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Star Trek Discovery Theory: Mirror Michael Killed Emperor Georgiou's Son

Emperor Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is being paralyzed by traumatic flashbacks where she screams "San!" inStar Trek: Discovery season 3, but could these be repressed memories of the Mirror Universe's Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) killing her son, San? Immediately after the wicked ex-ruler of the Mirror Universe was debriefed by a mysterious Starfleet agent named Kovich (David Cronenberg), Georgiou has been the victim of random but violent memories that freeze her in her tracks. This could be a plot by Section 31 to bring the Terran to heel and manipulate her by making Georgiou remember something she has long repressed.

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Introduced in Star Trek: Discovery season 1's 4-part Mirror Universe saga, Her Most Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Qo'noS, Regina Andor, Emperor Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius was the supreme ruler of the Terran Empire in the mid-23rd century — until she was deposed in a coup led by Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs). Posing as the Captain of the Prime Universe's USS Discovery, Lorca used the starship's spore displacement hub drive to return to the Mirror Universe and finish his plan to take over the Terran Empire. Michael saved Emperor Georgiou and brought her back with the Discovery to the Prime Universe.

Since then, Georgiou has been a singular presence in Star Trek: Discovery; not quite a villain or a hero, the former Emperor joined Section 31 and fought alongside Starfleet against Control, the rogue A.I. that tried to wipe out all organic life in the universe. Georgiou chose to stay aboard the Discovery and time travel 930 years into the future, but her main motivation was her affection for Michael, who is the Prime Universe double of the Michael Burnham Georgiou raised as her own daughter in the Mirror Universe.

But Georgiou's presence as a Terran was of particular interest to Kovich, the man in black wearing glasses who interviewed the Emperor when the Discovery arrived at Federation and Starfleet Headquarters. Kovich informed Georgiou of the distressing news that she can never return to the Mirror Universe since no crossovers had occurred in the last 500 years. Immediately after Kovich and Georgiou spoke, Burnham found Philippa frozen in the halls of the Discovery — the Emperor was experiencing traumatic flashes, which only got worse when Michael and Georgiou teamed up for an unsanctioned mission. However, whatever is happening to Georgiou could be tied to the Mirror Michael Burnham and unrevealed aspects of the Emperor's past.

Mirror Michael Would Have Known Georgiou Had Other Children

The Mirror Universe's Michael Burnham was an orphan raised by Emperor Georgiou in a broken-mirror image of how the Prime Universe's Michael was raised on Vulcan by Ambassador Sarek (James Frain). But while Prime Michael was the adopted sister of Spock (Ethan Peck), the Mirror Michael would have been aware that Emperor Georgiou had other children. Georgiou admitted as much in Star Trek: Discovery season 1 and she considered her children "parasites" that the Emperor left to be raised by others while she busied herself by ruling the Terran Empire.

And yet, the Mirror Michael was apparently different, and she was unusually close to Georgiou, a fact that Gabriel Lorca took advantage of when he seduced Burnham as a father figure/lover. Lorca wanted Burnham on his side when he deposed Georgiou and took over the Empire. The Mirror Michael was presumed dead and it isn't clear if she did betray Georgiou and sided with Lorca or if she was secretly trying to kill Lorca on behalf of Georgiou. Regardless, the Mirror Burnham was out of the picture when the Prime Universe's Michael arrived in the Mirror Universe thanks to Lorca. However, what actually happened to Georgiou's other children isn't known and the Emperor refuses to discuss her past.

Section 31 Unlocked Georgiou's Repressed Memories - Of Michael Killing San

When Georgiou experiences her violent memories, they are of her standing over a dead, armored corpse with blood on her hands, and she yells out the name "San!" It's possible that San is one of Georgiou's biological children, a son. If so, San Georgiou may have been jealous of his mother's close relationship with the Mirror Michael and tried to assert his claim on the Empire as Georgiou's true offspring. What role San may have played in the violence surrounding Lorca's attempted coup is just conjecture but it's clear from Georgiou's memories that San was murdered.

However, the perpetrator may have been the Mirror Michael and this could be something that Georgiou indirectly holds against the Prime Universe Burnham. Georgiou clearly has genuine feelings for Michael and she is bemused at the Prime Burnham's earnest nature and desire to do the right thing. And yet, as she told Michael in Star Trek: Discovery episode 6, "Scavengers," Emperor Georgiou remembers another Michael who also appeared sincere but betrayed her. Could Mirror Michael's siding with Lorca have included killing San, Georgiou's real son? Is this a brutal and violent memory the Emperor has been repressing for what now amounts to nearly a thousand years?

Is Section 31 Using Georgiou As A Sleeper Agent Or Are They Trying To Kill Her?

Georgiou's secret backstory is clearly of interest to Kovich and Section 31, which is very likely who the man in black represents. Kovich personally interviewed Emperor Georgiou for a reason and he even knew just how to manipulate the Terran: He freely offered his black Starfleet badge to Georgiou, knowing she would take it (and she broke it). As they spoke, Kovich casually, but suspiciously, fiddled with his unusual blue-tinted glasses. It's very possible that while he and the Emperor parried with words, he was secretly using his 32nd-century technology to implant something into Georgiou that would trigger her repressed memories.

But if this is the case, then what could Section 31's endgame be? It may be that Kovich is trying to control the extremely dangerous Terran, either to prevent her from becoming a threat to the Federation or to actively use her as a weapon. If so, Kovich may be psychically manipulating Emperor Georgiou and turning her into a sleeper agent to use against the Federation's many enemies, like the Andorian and Orion syndicate known as the Emerald Chain.

But it could also be that Kovich and Section 31 want to kill Emperor Georgiou, or at least have a subtle but direct means of executing her if need be that can't be directly traced back to Section 31. In that case, Emperor Georgiou's repressed memories could be a trigger, but one that's already out of control since they seem to happen at random intervals. As to the memories Emperor Georgiou is experiencing and who San ultimately is and who murdered him, somehow it must tie back to Michael Burnham's Mirror doppelgänger since Michael is the lone thread tying Georgiou to the Prime Universe in Star Trek: Discovery.

Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Netflix.

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