WARNING: This article contains spoilers for this week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Lethe,” and potentially for the series as a whole.
With its sixth episode, “Lethe,” Star Trek: Discovery cemented its themes of duality and betrayal with more revelations about Michael Burnam’s Vulcan upbringing and her relationship with her adoptive father Sarek, and with Captain Lorca’s deceptions. However, if a seemingly outlandish — and undeniably intriguing — fan theory turns out to be true, the series is prepared to take those elements to a new level.
Emerging, as is so often the case, on Reddit, the theory centers on the Klingon Voq (played by Javid Iqbal), an outcast who takes up the call of the messianic radical T’Kuvma to unite the Empire and repel the Federation, and Starfleet Lt. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif), a prisoner of war who escapes Klingon custody with Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs), and becomes the new security chief of Discovery.
Fans were immediately suspicious of Tyler, who allegedly survived months of imprisonment following capture during the Battle of the Binary Stars, long enough to form an alliance with fellow POW Lorca and orchestrate a breathtaking prison break in which the lieutenant exacted revenge against L’Rell (Mary Chieffo), the Klingon captain who (it’s implied) routinely sexually abused him. Although there are no signs that Tyler underwent any sort of debriefing or counseling upon arriving on Discovery, he clearly met with the approval of Lorca, who delved into the lieutenant’s past and found no red flags.
That may be because most of the clues to Tyler’s duplicity lie outside the story, and point to the very real possibility that Javid Iqbal — the actor credited as playing the albino Klingon fanatic Voq — doesn’t actually exist. Because, so the theory goes, Latif plays both Voq and Ash Tyler.
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