“What’s Past Is Prologue” is the 13th episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Discovery” and follows “Vaulting Ambition“.
Note. This article contains spoilers about “What’s Past Is Prologue”.
Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) frees his followers and begins his coup against the Emperor (Michelle Yeoh). Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) ended up in the middle of deadly fight and must try to save not only herself but also the USS Discovery crew.
“What’s Past Is Prologue” is a very action-packed episode with the showdown between Gabriel Lorca and the Emperor to conquer the throne. Some people claimed that “Star Trek: Discovery” is a science fiction version of “Game of Thrones”, maybe they see that confirmed in this episode. 😉
For an imperial palace, the space palace Charon doesn’t seem very secure and it’s easy for Lorca to free his followers still alive and strike the Empire at its heart. From this point of view, the episode is inspired by action stories in which the audience aren’t checking the details and even in “Star Trek: Discovery” it’s better not to analyze the plots too much.
In the previous shows, the episodes set in the mirror universe, where the law of the jungle seems to be the main force, were used also to stress the values of the Federation. In “Star Trek: Discovery” they needed more than ever to mention them because very few of them were actually shown during this show.
In “What’s Past Is Prologue” there was, if anything, a comparison between the Empire and today’s Earth. The problems with the mycelium network were used to describe an unsustainable energy source whose abuse can lead to catastrophic results. Lorca even announces his program for the Empire quoting Donald Trump.
The previous episodes set in the mirror universe were typically developed on various subplots, the ending of this story-arc is much more linear in the sense that the events on the space palace Charon and those on the USS Discovery are closely intertwined.
The plot also offered to Saru (Doug Jones) more space than the usual and this time he acts while in full control of his mental faculties, without alterations due to contact with alien life forms. The circumstances led him to take the command of the USS Discovery and his speech to the crew seemed convincing.
The ending of “What’s Past Is Prologue” closes a story-arc and opens another one. The situation of the war discovered by the USS Discovery crew isn’t very promising. Once again the audience will doubt that the show isn’t set in the same universe of the original Star Trek series. The season finale might not provide any answers.