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Star Trek: Discovery: Is Lt. Ash Tyler Who He Says He Is?

Have we seen the real him?

Keisha Hatchett

[Warning: This post contains spoilers from Episode 9 of Star Trek: Discovery,"Into the Forest I Go." Read at your own risk.]

Discovery's new Chief of Security might not be who he says he is.

Sunday night's Star Trek: Discovery offered up more insight into Lt. Ash Tyler's (Shazad Latif) frame of mind while also adding fuel to a popular fan theory that suggests he has a different identity altogether. So who is he really? Is there something more to the former prisoner who, unlike many others before him, somehow survived seven months of Klingon torture?

The episode finds Tyler and Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) beaming onto the Klingon sarcophagus ship to plant sensors that will help the Discovery see through their cloaking technology. The mission goes as planned until Burnham notices another human life form aboard the vessel.

That living person turns out to be Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook), who did not die after L'Rell (Mary Chieffo) bashed her head repeatedly against the wall, but she's seriously injured. Despite her condition, she's able to coach Tyler through his PTSD which was sparked after spotting several Klingons. When he, Burnham and Conwell finally make their way back aboard the Discovery, he confides in Burnham about his traumatic experience being held captive.

Here's When Star Trek: Discovery Will Return

He admits to doing terrible things to survive, like subjecting himself to L'Rell's unwanted advances. "I encouraged it," he tells Burnham. "Her sick affections, her obsession with me because if I didn't, I'd be dead like all the others."

Waking up from one of those nightmares, he heads over to where L'Rell is being held as a prisoner for a late-night interrogation and that's when things get suspicious. "What did you do to me?" he asks. That would seem like a perfectly normal question had L'Rell not responded with, "Do not worry. I will never let them hurt you."

Shazad Latif, Star Trek: Discovery

Shazad Latif, Star Trek: Discovery

Jan Thijs, CBS

Who is "them?" Given that he's already been brutally tortured by the Klingons, and the fact that Kol and his supporters aboard his ship of the dead were killed in a showdown with the Discovery earlier on, it's reasonable to rule them out. That then leaves the Discovery crew and if that's the case, why would he be worried about them?

A popular fan theory claims that he is the Klingon torchbearer Voq who we last saw in "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry." After being exhiled by Kol, L'Rell tells him the only way to save himself is to go to her people in the House of the Mo'Kai -- known for being watchers and great deceivers. "What must I sacrifice?" he asks her. "Everything," she tells him.

What if by everything, she meant surgically alter him to make him appear human and then plant him onto the Discovery as a spy under the alias Ash Tyler? Admittedly, it's a bit of a stretch. After all, Lorca did research Tyler's family history in "Lethe," learning that he grew up near Seattle, Washington. So either the House of the Mo'Kai went the extra mile to falsify records and make him look legitimate or he's actually a human.

Whatever the case, there's no denying that something odd is at play here. Especially since L'Rell ends their conversation by saying, "Soon." And what's even more questionable is the fact that he doesn't seem confused by this, suggesting he's in on some sort of plan that's about to be enacted. So is he really the Klingon Voq? Or is he just a guy, standing in front of his former captor, asking what's up with all the bad mojo in his head? Only time will tell.

It looks like we'll have to wait even longer for answers now that the Discovery has warped into the unknown. Stamets (Anthony Rapp), after ignoring the serious side effects from the numerous jumps via the spore drive, collapses and fails to get his crew to their intended destination at Starbase 46. Stranded in uncharted territory, they will have to figure out a way back home and that won't be easy considering Stamets doesn't seem fit for another jump.

Catch the second half of Star Trek: Discovery's first season starting Sunday, Jan. 7 at 8:30/7:30c exclusively on CBS All Access.

(Full Disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS. )

Shazad Latif, Star Trek: Discovery

Shazad Latif, Star Trek: Discovery

Jan Thijs, CBS