The episode flashes back to seven years earlier when Sarek first introduced his ward, Burnham, to Georgiou on the Shenzhou. Sarek leaves her on board to tour the ship Starfleet.
Burnham wanted to join the Vulcan expeditionary group. Her relationship with Georgiou is awkward at first, but they find some common ground with straightforward honesty. Georgiou takes her to the bridge. Georgiou invites her to join the crew.
In the present day, Burnham notes that there are 24 Klingon ships, the same number of great Klingon houses and that someone must be trying to unify the Klingon empire. Georgiou sends Burnham to the brig.
Opening credits roll.
Onboard T'Kuvma's ship, the other Klingon leaders communicate with T'Kuvma. He calls for unity, for all to join his house, to remain Klingon and oppose the Federation that mixes human, Vulcan, Tellarite,
Just then, several more Starfleet ships appear in the area. Georgiou sends a message to the Klingons inviting them into a dialogue. She ends her message with "we come in peace," but T'Kuvma calls it a lie, saying the Federation seeks to remove their individuality. The Klingons open fire on the Starfleet ships.
The battle begins in earnest. Burnham tries to get an update but is denied by the computer. Ensign Connor ends up in the brig while looking for med bay. He goes on about how they're not soldiers before the ship suffers a hit that sucks him out into space.
Burnham is knocked out and we see another flashback, this time of Sarek coming to her aide after she was knocked unconscious during a previous attack. He
Burnham awakens to the sound of the Shenzhou computer listing all of the major hull breaches to the ship, which is now badly damaged.
Saru reports damage to Georgiou, who realizes there's been a major breach on the deck of the brig.
Burnham is still dazed and she sees Sarek. Sarek tells her that,
The battle continues. The Shenzhou is now adrift, all engines offline. A Klingon ship is in pursuit but turns away when it realizes the Shenzhou is being pulled into the gravity of the star. Georgiou gives the order to prepare to evacuate, but the Shenzhou is rescued by the tractor beam of another ship, the Europa.
Admiral Anderson communicates with
Scanners and transmission go haywire again and the Shenzhou sees the Europa being destroyed as it is rammed by T'Kuvma's cloaked ship, which then decloaks.
The battle continues. The Europa triggers to self-destruct. T'Kuvma's ship vanishes again.
T'Kuvma speaks of victory to the other Klingon leaders and tells them to return to Qo'nos and tell the other Klingons that the empire fights as one again, led by T'Kuvma the Unforgettable.
The Klingons warp away, leaving only T'Kuvma's flagship. He sends out a message, telling them that they only live to bring the message of what happened.
Burnham tries to talk the computer into allowing her out of her cell and succeeds. She leaps through an opening in her cell to the other side of the ship.
Georgiou and Saru take stock of their situation, which is poor. Saru suggests loading a transport ship with photon torpedoes and sending it past the Klingon censors to the ship.
Meanwhile, T'Kuvma wants all of the Klingon fallen retrieved for entombment on his ship.
Since the transports have no autopilot, someone must pilot the ship into the Klingon vessel. Burnham says this is a bad idea, that they'll only turn the Klingon messiah into a martyr if they kill him. They need to capture him instead and make him a symbol of defeat and leverage in making peace.
Georgiou expresses disappointment in Burnham's actions. Burnham says she did what she did because she values the lives of the crew over Starfleet's principles.
Tractor beams from T'Kuvma's ship begin reeling in the Klingon dead. Georgiou has a new plan.
T'Kuvma presides over a ceremony for the dead.
Georgiou, Sru, and Burnham place an armed photon warhead on a transporter. They beam it out onto one of the Klingon corpses as it is drawn into the ship, where it detonates.
Georgiou and Burnham take the opportunity to beam aboard the Klingon ship on a mission to capture T'Kuvma. They are ambushed by T'Kuvma and Voq and a fight ensues. T'Kuvma stabs Georgiou through the chest, and Burnham shoots T'Kuvma in the chest.
Burnham wants to retrieve Georgiou's body, but Saru transports Burnham back to the Shenzhou first.
T'Kuvma dies in Voq's arms.
Burham pleads guilty to a list of charges levied against her, including mutiny and assaulting an officer. She laments everything she has lost in trying to protect them from war. She is stripped of rank and sentenced to imprisonment for life.