Burnham navigates a strange, new galaxy, 930 years in her future, looking for the rest of the Discovery crew while trying to determine what happened to The Federation.
Tropes in this episode:
- Absentee Actor: Burnham is the only Discovery crewmember present, despite Doug Jones (Saru), Mary Wiseman (Tilly), and Anthony Rapp (Stamets) being listed in the opening credits.
- Action Prologue: The second scene of the episode is Book under attack by the pursuing Cosmo when a wormhole opens and Burnham comes flying out and crashes into his ship.
- After the End: Zig-Zagged. Burnham arrives in the year 3188. Roughly 150 years earlier, most of the dilithium in the galaxy exploded for no apparent reason. The Federation collapsed not long after, and interstellar governments seem to be a thing of the past in general. That being said, this is still a significant step up from the "Kill 'Em All" future Control was threatening.
- Alien Sky: Hima has at least four moons that we see, one of which dominates the sky.
- Apocalypse How: Societal Disruption level on a Galactic scale. Some time between the 3060s and 3080s, most of the dilithium in the galaxy mysteriously exploded in an event known as "The Burn", severely crippling interstellar travel for countless civilizations and eventually leading to the collapse of the Federation.
- Attack Hello: Book attacks Burnham as soon as she approaches his ship believing her to be a poacher.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Briefly, Burnham and Book in the Mercantile.
- Bad Future: Zig-zagged. The Federation is in ruins after "The Burn" and lawlessness abounds, but, as Burnham notes, a future is better than none at all, and hope remains to make it better.
- Battle Boomerang: Book uses an oddly-shaped metal one during his fight with Burnham.
- Big "YES!": Burnham's response when the Red Angel suit's onboard computer informs her that "multiple lifesigns [have been] detected", confirming that she had successfully averted Control's plans to eradicate life throughout the universe.Burnham: YEEES!!! A-HAA! YEEES!!!
- Bilingual Dialogue: Cosmo doesn't seem to speak English, but he talks to people who do.
- Burning the Ships: To close the temporal rift they came through and make sure Control can't follow them into the future, Burnham instructs the Red Angel suit to self-destruct after entering the wormhole and creating the seventh burst to make sure the past knows that Discovery and her crew survived their trip.
- Coming in Hot: This happens to Burnham and Book when she crashes into his ship upon leaving the wormhole, disabling both his ship and her suit.
- Continuity Nod:
- Burnham needs to send the Red Angel on one final trip to the past to both be destroyed and create the final red burst. At the end of the previous season she only created six bursts but not the final seventh.
- Book explains to Burnham that all time travel technology was destroyed and outlawed after the temporal wars.
- We see another Lurian, the species Morn was on DS9. This one gets no lines, in contrast to Morn, who was always a blabbermouth.
- The "portable transporter" also recalls the wearable micro-transporter unit that Data used on Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis, though reusable unlike that version.
- Book's ship has a quantum slipstream drive that runs on benamite crystals. Unfortunately, those are just as rare in the Alpha Quadrant as they were in the Delta Quadrant, so the drive is worthless to him.
- Book also mentions that his ship has a tachyon solar sail that is "slow as shit". This is a nod to the DS9 episode "Explorers", where Sisko was able to briefly achieve low-warp in a Bajoran light ship (a solar sail with a different name) by hitting a tachyon eddy.
- Cosmo Traitt, the fellow from whom Book stole the trance worm Molly from and was pursuing him at the cold open, is a Betelgeusian.
- Covered in Gunge: Burnham, after Molly eats her and then spits her back out.Burnham: I really... really didn't know how this day was going to turn out.
- Crash-Into Hello: Burnham, while landing in the Red Angel suit, crashes into Book's ship, sending them both towards a very rough landing onto the nearby planet. When they meet after landing, he is none too pleased.
- Defector from Decadence: Book mentions that most of his family are poachers, and he doesn't talk to them anymore.
- Evolving Credits: The opening credits now feature Burnham with longer hair, an army of drones branded with the future Starfleet logo, Book's ship, the phaser shifting into its future equivalent, the Starfleet logos on the transporter pad shifting into the new one, and the Vulcan salute shifting into the new logo.
- FaceHeel Turn: With the Federation all but gone, the Andorians — once one of the four founding members of the Federation — have largely teamed up with the Orions.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Burnham, given that she's native to a time centuries before "The Burn". Downplayed, as the Used Future of 3188 isn't that different than the era she left; she marvels at the idea of "portable transporters," but is still able to instantly identify the device when she sees it in action. Technology may have advanced since her time, but it's still based on the same fundamental concepts, so she has a frame of reference.
- Fluffy the Terrible: The trance worm that swallows people whole is named Molly.
- Friend to All Living Things: Book has the ability to communicate with plants and animals through prayer-like behavior and some kind of implant on his forehead, such as summoning a medicinal plant to help treat Burnham's injury and placating a trance worm. He also really loves his cat, getting pissed at Cosmo's threats to turn her into food.
- Have You Tried Rebooting?: When the impact with Book's ship causes the Red Angel suit to malfunction, sending both of them hurtling toward the planet, Burnham orders it to deploy a heat shield then initiates a full reboot. It finishes about five seconds before she impacts the surface, just long enough to prevent her landing from being a lethal one.
