SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers from the Season 1, Episode 9 of Star Trek Discovery, entitled “Into the Forest I Go.” Proceed with caution.
Sex has been somewhat of a taboo topic in Trek until now: an alien once hooked-up with a trapped Commander Riker in The Next Generation in exchange for his freedom, but that was more silly than serious.
Some viewers have called L’Rell’s actions rape, and it remains unclear how Tyler felt about the acts (and he may have many conflicting feelings about them). L’Rell may be his rapist, his lover, or both. One thing is clear, she is also his torturer.
Tyler froze up during his and Michael Burnham’s away mission on the Klingon sarcophagus ship after running into his captor. The normally fearless security chief crumbled from PTSD, experiencing flashbacks from when he was tortured, and reverted to a helpless mess.
Eventually, he snapped out of it and the mission was a success. However, L’Rell literally piggybacked her way onto the Discovery as he was beaming back.
Once aboard, Tyler welcomed Burnham into his quarters, but fell asleep and experienced more flashbacks with L’Rell (in Trek’s first topless scene). That nightmare drew him to the brig, where he faced L’Rell and fell to his knees. Her cryptic response? “Soon.”
This is quite a leap for a show that has already shown untraditional relationships, from LGBT ones (Lt. Stamets and Dr. Culber) to illicit professional ones (Capt. Lorca and Adm. Cornwell). Tyler and L’Rell’s relationship is interspecies (between two warring races), violent, and unclear in nature.
Fan already have their theories. The prevailing one is that Tyler is actually the Klingon Voq, and the torture scenes are memories from the surgery that turned him from Klingon to human. L’Rell was revealed to have feelings for Voq, similar to the ones she has for Tyler.
#StarTrekDiscovery mid-season finale – anyone else think Tyler is a klingon who wasnt tortured but instead was undergoing transformative surgery and was always L'Rells lover before being reprogrammed? Or is that just me?
— Amazing Space (@AmazingSpace2) November 13, 2017
Or is it some master ruse? L’Rell is a self-admitted master interrogator, and descended from House Mo’kai, which is known for its “watchers,” “deceivers,” and “weavers of lies.”
And what of the possibility of a hybrid baby? Previous shows have had half-Klingon, half-human characters, notably Voyager’s B’Elanna Torres and TNG’s K’Ehleyr (Worf’s mate). Could L’Rell be carrying Tyler’s baby?
Fans will have to wait until January to discover the truth.