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Recap / Star Trek Discovery S1E15 "Will You Take My Hand?"

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The Discovery goes on its secret mission to Qo'nos but Burnham, Tilly and Tyler discover that their mission isn't to map the planet for a future military strike but to cause a natural disaster that will make the planet uninhabitable.


  • A Million Is a Statistic: By Georgiou's warped logic, genocide is justifiable because a decent number of Klingons will be able to escape their dying world — and unlike in the Mirror Universe, Terran ships won't be firing on the evacuation shuttles, further increasing the chance of survival.
  • Amusing Alien: Ash says that Klingons find humans who can speak their language to be amusing sideshows, like "dogs that can waterski".
  • Apocalypse How: Mirror Georgiou places a hydro-bomb in the volcanic vents covering Qo'noS. If detonated, it would create a chain reaction that would destroy whatever continent it was detonated on and render the planet uninhabitable within a few weeks.
  • Bi the Way: Georgiou engages the services of both a female and a male prostitute, all in the name of gathering information, of course.
  • Book Ends: As she did in the first episode, Michael threatens to commit mutiny, only it's to uphold Starfleet's ideals which Starfleet itself is willing to compromise. And this time, far from being alone, she has the crew with her.
    • Her actions are also mirror images in the two episodes. In her first episode, she's willing to compromise Starfleet ideals in order to attack the Klingons pre-emptively and save her crew, in large part because she doesn't trust Klingons. In this episode, she refuses to compromise Starfleet ideals in order to save the Klingons, even if it risks losing the war, and puts her trust in a Klingon to bring peace.
    • The Georgious have darkly contrasting scenes in both the pilot and the season finale involving water and weapons. In "The Vulcan Hello", the prime Georgiou fired a phaser into an underground resevoir of water to save an alien race from extinction due to a catastrophic natural disaster; here, the mirror Georgiou attempted to use a presumably water-generating weapon to manufacture a catastrophic natural disaster on an alien homeworld.
  • Call-Back: Michael tells Ash she sees him in his eyes, only him and not Voq.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When Burnham rips Cornwell a new one for considering genocide to be an option whatsoever, the bridge crew of Discovery unites in opposition, silently declaring that they will mutiny with her if necessary to stop it.
  • Casual Kink: When leading up to the aftermath of the Emperor's encounter with the prostitutes, the camera pans over a barrel of BDSM paraphernalia, though nothing further is made of it.
  • Continuity Cameo: Clint Howard appears as the drug-addled Orion Tilly encounters. He is notable for his appearance as Balok in the Original Series, less-so as as a Crazy Homeless Person from the past in an episode of Deep Space Nine and a Ferengi on an episode of Enterprise.
  • Continuity Nod: Tilly buys some unidentified meat, which Tyler informs her is from a gormagander.
  • Creative Closing Credits: For the season finale, the closing credits feature the theme song from Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: When an Orion arms merchant tells the landing party to move along, Georgiou has Tilly point a blaster up the Orion's nose.
    Tilly: Insult her again and your nose will be able to sniff the back of your head.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mirror Georgiou can't bring herself to kill Michael Burnham, because she reminds her too much of Mirror!Michael. Additionally, the sheer normality of people living their lives makes Michael have second thoughts about their recon mission even before she finds out they are about to manufacture a "natural" disaster.
  • Facial Dialogue: Burnham and Sarek share an Eye Take at The Reveal that the distress call received by Discovery is none other than the USS Enterprise, with the implication that Spock is aboard.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Seconds before the USS Enterprise appears, Lieutenant Bryce tries to decode the message, with part of the ship's ID code appearing on the screen: NCC-17... At this point, every Star Trek fan knew what ship it had to be.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Earth and Qo'noS survive beyond this series, so they're never in any significant danger.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Federation admiralty (or at least parts of it) were desperate enough that they signed off on a plan to render an entire planet uninhabitable, likely killing billions in the process. L'Rell, in turn, uses the threat of that plan to seize control of the Klingon Empire and call off the war.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Kirk would be proud of Georgiou's actions as temporary Captain, though maybe he wouldn't have invited the Green-Skinned Space Boy along...
  • I Ate WHAT?!: This is Tilly's reaction when she's informed that the random meat she bought as a distraction is actually gormagander.
  • Impostor Exposing Test: Burnham does this with Mirror Georgiou on the bridge when she gets a little too confrontational with Saru. Georgiou passes, having studied her counterpart just in case, but it does get her back on track.
  • Internal Reveal: Tilly learns that "Captain" Georgiou is, in fact, the Terran Emperor. The intimidated Tilly quickly does an awkward Terran salute, only to be told that she shouldn't do it by Burnham.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Since the Discovery is lacking in Agonizers, Georgiou has to settle for beating up L'Rell in her cell when she wants information. Torture Always Works is utterly averted since L'Rell shows no signs of breaking and Michael provides an alternative source for intel with the far more cooperative Tyler.
