Guess who's coming to dinner? Michael brought the Evil Emperor Georgiou back with her. The Emperor quickly spills the beans to Saru that she & Michael have just eaten a Saru with beans. Awkweird!
Back from the Underneath, Discovery lands spore-lagged but close enough for jazz. However, in the 9 months they lost in transit the "Klingons" brought the Federation to its space knees. A third of their fleet is destroyed, planets we've never heard of were burned down, ALL their starbases ka-put. 20% of Federation space has been occupied, and 90% of the maps are coloured in red now!
Dr Pollard is still treating Ash. Like everyone else, she's uncertain what the "species reassignment surgery" has done to him. She says he hasn’t got more strength or aggression than a human now. I'll add that the medical staff should maybe switch to reinforced turtlenecks.
Saru blames Voq for Culber’s death, not Ash- and he believes in that distinction with more conviction than I've got at this point. Saru limits Ash’s privileges but won’t take his freedom. Stamets is enraged at the traitor but satisfied to know that Ash is human enough to suffer for his actions. Tilly & even DETMER welcome Ash back at lunch! It all seems wildly naive until I remember- THEY’RE KIND!!! I forgot what Starfleet being kind looked like!
Admiral Cornwell has Sarek mind-meld with Saru to confirm his identity & their "inconceivable ordeal" without all those pesky words and "last time on" recaps. Cornwell phaser blasts Lorca's fortune cookie bowl when she hears how unreasonable he was. She does nothing about the Evil Emperor except loan her a stateroom the size of Pike's entire engineering deck, but at least she does nothing about locking Michael back up forever, either. Cornwell also has a fruitless conversation with POW L'Rell. Starfleet Leadership is floundering even though Andorian Admiral Shukar ate a tiny computer to make his voice deeper.
Cornwell and Sarek are concerned that if this adventure becomes public knowledge a grieving Federation will play Fringe en masse and abandon universe for somewhere better. (I hear the Star Trek Continues dimension is pretty this time of year.) Discovery's records are classified and destroyed and recorded over with old episodes of The Expanse. Sorry, Captain Kirk, you'll have no forewarning of mirror universes! Sorry, Captain Janeway, no spore drive for you!
Sarek calls for the complete destruction of the enemy, then extolls the virtues of Michael's love for Ash in a public hallway- you know, like a Vulcan.
Stamets refuels with the high-speed terraforming of a moon in Veda with more magic mushrooms than Campbell’s. Michael drops some kind of strained metaphor on Ash about how, what with the murder attempt and all, her love would have to grow back with a lot more work and punishment than a moon of instant mushrooms. Or something. Basically, call it a break-up, probably?
Oh, and orders from Cornwell: a genocidal attack on Qo'noS commanded by the woman who's been there, done that in her dimension. The Emperor will be your guide and Captain. Oh, good. Something sensible at last. Dingy basement bridge forever!