Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Discovery: All About [SPOILER]'s Surprise Return

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 7, "Unification III," now streaming on CBS All Access.

Throughout Star Trek: Discovery's third season, Michael Burnham has been searching for "home," whatever that may mean. In Season 3, Episode 7, "Unification III," Michael certainly gets a dose of home with the surprise return of her mother, Gabrielle Burnham.

Gabrielle first appeared in Discovery as part of its second season. She was one of the key cogs in the season-long twist about the mysterious "Red Angel." Prior to Season 2, she was assumed to have died in a Klingon attack on Mars years ago. However, Gabrielle and her husband had been working for the shadow organization Section 31 as part of "Project Daedalus," a time-travel research initiative.

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Instead of dying, she used the Red Angel suit she created to travel through time. She planned to go back one hour initially to stop the Klingon attack, but she wound up 940 years in the future, in a universe eradicated of sentient life by the A.I. Control. Gabrielle proceeds to make hundreds of jumps in time to try to prevent this dystopia, and her warning is heard when she reunites with Michael the first time. Unfortunately, their reunion is brief, as the Red Angel suit pulls her back to the distant future.

As fans find out from "Unification III," Gabrielle winds up in a different future. After making a crash landing back in the 32nd century, she is nursed back to health and taken in by the Qowat Milat. The group is a set of Romulan warrior nuns, and she is inducted into their sect. It's as a Qowat Milat that Gabrielle reunites with her daughter for the second time, serving as her advocate during her philosophical trial.

Despite being ecstatic to see Michael again, Gabrielle does not stray from her job during the "T'Kal-in-ket." Seeking absolute candor, she pushes her daughter to not withhold her mixed feelings about Starfleet, warning that the Vulcans and Romulans in the room will be suspicious of her. Despite her pressure bordering on cruel, she's able to get Michael to open up and get data on "The Burn" that she so sorely needs.

In the end, after hand-delivering the data herself, Gabrielle admits she will not move on with Michael. Instead, she will continue to stay on Ni'Var and serve the Qowat Milat, but the occasion is still sweet. For the first time in years, the two have found each other, with no intention of further time traveling anywhere in the future. As Gabrielle herself says, "you always know where to find me," and that couldn't be more true after this episode.

Streaming on CBS All Access,Star Trek: Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Commander Saru, Anthony Rapp as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly, Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber, David Ajala as Cleveland "Book" Booker, Blu del Barrio as Adira, Ian Alexander as Gray, Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno and Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou. New episodes of Season 3 air on Thursdays.