The Guardian Of Forever Comes To Star Trek: Discovery
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The Guardian Of Forever Comes To Star Trek: Discovery To Take Someone With It

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BY December 16, 2020

From the beginning, with Star Trek the original series, time-travel has been a commonplace part of the universe. Yet, perhaps the most iconic time-travel episode of that first series came at the end of the first season with “City On The Edge of Forever.” Dr. McCoy mistakenly travels through time while out of his mind on drugs (as one does), and Kirk and Spock have to set things right. However, what makes this episode so unique is the method of time-travel. The Guardian of Forever, a large oddly shaped sentient doorway, found its way to Star Trek: Discovery in this latest episode. This also marks the point of divergence between the cast of the show and their first captain.

Last week, I mistakenly thought this episode would be the season finale. Yet, instead of 10 episodes Discovery runs for 13 episodes. However, part of the reason why I may have thought this is because of the air of finality in this episode. Strange structure aside, these two episodes were mainly about Michelle Yeoh’s Philippa Georgiou. The character is set to get her own spin-off series, yet we didn’t know which version of the character. Now we do.

As for what this episode means for the crew of the Discovery, they were (quite literally) in a holding pattern. They’ve traced the source of the event that cased the Big Burn. Yet, before they can learn what wiped out all of the dilithium in the galaxy, they have to wait for the machines to work. So, while there are three episodes after this, Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is in its endgame now.

Saying Adieu to Philippa Georgiou

Guardian of Forever Star Trek Discovery Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Burnham and Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou Image by Michael Gibson via CBS Interactive

As a fan of all iterations of Star Trek (including Enterprise, which was a good show!), I was delighted when they name-dropped the Guardian of Forever on Discovery. I also loved that they used Bart LaRue’s original voiceover for when he revealed himself. (Though, James Doohan voiced the Guardian in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode featuring the sentient doorway.) It seems that wherever Philippa Georgiou will go for her spinoff series, it’s going to involve some form of timey-wimey displacement.

Half of Terra Firma Part 1 and half of this week’s episode took place in the Mirror Universe many months before the events of the first season. A changed Emperor Georgiou remained hardened and callous, but less so than the average goatee-wearer in that universe. In her own violent way, she tried to steer the Terran Empire towards a more peaceful coexistence with the galaxy. Sure, she failed. But in doing so she showed the Guardian that she no longer belonged there.

The character of late has been extra cruel and biting in her retorts to her fellow crew on Discovery. This was a fairly transparent way of distancing herself from them as she slowly degenerated. However, when faced with actually leaving them behind, she showed how they changed her. Her goodbye to Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham was particularly moving. Even though we’ve known for two seasons she’d be written off the show, in those last moments the storytellers successfully made me want her to stay. As someone not particularly enamored with the Mirror Universe (they’re just too evil), I enjoyed this episode much more than last week. It will be interesting to see where they take this character.

Is There More Coming Than Just the Emerald Chain and the Big Burn?

Star Trek Discovery Season 3 Premiere David Ajala Cleveland Booker Burnham Image by Michael Gibson via CBS All Access.

With Georgiou’s situation handled, and David Ajala’s Cleveland Booker ensconced as part of the crew, it’s time for the end run of the season. The mystery of what happened with the Big Burn and a looming battle between the Emerald Chain is what the Discovery crew will work towards. Yet, I find myself wondering if that’s all that really lies ahead. I have an inkling that the mystery behind the Big Burn will be solved by season’s end, and the answer will drive the course of the next season. We’ve not sufficiently had a “big bad” this year. Honestly, I think the series is better for it.

We’ve gotten some beautiful semi-standalone classic Trek episodes. The fight for Book’s home planet or when Michael Burnham took command during the visit to Earth were great. The heavily serialized nature of the series up until this year worked against it. While still plenty serialized, the single-episode adventures helped make Discovery “feel” like Star Trek. Yet, I suspect that there will be a return to form next year, and who- or whatever is behind the Big Burn will be the story for next year. Which leaves the rest of this season to deal with the problem of the Emerald Chain.

The idea of a galactic underworld tends to fit better in Star Wars than Star Trek. Yet, it will be interesting to see just how formidable this crime syndicate is up against the (smaller) Starfleet. Again, my guess is that they will be mostly dealt with by the end of episode 13. However, it’s also possible that they’ll be a persistent antagonist next season. This concept is intriguing. I hope however much we get of the Emerald Chain fleshes out the idea of what the underworld looks like in the Star Trek Universe.

Star Trek: Discovery airs Thursdays on CBS All Access.

What do you think? Were you excited to see the Guardian of Forever in Star Trek: Discovery? Share your thoughts, reactions, and theories about what’s in store for the end of the season below.

Featured image via CBS All Access

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

michelle yeohStar TrekStar Trek: Discovery

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