- Healing Herb: Book summons a plant out of the water nearby, and squeezes a fluid out of it for Burnham to use to treat her injured arm. It only sterilizes the injury, however, and she still needs to wrap it.
- I Lied: Book gets Burnham into the Mercantile and directs her to the communications array, only for her to get caught by a stasis beam. He then tells her that direction actually leads to the vaults, and takes the rest of her stuff to trade for dilithium.
- Invisibility Cloak: Book leaves his ship invisible while it's on the surface of Hima.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: After seeing two of their comrades go down the gullet of the trance worm, the remaining three syndicate guards flee using their portable transporters rather than fight a losing battle trying to secure the worm.
- Last of His Kind: As of the start of the episode, Aditya Sahil is, to his knowledge, the last living member of Starfleet.note note
- Lovable Rogue: Book qualifies. Though he's a courier working for a not-precisely-legal Orion and Andorian outfit, and has absolutely no loyalty to the Federation, he's devoted to endangered-species preservation and is very handy in a fight.
- Mega Neko: Book's Maine Coon, Grudge, which is big enough that Book needs both arms to hold her. Burnham comments on her size the first time she sees her, which Book attributes to a thyroid condition. Later, one of the other smugglers tells Book that she could feed a whole planet.
- Motor Mouth: While under the effect of the Truth Serum, Burnham hits Tilly levels of excitability.Burnham: Oh! I have a friend with red hair, you cannot give her any.
- My Fist Forgives You: Burnham punches Book twice for double-crossing her.
- Neck Snap: Book does this to an Andorian guard that tries to sneak up on him and Burnham.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: As Burnham and Book are arguing over the dilithium she just swiped, one of the syndicate guards triggers a force wave device to send them flying. This also has the effect of throwing up a forcefield over the stall they're standing in, giving Book enough time to trigger a portable transporter.
- Noodle Incident: According to Book, the Gorn apparently destroyed two light-years worth of subspace at some point. He never gives any details as to how or why, though the context of the conversation suggests it may have been part of creating an artificial wormhole, which Book just chided Michael for. It's worth noting that the destruction of subspace is a known side effect of Omega particles destabilizing.
- The Password Is Always "Swordfish": What's the access code for Book's cargo hold?Book: Sticky.
Ithor: What kind of code is that?
Book: 'Cause it's the damn code, all right? Get your own code on your own ship.
- Points of Light Setting: The Trek Verse has become one of these following the Burn a century or two ago, when much of the galaxy's dilithium exploded for no apparent reason and left little behind to fuel warp-capable starships. The Federation largely collapsed in the following decades, and by 3188 exists only as a Vestigial Empire that almost no one takes seriously. While interstellar travel is still possible, the rarity of dilithium means that it is no longer commonplace, and most star systems are left to govern their own affairs.
- See the Invisible: Book's pursuers expose his ship by firing on its Invisibility Cloak.
- Sequel Hook: Oddly, nowhere in the episode itself, but the title of this episode includes "Part 1", with "Part 2" coming in at the opposite end of the season.
- Soft Water: After several failed attempts to escape by transporter, Book jumps off a cliff with Burnham and transports them both about a meter beneath the surface of a lake, since that will prevent their pursuers from tracking them. Relatively speaking, the two don't fall nearly far enough that they would have been harmed above the surface of the water, much less below it.
- Space Age Stasis: Even before the Burn, it appears that technology hadn't advanced as much as might be expected in eight hundred years. Programmable matter and personal transporters are now ubiquitous, but starships still require dilithium to regulate matter/antimatter reactions, and alternative forms of FTL (quantum slipstream and tachyon solar sails) exist but are not widespread.
- Swallowed Whole: The syndicate guards attacking Burnham and Book are Eaten Alive by a trance worm. It swallows Burnham as well before Book persuades it to release her.
- Teleport Spam: Book uses a portable transporter to keep himself and Burnham one step ahead of their pursuers, who use their own transporters to chase them.
- Those Two Bad Guys: An Orion and Andorian duo, Ithor and Ithyk. They interrogate Burnham, and are later part of the group who corner them in front of Book's ship. They get eaten by the trance worm.
- Title Drop:Sahil: Commander Burnham, now I'll tell you a secret. I'm not a commissioned officer. You see, my father was. His father before him. But, unlike them, I was never officially sworn in. There has been no one to do it. Yet, I watch this office every day, as I have for forty years, believing one day others like me would walk through that door, that my hope was not in vain. Today is that day. And that hope is you, Commander Burnham.
- Truth Serum: The interrogators hit Burnham with a spray designed to make her more forthcoming. It also makes her extremely loopy because Ithyk raised the dosage too high, but it gets them the information they want at least.
- Vestigial Empire: Despite the collapse of the Federation, there are hints that it still exists in some capacity, though severely reduced in scope. Book is familiar with "true believers" who pop up every now and then, and the limited scanning capability of the Federation relay station shows two active Starfleet warp signatures.
- Wham Line:Book: That badge on your shirt. Sometimes you see a guy with one of those badges, getting himself all worked up about the Federation. The old days. True believers. Can't handle that it's gone.
Burnham: The Federation is gone? That's impossible.
- You Have Failed Me: Cosmo gets vaporized for allowing himself to be robbed by Book in the first place, as it demonstrates incompetence.