Star Trek: Discovery Season 1, episode 15 recap

Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS via CBS Express
Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS via CBS Express /

Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 finale kicked off last night and finished with a pleasant surprise for fans!

Last week’s episode ended on the surprise note that Emperor Georgiou of the alternate universe would be taking charge of the U.S.S. Discovery. This week we see the team push ahead to the planet Qo’nos where the fleet hopes to strike into the heart of the Klingon Empire.

Here’s what went down in this week’s episode!


This episode begins with a vague foreshadowing introduction with a group of Klingon ships heading to their home planet. Michael Burnham interrupts the scene with voiceover.

"On the eve of battle, on a cold windless night, an old general turned to a young soldier… “Tomorrow” said the master, “You will know fear.” The young soldier who had not experienced the agony of war looked at the general with quizzical eyes, “How will I know fear if I do not know what it looks like? The general replied, “You will know fear because it speaks very fast, and it speaks very loud”"

All this is said as we have a slow tracking shot rest on Captain “Emperor” Georgiou.

Thus the season finale of Star Trek: Discovery begins.

After this small bit of foreshadowing, we begin to see the intensity of Captain Georgiou, she has no sympathy for the Klingon species, and corrects a fleet member immediately for acknowledging them as “having homes.” As she viciously puts it, “Klingons are animals, they do not have homes.”

After a few more unorthodox remarks from the new acting Captain, Saru pretends to inquire Michael’s assistance in private. Once she walks over, he expresses his concern that the Captain does not possess Federation ideals and principals. Michael mockingly responds saying, “The Federation put her here.”

Captain Georgiou sees the exchange between Saru and Michael, and coldly remarks about Michael leaving her station. Then takes a shot at Saru, by remarking on his fear being linked to his toughness. She says “where I’m from, scared Kelpien, means tough Kelpien.” This seems to imply how edible he is. To which he responds, “Yes Captain, some might even find me unpalatable.”

In defense of Saru, Michael begins subtly trying to expose Emperor Georgiou for who she is by asking her questions about the real Captain Georgiou in front of Starfleet. Georgiou then summons her away from the rest of the crew to scold her for doing so.

Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS via CBS Express
Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS via CBS Express /

Michael says the fact that they made her Captain means sta fleet is desperate. Georgiou claps back with “When you asked how I defeated the Klingons, you were also desperate.” She then tells Michael her biggest weakness is “no follow through”, and that she should’ve killed the original Captain Georgiou and defeated the Klingons when she had a chance.

Michael then presses her to tell her what she actually has planned and grabs her arm. Emperor Georgiou looks at her coldly, and says, “Never do that again.” Additionally, she adds that her knowledge is the only thing giving them a fighting chance. “Are you with me or against me?” Michae responds sarcastically, “With you… Captain.”

All this wraps up a very confrontational cold open


When the show reopens, we see L’Rell being questioned by Michael and Emperor Georgiou. L’Rell is confused because she watched the old Georgiou die by the hands of her leader. Georgiou says it wasn’t her who died. Georgiou then demands she tell her where the best area to land on Qo’nos would be, and when she doesn’t tell her, Georgiou enters the prison barrier and begins beating her for answers. When the violence reaches a climax, Michael demands Georgiou stop. Michael explains to Georgiou there’s a different way they can get the answer they seek.

We then cut to Georgiou and Michael meeting with Tyler who is making something out of a rope. She starts off by expressing doubt in his abilities to help, and because he is weirdly playing with a “string.” He then explains that he made a knot that he learned as a child, which helps him remember who he is. He further adds that Voq’s memories are still inside of him. He wants to help, but the scene implies he is only helping because he loves Michael. Georgou then asks, “What do you know about the surface of Qo’nos?”

The next scene has Georgiou, Michael, and Tyler looking at a Starfleet map of Qo’nos. Michael explains to both of them that the map is somewhat unreliable due to flimsy sources of information. Tyler then points to a section of the planet that is the safest for a drone to make an entrance. He explains that the only issue is that someone will have to beam down to assist with the execution. Georgiou adds that she wants Tyler to help, due to his vast knowledge. Both Michael and Tyler seem uncomfortable, which makes Georgiou question whether Tyler’s involvement will be a problem. Both Michael and Tyler say “no” but their faces say different.

Georgiou then makes another surprise addition to the Qo’nos team, who turns out to be Tilly. Georgiou adds her to the team based on her vicious nature in the alternate realm, and Tilly tries to convey she is “nothing like her.” To which Georgiou replies, “don’t be so sure Killy.” Georgiou then tells an uncomfortable Tilly she will carry the drone herself to the surface.

After this, we see Georgiou, Tilly, Michael, and Tyler all dressed up as impoverished people to beam down to Qo’nos. Tyler asks Michael if she will be okay doing this mission. Michael responds sternly with, “You don’t need to worry about me.”

