After the Discovery crash-lands on a strange planet in a strange future, the crew finds themselves racing against time to repair their ship. Meanwhile, Saru and Tilly embark on a perilous first-contact mission in hopes of finding Burnham.
Tropes in this episode:
- Agony Beam: Zareh's weapon fires a beam that causes intense pain, and at higher settings burns through flesh and painfully kills the victim.
- Alien Blood: Kal, a Coridanite, bleeds blue as Zareh kills him.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Defied. Saru adamantly refuses to let Georgiou finish off Zareh, instead leaving his fate up to the Coridanites he'd been exploiting.
- Blood from Every Orifice: Kal, when killed by Zareh's Agony Beam.
- Call-Back: Zareh uses the term "V'draysh" in relation to Starfleet and the Federation, the same term used by Craft back in the Short Treks episode "Calypso".
- The Captain: After two seasons of being the Number Two, Saru officially gets the big chair — and proves, several times, that he's ready for it.
- Combat Sadomasochist: Georgiou considers being hit with Zareh's Agony Beam several times to be "foreplay".note
- Coming in Hot: Discovery is forced to make a crash-landing after most of its systems are disabled coming out of the wormhole.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Zareh's Agony Beam cooks Kal's chest to the point of him bleeding from his mouth and eyes, but it doesn't kill him immediately. Kal takes another ten seconds or so to die as he struggles to breathe.
- Cruel Mercy: Os'ir spares Zareh, then forces him to leave his bar and brave the parasitic ice on the surface, reasoning that he expected the same of Tilly so it's only fair.
- The Dog Bites Back: When disarmed and at the mercy of Georgiou and Saru, Zareh tries to get Os'ir the bartender to help him by threatening to destroy the atmosphere if he does not. Os'ir instead lowers his weapon and seeks a better deal from Starfleet, which gets him Zareh's ship. Zareh then gets sent to the surface to brave the ice.
- Do with Him as You Will: Saru refuses to kill a helpless opponent because that would be against Starfleet's ideals. Instead, he leaves Zareh to the mercy of those he was abusing, and if they choose to kill him, that's their decision.
- Grievous Bottley Harm:
- Georgiou breaks a bottle over a mook's head during the melee.
- When Zareh tries and fails to threaten Os'ir the bartender into helping him, Tilly smashes him over the head with a bottle to shut him up.
- I Can Still Fight!: Or make repairs, as Stamets crawls into a Jeffries tube to replace some technobabble despite not having recovered from being impaled by a chunk of tritanium. Sure enough, he starts bleeding again when the ship is rattled by the ice pressing on the hull.
- Leonine Contract: Zareh keeps The Colony under thumb by virtue of the fact that he's the only person with a warp-capable ship. The Colony can only get supplies through him, so they have no choice but to acquiesce to his demands.
- Ludicrous Gibs: What's left of Leland has to be shoveled out of the spore chamber into a bio-waste container. Georgiou wanted to make sure he stayed dead after ripping Control's nanites out of him.
- Neck Snap: Two of Zareh's men meet their end this way at Georgiou's hands.
- The Nicknamer: Reno dubs the Ensign shoveling up Leland's remains "Ensign Hazmat", and ignores him when he tells her his actual name. She also dubs Stamets "bobcat", and when questioned about it, simply says "I don't know, I'm on drugs."Reno: So, unless Hazmat over here is gonna be helping after he cleans up aisle five
"Hazmat": M-my name's Gene, actually.
Reno: I've already forgotten that.
Stamets: Hugh, thanks. Jett, thanks for nothing.
Reno: Back at you, Bobcat.
Reno: I don't know, I'm on drugs.
- Plot Hole: During the first part of the finale last season, Discovery was left with a skeleton crew consisting of: the characters in the credits (Burnham, Saru, Tilly, Stamets), the bridge crew (Rhys, Bryce, Owosekun, Detmer, Nilsson) and the special guest stars (Nhan, Georgiou, Reno, Culber and Spock, who didn't end up staying aboard). During this episode, Tilly claims there are 88 people back on board. This explains how Dr. Pollard and Linus the Saurian are still aboard, but does not explain why.
- Precision Crash: Discovery comes down within walking distance of a Coridanite mining settlement.
- Race Against the Clock: If the crew doesn't get Discovery's systems back online by nightfall, the parasitic ice on the surface will cover the ship and crush it. They come in a bit late, leaving Discovery with too little thrust to break through the ice, but Burnham shows up to play The Cavalry.
- Shattered World: The Colony has a massive crater in it with debris littering its orbit. The implication is that the Burn detonated the dilithium beneath the surface.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran:
- Despite a masterful crash landing that saves the ship, Detmer shows trauma and hesitation over her role as ship's pilot for the rest of the episode.
- Tilly is similarly out of her depth, stuttering and having trouble presenting herself. It gets to the point that everyone reacts with astonishment when Saru designates her his second during the diplomatic mission.
- Sherlock Scan:
- Zareh quickly deduces that Discovery is from the past based on the readings he detected, their antiquated tech, and Saru's attitude.
- Conversely, Tilly deduces that Discovery's stores of dilithium are valuable in a post-Burn future, despite not knowing she's in a post-Burn future, simply because the Colony's ships don't have any.
- Single-Biome Planet: Reno guesses that they're on the wrong planet based on the fact that "Terralysium wasn't particularly icy."
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Zareh speaks softly and carries a gun that kills people slowly and painfully. And he likes using it.
- Something Only They Would Say: Kal is reluctant to believe Saru and Tilly are Starfleet on their word alone, as they could have stolen Discovery. Tilly proves it by quoting Starfleet regulations.
- Space Western: Much of the action of the episode takes place in a saloon, with the bad guys wearing spurs and carrying beam weapons modeled after sawed-off shotguns. Except instead of the town providing shelter in the middle of a Thirsty Desert, it provides shelter from a frozen wasteland.
- Spiteful Spit: After being forced to walk outside to his probable death, Zareh takes a moment to spit on the floor before leaving the bar.
- Snipe Hunt: Georgiou sends Nhan to Stamets and Reno under the pretense that they need help, then sneaks off to join Saru and Tilly.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: It's implied Georgiou stomped Leland's skull in to make sure he stayed dead. Some poor guy named Gene (aka "Hazmat") has to clean his remains out of the spore chamber with a shovel.
- Time Skip: It's 3189. Discovery emerged from the time-travel wormhole a year after Burnham did.
- Too Kinky to Torture: Georgiou is tortured by Zareh's Agony Beam to the point of bleeding from her eyes and calls it "foreplay".
- Tractor Beam: Burnham rescues Discovery from the parasitic ice by using a tractor beam to drag them free.
- Villain Has a Point: Georgiou's Terran mindset leads her to believe any reception to their landing won't be a welcome one, while Saru is more inclined to act diplomatically. She ends up being half-right when the locals turn out to be helpful while the one extorting them is not, and her intervention is the only reason things end well for Saru and Tilly.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: What was moments inside the wormhole for Discovery was an entire year for Burnham.