Star Trek Discovery season 1, episode 14 recap: The War Without the World Within

Photo Star Trek: Discovery CBS via CBS Press Express
Photo Star Trek: Discovery CBS via CBS Press Express /

The latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery returned to their native dimension, only to find the Klingons defeated Star Fleet! But does this mean the war is over?


The episode picks up exactly where episode 13 ended. Michael Burnham beams back with the alternate reality version of Captain Georgiou. Saru greets them at the bridge and is understandably confused as he greets the emperor as “Captain.”

The emperor makes a cold remark to Saru about his species, when he doesn’t call her Emperor, he then frustratingly requests she be taken to guest headquarters and confined there.

Saru is upset because he discovers Michael withheld the information regarding his species on the other dimension, but Michael explains it was only to “spare him the pain” of knowing how his kind were being treated.

Saru is summoned to sickbay, and he requests Michael to follow him there, in hopes Tyler will recognize Michael, and recover quicker from L’Rell’s procedure. To much of Saru’s surprise, Michael refuses to see Lieutenant Tyler and dismisses herself from the conversation.

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Saru then follows the doctor to see Lieutenant Tyler, who appears to be back to normal. Tyler explains he is more self-aware of what the Klingon’s had done to him than he was before. Voq was the first to volunteer for such an extreme procedure called “Species reassignment protocol, and the goal was to use Tyler to infiltrate Star Fleet.

Tyler expresses regret for attacking Michael, and killing Dr. Culber. He asks Saru if Michael is okay, and Saru replies that she is safe and is back on Discovery. Tyler urges Saru he should be put into a brig for his crimes, but Saru denies his grievances. He suggests all signs of Voq are gone, and Tyler will have limited freedom but freedom nonetheless aboard the ship

The cold open ends on a strange cliffhanger where a federation ship engages the Discovery in a threatening manner. Saru enters the command deck and before he has time to salvage the situation, soldiers from the other ship are already beaming to the ship armed and loaded. Among the invading crew are Sarek and Admiral Katrina (back from being rescued from Klingons). Katrina overrides the command computer and takes charge of the ship. Katrina then orders Sarek to mind meld with Saru. This leads Katrina and Sarek to discover two things: 1) Saru is indeed the safe man he says he is. 2) Captain Lorca is dead.

Star Trek: Discovery
Photo Star Trek: Discovery CBS via CBS Press Express /


The show then reopens in a meeting with all the people in charge, Saru, Katrina, Michael, Sarek, Paul, and a few others are gathered around the table discussing all that has occurred. Katrina urges the Discovery to bury everything they have on the existence of alternate realities. Sarek explains it can be weaponized by others in the same way Lorca used if they don’t. Katrina informs the table the only safe haven left is Star Base One, and if possible, the safest route is to jump using the spore drive. Paul explains they used all the resources they had left to return to their own reality. The only thing left to do is to risk using hyperdrive and hope to survive.

Michael explains there’s one more thing they need to know… The alternate version of Georgiou is on the ship.

The next scene has Admiral Katrina and Ambassador Sarek meet with Emperor Georgiou. Katrina and Sarek hope to weigh her motives, which Georgiou assures she has none. In fact, she hopes to return home where she is a ruler. Admiral Katrina explains they have no way to get her back, and if they did, they do not know how. Georgiou is undoubtedly displeased, but Admiral Katrina orders Michael to make sure her stay is comfortable.

We then return to Lieutenant Tyler who is roaming the ship when he accidentally runs into Paul Stamets. Tyler attempts to show how terrible he feels about the death of his love Dr. Culber. Stamets asks if he still remembers it, and if he still hurts over it– very angrily. Tyler says yes, which Stamets suggests, “well, maybe you are still human.” Then leaves Tyler alone to his thoughts.