The team then executes a “Black Alert” down to Qo’nos. Once the ship is steady with the planet’s atmosphere, Georgiou, Tilly, Michael, and Tyler energize to the surface of the planet.

Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS via CBS Express /


We then reopen to a village of Qo’nos where the team appears after beaming to the planet. Tilly comments on the lack of humans, implying how much they stick out. They walk around an area that appears to be a market for trading goods.

A trading person pulls a gun on them and says “keep walking federation, no one wants you here.” Tilly pulls a gun on her face and is able to make the alien trader back down. Georgiou tells the trader to relax because they only want to do business. Georgiou summons Tyler to show what they came to trade. Tyler pulls out Naussican and disruptor pistols and hands them to the trader. Tilly then describes the specs of the guns with exquisite detail. Georgiou gives the price and the trader scoffs. She then requests to see what else they brought to trade. As they show the alien more guns, Tilly motions to Michael that they should go find some “food.”

They go to a different section of the market, and find someone serving questionable meat. Michael wants to know what the meat is, and Tilly says she does not know and wasn’t hungry anyway. She actually just wanted to speak with Michael in private. She then asks Michael if she has any idea what Georgiou is up to. Michael states she has no idea but that everyone should watch her “like a hawk.” Tilly explains that she realizes this entire situation must be very hard for Michael, but that she has her back. Michael conveys her gratitude.

The team then heads to a place that looks like a Klingon version of a club. There are people dancing, and a bar area, with tons of other Klingons around drinking. Also, strange green human-like people dancing exotically on a stage. Georgiou hands Tyler some Klingon currency and says they should split up to find information. Tyler and Michael end up pairing up in this division. Georgiou then summons the dancers to her, and ask how much “a little me” time cost. Georgiou leaves an uncomfortable Tilly by herself as she heads behind a private area with the dancers.

We then cut to an area with Tyler and Michael who are watching Klingons gamble on a game called T’Sang. Tyler tells Michael he might actually be good at this game. Not because he is but because Voq was good at it. A Klingon begins to antagonize Tyler asking if he is there to spy for the Federation. Tyler attacks back speaking Klingon saying he wants to win Darseks in the game. The Klingon asks if he has money, and Tyler pushes the Klingon away forcefully showing money and jumps in the game. Tyler then goes full Voq and begins winning over and over while boasting victoriously in Klingon. The situation makes Michael uncomfortable as she walks off.

The show cuts back to Tilly who finds a strange smoking green man who is played by the great Clint Howard ladies and gentlemen. As Tilly approaches, the strange man offers her some of the substance he is smoking. When she refuses, he demands her removal, thus making her agree to partake in smoking. She then inhales the substance, makes a very perplexed face, and then passes out from being high. The scene is actually really hilarious.

Switch back to Michael who is in a Klingon version of a tattoo parlor. Tyler enters and says he did not get the info he wanted, but he did gain their favor because he spoke their language. He then asks her what made her leave so quickly. Michael then begins to open up about what happened to her parents. She tells the excruciating tale of how the Klingons killed her father, and slowly killed her mom. Tyler then understands how she can hate the Voq inside him. She further adds, despite the terrible things they did to her parents, she looks around and sees normal beings living normal lives. She says Georgiou is wrong. Qo’nos is a home and it should be treated as such. Tyler says he understands the compassion she has for the enemy, but he can guarantee no Klingon showed her the same. Her response… “You did.” Tyler notices a couple of Klingons drinking with fire and claims the act is a ritual that might connect to information they need. He exits to press them for information leaving Michael to herself.

Back in the private room, it’s implied that Georgiou has just had menage-a-trois with the two green exotic dancers. Some brief innuendo is exchanged until Georgiou attacks them both and pulls a gun on one of them. Georgiou forcibly demands the location of The Shrine of Morlar.

Meanwhile, Tilly wakes up from her drug-induced coma, and Clint Howard’s character is using a tool to steal the drone off Tilly’s arm. She makes him feel bad for his attempt at thievery but insists on knowing what she inhaled. The silly green man says “volcanic vapor.” She says that isn’t possible because the volcanoes are dead. He responds that she is wrong. This makes Tilly realize there’s no way a drone will enter a working volcano. She snags the tool from Clint Howard’s character, uses it to pry the box open, and sees the box does not have a drone. Inside rests a hydro bomb.

She contacts Michael to tell her what she found, but before she can finish, Georgiou snatches the device from her and smashes her face with it.

