Thursday, December 10, 2020

REVIEW: 'Star Trek: Discovery' - Georgiou Gets to Live Out a Significant Part of Her Past Again in 'Terra Firma, Part 1'

CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery - Episode 3.09 "Terra Firma, Part 1"

The U.S.S. Discovery crew journey to a mysterious planet in hopes of finding a cure for Georgiou's deteriorating condition. Stamets and Adira make a stunning breakthrough with the newly acquired Burn data.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery.

"Terra Firma, Part 1" was directed by Omar Madha with story by Bo Yeon Kim, Erika Lippoldt & Alan McElroy and teleplay by Alan McElroy

Georgiou has told the story about killing the Terran version of Michael. They had a complex personal history that ultimately led to death. Michael had a similar experience with Georgiou in the Prime universe. As such, they have both projected certain expectations and feelings onto one another now that they exist in the same space. It has defined their dynamic for a long time. They have yearned for the other to be more like the person they once knew but died as a direct result of their actions. They want things to turn out differently this time. That means Michael will do whatever it takes to prevent Georgiou from dying. Georgiou doesn't have that same urgency. She just doesn't want this mysterious illness that only affects Terrans who have traveled through time to kill her. She would much rather go out in battle. That is a death that would honor her. She wants Michael to give that to her. Instead, Michael coerces her into doing what she wants. Now, Georgiou has certainly formed bonds with the various members aboard the Discovery. She still keeps her distance. She doesn't particularly like any of them. However, there is some acknowledgement of respect too. When Saru says goodbye to her, he talks about what he has learned from her despite their different ideologies. That respect is very necessary for good leadership. Saru continues to serve as a strong captain even if he doesn't always have the answers. Admiral Vance is the one who decides this mission to save one officer should occur. There is no guarantee that it will work out for Georgiou either. She and Michael land on this deserted planet not knowing what to expect. They are greeted by a mysterious man with a magical door that can seemingly take Georgiou wherever she wants to go. It could cure her of this disease. That's the answer that Michael seeks. And yet, this journey is never about her. She wants to project that sense of importance. She can't allow another version of Georgiou to die. She will do whatever it takes to save her life. But again, that's her projecting her own feelings onto the situation. She is the one making the decision. There is a path for it to become a reality. Georgiou takes it because Michael essentially forces her into accepting it. It leads her back to the past. She gets to relive the events in the Terran universe that saw her have to kill her version of Michael. That is truly what her deepest desire has always been. She wants her adopted daughter back. She has gone through this epic journey with Michael because it allows her to embrace some version of this dynamic once more. And yet, the two are incredibly different from one another. Every Terran is conditioned to fight and see any weakness as a defect that must be destroyed. Georgiou wants to live out this reality again because it brought personal devastation to her world. It's never about Lorca trying to stage a coup against her reign as emperor. It's the personal betrayal of Michael. Of course, it means the show goes through the motions a little bit. Georgiou knows exactly what is happening. It's up to her to decide if she will follow through on the same actions she did in the past. She doesn't. Things change because she sees the various familiar faces from the Discovery. As such, she actually trusts that Saru will tell her the truth. She doesn't want him to die because he's a slave who makes a mistake. She still kills Stamets and believes that others are plotting her downfall. She sees the violence and delights in it. She also acknowledges that it's not the only way in order to resolve conflict. That has been the reductive focus of this particular universe though. It's all about the violence. It has offered a simple worldview. It's incredibly destructive as well. It oppresses those without power and embraces those with the autocratic tendencies to rule with an iron grip. Georgiou had that and must continue to project strength. She doesn't kill Michael though. She needs to make a different choice just to see what would happen. That is the entire thrust of this story. It takes until the final minute for that to happen though. This is a two-part story that has no resolution here. Instead, it's about Georgiou searching for the different outcome. That is the clarity she seeks. She has no concern about dying. She accepts that as her reality. She has no fear of death. She is ready to let go. This one moment from the past is the only thing that has a lasting burden on her. That explains why she is thrown into this environment. It's a more personal character story for her. It offers more context while depicting a story that has previously been told. As such, it feels a little reductive. And yet, the conclusion may allow the audience to look at the events here through a new context. It will just take until the next episode to see if that will occur.