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S01.E13: What's Past Is Prologue

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51 minutes ago, tennisgurl said:

But I thought it was fascinating how he justified it. They played it that Lorca, in his mind, did his crew a favor of killing them, even if the audience doesn't think it was justified at all. He thought of it as a mercy kill, and not a murder. Of course, now we know that it WAS murder and there is no ambiguity with him, but I preferred it the other way, personally. You could even have had him as MU Lorca being somewhat ambiguous, writing off the killing of his first crew as a sacrifice for the greater good or to get him home or something. But, instead they played it safe by making him a mustache twirling Space Trump ranting about evil immigrants and making the Terran Empire Great Again (TV short hand for an irredeemable villain) and being a total asshole who we can just hate and not think about too hard. To me, Lorca as an unstable morally questionable soldier (and it was kind of interesting seeing a hard ass war horse type in the Federation) making probably bad choices and getting further and further down the hole all the while trying to justify his own misdeeds as for a Greater Good (who was also very tough and almost hilariously Extra and somewhat out of place in the Federation) due to PTSD and his own obsession with winning the war is a much better character than a guy who was an evil asshole with the complexity of a Silver Age comic book villain who can be quickly disposed of, ignoring all of the moral questions he brought up. 

In many ways, Lorca made me think of my favorite Trek series, DS9, where Captain Sisko found himself making morally questionable choices for a greater good, and he and his crew tried to figure out where the lines could be drawn in the name of defeating a seemingly unstoppable enemy, while still being the good guys, and what they could live with. It was an interesting idea, and Lorca could have been a shadow of what Sisko and his crew could have become, or what Michael or any other character could become if they let their own darkness swallow them. If his obsession and his own demons had gotten him killed, or made everything worse, it could have been straight up Shakespearean tragedy. But, instead he is just dead and evil now. No harm no foul. It just seems like a huge waste of a character and a great actor if this is it. 

Only if Lorca was working with the rebels could he come close to any justification. Burnham is sufficient for the fallen tragic hero trope...

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tennisgurl, I totally agree. I hope the writers salvage a bit of the character by giving us Prime Lorca. Even if he comes back to the prime universe alive, I know he won't be a regular character -- given his counterpart's shenanigans, no admiral in their right mind would assign him to the Discovery. But an occasional appearance when Jason Isaacs is free would be nice. If Prime Lorca has survived several months in the mirror universe alone, he must have made many awful, pragmatic-to-unethical choices, and has probably developed the PTSD his counterpart was assumed to have.

1 hour ago, statsgirl said:

I'm looking forward to Michael convincing Phillipa she belongs in their universe now.

Please, no. But they can give us some awkward scenes with Saru and some awesome interactions with Cornwell. And then let her have a worthy death or badass betrayal scene.

I know many people preferred Tilly's mirror universe look, and I'll grant that her clothes were an improvement. But I'm glad the barely-contained curly red hair is back! It's as bright and exuberant as her personality!

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Ok this is stupid but inquiring minds want to know: what's the mechanism that allows Tilly to straighten/unstraighten her hair so quickly?

  • Advanced Starfleet Super Chemicals?
  • Floating hologram projection?
  • PURE WILL?
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Jason Isaacs has made it clear in interviews (see the media thread) that his agreement to be on the show was explicitly for one season, that Lorca is Dead, Dead, Dead, and that his run on the show is now over. Of course, he also said that he lies in interviews all the time! I think the truth is that he is done as a regular character. That doesn't close the door on future guest appearances. Which he will probably also lie about  ;-)

This episode left open three ways he might appear in the future: (1) flashbacks, (2) MirrorLorca -- somehow regenerated by the spore network into which he fell, (3) PrimeLorca -- seen in or retrieved from the mirror universe. #1 would be nice; I hope they don't go with #2; #3 would be awesome. 

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Well, it certainly wasn't boring. 

That said, there was a lot of WtF going on.
Michael can out-fight any large group of armed attackers? Okay. 
Lorca suddenly becomes stupid and crazy-evil? Not likely. 
Phillipa, the cruel, yet secret,  camera-shy, emperor can be dethroned by one guy staging an unsuccessful  mutiny on her flagship? Huh? 
Who would assume the vacant role of secret emperor? The dead guy who attempted a mutiny? Would the evil empire fall apart? 

 Saru really stood out -- good for him.  Too bad the writers can't make one character competent without other characters suddenly being made incompetent (Lorca). 

I was not happy with the cliffhanger ending ('The Federation lost the war!')  - - right after barely surviving the MU.
To me it felt like some decision by CBS All Access to keep subscribers on the hook , despite having  just 2 (just 2 !)  online-only series to offer. 

