard the U.S.S. Discovery is dying or dead already.
Meanwhile, Saru has his hands full dealing with the Tyler/Voq problem. With the medical team at a loss, he attempts to reason with L’Rell. Of course, she refuses to help, stating that Voq knew what he was getting into when he agreed to the procedure and that she wouldn’t interfere, even if it meant losing him. Saru takes this opportunity to inform her that they’re actually in an alternate universe and that, for all intents and purposes, the war with the Klingons is over.
Out of options, Saru ultimately beams Tyler/Voq into L’Rell’s cell after he mutilated himself. This distresses her greatly and she ultimately agrees to help. She proceeds to perform some sort of procedure on his brain, but it isn’t clear yet exactly what impact it will have in the end.
As if a dying spore network, a crazy Tyler/Voq, and being stuck in an alternate universe isn’t bad enough…”Vaulting Ambition” has one more curve ball to throw at us and, boy, it’s a whopper!
While Burnham speaks with Emperor Georgiou, she comes to the realization that Lorca has been from the mirror world the entire time.
That’s right. He somehow moved between the dimensions for the sole purpose of retrieving Burnham. And instantly, everything falls into place. His fixation with her suddenly makes perfect sense.
And, of course, as Burnham connects the dots, Lorca manages to escape imprisonment, leaving us primed and ready for the next episode!
Make sure you tune in to see what Star Trek: Discovery has in store for us next. I’m excited to find out exactly how many more surprises the show has in store for us before the season finale!