Warning: Contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery's latest episode 'Vaulting Ambition'.
Star Trek: Discovery fans are currently in a rare position – they don't know what's going to happen next.
For most of the show's first season, fans were mostly waiting for it to be confirmed that, somehow, Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) was the Klingon called Voq, and 'The Wolf Inside' finally revealed that twist in an emotional scene between Ash and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green).
There were further developments in the latest episode 'Vaulting Ambition', but it's still not 100% clear what Ash's journey will be for the rest of the first season. All of which has left us thinking that Ash might be killed off in the remaining three episodes.
Spoilers follow after the jump...
Now let's get this out of the way first – we don't want Star Trek: Discovery to kill off Ash. Latif has been one of the show's stand-out performers, and we're excited to see more of him.
However, a couple of Latif's interviews following the big reveal have potentially contained hints that his time on the show is limited.
Reflecting on his performance, he told Rotten Tomatoes that "it was long and arduous and hard" (note the past tense), while when asked by IndieWire about the second season, he didn't seem sure about his involvement: "Hopefully we get 30-45 more hours, who knows? But if not, I'd be very happy with the exploration so far."
The show is already guaranteed a second season, but it sounds like Ash's journey could reach some sort of climax if Latif is satisfied with what has been filmed. Of course, he could have just been wanting not to seem so confident about Star Trek: Discovery getting a second outing before the renewal was announced.
Latif's use of the past tense when talking about playing multiple characters could also be explained by the events of 'Vaulting Ambition'.
With Ash hurting himself following Voq 'waking up', Saru (Doug Jones) went to L'Rell (Mary Chieffo) to ask for her help. She initially refused and giave an insight into what actually happened with Voq, confirming that there was a real-life Ash Tyler.
"The one you call Tyler was captured in battle at the Binary Stars. We harvested his DNA, reconstructed his consciousness, and rebuilt his memory. We modified Voq into a shell that appears human. We grafted his psyche into Tyler's. And in so doing, Voq has given his body and soul for our ideology," she explained.
So that is definitely Voq's body, turned into an "inferior carriage", with both Ash and Voq's consciousness inside it. However, after Saru gambled on L'Rell's fondness for Ash/Voq, she agreed to help after saying the process "can be undone".
We then saw her use some kind of lasers on Ash's head, with him switching from Klingon back to English language, leading to L'Rell carrying out the Klingon death ritual.
Presumably this means that Voq is no more and it's only the reconstructed Ash consciousness that remains. In other words, Latif could have been referring to the fact he no longer has to perform dual roles, with mirror Voq likely dead after the Emperor's attack on his base.
But where does this all leave Ash in the show? Even if Voq is no longer inside him, he still brutally murdered Dr Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) and it's hard to imagine the Discovery keeping him around, given that he was essentially a Klingon spy.
With his maverick ways, Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) might have kept him around, like he did with Michael despite her background – but we now know he's been the mirror version of Lorca this whole time, so he will no longer be in charge of the Discovery, whatever happens in the remaining three episodes.
Could it be that Ash's affection for Michael leads him to sacrifice his life to save her, given that she could technically find herself in the sights of both Emperor Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Lorca?
It would complete a redemptive arc for Ash, proving once and for all that Voq is no more. Then again, it's not completely clear if the Klingons have killed the real Ash, and he could always come back. (Although we're not sure the Klingons would ever keep a prisoner around once they've served their purpose.)
And that's also without considering the possibility that we'll see Latif playing the mirror version of Ash at some point...
Whatever happens next with Ash , now that Star Trek: Discovery has played out two major twists that were expected by most fans, it's certainly a joy that we have no idea where it's going next.
Star Trek: Discovery airs on CBS All Access in the US and Netflix in the UK.
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