This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Terra Firma, Part 1,” gave us some deep cut Star Trek lore, time travel, and another appearance by the king of body horror, David Cronenberg. Truthfully, even after watching this week’s episode three times, my head is still spinning with more questions than answers. Here are a few of my muddled thoughts on 3×09.
Trek Back to TOS
We get a real Star Trek deep cut in “Terra Firma, Part 1.” Frankly, I’d have missed it, had not a friend pointed it out to me. Not only is the portal (or in this case, a door) right out of “The City on the Edge of Forever” from Star Trek: The Original Series, but take a closer look at the newspaper Carl is reading.
The Star Dispatch is the same newspaper that is featured in “The City on the Edge of Forever,” albeit a different issue, but still. That is a very interesting storytelling choice here. Who is Carl? My first thought was that he could be a Q, but perhaps could he be a Guardian of Forever in human form? In “The City on the Edge of Forever,” the Guardian is a disembodied voice. It’s an interesting choice either way, and I’m hopeful that we will learn more about Carl in next week’s episode.
Time Travel and Kovich
Finally getting an explanation for why Georgiou is quite literally breaking down at the molecular level is something I had hoped for in this episode, and as an added bonus, we get the return of horror director David Cronenberg as Kovich. While Kovich is quick to dismiss her condition as terminal, Dr. Culber doesn’t take no for an answer. Getting Georgiou and Michael to seek out a cure for Georgiou on Dannus V sets us off on an interesting journey.
Aside from the visual callbacks to Star Trek: The Original Series in this episode, there is much to consider when setting “Terra Firma, Part 1” side-by-side with “The City on the Edge of Forever.” “The City on the Edge of Forever” is about Kirk and Spock trying to correct the disruption to the timeline McCoy inadvertently causes to maintain the outcome of history. “Terra Firma, Part 1” is about Georgiou trying to change her future. This juxtaposition is quite interesting. There’s also the fact that Kovich references the “temporal incursion” caused by a Romulan mining ship; this is referencing the Star Trek (2009) film’s alternate reality Kelvin timeline. I believe it is entirely possible that “Terra Firma, Part 1” is a backdoor pilot for an alternate timeline mirror universe Phillipa Georgiou led series and I am HERE. FOR. IT.
Is that confusing enough for you? Is your head spinning too? There’s been much set up in this episode. I eagerly await “Terra Firma, Part 2”!
Do you have thoughts on “Terra Firma, Part 1”? Leave a comment and let’s talk Trek.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery will air on December 17, 2020 on CBS All Access.