While we countdown the number of days until CBS will give us more sweet, sweet Discovery goodness, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the most burning questions we’re left with after the mid-season finale and discuss two of the most popular and credible fan theories that might give us some answers!
Tyler is Voq?
Probably the most popular and most long running of the fan theories, this one speculates that Voq, T’Kuvma’s (Chris Obi) torchbearer and all around right hand man has been turned into everyone’s favorite panty-dropping security officer, Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif).
Last time we saw Voq, Kol (Kenneth Mitchell) had just stolen his ship with a cask of bloodwine and a lot of sneering and Voq was looking sad on the wreck of the USS Shenzhou. His last scene is an intense conversation with L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) in which she sent him to the Matriarchs and told him he’d have to give up “everything” in order to move forward and fulfill T’Kuvma’s vision. It seem exceedingly unlikely that they set up this character over several episodes just to let our last glimpse of him be dying slowly in space, never to be seen again. Considering how arced Discovery has been thus far, this is not a plot thread that will be left dangling.
As for Tyler, we are first introduced to him in a Klingon Alcatraz run by none other than L’Rell, where Lorca (Jason Isaacs) is initially side-eyeing Tyler’s claim to have been in Klingon captivity seven months. How does someone survive Klingon torture for seven months without dying? According to Tyler, L’Rell “took an interest” in him. This could be interpreted a couple ways, the most straightforward being that Tyler suffered a sexual assault at the hands of L’Rell, but could indeed hold a deeper meaning.
When Tyler and L’Rell meet again, Tyler is immediately triggered into an intense PTSD flashback, which includes shots of his sexual assault as well as something that could be torture or could also possibly be surgery. Most tellingly, he goes straight to L’Rell and falling to his knees asks her what she has done to him. Her response is the chilling, “I will never let them hurt you.”
The most hilarious piece of evidence in favor of the “Tyler Is Voq” theory comes from behind the scenes. When the first episodes premiered, I was one of the people who realized very quickly that no one was actually credited as Voq. I was writing a recap at 2 a.m., and Googling everything I could think of to try and figure out who played him. I was forced to give up and post my recap sans credit. Later, probably in response to others’ similar frantic Googling, an actor named Javid Iqbal was credited on IMDb. The only problem? It seems likely that Javid Iqbal doesn’t actually exist. He has not been seen out of Klingon makeup, has not showed up for any press events or red carpets. He doesn’t exist to the point that a crafty fan has started the parody Twitter account @RealJavidIqbal (TREAT YOURSELF). Seems perhaps the producers were not prepared for how incredibly eagle-eyed Trek fans are.
Congrats to @blakeshelton being named sexiest man alive, but hopefully next year @people can expand their search. This real actor has been spending his hiatus doing his crunches. pic.twitter.com/eKA3FnVVBj
— Javid Iqbal (@RealJavidIqbal) November 15, 2017
Lorca is from the Mirror Universe?
Next up is the incredibly shady warmongering Captain Lorca. From his tendency to lurk in darkness eating fortune cookies like a sociopath to his ready room being what is a essentially a serial killer lair, including a wall full of terrifying weapons and a disarticulated Gorn skeleton, fans were already set to be pretty wary of him. As the show went on he simultaneously got more likable AND more suspicious? After Jonathan Frakes let it drop that we were definitely going to the Mirror Universe, fans have been seeing hints to the Mirror Universe everywhere, including the creepiest mirror shot ever seen on television, starring a mushroomed-up Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and his reflection.
Firstly, Lorca has always been much more ruthlessly pragmatic than we are used to seeing from our Starfleet captains, as was his Hand of the King Landry (Rekha Sharma). The two of them definitely seemed close, and it certainly looked like Lorca trusted Landry more than anyone else. It seems feasible that if Lorca was from the Mirror Universe, then Landry was too.
There is also the fact that Cornwell (Jayne Brook), who had a long history with Lorca is aghast at the decisions he makes as the captain of Discovery. That could be because he’s become hardened, or perhaps he is actually not the man she knows? There’s also a moment where she tries to reminisce with him about a romantic moment from their past, only to have him blow it off. After Cornwell and Lorca hop into bed with each other, it is revealed that he has some rather suspicious looking scars on his back, which she seems surprised to see. He could’ve just acquired some new badass battle wounds since they last tangoed, or maybe it’s a lot more than that.
I have also always been confused as to Lorca’s interest in Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). More than once Lorca has seemed to care more about her safety than the success of his mission, most notably when he resists her going to the Klingon ship to take down Kol, even though she is obviously the correct choice for that mission. There is definitely more to their relationship than we know, and based on Burnham’s confusion to Lorca’s reluctance on her behalf, likely more than Burnham herself knows. Is it possible that Lorca needs Burnham for some plan he has cooking in the Mirror Universe? Or perhaps he knows her Mirror counterpart?
Then there is the mid-season finale ‘Into the Forest I Go’, with Lorca seemingly being the one who stopped the spore jump and him saying, “Let’s go home” just before the Discovery falls into a whole new world. Is it definitive? Absolutely not. Is it suspicious? Abso-freaking-lutely. Although, the strongest argument against Lorca being from the Mirror Universe is simple but devastating. Where is his goatee? Checkmate, nerds!
There are numerous smaller theories out there in Trekland, percolating on Tumblr and being picked over in Facebook groups, but these seem to be the ones that are the biggest and the most widely accepted. No matter the theory, there really is only one surefire way to find out the answers to the mysteries that Discovery has left us with, and that is to wait and see where the writers are taking us!