The brand-new episode of Netflix’s Star Trek: Discovery was full of twists and turns as Burnham, Lorca and the crew found themselves trapped in the franchise’s longstanding Mirror Universe and battled to find their way back to their own reality.
However, an even greater battle was going on within Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif), who may have just discovered something many viewers had suspected for a long time – his secret identity as a Klingon sleeper agent, surgically altered to appear human.
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Fans began to believe Tyler wasn’t all he seemed more or less around the time of his first appearance, which coincided with the disappearance of a major Klingon character in the series. Klingon Voq was last seem making a plan with comrade L’Rell to finally take down the Federation – but only if he made a terrible sacrifice…
Hmm. A sacrifice like making himself human, perhaps? This is a feat previously successfully attempted by Klingons in other Star Trek series.
The twist was also hinted at by the fact that ‘Javid Iqbal’, the actor credited as playing Voq, has no other film or TV credits but shares the same surname as Shazad Latif’s original birth name, as well as initial reporting around the series suggesting that Latif was playing an entirely different, entirely Klingon character.
Flashback scenes further hinted at Tyler’s surgical alteration, but if there was any doubt left it was removed by the first episode after the mid-season break.
During a conversation with L’Rell, it appeared Tyler’s dormant Klingon personality was awakened, with the Starfleet officer performing a flawless rendition of the Klingon prayer to Kahless in the altered, deeper voice previously used for Voq’s dialogue.
Much to L’Rell’s confusion, however, the prayer didn’t seem to unlock Tyler’s other self like she and Voq had planned, but it disturbed him enough to demand a medical scan that would finally work out what had been done to him.
Said medical scan produced results that led Dr Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) to believe Tyler had been altered, reshaped, his bones crushed and reformed in different combinations and his mind probably treated similarly. When this discovery led him to demand Tyler stay in sickbay the lieutenant snapped, barking words in Klingon and snapping Culber’s neck before fleeing and joining Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) on a mission.
It seems likely that in future episodes Tyler’s true self will be completely, 100 per cent confirmed, but at this stage it seems improbable that they’re going in any other direction than that Tyler is a brainwashed Voq, put in place to destroy Starfleet but trapped by his new humanity.
We’re betting that the Tribble that Lorca keeps on his desk, part of a species known for reacting loudly and aggressively around Klingons, may be the deciding factor. However the truth comes out, one thing is for sure – after his murderous actions this week, we doubt Tyler’s Discovery crewmates will be too welcoming of the spy in their camp.
New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery are released on Netflix on Mondays