The third season of Star Trek: Discovery begins its second two-part episode with the explanation of Georgiou’s physical and mental anguish, her voyage home to the Terran Universe, and—though we may not have realized it at the time—the return of an iconic Star Trek character.
Here are five moments from “Terra Firma, Part 1” that stood out for me.
Alas, poor Yor – we want to know more!
The mysterious Mr. Kovich, whom we first met in “Die Trying,” returns to diagnose Georgiou’s traumatic symptoms for Dr. Culber. Kovich explains the situation with the help of a holographic visual aid.
Sure, I feel bad Yor’s temporal and dimensional displacement was so great he was euthanized. But I’m mostly geeking out thinking what his appearance represents: Our first glimpse of the Kelvin Timeline in its 24th century!
Did the Star Trek: Discovery creative team go to the trouble of creating Yor simply for these few seconds on screen? Or will he figure prominently in stories set in an alternate version of the Star Trek: The Next Generation era?
Whatever the case, I’d love to know more about this ill-fated time soldier’s adventures.
Waiter, there’s an ensign in my soup!
When Tilly tries to show Georgiou some kindness in the mess hall, the former Terran Emperor responds by throwing her soup onto the ensign she calls “Saru’s walking command blunder.”
The exchange reinforces Georgiou’s stubborn and prideful refusal to accept help, lest she be seen as weak. I suspect it’s also a subtle homage to “Amok Time.” When Nurse Chapel brought the pon farr-stricken Spock a bowl of plomeek soup to try to make him feel better, he threw it at her.
Soup may be comfort food in the real world, but in the Star Trek universe? It doesn’t seem to comfort anyone!
“You really should just read the paper”
On the snowy surface of Dannus V, Georgiou and Burnham encounter Carl, a kindly but cryptic “not quite” life form with a penchant for groan-worthy puns.
Carl is winningly played by Paul Guilfoyle, best known as CSI’s Captain Jim Brass. Fun Star Trek connection: One of his early film roles was in Three Men and Baby, directed by Star Trek’s own Leonard Nimoy!
When Carl tells the women they should really read the paper, he’s not joking. The reveal of his true identity in “Terra Firma, Part 2” surprised me, but in retrospect shouldn’t have.
After all, what other famous Star Trek episode features a Star Dispatch headline announcing a woman’s horrible death? The back page even features an ad headlined “Good Soup!” (so soup can be comforting in Star Trek) and the tagline “Let Me Help!” It’s probably the cleverest Easter egg in the third season of Star Trek: Discovery.
“What are Michael and Lorca whispering in the dark?”
This episode offers a lot of the topsy-turvy scheming and sadism we’ve come to expect from the Terran or “Mirror” Universe.
But I found one of the most compelling scenes the one in which Georgiou convinces Mirror Saru, whom she has spared by taking as her personal servant, to confirm that universe’s Burnham is plotting against her.
Both Michelle Yeoh and Doug Jones deliver terrific performances. I’m especially impressed with how effectively Jones resurrects a fearful and hesitant Saru, after we’ve grown used to the strong and courageous version of the character in “our” universe during seasons two and three.
In true Star Trek style, Georgiou decides to write a different future
By Terran standards, Mirror Burnham’s confession warrants her immediate execution. But while Georgiou draws blood, she does not deliver the killing stroke.
Sonequa Martin-Green is in fabulous form as Burnham’s wild-eyed, nearly manic mirror counterpart.
But it’s Michelle Yeoh who steals this scene, delivering Georgiou’s lines about growth and an unwritten future with absolute conviction, perfectly setting the stage for her character’s fate in the next episode.