Are the Terra Firma episodes Star Trek’s version of “A Christmas Carol?”

Georgiou and Scrooge
Georgiou and Scrooge

If you’ve watched the most recent episode of Star Trek: Discovery, a tale which brought Philippa Georgiou back to her home in the Mirror Universe, thanks to a mysterious helper and a wooden doorway on the planet Dannus V. I think “Terra Firma, Part I and II” are a retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, with Georgiou playing the starring role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Throughout the third season of Discovery, Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) has been dropping hints as to why life was better in her Terran Empire. She used these comments to put people down (like Tilly and Dr. Culber) or to justify her brash actions (like on the “Scavengers” episode). It would appear that Georgiou’s comments reveal that she is unhappy living and working in the Prime Universe.

So when she begins to have unexplainable physical and mental problems started affecting her life (as seen on “The Sanctuary”) we knew that something had to change for her, or she was going to die. Until her face started pixilating, some thought she might be suffering from PTSD, since she killed potentially thousands of people in her role as Emperor of the Terran Empire.

We learned at the start of “Terra Firma, Part I” that there was only one cure for Georgiou’s problems. She must journey to Dannus V, because the all-knowing Sphere Data said she had to. When she arrived on the planet, Georgiou and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) beamed to the surface and found something odd. A human man sitting and reading a newspaper. The man tells Georgiou that she must simply walk through the door (a literal wooden door in the middle of the snowy wilderness of Dannus V) to figure out solve her problems.

Many are speculating that this man, named Carl (played by actor Paul Guilfoyle) is a member of the Q Continuum. I don’t think that we are meant to understand what Carl is (thanks to episode writers Bo Yeon Kim, Erika Lippoldt, and Alan McElroy), or will ever fully find out. But, he sure does act like a mild combination of Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Present from Dickens’ story.

When Georgiou walks through the doorway (which is a gateway or portal), she arrives in the Terran Universe, just before the christening of the imperial ship, the Charon. This ship, and the time when Georgiou now finds herself, played a central part in a few important episodes in Season One of Discovery.

While we are led to believe that Georgiou can change the past, especially when she declares that the future is not yet written, I don’t think this is the case. I believe that Georgiou is not changing the past, but acting in a little reality bubble, designed to show her that the Prime Universe ain’t so bad. Much like Scrooge, Georgiou is looking at the past and what might have been, but it’s too late to change what is. This morality exercise will ultimately stop her from complaining all the time about living in this universe, and sets her up nicely to be a helper for the Federation in the secret Section 31 organization.

Here’s why I think Georgiou isn’t really change the past, like Marty McFly or the Avengers did:

Vaulting Ambition and Terra Firma crews don’t match

If you go back and watch the Season One episode “Vaulting Ambition,” you’ll see that the Mirror Michael Burnham is dead. This is sort of a big deal, because in “Terra Firma, Part I,” Georgiou is horrified by the way Michael treats the Kelpian slaves and other actions. How can Georgiou swear to save Michael’s soul if she is already dead?

Just to clarify, the Michael who appeared in those Season One episodes was Prime Michael, not Terran Michael. Does it mean that now that Georgiou is trying to get Terran Michael to be a good girl, that eventually Prime Michael will appear as well?

Throughout “Vaulting Ambition,” Paul Stamets is either stuck in the mycelial network or captured by Gabriel Lorca. How can Stamets be hosting the christening of the Charos and stuck in the mycelial network at the same time?

I’m sure that other fans saw inconsistencies — and not just Captain Killy’s hairdo — between the two episodes, which were supposed to be taking place at the exact same time.

Little differences like those lead me to believe that “Terra Firma, Part I” and its conclusion are not actual trips back in time for Georgiou. She, like Ebenezer Scrooge is being given a second chance to do the right thing. In Georgiou’s case, the “right thing” means that she must get along with the good and decent people of the Federation in the 23rd Century.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Our pal Kovich (David Cronenberg) dropped an important note, explaining to Culber that cells aren’t designed to live outside of their time. This means that Georgiou must go back in time to the 23rd Century, were she will likely interact with Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif), and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

I do think that “Carl” will help her get back in time (so she can star on her own Star Trek: Section 31 show), but I believe we won’t get the full story on how it happens. We won’t get to scream that Bo Yeon Kim, Erika Lippoldt, and Alan McElroy used the Guardian of Forever on a NuTrek show.

I think Michael will beam back to the Discovery by herself. She will get the opportunity to say goodbye to Georgiou and she will “let go,” just like Admiral Vance challenged her to do.

We shall all find out what will happen to Georgiou on Thursday, and I am sure it will not be a humbug of an episode!

Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream on CBS All Access.