Wow! Star Trek: Discovery rushed back onto our screens last weekend with a barnstormer of an episode filled with surprising twists, turns, and quite a lot of fun as our crew discovered their final jump at the end of “Into the Forest I Go” landed them in the deadly Mirror Universe, home to the Terran Empire.

I’m excited to see where things go next, but before we do let’s take a look at the connections between “Despite Yourself” and the wider Star Trek canon!

1. Quantum Signature

The crew of the Discovery figure out that they have traveled to an alternate reality by comparing their quantum signature with that of the space around them, and finding they are different.

The idea of quantum signatures being a way of determining whether you have traveled to an alternate reality is a key plot point of the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “Parallels,” when Worf finds himself randomly shifting between realities.

2. Organia

Early in the episode, while trying to determine where the USS Discovery has jumped to, the crew discuss Federation fleet activity around Organia.

Ten years after the events of this episode, Organia will be hotly contested between the Federation and the Klingon Empire as part of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Errand of Mercy” when growing tensions between the two powers threaten to reignite into war.

3. Alien Rebels

Shortly after arriving in the Mirror Universe, the Discovery is attacked by a Vulcan ship — identified as being Vulcan rebels — by the nearby Terran starship ISS Cooper. In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “In a Mirror Darkly” we see a rebellion against the Empire being conducted by Vulcans, Andorians, Orions, and Tellarites, including a scene in which the ISS Avenger is under attack from a Vulcan starship.

Apparently, the still rebellion continues nearly a century later — now including members of the Klingon race.

4. Isik For Your Thoughts?

Burnham approaches Tyler in the mess hall following his encounter with L’Rell, and asks him “Isik for your thoughts?” She claims it is an old Vulcan saying.

An isik is a unit of currency used by the Vlugtans, first mentioned in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Rivals.”

5. The Terran Empire

The Terran Empire has ruled supreme for centuries in the Mirror Universe.

The brutal, fascistic power seen in the Enterprise two-parter “In a Mirror Darkly” and the classic Original Series episode “Mirror, Mirror” has all the hallmarks of those earlier appearances – including the Nazi-like salute, “Long live the Empire!”, using murder as a means of advancement, and familiar characters in surprising roles.

While the majority of Terrans live under the rule of the Klingon-Cardiassian Alliance by the 24th century, Earth remains a Terran stronghold, as depicted in the recent “Star Trek: TNG – Mirror Broken” comic series.

6. ISS Discovery

As part of concealing themselves in the Mirror Universe, the Discovery crew even take the step of removing the “U” — for ‘United ‘– from the USS Discovery registry on the outer hull, and replacing it with an “I” for ‘Imperial.’

As as a vessel of the Terran Empire, all ships carry the ISS designation, dating back to the days before Empress Sato took command of the Empire in the 22nd century.

7. USS Defiant

One of the biggest — and in my opinion, the coolest — callbacks in the episode to previous Star Trek canon was the identification by the crew of the Discovery of the existence of the Constitution-class USS Defiant, a ship from their future, somehow made its way to the Mirror Universe’s past — an event we learned about in the Enterprise “In a Mirror, Darkly” two-parter back in 2005.

Lorca suggests that if they can learn how the Defiant arrived in the Mirror Universe, they can find a way back home without the Discovery’s spore drive. In “In a Mirror, Darkly,” it is revealed that Tholians “detonated a tricobalt warhead inside the gravity well of a dead star” to open an interphasic rift between dimensions.

“Star Trek: Discovery” writer/producer Ted Sullivan confirmed on Twitter that the Defiant seen in this episode was its current state, after a century of Terran Empire modifications.

8. Agony Booth

The final shot of the episode shows Captain Gabriel Lorca locked inside an agony booth, screaming in pain as it attacked the various nerve clusters in his body.

Agonizer technolgoy has appeared in previous Mirror Universe episodes as a tool of oppression and discipline by the Terran Empire, designed to keep starship crews and subjugated species in line.

“The booth” was developed by Malcolm Reed and Phlox’s mirror counterparts in the 22nd century, and handheld agonizers were seen in use aboard the ISS Enterprise in “Mirror, Mirror.”

*   *   *

We can’t wait to see what else Star Trek: Discovery’s writers bring to the table in this weekend’s new episode, “The Wolf Inside.” Keep your eyes peeled for more canon connections in the future!

Novel #1:
"Desperate Hours"

Novel #2:
"Drastic Measures"

Novel #3:
"Fear Itself"

  • Thomas Elkins

    “Ted Sullivan confirmed on Twitter that the Defiant seen in this episode was its current state, after a century of Terran Empire modifications.”


    • Tuskin38

      That doesn’t mean that a current Federation Connie won’t look different.
      It just won’t look like that.

    • Snap

      Even so, given the Discovery team’s penchant of re-designing for the sake of re-designing, combined with the extreme re-designing in the Kelvin movies, as well as Discovery redesigning practically anything Klingon to the point it is unrecognizable, it could have been much worse.

      From the wireframe, the only thing I’m not all that fond of with the alterations is the thickness of the nacelle struts. The original Constitution struts could certainly be a bit thicker, but I think they’re just a bit too thick. This is, of course, only speculation as you can only get so much from a wireframe representation.

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  • Edgar Pinecone

    Correction, the DS9 ep in slide #4 is Rivals, not Rascals.

  • Mike

    Here’s hoping we’ll get to see the Defiant kick ass one more time before her inevitable destruction.

    • julius hibert

      sooo looking forward to it… mostly for the interrior. I am thrilled to see what they did there since it was straight TOS in ENT.

  • FrostUK

    I think we also saw our first Andorian in the Klingon shuttle wreckage and he or she appears to look very similar to the ones in Enterprise. You can make out the white hair and antennae.

    There was a redesigned worker-bee (seen in the opening credits of DS9 and in the dry dock TMP as well)

  • Post with screenshot removed due to video source used.

    • FrostUK

      Sorry, that was pretty stupid of me to do. I did actually try to screenshot it on Netflix but my internet is awful so every time I paused it, it went to like 240p. I screen recorded a very small part of the episode and took the picture from there, foolishly forgetting to crop out the Media Player bar.

  • julius hibert

    You forgot the Knife. Its clearly the typical classic/ent Mirror Knife… 🙂
    Oh man…. Cannon Connections is my favorite Article Series here 🙂

    • Nowhereman10

      I can’t believe they dropped the ball on that big canon continuity reference after everything else mentioned. That and they missed mentioning the Terran Empire dagger through the Earth badges crew wear and graphics plastered all over the walls and doors of the ship.

  • I spoke of how cool I thought the new agony booths were in this episode in my house. Wickedly fun. My 11 yr old, with no prompting from me, commented that the agony booths in the original “Mirror Mirror” seemed scarier just based on Keonig’s performance as Chekov. He thought Chekov conveyed more pain and a scarier booth. I’m proud of my boy.