In Review: Star Trek Discovery – Terra Firma part 1 (S.3 Ep.9)

"Terra Firma part 1 sees" Doctor Culber (Wilson Cruz) discover the full extent of Georgiou's (Michelle Yeoh) condition. She's dying.
Terra Firma part 1

Synopsis: “Terra Firma Part 1″ sees” Doctor Culber (Wilson Cruz) discover the full extent of Georgiou’s (Michelle Yeoh) condition. She’s dying. However, Doctor Culber also discovers a potential cure. Though, her chances of survival are low; she must visit a strange planet, accompanied by Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). Once there she discovers a portal. Through it is the answer . . .




Georgiou’s Condition

As we know, Georgiou’s health is under threat. We see good developments from Last Week’s Episode. Finally, we have an answer. Doctor Culber (Wilson Cruz) is told by Kovich (David Cronenberg) that Georgiou is dying. Her blackouts are being caused by cellular decay. Georgiou’s not only out of her own universe (the Mirror Universe), but out of her own time too. The two combined mean her cells are breaking down. It seems there limits then, to the body and travelling between various destinations within the Time-Space Continuum. “Terra Firma Part 1” establishes this fact, within the Star Trek canonical universe. It’s good to have limits within any story-world, to help create barriers, and so too create problems. That way, there must be solutions found, as we are seeing in this episode.


Planet and Portal

Having been told by Kovich that there is no chance for her, Doctor Culber consults “the sphere”. It calculates that Georgiou might have a chance. She must visit a strange planet. “The sphere” calculates a fiver per cent survival rate for her. But we get no further details on how she may be cured. Saru (Doug Jones) convinces Admiral Vance (Oded Fehr) to let Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Burnham go.

On the planet’s surface Burnham locates the source of some strange readings. An old looking desk appears. Behind it is an old man. Who looks like a traditional newsroom type. very odd. Our best bet is that it’s a Q. Hard to imagine it not being, but not impossible. That he identifies as “Carl”, adopting a persona, is typical Q behavior. It would be great to see the return of the Q Continuum here.

Georgiou is shown a door. It’s just stood there. Burnham says there’s hardly any radiation readings from it. Perhaps more evidence that this is Q. Georgiou goes through, not knowing what she’ll find. Unsurprisingly, she’s led back to her own Universe. At a set point, too.


Meanwhile . . .

The mystery of the ship at the middle of the coordinates is solved. Stammets (Anthony Rapp) points out an oversight that Adira (Blu del Barrio) has made. Good use of bonding between this pair. Stammets is very much a mentor to Adira. The ship is Kelpian. Saru’s people went on a mission to search for the much needed dilithium. Whilst it’s over 100 years old, the message at least provides some further clues. As is expected, we’re finding out more bit by bit. Being drip-fed. As things play out, we’ll learn more about this incident.


The main action of the episode takes place in The Mirror Universe. Georgiou’s come out on the day that “her” Burnham betrays her. Things are much as expected. Brutal, violent. With typical ease, Georgiou fits right back in. Whilst it’s clear that her “mission” is some sort of a redemption arc, we’re not sure how that will mean she will be cured. We’ll have to wait until next week for more on that.

As a rule, Mirror Universe episodes work best when there’s also something related going on. On “our side”. This wasn’t the case. Unless next week can make up for it, it feels a little bit of a wasted opportunity, only using the Terran Empire arc to save Georgiou.


David Cronenburg contributed well. Good to see the return of his character, Kovich. Cronenburg stamped authority on the scene, which isn’t easy, as he’s only been in the show once before. Nevertheless, the scenes are elevated by his acting. A good cameo by him.

Fun to see the return of “Captain Killy” (Mary Wiseman). The only reason that the Mirror Universe counterpart worked so well is because of Wiseman’s earlier scenes. In “our universe”. Wiseman knows the character of Tilly thoroughly. She portrayed Tilly’s compassionate nature wonderfully and her goodness. Then, when she needed to be the direct opposite, Wiseman did so convincingly.

CGI & Effects

As the episode opened, we saw some great use of CGI. The medical scan of Georgiou. Seeing what the future technology allows continues to be incredible. Furthermore, the people designing it make this possible. They really have done a truly phenomenal job.

If ever an episode could show the importance of costumes in a show, it’s this. Terra Firma Part 1″ re-establishes the world of the Terran Empire. The story-world, that is. The visuals are impressive, because they’re so well considered. What’s vital is that the all important theatrical campiness has been kept, but been updated. It looks very much the modern equivalent of the original episode in TOS, where we first saw it. The hair and make up. All of it. These considerations often go uncredited, but they are vital to everything.


Not quite the big action episode that a two-part story promises. That said, the focus was on Burnham and Georgiou’s relationship. So, the lack of explosive action can be forgiven. Besides, it may yet come. Next week’s episode could be much more more lively. Let’s hope so. Unfortunately, it felt as if not much at all was happening. For quite a lot of the time. We didn’t even get to see Burnham, back on the planet. If “Carl” is a Q, it would have been good to maybe see Burnham receive running commentary on Georgiou’s progress.

An important moment for the whole of the franchise here. When Kovich is explaining things to Doctor Culber, he refers to a Romulan mining vessel travelling through time. The first “Kelvinverse” reference, in a “Prime Universe” Trek show. Great to see the wider universe of established Trek canon referenced. Whilst Terra Firma Part 1″may not have been dynamite, it did show that Discovery has justifiably announced itself as canon now. Let’s hope that next week’s follow up to this story can further cement that status.

In Review: Star Trek Discovery - Terra Firma (S.3 Ep.9)
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI & Action
  • Overall
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