  • Kick the Dog: Mirror Georgiou mentions subjugating Mirror Betazoids and destroying the primitive and peaceful Mirror Mintakans.
  • Medals for Everyone: After the end of the war, the crew of the Discovery all receive medals (including Hugh Culber, posthumously), with Michael giving a ceremonial address.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Terraforming a dead moon? Sounds familiar. Also, amongst the various foods for sale in the market on Qo'noS are a few roasted creatures that look a lot like Ceti eels ...
    • It's also not the first time we've seen Qo'noS being threatened with planetary devastation. Praxis is even visible in establishing shots of the planet.
  • Near Villain Victory: Had Burnham been a femtosecond later than she was, Georgiou would have already detonated the bomb.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer shows Qo'nos being destroyed. In the episode proper, the scene is an animation played on the bridge as the Discovery crew tries to find out what effects the bomb would have.
  • Not Hyperbole: L'Rell literally holds the fate of the Klingon people in her hand, as she holds the detonator for the Hydrobomb to demonstrate.
  • Oh, Crap!: Tilly gets this when she's informed that the volcanoes they're meant to drop the probe in are active, which would destroy the probe. Then she checks the case and realizes it's not a probe.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Georgiou doesn't press the issue once Burnham informs her the original deal is off the table, and that Starfleet will let her walk only if she doesn't destroy Qo'nos. It also helps that she's not willing to kill Burnham, who still reminds her of Mirror!Burnham.
  • Put on a Bus: Tyler leaves Discovery and accompanies L'Rell to facilitate Klingon-Federation relations.
  • Poisonous Friend: The Emperor claims that she is destroying Qo'nos and ending the war for Michael, to set her free from her guilt and pain. Michael immediately states she doesn't buy it and Georgiou promptly agrees, but notes it was "worth a try".
  • Rank Up: Tilly and Stamets are respectively promoted to Ensign and Lieutenant-Commander at the end of the episode. Burnham also gets her former commission of Commander reinstated.
  • The Reveal: Michael admits she's carried the guilt for her parents' deaths because she was the one who convinced them to stay on the colony for a few extra days instead of leaving on vacation which allowed them to be caught in the Klingon attack. This, though, is actually old news to those who have read the prequel novel Desperate Hours, though it does make it official canon.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Before they can pick up Discovery's unnamed new captain on Vulcan, the crew is diverted by a Priority One distress call from none other than the U.S.S. Enterprise and the outro music becomes that of TOS. If Discovery hadn't been renewed for another season, it would have made for a great Passing the Torch moment.
    • A deleted scene posted on the show's Twitter page shows Mirror Georgiou being recruited by Leland (Alan van Sprang) of Section 31.
  • Shout-Out: The final shot of the Discovery and the Enterprise meeting up nose-to-nose is likely a reference to the Real Life "meeting" of the two namesake shuttles in 2012. The ships are even positioned the same way as in the photo (Enterprise to the left and Discovery to the right).
    • As the scene zooms in on Federation headquarters in Paris, one of the sound effects of a passing vehicle is that of a flying car from The Jetsons.
  • Sink the Lifeboats: According to Georgiou, Terran ships fired on ships evacuating Mirror-Qo'noS.
  • So Proud of You: Sarek admits in his own way that he is proud, because Burnham found the solution that neither he nor Starfleet could. He also asked specifically to be the one to tell Burnham she was pardoned and restored to her previous rank.
  • Take a Third Option: Faced with either having the war continue and the Federation be destroyed or committing genocide against the Klingons, Michael and the crew of Discovery come up with a way to end the war by giving L'Rell the detonator, allowing her to unite the factions under threat of annihilation in exchange for peace.
  • Talk About That Thing: Tilly decides she's getting hungry as a way to get to talk to Michael away from Mirror Georgiou.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Emperor claims that with the bomb in place, Federation and Klingons alike would be at Georgiou's mercy and she likes Burnham, so why not rule together?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Burnham lays into Cornwell big-time after discovering that the plan involves bombing the Klingon homeworld into oblivion.
  • Wretched Hive: The Orion enclave certainly qualifies, with the obligatory assortment of drug dens, brothels, gambling halls and arms dealers.
  • You Are Too Late: By the time Burnham has informed Saru of what Georgiou is planning, the bomb's already too deep to beam out.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: When she confronts Mirror Georgiou, Burnham warns her that the Federation will hunt her for the rest of her days if she destroys Qo'noS. More importantly, however, Georgiou will have to personally kill Burnham. Georgiou can't bring herself to do it.