Oct 17, 2017

The Klingon Captain was L'Rell

10 comments

Just a note as you seemed to miss this. It was obvious to me whilst watching and I'm kind of confused how people didn't understand this. Mary Chieffo was listed in the credits and also discussed the episode on After Trek.

Oct 17, 2017

Oh, wow, yes I see that in the credits on IMDB now. I'm confused about how that's possible, though. Ash tells Lorca that the captain of the ship has been keeping him alive because she enjoys his company (so to speak), and he strongly implies that this has been going on since he became a prisoner nearly seven months ago. But seven months ago L'Rell was stranded at the Binary Stars with Voq. So I'll be interested to see how that gets explained. Do you have any thoughts on how both things might be true? And where is Voq during the events of "Choose Your Pain"?

Oct 19, 2017Edited: Oct 19, 2017

This is a great catch! I didn't understand that while I was watching the episode (I apologize, I guess most Klingon women look alike to me?) and I still don't get how it works out continuity-wise, but yeah - it'd add another wrinkle to the umbrella arc of this series.

Oct 19, 2017

@Glenn The scuttlebutt around this, briefly, is that Ash is Voq, so the whole thing about him being on the ship 7 months is a lie. Last episode, L'Rell told Voq that he would have to "give up everything", and since he has no family, no ship, no mentor and no followers, all he has left is to "remain Klingon!". With need to reconcile Klingon appearance with canon, one can theorise that Voq gets turned human-ish in order to infiltrate the Federation, either surgically (has precedent) or through the augment virus. There's also precedent for accelerated learning to explain his language skills. The Klingons knew where Lorca was going to be so you have to assume they have someone on the inside already. It's all over TrekBBS, Reddit etc, lots of people explain it in more detail. Regarding Klingon Captain being female, here's a couple of screen caps I took from episodes 4 and 5, looks like the same character to me!

 

 

 

 

Oct 19, 2017

Oh, that's a fascinating hypothesis, and I'm inclined to buy into it. I'll be excited to see where that leads, though I will also be a little disappointed that we don't get to see his time with the matriarchs of House Mo'kai. I was rather hoping for a long build up to the collision of the Voq plot and the Discovery plot, and was hoping that we were going to see more of Klingon culture. Perhaps we still will. There is also a fan theory positing that Voq is the Albino of Deep Space Nine, which might also be fun.

 

I think we need a primer on the phenotypes of the new Klingon makeup! I miss Gowron's eyes right about now.

Oct 19, 2017

It's definitely got legs! I'm hoping we see the whole matri(arc) in the forms of flashbacks, perhaps from a burnt and scarred L'Rell, or an unhinged Lt. Tyler. Jury's out on whether Ash is an inactive, unaware sleeper agent (which would explain his attacking L'Rell), or just playing his role very well.

 

If it's any consolation, you are not the only person or podcaster to not identify L'Rell, because it doesn't make sense if we believe Ash. I think it's pretty obvious that we aren't meant to trust him, as Lorca is suspicious. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Lorca has him pegged as a traitor (at least), used him to escape and brought him back to the ship to feed him disinformation, or something else for the war effort.

Oct 19, 2017

Oy, maybe we should start prefacing any of the internet's future spoilers with a spoiler warning... because now I'll be bummed if the Tyler-Is-Voq theory is true and has been spoiled for me, lol. I'd never have seen that coming.

 

If there is already a Klingon spy on Discovery, I bet it's Tilly. Her peppy likability has been too in-our-faces ever since the pilot!

Oct 19, 2017

Haha, yes, I like the idea that Tilly is what a Klingon thinks humans act like -- so bubbly and sweet ... like root beer.

 

Josh, thanks for the consolation on both counts. I do hope you're right about the flashbacks.

 

BionicDave, that's a good point. Valerie and I have been debating whether we should address this fan theory on the air. Do you have any feelings about that?

Oct 19, 2017Edited: Oct 19, 2017

It's tricky, I get that. You want to be an open forum for fan discussion, but lots of fans use internet spoilers - especially Reddit - to spread scoops. I personally avoid all spoilers in my consumption of entertainment, so I appreciate it when fans and broadcasters give a spoiler warning before dropping any bombs on me. Some podcasts declare themselves upfront to be "spoiler-free discussion" to avoid having to issue spoiler warnings at all. Lots of options for dealing with it. But when a podcast or message board starts spoiling too much for me with no warning, I usually do drop them. I love TV and movies too much.

Oct 20, 2017

Thank you so much, Josh, for this great catch. She did look awfully familiar, but I completely missed it! I’d agree with Glenn about his reasons: the timeline didn’t make sense to me (and I was inclined to take it at face value), and I just assumed we wouldn’t see her again until we got that matriarch episode I was holding out for in my heart of hearts. We really appreciate you pointing it out to us. Ten points to Gryffindor.

 

BionicDave, that’s a very helpful perspective. Glenn and I try to avoid any outside information so that we can enjoy the content without influence and try to let the art speak for itself (though sometimes this kind of information is near impossible to avoid). It might mean that we don’t get into the kind of internet-deep, know-every-single-theory-out-there coverage that is possible nowadays, but personally I enjoy getting to experience the narrative as it unfolds on screen. I also find joy and value in drawing on our (mine, Glenn’s, listeners’) knowledge of other parts of the Trek universe, preserved in a perfect bubble of nostalgia, to understand and wrestle with Discovery.

Oct 20, 2017

Wow, I also completely missed that this Klingon was L'Rell. I feel a little silly for not recognizing her, but I also feel like I needed more clues. We met L'Rell only once before, in a completely different setting, with different lighting, speaking Klingon, and essentially telling us that the next time we would see her (or Voq) would be a long time from now. At this point in the show, the only Klingon I could recognize from facial features alone is Voq himself, and that's only because of his albinism. I thought we were meeting one of the Matriarchs.

This leads me to wonder—do you think the makers of Discovery wanted us to be unsure that we were seeing L'Rell? It would have been easy for Mudd or Tyler or someone to slip in the name "Captain L'Rell," if the writers had wanted us to be more certain. Because once you recognize her as L'Rell, it becomes much easier to come up with the Tyler-is-Voq hypothesis, and maybe they were trying to make that more secret or surprising. What do you think—was this confusion due to a deliberate writing choice, or were the writers counting on the viewers of Discovery to have better Klingon-facial-recognition abilities?

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