As many fans have long suspected, Captain Gabriel Lorca of the USS Discovery is not at all who he appears to be.In fact, he’s not even a member of Starfleet, not really. In the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Vaulting Ambition,” the skeletons in Lorca’s space closet are starting to come out. But now that we know the truth, it’s all somehow more confusing than ever.
Obviously, spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery episode 11, “Vaulting Ambition” follow, plus, some speculation about future episodes, which could be construed as accidental spoilers.
While the latest Discovery successfully braided together three distinct stories — Burnham meeting the Mirror Georgiou, Stamets trapped in his trippy coma, and Tyler/Voq losing his shit in sickbay — the final moments with “Captain” Lorca stole the show. While being tortured in the agonizer booth by one of Emperor Georgiou’s senior guards, Lorca turned the tables at the last second, after being grilled about doing wrong by this guard’s sister, a woman apparently named Ava. Throughout the whole process, Lorca was still kind of playing like he’s from our universe, meaning he’d have no idea who this guy is talking about because he’s never experienced any of that. But, anyone who has been watching the show knows Lorca is lying about all sorts of stuff, and that he intentionally brought the Discovery to this universe, too. So, even if none of the other characters know it, many of us have assumed he was from the Mirror Universe for a while. So, did the Lorca twist work? And who is Ava?
At this moment, that answer to whether the twist worked is a qualified yes, if only because the way everything was unfurled wasn’t what anyone could have predicted. Sure, the idea that Lorca is really from the Mirror Universe has now finally been confirmed, but what that really means remains to be seen. And that’s where the Ava thing might come in. Who was she? Was she a former lover? When Mirror Georgiou tells Burnham about Lorca, she explains that Burnham and Lorca were cozy in this universe. So, did Lorca leave this Ava for Burnham? And if so, does it matter? Maybe Ava isn’t someone we’ll meet because she’s a person whose life Lorca destroyed in a quest for power. But right now, we don’t know.
Still, all this talk of different partners in crime does make one think of another Discovery character we haven’t seen in awhile. Ellen Landry.
Though she only appeared in two episodes before being killed by Ripper, Landry acted like she was Lorca’s jerky confidant early on. Plus, she also seemed unusually aggressive and tyrannical for someone who was trained by Starfleet. In other words, she was the only person in the Discovery crew who acted exactly like Lorca. So, was Landry from the Mirror Universe too?
It’s a bit of a stretch, considering we do see an alive Landry in the new “next time” trailer for Episode 13. But is that a flashback? Or is that Mirror Landry, still alive in this universe? Is her name first name Ava and not Ellen? Considering it’s still possible that Admiral Cornwell will change her name to Lethe, and end up an obscure character from the original Star Trek, let’s just say stranger things could happen than Landry being revealed to be from the Mirror Universe and having a different name.
Outside of wild speculation, there are still some bigger questions that need to be answered in the next few episodes. Like, how the hell did Lorca get from the Mirror Universe into the Prime Universe? We know in both universes he was in command of a starship called the Buran. So, did he blow it up on purpose just to switch places with it? And if that’s true, could the Prime Buran and Prime Lorca still be hanging around? Because for all the talk about people having to maybe meet their doppelgangers, the only person who has actually done that is Voq, which almost doesn’t count because he’s stuck in a pseudo-human body in our universe. To put it another way, is Discovery about to pull a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on us? In that book, Harry thinks he’s been hanging out with Professor Mad-Eye Moody the whole time, only it’s not. But, then when Harry meets the real Mad-Eye Moody, they are instantly friends. Will the same thing happen if Burnham meets the “real” Lorca?
Considering the Lorca reveal is coming right on the heels of the big Voq/Tyler reveal from the previous episode, it seems Discovery has put all of its cards on the table at this point. In terms of plot twists or secret characters who aren’t really who they say they are, we’re pretty much done with all the lies. Now all that’s left is to tell us what happens next. And, because it’s so twisty, unlike any Trek before it, Discovery has managed to do the impossible: become the sixth TV series in a sprawling franchise to seem completely fresh. Now, with three episodes left in this first season, let’s see if this space disco can stick the landing.
The last three episodes of Star Trek: Discovery’s first season air on Sundays over the next three weeks at 8:30 pm eastern on CBS All-Access. The season finale is titled “Will You Take My Hand?” and will air on February 11, 2018.