Star Trek: Discovery's midseason finale left a lot of questions, biggest of all: just where did the Discovery jump to? The hit show wrapped up the first half of its debut season with more than a few surprises. While the war with the Klingons isn't quite over yet, that seems to mostly a formality at this point. In the midseason finale "Into The Forest I Go," Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin Green) was able to plant a device on the Klingons' ship of the dead, enabling the Discovery to fire on the vessel while cloaked. Kol and the rest of his followers go up in flames, and it seems like victory for the Federation is right around the corner.
Unfortunately for the Discovery crew, they have more immediate problems. In an effort to evade an incoming Klingon armada, Lieutenant Stamets (Anthony Rapp) volunteers to man the dangerous, experimental spore drive one last time to get the ship to the safety of a nearby starbase. Something goes very wrong though, as Stamets suffers something akin to an interdimensional seizure and the crew end up in an uncharted region of space, complete with ominous starship wreckage in their wake.
If nothing else, this is a welcome development, as it suggests the show can likely begin to move past its more dour wartime storytelling that it could never quite make work in the world of Star Trek. The show's best episodes so far - the time travel puzzle box "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad" and the "first contact gone awry" yarn of "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" - have largely eschewed the dark, gritty impulses of the entries that focused more on the Klingon conflict to indulge in some tried and true Star Trek tropes in ever so slightly new ways. Moving on from the war opens up a tremendous number of possibilities, and could prove to be the creative shot in the arm the show needs. That said, there are a tremendous number of directions this new setup could take the series, though a few seem fairly likely.
The most obvious possibility - one that people involved with the show let slip is coming at some point - is that the Discovery has traveled to the Mirror Universe. A concept dating back to the original series, the Mirror Universe is an alternate reality where, instead of the benevolent Federation, humanity takes on the form of the Terran Empire, a corrupt, despotic organization that wants to brutally conquer the universe. It's an inversion of Gene Roddenberry's inherently optimistic view of the future, where humanity instead gave in to its worst instincts and became the sort of soulless, violent race that Star Trek fundamentally rejects.
The original series episode "Mirror, Mirror" established most of the iconic aspects of the Mirror Universe, featuring a brutal, homicidal Captain Kirk who captained the ISS Enterprise with his first officer Spock, whose corrupt nature was denoted by his incredibly evil facial hair. It would be a prime opportunity to revisit some of Discovery's deceased characters; Burnham having to grapple with an evil version of the dearly departed Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) could provide for some explosive storytelling.
For the level at which it's beloved, it's surprising that the Mirror Universe only appeared once in the original series. It would be much more fleshed out in two proceeding series, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. Deep Space Nine visited the Mirror Universe five times over five seasons; in the relative future of DS9, the Terran Empire crumbled after being exposed to the regular versions of the original series Enterprise crew, and humanity became enslaved by an alliance of Klingons, Cardassians, and Vulcans. The Deep Space Nine crew were generally enlisted to help humanity in their resistance efforts, while also remaining somewhat wary of their darker Mirror Universe counterparts.
Enterprise's final season featured the two-part episode "In A Mirror, Darkly," which took a previously unrelated plot point from the original series episode "The Tholian Web" to give the evil version of Captain Archer and his crew access to an incredibly powerful vessel from their relative future. It's generally considered one of the series' best episodes, and allowed the sometimes stiff Enterprise cast to loosen up and embrace their inner hams.
While it seems a jaunt to the Mirror Universe is the Discovery's most likely destination, it's certainly not the only option. Another possibility is a visit to the Kelvin timeline of the J.J. Abrams films. In "Into The Forest I Go," Stamets and Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) discuss the fact that the spore drive has made them aware of the existence of - and possible access to - alternate realities. The Kelvin timeline is a divergence of the Prime timeline that was created on the day James Kirk was born when a group of 24th century Romulans traveled back in time and altered the course of history. Alex Kurtzman, Discovery's executive producer, was a key creative force on the Abrams films as well, and if CBS was able to get even a relatively minor player or two from the films to show up, Discovery could have some fun with the multiverse that Star Trek now consists of.
It's also possible the ship simply traveled into the future - though only in Star Trek is a trip to the future considered "simple". Star Trek has a long, proud tradition of time travel stories taking place in both the past and the future. The presence of starship debris likely means we aren't dealing with a trip to the past, but the Discovery crew getting a peak at the future of the franchise could be a fun way to honor what's come before.
Perhaps an even simpler - though highly controversial - possibility could be that the ship traveled to another quadrant of space, far beyond where Starfleet should be capable of going in the 23rd century. A trip to the Delta quadrant and a massive field of spaceship debris means something very specific to savvy Star Trek fans - the Borg. It would be tough to reconcile the Borg encountering a Starfleet vessel so early in the timeline, as The Next Generation makes it fairly clear they're unaware of the Federation until the events of that series' second season episode "Q Who." However, Enterprise used the time travel shenanigans of the film Star Trek: First Contact to tell a Borg story within the prequel confines of that series, and it's not like Discovery has shown any particular problem with bending established continuity when it feels the urge.
After a bumpy start, Star Trek: Discovery has begun to find its creative voice. It's not clear where the second half of its debut season will take us, but the possibilities the show has opened up are both vast and exciting, and an encouraging sign that the series may be more creatively adventurous than was immediately apparent.
Star Trek: Discovery continues in January 2018 on CBS All Access.
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