Every week on After Trek, three episodes from across the Star Trek franchise were listed as “Cadet Training/Episodes to Watch.” Below is a list of all of those recommendations, along with a brief explanation of what connected them to that week’s Star Trek: Discovery episode.
The Next Generation “The Pegasus”
Like the spore drive, the cloaking device aboard the U.S.S Pegasus allowed the ship to travel in a non-traditional, more stealthy way. (Also, Captain Picard Day is always fun.)
The first mention of Suus Mahna, the ancient Vulcan martial arts used by Burnham in the mess hall (and derided by Landry). T’Pol taught it to the mining colonists to help them fight the Klingons who were taking all of their deuterium.
The Next Generation “Lower Decks”
Discovery broke new ground by focusing much of its action on non-senior members of the crew, like Tilly, Burnham, and Stamets – and this episode of TNG did the same, with a storyline about four ensigns vying for promotion.
Deep Space Nine “The Sword of Kahless”
A little more about Kahless here, with some insight into the fanaticism that divides Klingon factions from each other.
The Next Generation “New Ground”
The first mention of Corvan II, which is under attack by Klingons in this Discovery episode. “New Ground” also featured an attempt to travel even faster than warp drive, just as the Discovery is doing.
Star Trek “This Side of Paradise”
It’s all about the spores.
Just as being hooked into the spore drive harms the tardigrade, the nucleogenic lifeforms on the U.S.S. Equinox’s Captain Ransom were lethally harmed when they were used to power the ship, with similar ethical questions asked and answered.
Star Trek “I, Mudd”
Harry Mudd’s second episode of The Original Series revealed his penchant for underhanded behavior and frequent quips. It also gave us a look at what happened to his relationship with Stella.
Star Trek “Journey to Babel”
For new Star Trek fans, a look at Sarek, Amanda, and Sarek’s complicated relationship with both Spock and Starfleet.
A glimpse into radical Vulcans.
The Next Generation “Sarek”
Sarek and Picard engaged in a very personal mind meld, and Picard was able to strengthen Sarek’s emotional resolve, much as Burnham is able to help a wounded Sarek. We also saw how Sarek’s career as a diplomat ended.
The Next Generation “Cause and Effect”
Time loop! Time loop! Time loop!
The value of getting to try again, after failing the first time, although in this case it was to save lives, not harm them.
The Next Generation “The Nth Degree”
Stamets is clearly being affected by being plugged into the spore drive, just as Barclay was affected when he plugged himself into the Enterprise. New insights and new dangers for both.
Star Trek “Errand of Mercy”
The Pahvans on Discovery, like the Organians in “Errand of Mercy,” are much more advanced than they seem, and don’t fear the Klingons the way Starfleet would like them to.
Voyager “Prime Factors”
The Voyager crew also faced the challenge of asking for help from a reluctant alien species, and came up against the Prime Directive in the process.
Star Trek “The Paradise Syndrome”
Kirk, like Saru, found a peace he had never known on a faraway planet, and planned to make his home there. In Kirk’s case, however, he was suffering from memory loss, while Saru was on a high from living without fear for the first time in his life.
The Next Generation “Parallels”
It hadn’t yet been revealed that Discovery was in the mirror universe, so there were limits on which episodes could be connected to this one. “Parallels” began when Worf finds himself in the wrong parallel universe, and discovered that there are many more, a nice tie-in to Stamets’ exploration of the mycelial network.
The Next Generation “Where No One Has Gone Before”
The first TNG episode with The Traveler, in which the Enterprise found itself stranded in a completely unfamiliar part of space. There were also a lot of fan theories at the time about Stamets being The Traveler.
Star Trek “The Enterprise Incident”
"Forest" co-writer Bo Yeon Kim said that this was one of the episodes that was “pretty influential” when they were breaking the story in the writers’ room.
Enterprise “In a Mirror, Darkly”
This episode explained what the U.S.S. Defiant was doing in the Mirror Universe, ten years before Kirk and the Enterprise NCC-1701 found it in interphasic space.
Deep Space Nine “Crossover”
This was the first of the DS9 Mirror Universe episodes, and the first time a Trek crew ended up there without a transporter accident.
Voyager “Living Witness”
While this was not a mirror universe episode—in fact it’s an incorrect recalling of Voyager’s history—it’s fun to see what the crew of Voyager was like in an “alternate” and crueler reality.
Star Trek “Mirror, Mirror”
Finally! This was the very first episode to show the mirror universe, and Burnham’s efforts to protect the rebels on Harlak while impersonating her mirror self are similar to Kirk’s attempt to save the Halkans.
Captain Archer tried to unite Andorians, Tellarites, Humans and Vulcans, much as Voq (the Firewolf) is doing on Discovery.
Deep Space Nine “Trials and Tribble-ations”
Voq is revealed in this episode of Discovery, just as Darvin, in both the past and the present, is revealed to be Klingon.
Star Trek “The Tholian Web”
Emperor Georgiou tells Burnham how the crew of the Defiant went mad in interphasic space, and this is the episode that tells that story, explaining why the Discovery crew should try to find a different way home.
The Next Generation “Second Chances”
Two Stametses, two options for the way their lives would go, just like Riker when he’s split by the transporter beam. Both Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz speculated that Mirror Stamets was let astray by not having a Culber in his life.
L’Rell removes Voq from Tyler, raising some similar moral questions as when Janeway sent Tuvix into the transporter to be split back into Tuvok and Neelix. When two beings are fused, which one has the right to survive?
A little more on parallel universes, as Voyager encountered itself and the two ships teamed up to ensure one of them survived.
Deep Space Nine “Resurrection”
Burnham’s emotional turmoil over dealing with the mirror universe version of the dead Captain Georgiou, and the weakness she has for her, is reminiscent of Kira facing the mirror Vedek Bareil.
Star Trek “Space Seed”
Writer Ted Sullivan was inspired by Khan awakening his people in “Space Seed” when he wrote and produced the scene in which Lorca’s people emerge from their agony booths.
The Federation worked with Emperor Georgiou, Voyager worked with the Borg. Tough times, desperate measures.
Enterprise “Broken Bow”
The very first episode of Enterprise covered the first visit by Starfleet to Q’onoS, mentioned by Admiral Cornwell.
The Next Generation “A Matter of Honor”
Proof that the Federation would eventually try to learn more about Klingon culture, when Riker was sent aboard a Klingon ship as part of an exchange program.
Star Trek “The Cage”
At the end of the season finale, the U.S.S Discovery comes face-to-face with the U.S.S. Enterprise, putting it right in the era of Pike’s Enterprise, from “The Cage,” with Spock on board.
The Next Generation “Rightful Heir”
This recommendation is repeated, this time because of the story involving Kahless trying to unite the Klingon factions.
Star Trek “Journey to Babel”
Another repeat, this time to connect the dots on Amanda’s role as a human mother in a Vulcan world.
Laurie Ulster is a transplanted Canadian who fell in love with Manhattan about 10 minutes after her arrival at NYU. She's been a TV producer, website director, cookie baker's assistant, and editor of her local paper. These days, she’s the Supervising Producer on After Trek (dream gig!), regular TrekMovie contributor, and a freelance writer, with a focus on pop culture, parenting, feminism, and Star Trek. Lots of Star Trek. (twitter: @floobish)