[Warning: This post contains spoilers from Episode 10 of Star Trek: Discovery, "Despite Yourself." Read at your own risk.]
It looks like the Discovery crew is now down a member.
Star Trek: Discovery's jaw-dropping winter premiere, which saw the Disco crew finally enter the Mirror Universe, delivered a shocker when Lt. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) murdered Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz) just as we were getting closer to finding out his true identity. Now, the show's latest casualty is speaking out about how this death isn't what you think it is.
In Sunday night's episode, Tyler, who had been remembering things he can't quite understand, sought Culber's help in figuring out what exactly was wrong with him. After a re-examination, Culber uncovered some disturbing truths about the security officer including the fact that he underwent a "bone crushing" process to physically alter his appearance and that his original personality was overwritten with a new one. Before he could put the pieces together, however, Tyler killed the medical officer after being triggered by something he said.
"[Culber] knows that [Tyler] had a complicated and difficult experience with the Klingons and that hit too close to home for Tyler," Wilson Cruz tells TV Guide.
Though the show may have killed off one half of Star Trek's first openly gay couple in franchise history, Cruz insists this is not a case of the Kill Your Gays trope, a trend heavily criticized for the many deaths of LGBT characters in recent years, most notably Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) on The CW's The 100.
"[Producers] were very careful to let me know that because of the way that the story was developing, that we needed to go in this direction," said Cruz. "I was concerned about it, too. I know that this is not that because I know what's coming. Trust me, it's not over."
Explained co-showrunner Aarob Harberts, "We certainly know that it's an issue and we knew that this was the story that we were going to be telling for Dr. Culber and Lt. Staments pretty early on as we were breaking the entire season. And for us, this is chapter one of their story. This is a beginning, not an ending."
While Culber may have died at Tyler's hands, that doesn't necessarily mean this is the end of his journey on the show. In fact, Harberts says he'll continue to play a major role in the story.
"The fact of the matter is you're going to be seeing [Culber] again," he revealed. "This is gonna be a story of transcendent love. We're casting these two gay characters as heroes. Their love and their dedication to their crew actually is gonna save the universe."
Said Cruz, "I want the audience to trust us, that we are going to bring the story that they've all longed for."
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)