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Recap / Star Trek: Discovery S3E10 "Terra Firma, Part Two"

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While back in the Mirror Universe of her past, Georgiou uncovers the true depths of the plot against her, leading her to a revelation about how deeply her time on the Discovery truly changed her.


Tropes in this episode:

  • 2 + Torture = 5: Georgiou has Tilly torture Mirror Burnham for days on end to break her will and make her loyal again. Though it appears to work, ultimately it only convinces Burnham to fake a turnaround to get another shot at her coup.
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  • And the Rest: Upon hunting down and killing her co-conspirators, Mirror Burnham gives Georgiou the badges of Landry, Bryce, and a rather large pile of "all the rest".
  • Apologetic Attacker: Georgiou after she runs Michael through with her sword.
  • Backdoor Pilot: A show starring Michelle Yeoh as a Section 31 operative has been promised for some time, but was complicated when she joined the Discovery crew on its Time Skip. The ending of this episode sends Georgiou back in time so that she can survive her Temporal Sickness, allowing the Spin-Off to proceed.
  • Canon Character All Along: Carl turns out to be a manifestation of the Guardian of Forever.
  • Continuity Nod: Carl alludes to his previous appearance as the Guardian of Forever when he explains that he used to let people travel back in time whenever they wanted, but it was on them to fix any damage they caused. This is exactly what Kirk, Spock, and McCoy went through.
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  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: By the end, Georgiou is practically begging Mirror Burnham not to force her to kill her. Sadly, Mirror Burnham can only see this as weakness.
  • Enemy Mine: Duggan claims Lorca has managed to convince Klingons and Romulans to ally against Georgiou. Given what Georgiou did with Qo'noS, it probably didn't take a lot of convincing for the Klingons assuming he's being honest.
    Georgiou: The Klingons and Romulans despise one another.
    Duggan: Not as much as they despise you.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening credits use blue instead of orange tones while flipping the graphics upside-down as this show's spin on the Mirror Universe opening.
  • Fake Defector: Mirror Burnham seemingly turns on Lorca, but was actually simply biding her time to find the right moment to strike.
  • Faking the Dead: Burnham and Saru decide to simply report Georgiou as dead rather than try to explain what happened to her or reveal the presence of the Guardian of Forever. (This is not technically inaccurate, since she's explicitly sent back to a time when "the universes are closer together," and therefore would be dead by the present day.)
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  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Carl and his door turn out to be the Guardian of Forever, covertly testing Georgiou to see if she's worth saving.
  • The Ghost: As with the prior episode, Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) is frequently mentioned but never appears. Other cameos, such as Captain Pike, Number One, and the entire TOS crew, who ought to be around somewhere — true, they'd be the ages they were in Star Trek (2009), but "Mirror, Mirror" tells us they'd already be in service — are not even contemplated.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mirror Burnham meets her end with Georgiou's sword through her gut, though not before Burnham stabs her in the jugular for a Mutual Kill.
  • Kill 'Em All: The Mirror version of just about every known Discovery character is dead by the end of the episode. Only Mirror Tilly, Owo, Saru, and Airiam are left.
  • Mutual Kill: Georgiou stabs Mirror Burnham through the gut with her sword, but gets a dagger to the jugular in return, dying in Mirror Saru's arms.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The Guardian was previously depicted as an immobile, sentient gateway into the past. In this two-parter, it demonstrates the ability to alter its appearance at will, generate a human avatar to interact with people, can allow for travel to the mirror universe and back, can relocate itself anywhere it pleases, and has a greater range of emotion in its human avatar. The Guardian lampshades that he was previously far more permissive about people using him to travel into the past, until they started abusing that privilege as a weapon in the Temporal Wars.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Georgiou argues this to Mirror Burnham when explaining why she's been merciful to their slave worlds, as allowing them some leeway makes them less likely to rebel. The alternative, as they've already experienced, is ever-increasing revolts.
  • Properly Paranoid: When Mirror Burnham turns on Georgiou a second time, Georgiou reveals that she suspected this would happen, at which point her backup breaks into the room and guns down the traitors.
  • Put on a Bus: Georgiou has to travel back into the past to survive her condition.
  • The Reveal: Carl is the Guardian of Forever. He went into hiding during the Temporal Wars to prevent people from using him as a weapon.
    Carl: Back in the day, it used to be, "Sure, come on through. Just don't screw up history or you'll have to fix it." And then the Temporal Wars happened, and everyone was killing everyone else, and trying to use me to do it. It wasn't pretty.
  • Rule of Three: In the previous episode, Georgiou strikes at Burnham with a sword, twice, but holds back each time. In this episode, she doesn't.
  • Secret Test of Character: Georgiou's entire time in the Mirror Universe was a test by the Guardian of Forever to see if she has changed from the person she was when she first came to the Prime Universe.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Subverted. Emperor Georgiou tries to change the way things played out by attempting to reform both Michael and the Empire itself, if marginally in the case of the latter. She fails. She also teaches Mirror Saru the truth about va'harai and all but orders him to overthrow the Terran Empire... but given that, per DS9, this is exactly what happened, it isn't necessarily accurate to assume that Georgiou changed anything, at least in the timelines we know. However, the Secret Test of Character was not whether she would succeed, but rather whether she would try at all.
  • Shoot Your Mate: Georgiou assigns Mirror Detmer to join Mirror Burnham in culling her co-conspirators, knowing that Detmer is one of them. At the end, to prove her loyalty, Burnham has to kill Detmer to show she is serious.
  • Spot the Imposter: Played with as Mirror Saru figures out this is not "his" Emperor when she tells him the truth about the va'harai on top of her other actions. He openly warns her to "go back to where you're from" before anyone else discovers it and kills her, not grasping this is still this universe's Georgiou, just changed.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    Mirror Burnham: [to Mirror Tilly] Rot in hell, bitch.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: In an effort to access the sensors on the Kelpien ship, Stamets and Adira keep dumping more and more power into the long-range sensors in order to break through the interference. Book then shows up with an Emerald Chain subspace amplifier which is able to cut through the interference.
  • Torture Technician: Georgiou describes Mirror Tilly as the best interrogator in the Empire. Tilly starts by throwing Mirror Burnham in an agony booth and then leaves her there, being woken up periodically to be hit again with a fresh assault, all of it fairly textbook deprivation tactics to break a person's will to resist.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: As with the previous episode, this one features a strict Point of View scheme, starting out with an explicit and uninterrupted focus on Georgiou in the Mirror Universe and not showing anything of Prime Discovery's investigation into the Burn until Georgiou comes back to the Prime Universe.
  • Villainous Rescue: Mirror Owo and Killy busting in to save Georgiou from Burnham's trap.
  • Wham Line:
    Carl: [voice echoing] I am the Guardian of Forever.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Georgiou orders that Mirror Burnham be tortured to break her will and make her loyal again, which she rationalizes as a necessity in a universe where strength is the only constant.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: What was months to Georgiou is less than a minute to Carl and Burnham, though he is aware of what she went through.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Georgiou tells Burnham that, in the darker future she finds herself in, she's more captain material than she might think.

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