Edited by shrewd.buddha
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Apparently, mirror universe does not have the Evil Overlord list. Pretty sure this episode fell prey to 2, 6, 10, 19, 25, 26, 29, 39, 41, 53...

And the big one:

Quote

78. I will not tell my Legions of Terror "And he must be taken alive!" The command will be "And try to take him alive if it is reasonably practical."

Edited by huahaha
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2 hours ago, marinw said:
4 hours ago, tpel said:

somehow regenerated by the spore network

You have just saved the beloved Dr Hugh!

The spores want representation in the Federation and a say in how spore drives might be used so they recreate Dr Hugh.

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Yeah, I don't want the spores to regenerate Lorca, now that he's inexplicably become "stupid and crazy-evil" (shrewd.buddha).

But come on little spores, you know Stamets was the brains behind the plan that saved your whole freakin' mycelial network, right? Couldn't you bring back Dr. Hugh for him?

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6 hours ago, tpel said:

But come on little spores, you know Stamets was the brains behind the plan that saved your whole freakin' mycelial network, right? Couldn't you bring back Dr. Hugh for him?

Mirror!Stamets almost killed everything in the Multiverse so Prime!Hugh stays dead....

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It was fun watching Michelle Yoeh do her customary kick-ass in close fighting.  Maybe in the Prime Universe Emperor Georgiou will get a makeover and will look like yummy Georgiou.  That will definitely blow Michael away.

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Forget what Burnham wants, Empress Philippa is far too dangerous to be allowed to interact with the crew. She’s a genocidal dictator who rose to power by killing her rivals. She needs to be kept behind the chicken wire forcefield. 

Edited by Kokapetl
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On 1/29/2018 at 11:11 AM, DavidJSnyder said:

Saru believed Michael about Lorca being evil really, really quickly. 

Where did Lorca and his team get their fancy new shirts?

Shirt district. Down on 3rd.

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7 hours ago, Kokapetl said:

Forget what Burnham wants, Empress Philippa is far too dangerous to be allowed to interact with the crew. She’s a genocidal dictator who rose to power by killing her rivals. She needs to be kept behind the chicken wire forcefield. 

She will team up with Ash/Voq (Voqash?)

Edited by marinw

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I'm partial for team Ex-Empress/L'Rell. Not likely but they could bond over the one thing they both share: their raging racism. 

Edited by MissLucas
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On 1/31/2018 at 9:22 AM, David T. Cole said:

Shirt district. Down on 3rd.

Next to the Andorian sweatshops....

22 hours ago, MissLucas said:

I'm partial for team Ex-Empress/L'Rell. Not likely but they could bond over the one thing they both share: their raging racism. 

 

Like Batman & Joker?

"Kill you??? Why would I want to kill you?? You complete me"

Edited by paigow
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On 1/31/2018 at 12:54 AM, Kokapetl said:

Forget what Burnham wants, Empress Philippa is far too dangerous to be allowed to interact with the crew. She’s a genocidal dictator who rose to power by killing her rivals. She needs to be kept behind the chicken wire forcefield. 

I agree and i think this might be the way they write Michelle Yeoh out again. Killed in an escape attempt or a "death before dishonor" suicide

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On 1/29/2018 at 9:16 AM, jsbt said:

I thought it was a copout to go for Lorca being Mirror Universe, when to me the deeply troubled and possibly unstable Starfleet war horse was a much more compelling character.

Also a more believable character. Even though I suspected Lorca was MU I expected more grey. I bought into the idea that this was a complex man, a soldier who had been through some stuff, a wartime Captain and not your typical Starfleet Captain because that's what I was sold. I was led to believe this was a human story over 12 episodes, then suddenly it became a political one. For me now to accept that this caricature from the last episode was the same man I had grown to understand and like and that he was able to sustain the facade of Captain Lorca is too much of a stretch and it devalues for me previous episodes and scenes. One of my favourite scenes of the series was Lorca and the Admiral and what I call the Officer and A Gentleman moment where he pleads with her not to take his ship away because it's all he has. When Lorca isn't too distressed at leaving Cornwell with the Klingons it isn't because he's eeeevil Lorca it's because she threatened the one thing that meant anything to him. I also had really grown to like the Lorca/ Burnham dynamic  and how he had grown to trust her. I liked the idea that this man on his own redemption arc had started her on hers because he saw in her the qualities he admired and perhaps he saw that she could become in time what he had once been. Another scene I liked was from the Wolf Inside where Burnham pleads with Lorca not to make her kill the rebels because she's Starfleet and that's not what they do. When he responds with 'sometimes the end justifies terrible means" again it isn't because he's eeevvvvil Lorca it's because he is only ever focused on the big picture which is winning the war. This relationship now is of course forever tainted so count me in with the very disappointed crowd on the waste of this character. I was loving StarTrek Discovery, and there are aspects and moments that are outstanding like Saru's speech, but this episode cut deep for me and it will sting for a long time.  

