Discovery Recap: Terra Firma, Part 1 (Season 3, Episode 9)

After everything that’s happened this rollercoaster of a season, it’s a wonder if there are any more twists and turns Discovery could possibly throw at us. It seems that we’ve only just gotten started.

Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz) meets with The Agent (David Cronenberg), who reveals the depth of what’s going on with Georgiou. He explains that Georgiou’s condition is directly related to her temporal and dimensional displacement from her own time and place. He references research conducted during the Temporal Wars on the adverse effects of time travel, concluding that Georgiou’s condition will be infinitely worse than previously documented due to the time and space that has grown between the two universes. He insists that there’s nothing that can be done for her, and suggests they sedate her to prevent a ship-wide massacre. Culber asks the computer, who presents new sphere data info with coordinates to a planet where Georgiou might stand a 5% chance of survival.

In the mess hall, Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is struggling with her deteriorating molecular cohesion as she tries to eat lunch. Tilly (Mary Wiseman) tries to console her but Georgiou lashes out, knocking the ensign’s soup onto her uniform. Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) diffuses the situation and brings Georgiou to meet with the captain to find a solution.

Capt. Saru (Doug Jones), Burnham, Culber, The Agent, and Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr) discuss what to do with the sphere data’s new info on where Georgiou might have a chance. Saru initially decides not to pursue the matter citing the needs of the many as rumors of activity within the Emerald Chain circulate, but the admiral decides otherwise and approves the mission. Vance and Saru talk further as the others leave, and the admiral explains that the rest of the fleet will deal with the Chain so that DISCO can attempt to save a member of her crew.

Burnham finds Georgiou in the gym and tries to help, but the Emperor continues to lash out. Burnham displays an immeasurable amount of restraint amidst Georgiou’s verbal and physical attacks, and informs her of the plan to take her to Dannus 5.

Saru and Tilly come to see Georgiou off, exhibiting a great deal of grace by treating her with respect and dignity. She and Burnham transport down to the planet, and set off to find whatever is supposed to help her.

In engineering, Adira (Blu del Barrio) is frustrated about the progress of the algorithm to find the distress call. They’re being hard on themselves in a charming, overachiever sort of way. They’re also clearly distressed by Gray’s absence. Stamets (Anthony Rapp) consoles them like a good spaceDad, and points out that Adira had previously paused the decoding sequence to switch out a new storage array. Once the decoding completes, they unearth a staggering development.

Meanwhile, Book (David Ajala) chats with Saru about sticking around, stating that he wishes to be more helpful to the Federation’s cause. Saru is appreciative, but advises Book to remain patient for an opportunity to prove himself.

On Dannus 5, Burnham and Georgiou meet ‘Carl’ (Paul Guilfoyle) who is maddeningly clandestine about Georgiou and the door he sits by. Giving off strong Q vibes, Carl is reading an issue of The Star Dispatch, a publication previously seen in the TOS episode ‘City on the Edge of Forever.’ Burnham and Georgiou get openly frustrated with his aversion to direct questions, but Georgiou ultimately decides to walk through the door.

Back on DISCO, Saru, Tilly, Stamets, and Adira review the distress call from the Verubin nebula featuring a female Kelpien captain. The message, while a bit degraded, remains broadcasting on a loop, and Saru orders Stamets and Adira to find the location of its signal.

Georgiou crosses the threshold, and in doing so, walks back through space and time into Terran space, right as she’s meant to launch the flagship Charon. We finally properly meet Capt. Killy and see Terran DISCO in all her glory. Enter Terran Burnham, and she’s absolutely terrifying. During her reception, Georgiou saves Saru from Burnham’s order to slaughter him, inciting suspicion from the rest of the crew.

In private, Georgiou coerces Saru’s trust and pressures him for information regarding the incoming coup attempt from Burnham and Lorca as he dresses her for her ceremony. He reveals that the crew suspects the emperor has grown weak. Georgiou unravels the plot to kill her during an elaborate dedication ceremony, and stabs Stamets before he could assassinate her.

Burnham tries to slip away after the ceremony, but she’s intercepted by Capt. Tilly. Georgiou confronts her daughter, who reveals a plot to usurp power from the emperor. Georgiou has the opportunity to execute Burnham, but shocks her officers by sparing her life, stating that the future is unwritten and hers to decide alone.

This episode leaves a handful of questions. Is this episode filler? It’s certainly a glorious glimpse into the Mirrorverse that many of us have wondered about since the first season, but it does seem to bring the progression of the Federation’s investigation into the Burn to a halt. Maybe it isn’t filler, and this excursion across time and space will present a few answers? And why is Admiral Vance, who was adamant about keeping his ships close just a few episodes ago, suddenly okay with sending DISCO – and her spore drive – to the edge of the Gamma quadrant for a 5% chance of saving an actual terrorist like Georgiou? While there’s news of the Chain rallying nearby? Is The Agent a member of Section 31, or is he in some other dark, covert ops division of Starfleet? Will we ever learn his name? There’s only four episodes left in the season, so whatever comes next is certain to have us all on the edge of our seats.

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