“Terra Firma, Part Two” wants us to see a changed Emperor Phillipa Georgiou by its conclusion. It tries to accomplish this with various tricks and call-backs to other “Star Trek” episodes. The problem with the mirror universe as a scheme is that it only works when reflecting on society or character. Since we didn’t get to know Georgiou’s counter-part, there isn’t a mirror to hold up.’
Mirror, Mirror, You Don’t Work
That’s why the mirror universe is fun for a moment or two, but multiple dips in the pool don’t work. There is no change to the mirror universe from where we left it, other than some brief leniency toward Kelpiens. We exit where we began with the mirror universe. Sure, it is possible that the trajectory there will be altered by the actual death of their Georgiou. Previously they may have held some hope that she would return from wherever she disappeared.
Terra Firma Now
Because we only get a brief time with either Georgiou, the Terran version’s lesson lacks impact. Any changes she made were to win back the love of Terran Michael Burnham. Her sense of defeat for both failing to do so and still killing that version of Michael? Instantly offset because hey, at least she tried to change.
Section 31 Starts Somewhere
Now she will return to Pike and Spock’s time, presumably to rebuild Section 31 because who better? She won’t be afraid of dealing directly with some of Starfleet’s biggest problems, and the show has already been announced. I’m sure she’ll pop up to give Spock some insight into what happened to his sister as well. The problem is the Georgiou that we get in that show will be much closer to the Georgiou leading up to “Terra Firma.” The changes she struggles to make are pretty likely to be undone. Which makes “Terra Firma” feel like a pointless exercise.
Blasts and Blasts From The Past
I’m not entirely disappointed by “Terra Firma Part Two.” It is fun to watch actors and actresses vamp terrible versions of their regular characters. The revelation of The Guardian of Forever leaves me with questions, but it seems like that is the intended result. The Guardian may suffer a bit from too much nostalgia. People like the Guardian because the prop is responsible for a classic episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” The writers of “Terra Firma” seem to recognize that the prop should be mostly decorative, but since the story doesn’t 100 percent deliver, we’re left examining it a bit more. Also, casting a human visage on the prop makes it that much more noticeable.
Carl, What Are You?
There was a lot of speculation that Carl, the Guardian’s apparition, might be a Q Continuum member. That is better left as a possibility for “Star Trek: Picard” though. The idea that the Guardian went into hiding due to the temporal wars will hopefully get further explanation. For now, the Guardian ends up a wasted prop, and the a-ha the writers wanted from the fans feels muted. At least there is the possibility of more from both.