Edited by OLynn
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Welcome to the In-Mourning-For-Interesting-Lorca club, OLynn! I love your analysis of the character, and would have liked him to have been who he seemed to be: a damaged but redeemable man. I do think the writers could have had their cake and ate it too, by making him MU Lorca yet not eeeeevil -- driven, pragmatic, willing to make sacrifices most of us wouldn't, but with an overarching goal that was respectable. It would have let the show examine the mirror universe in a more realistic way. Is it just a place where everybody is intrinsically bad? Or do they become bad because of the horrible choices they must make daily? If the latter, could plucking someone out of that environment and dropping him in with moral people for several months improve him? Could pretending to be a good man actually lead to becoming a better man? Instead, he morphed into a caricature :-(

That said, I was thinking about what the show could do to restore our trust. Maybe:

  • Knock it off with the character-isn't-who-he-seems-to-be trope. One might have been OK, but we got two within a 15-episode season (Lorca and Tyler), and they hinted at another (Stamets). It is hard to bond with characters when they might be revealed to be completely different--and worse--than they seemed to be.
  • No more throw-away deaths. Yes, this isn't our parents' Star Trek. People can die, perhaps must die, to make it a realistic portrayal of a risky setting. But it's not Game of Thrones either. Don't kill people just for shock value.
  • Related to the previous point, find a way to bring back Dr. Culber. Not ghostly-adviser-Culber, but real flesh-and-blood-character Culber. Landry and MU Lorca can stay dead.
  • Don't redeem and integrate MU Georgiou into the cast. She can have some badass moments, and I won't begrudge her a meaningful death. But part of the reason they made MU Lorca so exaggeratedly eeeevil in the last episode was so that she would look good by comparison. Don't do that. She is the emperor of a vicious system; if anyone is truly bad, it's her.
  • Develop the characters we have. Saru's growth had been sidelined for much of the season, but he really stepped up to the plate in episode 13. Keep going with him. Now that the bridge crew has spoken complete sentences, give us more of them. I've grown to like Burnham, but it can't be all about her.

Anything else?

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16 minutes ago, tpel said:

 

  • Don't redeem and integrate MU Georgiou into the cast. She can have some badass moments, and I won't begrudge her a meaningful death. 

 

Prime!Sarek & Prime!Phillipa seemed to have a thing...Modern Family / Big Love 2!

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On 2/1/2018 at 8:48 PM, OLynn said:

re: Lorca :
..so count me in with the very disappointed crowd on the waste of this character. I was loving StarTrek Discovery, and there are aspects and moments that are outstanding like Saru's speech, but this episode cut deep for me and it will sting for a long time.

Yes. This  one episode of very bad ( fanfic level bad ) writing with regards to Lorca  will make it much easier for me to not come back for more after this season is over.  

.. And I am not exactly thrilled with a Star Trek series that appears to written with one particular character as its star (Michael). I prefer the previous format where episodes would feature different members of the crew. (Even really bad ones -- such as Beverly Crusher having sex with a ghost  in Scotland (“Sub Rosa” ) ) 

Edited by shrewd.buddha
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2 hours ago, shrewd.buddha said:

I prefer the previous format where episodes would feature different members of the crew. (Even really bad ones -- such as Beverly Crusher having sex with a ghost  in Scotland (“Sub Rosa” ) ) 

TNG needed a few seasons before those character episodes were feasible....this bridge crew seems inexperienced- a lot of backstory / exposition needed before any of them could carry an episode...

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3 hours ago, paigow said:

TNG needed a few seasons before those character episodes were feasible....this bridge crew seems inexperienced- a lot of backstory / exposition needed before any of them could carry an episode...

Full episodes, yes, but even in season one TNG shifted focus from episode to episode between (just off the top of my head) Picard, Riker, Data, Troi, and (like it or not) Wesley, allowing all of them to become established to the point that character episodes could be done later. If that groundwork does not get laid now, later attempts at development will suffer from feeling tacked-on rather than organic.