Tyler then heads to lunch, and as soon as he enters, all tables grow quiet. Knowing the situation, Tyler isolates himself. Sylvia Tilly takes the first plunge and decides he shouldn’t be alone. She brings her food over and sits beside him, which Tyler responds to by giving her a way out. Sylvia refuses because she knows he needs people beside him. What soon follows is everyone in the room following her example and coming to support their comrade. It’s a great scene.

The final moments before commercial have Admiral Katrina get on command deck as they approached Star Base One. Sadly though, much to their surprise, Star Base One has been destroyed by the Klingon Empire. This puts Discovery in a hopeless situation with nowhere to go.

Star Trek: Discovery
Photo Star Trek: Discovery CBS via CBS Press Express /


Admiral Katrina seeking a desperate solution turns to their prisoner L’Rell, hoping she might have a solution to finding peace with her species. When she confronts L’Rell, she does not give a promising answer. She explains if Klingons are truly winning, then they “have tasted blood,” and the only victory now is to conquer them at all cost. During this sequence, it seems L’Rell is starting to question the beliefs of her own people.

Michael Burnham also desperate returns to the alternate version of her mentor to find answers. Georgiou at first sizes her up– asking why she brought her to the parallel world. Michael responds by saying she needs to know how she destroyed the Klingons in her dimension. Georgiou expresses doubts and suggests she has a weakness for the death of the other Captain Georgiou– Michael agrees without hesitation. Sympathetically, Emperor Gergiou explains how she conquered the Klingons… and by doing so, she says Klingons will divide like cancer when leadership is destroyed. By attacking Qo’nos.

This leads to a series of setup sequences. Michael pitching the idea to Admiral Katrina, Admiral Katrina pitching the risky attack to Star Fleet, then the planning scene. First, Stamets urges they need to warp to the Vada system to grow more spores in a very rushed amount of time. His ambition is to terraform one of Vada’s moon’s to generate enough spores to ignite the jump drive.

Star Trek: Discovery
Photo Star Trek: Discovery CBS via CBS Press Express /

This all sounds smooth. That is, until Sarek quietly meets with Emperor Georgiou and soon discovers, she withheld some information from Michael. She explains that destroying Qo’nos is just a temporary fix, but in order to destroy Klingons, you must bring them to their knees. Her reasoning is because their passion for destroying Star Fleet runs deep. She tells Sarek, she’ll show him how to accomplish this, for the exchange of her freedom.

Sarek then councils Michael on the events she shared with Tyler. Sarek relates his understanding of the irony that Tyler was part Klingon and that she fell in love with one– but he also urges her to not regret that love.

Michael is then pressed by Sylvia to also talk with Tyler, even if it means saying “goodbye.” Sylvia points out the other reality taught her a lot. That we are all shaped by our environments when it comes to fighting off the darkness inside. Michael knows she is right but still seems hesitant to agree.

Stamets begins executing his ambitious plan to terraform a star in the Vada system, and the plan works better than they hoped.

Then comes the emotion. Michael Burnham finally visits Lieutenant Tyler. She confronts him by saying she does not know how to get back to where they once were because when she looks in his eyes or feels his hand, all she sees is Voq. Tyler says the only reason L’Rell’s procedure didn’t work is because of his love for Michael– and that he needs her to find his way back. It does not go the way he hopes– Michael tells Tyler she had to be alone to win the battle she was fighting.  She leaves him alone by saying, “it’s not easy, letting you go.”

The episode has a slick wrap-up with Sarek briefing Admiral Katrina that the council has agreed to Emperor Georgiou’s plan. When Katrina enters the chamber to communicate the secret plan, a door behind her opens… and the super secret strategy is making Emperor Georgiou acting Captain to destroy the Klingons. Saru and Michael look less than certain about this surprise decision.

Next: The Orville: The best first season John LaMarr moments

Final Thoughts

  • This episode was way less action-packed than usual and I’m wondering if that’s due to the Super Bowl. It’s common to have a slow episode timed for major sporting events.
  • I’m curious how hardcore Michelle Yeoh will be next week.
  • I miss Jason Isaacs already.

Stark Trek: Discovery airs Sunday nights on CBS.