Star Trek: Discovery — What Do Georgiou’s Mirror Universe Flashbacks Mean?

All of the sudden, the most interesting plotline of Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 isn’t about The Burn or a cat. It's Georgiou's flashbacks...

Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 6
Photo: CBS

This article Star Trek: Discovery article contains spoilers for Season 3, Episode 6.

One of the boldest aspects of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 was the shocking revelation that a character from the Mirror Universe — Captain Lorca — had really been pulling the strings in the Prime Universe the whole time. And, if you thought you’d left the Mirror Universe behind when the USS Discovery jumped back in Season 1, think again. In Season 3, Episode 6, “Scavengers,” Discovery teases that the events in the Mirror Universe may still be hugely relevant to what’s happening now. Though it wasn’t mentioned a lot in Season 2, the deadly and sardonic Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) who currently helps-out on Discovery was once the Emperor of the Terran Empire, and, after she was reminded of this fact in Episode 5, suddenly Georgiou is thinking about the Mirror Universe again.

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But what does it mean? Here’s a look at what was in Georgiou’s brief Mirror Universe-flashes, and what it might mean for the rest of Discovery Season 3, and maybe, the yet-to-be-filmed, Section 31 spin-off series

Georgiou’s two flashes suggest flashbacks — not flash-forwards

There are two moments in “Scavengers” when Georgiou zones-out and seems to be reliving events from the past, and in the Mirror Universe. The first of these flashes happens at the beginning of the episode when Georgiou teases Michael about her relationship with Book, and jokes about things not working out with Tyler — in reference to Ash Tyler, the Klingon-Human hybrid who was Michael’s love interest in Seasons 1 and 2. When Michael says, “Why are you bringing up Tyler?” (and, really, why?), Georgiou suddenly goes into a trance and sees flashes of imagery from the Mirror Universe. Here’s what she sees and hears:

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  • Some kind of castle on a hill.
  • The Terran Empire emblem.
  • Herself, maybe in her Emperor attire.
  • Someone covered in blood with a helmet. 
  • One of those nasty Terran Empire daggers. 
  • We also hear Georgiou say the word “son.”
  • We see Georgiou’s flagship in the Terran Empire, the ISS Charon.
Georgiou's bloody hand in Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Episode 6 Georgiou Flashback

The second time Georgiou has one of these flashes is towards the end of the episode. This time, some of the imagery repeats. But, like the flash of the Charon, this imagery is directly linked to stuff from Season 1. The second flash includes:

A Castle on a Hill in the Mirror Universe in Star Trek: Discovery

So, other than the imagery of the bloody body, the knife, and Georgiou saying “son,” most of the stuff in these flashes is from Season 1. This, combined with Georgiou saying to Michael “I remember another Michael Burnham” makes it seem like she’s fixed on the past.

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So, What Do These Flashes Mean?

Clearly, we don’t know what exactly is happening in these flashbacks, but it seems fairly clear that we’re meant to think that Georgiou maybe, just maybe, had a son in the Mirror Universe. If this is true, and she did something that caused his death, then maybe she’s had repressed memories that have been activated. We also know that Mirror Burnham was treated like a daughter by Mirror Georgiou—that is until Mirror Burnham started helping out Lorca. This detail from Season 1 could account for Lorca being glimpsed briefly in the flashbacks, and the idea that Georgiou was thinking about the “other” Burnham while admitting she’d been having these spells. 

Bottom line: It seems like something happened in the Mirror Universe that’s just now coming to light. And whatever this was was traumatic as hell for Georgiou. 

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Could Section 31 fit in somehow?

It’s notable that Georgiou’s strange behavior started right after Episode 5 when she met with the mysterious Starfleet character known as Kovich (David Cronenberg.) In Episode 5, Georgiou was shaken at the end of the episode, even though during her meeting with Kovich, she acted like she was in charge. Who is he? And did he do or say something to Georgiou that made her relive these memories? In Episode 5, Kovich demonstrated a huge amount of knowledge about the Mirror Universe and talked extensively about Terran Universe history. Some fans think this means he could be from the Mirror Universe, just like Georgiou. Others think he could be the head of Section 31 in the 32nd Century.

But what if both theories are true? In real life, we’ve been told that Michelle Yeoh is poised to get her own spin-off Section 31 Star Trek series sometime after Discovery Season 3 concludes. If she’s destined to leave the 32nd Century Prime Universe, and head back into the Mirror Universe, we might be seeing the first steps on that journey. The only questions left are: What happened to Georgiou before the crossover in Discovery Season 1 and, what will she do next?