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On 2.2.2018 at 2:48 AM, OLynn said:

Also a more believable character. Even though I suspected Lorca was MU I expected more grey. I bought into the idea that this was a complex man, a soldier who had been through some stuff, a wartime Captain and not your typical Starfleet Captain because that's what I was sold. I was led to believe this was a human story over 12 episodes, then suddenly it became a political one. For me now to accept that this caricature from the last episode was the same man I had grown to understand and like and that he was able to sustain the facade of Captain Lorca is too much of a stretch and it devalues for me previous episodes and scenes. One of my favourite scenes of the series was Lorca and the Admiral and what I call the Officer and A Gentleman moment where he pleads with her not to take his ship away because it's all he has. When Lorca isn't too distressed at leaving Cornwell with the Klingons it isn't because he's eeeevil Lorca it's because she threatened the one thing that meant anything to him. I also had really grown to like the Lorca/ Burnham dynamic  and how he had grown to trust her. I liked the idea that this man on his own redemption arc had started her on hers because he saw in her the qualities he admired and perhaps he saw that she could become in time what he had once been. Another scene I liked was from the Wolf Inside where Burnham pleads with Lorca not to make her kill the rebels because she's Starfleet and that's not what they do. When he responds with 'sometimes the end justifies terrible means" again it isn't because he's eeevvvvil Lorca it's because he is only ever focused on the big picture which is winning the war. This relationship now is of course forever tainted so count me in with the very disappointed crowd on the waste of this character. I was loving StarTrek Discovery, and there are aspects and moments that are outstanding like Saru's speech, but this episode cut deep for me and it will sting for a long time.  

You said it so well! I don't want to say that I am done with the show because I don't want to be done with the show (lol), but this was a really disappointing development. How I am supposed to rewatch the previous episodes now? How am I supposed to enjoy ANY previous Lorca scene now? He was reduced to a nonsensical "eeevil" power hungry idiot. His behaviour in this episode can not be reconcile with who he was before. I mean I know there were hints (and that is why many guessed) but his speech to Georgiou was just some stupid political statement (that could have been done otherwise/ more subtly). They should have just heroically killed him.

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Exciting episode!

I hated Lorca as captain, so I was glad when he turned out to be evil.

The smarties on this forum often predict the major plot twists, but Georgiou ending up on Discovery was not something I had read anywhere or that I saw coming, so I was finally surprised! One of the main reasons I started watching this show in the first place was because I read Michelle Yeoh was playing the captain, so I'm happy that she's sticking around a while longer. I predict Michael will try to redeem her but it won't work until the final moment when Georgiou decides to sacrifice herself for some noble cause and Michael will have to watch her die again (just guessing--have not seen past this ep).

I loved that Yeoh finally got a decent fight scene and that the crew finally started acting like a real Star Trek crew. 

Hated the cliche of Stamets getting pep talks from his dead husband. I'm trying to be patient and see how this plays out, but GLAAD might have some 'splaining to do if they approved this story line.

I find the Klingons in this series so boring, so the alternative universe was a nice detour. I hope we're not headed for more long, slow conversations in Klingon from characters who all look and sound alike to me.

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So - per the Prologue, Lorca's been in our Universe for a year & a half. So both Lorcas are light sensitive (Admiral Cornwell commented that she didn't understand why he didn't get his eyes fixed), it's not just because he's from the other Universe. So the "Aha!" moment it gave Michael was a bit bizarre. And even if he (as it proved) was from the Mirror Universe, why not get them fixed anyway? You'd think it would be a relatively minor procedure (it's not as if our crew are suffering from poor night vision in the Mirror Universe).

And guards, in every Universe, continue to be useless.

Am I detecting a subtle environmental message about over exploiting the Earth's - sorry, Galaxy's - resources?

You see, this is why Lorca would make a better Emperor - he has read the Evil Overlord list and (unlike Emperor Philippa) doesn't insist on a "fitting" death for his enemies and just shoots them (OK, he paused for a quip first - he's only human)!

Now THAT was suitably Starfleet - prepared to die for the cause, but still trying to find a way out of their Kobyashi Maru situation. And I believe they really would have helped Lorca get back, had he just asked.

I wonder how much of that fight was actually Michelle Yeoh?

On ‎1‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 5:17 AM, ahisma said:

Michael really is blinkered by her love for Prime!Georgiou. The Mirror version is basically as ruthless, specist, and cruel as Lorca—that's just their culture. Picking a side got Michael to the throne room to lower the barrier and escape, but she also picked that side out of misplaced loyalty in memory of a dead woman.

She really is. From what we've seen, she's bombed her enemies, had others tortured, killed sentient beings to eat them* and was responsible for threatening all life in the Universe. But Michael felt bad about betraying her mother figure, so I guess her Mirror counterpart gets a pass on all that? Lorca might be similarly ruthless, but from what we saw onscreen, would seem to be the lesser of the two evils.

On ‎1‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 5:43 AM, KimberStormer said:

It took me awhile to realize this show runs entirely on action movie logic.  "My plan is, two of us go into the bad guys' lair full of dozens of soldiers, and kill them all because we're so badass"

Hey, don't knock it, it worked! It does help when your enemies can't hit the broad side of a barn or understand the concept of cover, though. Although Lorca's forces actually did use cover during their coup attempt, but they weren't fighting the "good(ish) guys" at the time, so they were allowed to be competent.

* Ironically, given her Prime Universe counterpart's fate.

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