Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 9 ” Terra Firma, Part 1″ Review

Mirror Phillipa Georgiou and Michael Burnham beam down to Dannus V to find a cure for the Empress’s time sickness.

Spoilers Below

Star Trek: Discovery Season Three Episode Nine ” Terra Firma, Part 1″ directed by Omar Madha reveals how much Georgiou has changed during her time in the Prime Universe. Kovich tells Dr. Culber that Phillipa’s cells are denigrating because she is outside of her time and dimension. Another time traveler Lieutenant Commander Yor originally from the Kelvin Timeline fought in the temporal wars but got terminally ill when he landed in this dimension. Star Trek: Enterprise first referenced the temporal wars in the “Cold Front.” They couldn’t send Yor back in time because of the Temporal Accords, so he died painfully. Kovich recommends they sedate Mirror Phillipa and wait for her to die, but Culber finds a solution. There may be a cure for her temporal disease on the planet Dannus V. On Dannus V, Michael and Phillipa wrestle with their mixed feelings about one another because they both wish they were with different versions of the other.

Empress Phillipa Georgiou may feel like she has not changed, but her journey back in time within the Mirror Universe reveals how much she has. When Michael comes into the Discovery training room to tell Philippa, there is hope; the Terran Empress is not pleased. She tries to get Michael to fight her to the death. All Terrans want to die in glory. Philippa only fears not being in control of her end. She is disappointed that Prime Michael won’t battle her to the death as the Mirror version would. Those who don’t remember Empresses Phillipa raised Mirror Michael as her daughter. The empresses executed her daughter for betraying her. She believes that Prime Michael is like her adopted daughter. They both enjoy bending others to their will. The only difference is the Starfleet commander lies to herself. Phillipa’s belief that these two Michaels ultimately are the same is tested when a portal sends her back in time to the Terran Empire.

Mirror Michael’s upbringing transformed her into a savage power-hungry leader, but Phillipa’s affection for Prime Michael makes it impossible for her to kill her daughter. Back in Star Trek: Discovery Season One, Mirror Michael was already deceased, so she was never on screen. In “Terran Firma, Part One,” it’s clear that the Terran Commander has zero compassion based on the fact that she orders the death of Mirror Saru for speaking in her presence. Here Kelpiens are slaves who are eventually slaughtered, then eaten. But at this moment, it’s clear that Phillipa’s time with Michael and the rest of the U.S.S. Discovery softened her heart. She rescues Mirror Saru from her daughter, making the Keplien her slave along with her eyes and ears. Philippa constantly berates Prime Captain Saru, but obviously, he gained her respect. While brushing Phillipa’s hair, he reveals that Michael betrays Phillipa because she senses weakness. The Terran Empresses vows to show strength to win back Michael’s affections, but the fact that she allows her daughter to live shows that she will never completely fit in the Terran Empire.

The mysterious Carl reminds me of Q from past iterations of Star Trek. Michael and Mirror Georgiou find Carl down on Dannus V when they are searching for the cure. Carl wears a bowler hat and a nineteenth-century suit. He lounges on a wooden chair, smoking a cigar, and reading tomorrow’s newspaper. There is a big wooden door right next to him. The front page of tomorrow’s newspaper features a story about Phillipa’s future painful death. Carl speaks in riddles and puns. The only way to save Philippa is for her to walk through the door. The door acts as a portal. He won’t give any details about what is on the other side of the portal.

Carl reminds me of the Q because of his outfit, knowledge of the future, and whole attitude. The Q Continuum lives outside of all dimensions and time, so they would know how to save Philippa’s life. They would also know all possible futures. Qs love to talk in riddles, wear outfits out of time, and antagonize Starfleet officers. Humans can’t comprehend the Q Continuum, so they have to create objects that act as representations of the real thing. The door could be something that Carl (or Q) designed to make the portal visible to Philippa. The Q can also send people anywhere in time or space. They could send her back in time and to a different dimension. Q sent Picard back in time in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Perhaps next episode, there will be more revealed about Carl’s origins.

The Mirror Verse is one of the most compelling recurring storylines in the Star Trek franchise. The Ancient Roman influence on their names, uniforms, and language use makes the Mirror Verse a regal performative space. The Empresses’ full name is Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius.  In “Terra Firma, Part 2”, will Phillipa be able to reform Mirror Michael, or is that an impossibility?

Post Author: Paloma Bennett

Paloma Bennett is a film and television reviewer based out of Los Angeles. As a member of the LGBTQ+ Community, a feminist, a voracious reader, and a super fan, she’s tapped into today’s mercurial identity-based culture. She brings this engaged understanding of contemporary culture to her film and television reviews. Her work can be found on Whedonopolis, Fandomopolis, Women at Warp, FanBolt, and her blog Decoding the Daemoverse. Paloma has also produced and co-hosted the monthly film podcast “Jump Start Cinema” sponsored by New Filmmakers Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. in Film and Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz and a Masters in Cinema Critical Studies from San Francisco State University. Paloma has a passion for everything pop culture, including TV shows, movies, comic books, and podcasts. The first significant fandom she was geeky about was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She’s a proud member of the Star Trek LA Away Team.

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