Star Trek: Discovery Episode 13 Review: “What’s Past is Prologue”

As Star Trek: Discovery flies toward the final few episodes of its first season, I think we’re finally seeing the show and its cast fall into a good rhythm. After last week’s episode, “What’s Past is Prologue” was situated to be quite an action-packed hour of fun and I think it hit the mark. In fact, the quality and story were on par with some season finales!

We pick up right where we left off, immediately proceeding the reveal that Lorca is actually a native to the alternate universe. After freeing his people from their torture tubes, he goes in search of mirror-world Stamets, who is surprised and none-too-pleased to find Lorca is still alive. He quickly proves himself a coward, however, and agrees to assist Lorca in taking over the ship.

The first act of business? Using a bio weapon to kill 17 decks worth of people in a matter of minutes.

One might expect this act to be considered rather atrocious, but Emperor Georgiou seems to barely notice. She cares only for the fact that his activities will eventually give away his position. Familiar with Lorca’s tricks, Burnham warns that Georgiou is likely walking right into his hands. Aggravated, the Emperor commands Burnham be taken into custody. Burnham doesn’t take kindly to this idea, however, and quickly escapes into the ship’s air duct system.

Lorca is definitely making moves on the ship and he’s not quiet about it. In fact, he announces his intent to take over the Terran Empire via the ship’s intercom. His message? “The Empire is dying in [Georgiou’s] hands; but you don’t have to.” He also makes it clear that no one should harm Burnham.

Emperor Georgiou and her followers locate and confront Lorca but, while the battle is quite fun to watch, it doesn’t last very long. In the end, all of her crew are killed and she’s forced to teleport to another location on the ship.

Star Trek: Discovery via eWedit Files
Photo via wWedit Files

This leaves the throne room unprotected and Lorca claims it as his own. He gives a pretty speech about destiny, filling in a few more blanks about his past, and summarizing it by saying, “I’m living proof that fate is real.” Lorca ends his tirade by killing mirror-world Stamets. I don’t think anyone will be particularly saddened by this turn of events, but it was a little unsettling to watch.

Lorca’s attention then turns to convincing Burnham to join his fold. He goes as far as to say that her gifts surpass those of her mirror universe counterpart. As she races to find a way to contact the U.S.S. Discovery about his betrayal, Lorca makes an attempt to track her but her skills apparently surpass his as well.

Ultimately, Burnham finds her way back to the Emperor’s quarters. Georgiou isn’t happy to see her, but they do finally establish quasi-terms and make a plan to take down Lorca.

Star Trek: Discovery via Trek Today
Photo via Trek Today

Meanwhile, things are looking bleak on the U.S.S. Discovery. Stamet’s return comes with bad news pertaining to the spore network. Apparently mirror-world Stamets contaminated it and, unless it’s fixed, it’s bad news bears for everyone. In fact, as Stamets puts it, “when it goes, it takes all life with it.”

Luckily, the U.S.S. Discovery crew is able to locate the source of the contamination, but there are several problems. First, there’s a containment field up that their weapons can’t penetrate. They solve this by deciding to place spores on the ship’s warheads…but the task will deplete them of their stores and leave them unable to return home. And there’s also the fact that the U.S.S. Discovery won’t be able to escape the blast wave, so it and all of the crew will be destroyed almost instantly.

Despite all of the potential difficulties, the crew seems undeterred. In fact, Saru gives an amazingly uplifting speech, truly shining as a leader for the first time. He also reminds everyone that his race is capable of sensing death and, while the odds may seem bleak, he isn’t sensing it. In the end, Tilly finds a way to shield the ship and predicts that they can ride the shock waves while simultaneously using the ambient spores to activate the drive and get home.

So it’s back to Burnham and mirror-world Georgiou, who willingly enter the captured throne room. Burnham essentially agrees to remain with Lorca in exchange for the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery. She’s sure to reiterate the offer is for her mind alone, not her body. Eager to have her by his side, Lorca agrees.

Star Trek: Discovery via CBS Static
Photo via CBS Static

Lorca hails the U.S.S. Discovery and explains the agreement. Saru expresses a need to see Burnham to confirm the information, but it’s actually to identify her location in the room so she isn’t struck when the ship opens fire.

We get another rather good combat scene here and it made my heart sing a little watching Burnham and mirror-world Georgiou fight side-by-side again. While Lorca seems intent on killing Georgiou, he’s also determined to keep Burham alive, even to the detriment of his own people. In fact, he even slices his number one in the back with a sword to keep her from killing Burnham.

Star Trek: Discovery via Static Independent Co UK
Photo via Static Independant Co Uk

Unfortunately, Burnham isn’t so kind to him. He asks that she not make him kill her, but she’s confident he won’t. Their tussle ends with her having the upper hand and, while she refuses to take the final shot, the Emperor doesn’t hesitate. Actually, the mirror-world Georgiou is content to literally stab Lorca in the back.

Burnham is able to lower the containment field and waits to be beamed back aboard the U.S.S. Discovery. Beaten, Georgiou claims there’s nothing left for her and volunteers to hold off the rest of Lorca’s men so Burnham can escape. At the last minute, however, Burnham grabs mirror-world Georgiou and they are both teleported to safety.

The U.S.S. Discovery successfully destroys the ship and eliminates the spore drive contaminants. It takes some work, but Stamets also manages to navigate the ship back home…the only problem? They are back nine months later than when they left and the Klingons have won the war against Starfleet.

Bum, bum, bum! Hot damn, that was a lot. I have a feeling we’re in store for quite a ride during these next two episodes. Stay tuned this Sunday and next to see what Star Trek: Discovery has in store for us next!

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Author: Amanda Bowyer

I am an author living in Myrtle Beach with my husband, Ryan, and three dogs. I have a passion for sci-fi, fantasy, and all things geek/nerd. Check out my publications at www.AmandaBowyer.com - it's where weird becomes awesome! You can also hit me up on Twitter @alvosloh

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