After Georgiou takes off with the hydro bomb, the rest of the team regroups to evaluate how the situation has drastically changed. Tilly explains if Georgiou sets off a hydro bomb in the volcano it will destroy the whole planet. They then communicate back to the ship what Georgiou has planned, but everyone is now concerned Starfleet approved Georgiou’s master plan. Michael then says she needs to reach Admiral Cornwell as soon as possible

Next: The X-Files review: S11E6


After the commercial, the scene reopens on an unsettling image of Qo’nos slowly turning to fire, which soon is revealed to be just a simulation. We then hear Michael say, “is this how Starfleet wins the war?” We soon discover Michael is demanding answers from Admiral Cornwell. The Admiral expresses her urgency about the Klingons on the brink of wiping out Starfleet. Michael pushes back saying the principals of Starfleet are above genocide. Admiral Cornwell says that they no longer have the luxury of principles. Michael lashes out saying “That’s all we have left!” She further adds, that her decision to put survival over principles was wrong a year ago. She caps it off with, “Do we need a mutiny today to prove who we are?” Saru stands and says “We are Starfleet.” The rest of the crew follows and rallies around Michael. Admiral Cornwell backs down from her stance, then asks, “What are you suggesting?”

Jump to The Shrine of Morlar where Georgiou is getting ready to initiate the bomb. Michael appears and tells her the plans have changed. The both of them exchange words, which leads Michael to fully realize this Georgiou is nothing like her Georgiou who died. The Captain pulls a gun on Michael. She pushes the gun to her chest and says the only way out is past her, which means she’ll have to watch Michael die again. Also, that she’ll be hunted for the rest of her life. However, she has the option of freedom still, if she chooses not to kill her. After a brief tense pause, Georgiou backs down.

Michael then gives the all clear, and Tyler brings in L’Rell. Stressed by the situation, L’Rell demands to know where they have brought her. Michael explains unless she chooses to help, this will be the place that destroyed her home. With the memory of Voq, Tyler stresses to L’Rell that Voq wanted more for her, and this would be the start to help her people. Knowing the doom to come, she agrees and deactivates the hydro bomb with Georgiou’s help.

As Georgiou leaves, Michael jokingly says, “be good”… To which Georgiou replies snarkily, “or what? You’ll chase me?” Then the infamous Emperor leaves to start her own adventure.

Star Trek: Discover
Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS via CBS Express /


Finally, we reopen to a location on Qo’nos and a Klingon is seen passed out in a chair. We then cut to a conversation with Tyler and Michael who both seem relieved after what just transpired. Tyler says L’Rell is being transferred to a Mo’Kai ship. Tyler also surprises Michael with the information that he will be going with her. He says that he is no good for one side or the other– Klingon or Starfleet– but maybe he can be good for both. He then conveys how he is not good at saying goodbye, but that her love saved his life. She then responds by saying, when she looks in his eyes now, she sees only him–not Voq. They share an embrace and then they kiss each other. Tyler with watery eyes says, “thank you.” Then walks away.

When she looks down at her hand, she’s holding the rope made with the knot he learned as a child. Ash Tyler is a smooth operator folks!

The next sequence has L’Rell back with her people trying to reunify the Klingon empire. She stresses that her people lost their way, and they need to back down from the war with the Federation. She announces the empire needs a new leader, and that the leader is her. As she says this, all of the soldiers around her scoff and laugh. She then holds up the detonator to the hydro bomb, and says if she does not assume power, she will destroy Qo’nos. The crowd goes silent, and she says, the reunification begins now.

The next shot shows Klingon ships leave their stationed posts in front of Earth, which implies L’Rell’s command worked. Michael’s voiceover breaks in once again, and she tells the viewer that the war is over.

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We then cut to a couple of touching moments involving Michael thanking her mother for not letting her forget about her humanity, followed by her father Sarek admitting his mistakes to her about neglecting his principles. He then conveys his admiration to his daughter for finding another way to end the war, and tells her Starfleet has granted her a full pardon. On top of that, granting her the rank of Commander.

The episode then circles back on the story of fear involving the young soldier and the general.

She says, “How do I defeat fear? The general’s answer, the only way to defeat fear is by telling it, no! No! We will not take shortcuts on the path to righteousness. No. We will not break the rules that protect us from our basest instincts. No. We will not allow desperation to destroy moral authority.”

As she speaks, it is revealed she is speaking in front of Starfleet giving a speech about second chances. As she says, she is guilty of doing all these things, but she now understands the weight of these principles, and how it makes Starfleet so strong. As she finishes her epic speech, all the members in the room give a rousing applause.

In the final moments, we jump to the U.S. S. Discovery where everyone has found their home on the ship. Everything seems peaceful, but we all know a cliffhanger is looming. Things are just too calm for nothing to interrupt the moment.

A weird interference engages the ship, and one of the crew members says that it’s a Federation distress call. They pinpoint the location and warp to the area.

When they arrive they discover the call was from Captain Pike of the U.S..S. Enterprise! Which leads us hanging for Season 2!

Final Thoughts:

  • I dig the juxtaposition between the season finale and episode 1. In the first episde she chose survival over principles, but now she chose principles over survival.
  • I’m a little disappointed by the lack of action in this episode after such a chaotic season.
  • I wonder who will play Captain Pike?
  • As always, I miss Jason Isaacs now and forever.

Stay tuned next year for Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS!