When Star Trek: Discovery returns this Sunday, the ship will have a Klingon prisoner aboard: L’Rell. L’Rell was apprehended in the mid-season finale episode “Into the Forest I Go.” L’Rell’s presence on board has proven to be very uncomfortable for Lt. Ash Tyler, who was tortured by L’Rell during his previous imprisonment. L’Rell’s cryptic message to Tyler during their reunion — the word “soon” — has seemingly confirmed a fan theory about Tyler’s true identity.
A Trojan Horse?
Lt. Ash Tyler became joined the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery through very suspicious circumstances. When Captain Lorca was taken captive by the Klingons, he escaped with Tyler, the only other member of Starfleet being held prisoner with him. Even Lorca had suspicions about the relatively uninjured Lorca, who claimed to be in captivity for months. “You’re lying,” Lorca countered. “No one survives Klingon torture for seven months and lives.”
Despite this, Lorca promoted Tyler to the Discovery’s Chief of Security. That’s a very important position on the crew for someone whom Lorca just met.
According to Tyler, he was tortured physically and sexually by the Klingon L’Rell. These memories were triggered in the mid-season finale. When Tyler and L’Rell were reunited, he asked her what he did to him. Her only reply was, “I won’t let them hurt you,” and “soon.” Why would a torturer tell a Starfleet officer she would protect him? And what’s going to happen “soon?”
Where is Voq?
Here’s where the Tyler theory gets interesting. Tyler showed up after T’Kuvma‘s torchbearer Voq disappeared. Now, this could just be coincidence, but Voq was an important part of T’Kuvma’s entourage. He was left to die on the U.S.S. Shenzhou but L’Rell, Tyler’s future torturer, told him she could help him. IndieWire outlines their discourse here. Voq asks L’Rell what he must sacrifice, “everything,” she tells him.
So, Voq must sacrifice everything. Could that mean his body, his face, even his memories? Could Tyler’s flashbacks to torture actually be Voq’s flashbacks to the surgeries he underwent to become human? It would be a grim fate for Voq to become human and an even grimmer trick to deceive the crew of the Shenzhou.
Only time will tell if this theory is correct. There are only six episodes left of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1. The show has been renewed for a second season, however, so will the show draw this secret out or will we know the truth in just a few short weeks?
Or perhaps sooner. Episode 11 — the one following the midseason premiere — is entitled “The Wolf Within.”
Star Trek: Discovery returns January 7 on CBS All Access in the U.S., and the day after on Netflix in the U.K.