Star Trek: Discovery "Terra Firma, Part 2": It's a Woe-derful Life

Transference was the theme in the second part of Star Trek: Discovery episode "Terra Firma." Early in season one of the series, we never really got a chance to explore the mother-daughter type of bond between Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). We caught glimpses from the first couple of episodes of season one that resulted in the shocking death of the Prime version of the captain of the U.S.S. Shenzhou at the hands of the Klingons. We also are treated to a holographic message Prime version left to Burnham in her video will where she receives a telescope. If that's not ominous of what's to come, consider this your spoilers warning for the episode.

Star Trek: Discovery "Terra Firma, Part 2": It's a Woe-derful Life
Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

So part two begins with Burnham's conspiracy revealed with Gabriel Lorca in the mirror universe. What's left for Georgiou is considered shocking to her crew who decides to spare her "daughter" of death in favor of systemic torture in hopes to break her. Throughout the episode, Emperor Georgiou manages to maintain her "cover" changing her past creating an alternate mirror universe timeline to try to get a second chance with Michael for her past deed. The theme is similar to the time-travel narratives like A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life. In the case of Star Trek: Discovery, the universe's "Clarence" is Carl, played by Paul Guilfoyle. Granted, it's about as hands-off as it gets and there's a nice nod to The Original Series in the end.

Star Trek: Discovery "Terra Firma, Part 2": It's a Woe-derful Life
Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS ©2020 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Two things are for sure, Yeoh (and by extension, Georgiou) is in the immortal words of the show, "badass," also probably the most charismatic and surprisingly layered characters that could easily be written off as a walking action cliché. Though she's a name star mostly known for her work in film, the series was easily just as much Yeoh's at certain points as it is Martin-Green's and the dynamic you see between the two isn't something that resonates the same way on other shows. They didn't just tell you, they showed you in their performance and in their eyes the bond they have. While we're supposed to be reminded how tough and gruff Georgiou is, the aspects of leadership shown here make me wish we have seen more of the prime adventures she had, but sadly, that will probably only be written in novelization form if at all.

If the writing isn't already on the wall, I don't know what else to say, but one thing's for sure, the showrunners did leave a crack open since interdimensional travel isn't always final in the Star Trek universe. Just ask Wil Wheaton. While the episode did feel predictable at times, it did provide loose ends I felt we were cheated early in the show's beginning. Omar Madha along with writers Bo Yeon Kim, Erika Lippoldt, and Alan McElroy created a memorable mirror universe episode. Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays on CBS All Access.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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