Star Trek: Discovery theories – week 6

Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Discovery Seasons 1-3, Star Trek: Picard, and other iterations of the Star Trek franchise.

I wasn’t impressed with the main storyline in Scavengers. Sometimes, having taken a few days to think about an episode and after giving it a second look, I change my mind or soften my criticisms – but not this time. Scavengers has undone much of Michael Burnham’s growth as a character; growth that turned her into someone I could get behind. Were she just one part of a larger show, being an arrogant and dislikeable character wouldn’t be such a problem. But as the one character Discovery almost obsessively puts at the centre of every story, turning her back into someone impossible to support is a storytelling mistake.

But that’s enough about that. You can read my review if you want my full thoughts on the Burnham situation. Scavengers gave us a handful of new theories to work with as we enter the second half of the season, as well as debunking one theory and confirming another. Let’s start there.

Confirmed theory: The Orion Syndicate is a major faction.

Tolor, nephew of the Emerald Chain’s leader.

The Emerald Chain, which we first heard about last week, was confirmed this week to be an alliance of the Orion Syndicate and Andorians. This almost certainly is the faction Burnham encountered at the trading post on Hima in That Hope Is You; they use the same handheld weapons and were similarly a mix of Orions and Andorians.

This confirms a theory I had in place for several weeks that this faction is an expanded Orion Syndicate. The Orion Syndicate was first referenced in The Original Series and has been part of Star Trek ever since, with a dozen or so appearances across different shows. In the 23rd and 24th Centuries it was an underground criminal enterprise similar to organised crime outfits today, but by the 32nd Century it has expanded to become a regional or even galactic power.

Tendi (from Star Trek: Lower Decks) would not be happy to learn 32nd Century Orions have reverted to type as pirates and criminals!

Obviously the trigger for its rise was the Burn. Any disastrous event is an opportunity for certain individuals and factions, particularly those which have no qualms about using violence and brutality to get their way. The Emerald Chain – as it is currently known – is clearly such a faction, using its power and influence to corner the dilithium market.

I’m not convinced – at least, not yet – that the Emerald Chain and its leader Osyraa are in any way involved with the Burn itself. The Emerald Chain is being set up as a secondary antagonist in that regard; opportunists who took advantage of the collapse of the Federation and the Burn rather than nefarious terrorists who caused it. That could change, and if we see any hints at something like that I’ll certainly discuss it. It’s also worth mentioning that Discovery Season 3 only has seven episodes to wrap up the Burn mystery, so it’s possible that the Emerald Chain, having been introduced as the Federation’s major opponent in the 32nd Century, will turn out to be connected with the Burn. But as a story point based on what we know of the Orion Syndicate, the Emerald Chain, and the Federation, I’m not convinced it makes sense as a story point right now. We’ll have to wait and see!

So that theory was confirmed. We also have one debunking, so let’s take a look at that next.

Debunked theory: Something bad has happened to Adira.

Adira with Stamets in Scavengers.

This was a simple theory based on Adira seeming to disappear in Die Trying last week. After they were sent away at the beginning of the episode by Admiral Vance for medical tests and a debrief, I was concerned when they hadn’t reappeared. No mention was made of this, nor any explanation given, but sometimes in these kinds of stories harm can come to characters under such circumstances!

Adira was fine, however, and they were seen in Scavengers talking with Gray and Stamets. I’m glad not only that Adira is alright, but that they’re striking up a friendship with Stamets.

So that theory was debunked. Now let’s get into the main theory list. There are twenty-one theories still in play as we approach episode 7.

Number 1: The Spore Drive isn’t going to remain a secret.

Starfleet’s senior leaders meet.

It was a surprise to me to see that most of Starfleet’s leadership hadn’t learned about the Spore Drive prior to Scavengers, especially given the extensive refit that happened off-screen. However, it makes sense to show the moment they learned of it – especially if there are going to be consequences!

The Spore Drive is arguably the most important piece of technology that Starfleet presently has in its arsenal. It would be of immense interest – and value – not only to the likes of the Emerald Chain, but to any faction impacted by the Burn and a lack of access to dilithium for faster-than-light travel.

Discovery initiates a Spore Drive jump.

Several of the captains and officers present at the meeting exchanged glances at the news of the Spore Drive, and I got the impression that not everyone was thrilled about it. Saru even cut in, suggesting that he and Discovery take over an assignment that Admiral Vance handed to another ship. Jealousy may thus be a factor: Saru and Discovery have shown up out of the blue and displaced the pre-existing Starfleet hierarchy. This can be a problem in any organisation, but in the downsized, smaller Starfleet we see depicted in Season 3, it’s not impossible to think that being relegated in importance by Saru and Discovery may cause one or more officers serious upset.

In addition, as mentioned the Spore Drive is incredibly valuable. Whoever controls it has near-instantaneous access to anywhere in the galaxy – or even beyond. The temptation of riches may sway even the best officer in the fleet to reveal knowledge of the Spore Drive to the Emerald Chain or some other faction, and if Starfleet has been infiltrated by whoever caused the Burn, they may also want to know more about this game-changing technology.

Admiral Vance insisted that knowledge of the Spore Drive remain a secret among his senior staff. But will it?

Number 2: Georgiou has been tampered with by Section 31.

Part of Georgiou’s hallucinations.

It seems very unlikely to be a coincidence that Mirror Georgiou began to suffer hallucinations and blackouts after her debrief with Kovich. There was something different about David Cronenberg’s character compared with the other Starfleet officers who conducted the debriefs of Discovery’s crew. It’s at least possible to think he’s an agent of Section 31.

We saw a lot of Mirror Georgiou’s interrogation, but we missed a key point: its ending. Between what we saw of her and Kovich and Burnham’s reunion with her aboard Discovery at the end of Die Trying there was plenty of time for something to happen to her. Kovich mentioned his familiarity with Terrans; perhaps Section 31 has a specific way of dealing with Terrans that involves psychological torture.

I’m glad this storyline exists, whatever the ultimate explanation for Mirror Georgiou’s problems may be. She can be a fairly boring character, so it’s great to see her given something genuinely different to do. It also connects to a theme that we’ve seen with Detmer of mental health in Season 3, and that is also a point of interest.

Number 3: We’ll see more tie-ins with the Short Treks episode Calypso.

The USS Discovery as seen in Calypso.

I don’t believe we’ve seen the last of the Calypso tie-ins after we seemed to get the creation of the Zora AI a couple of weeks ago. However, one thing that’s definitely interesting right now is that the USS Discovery as it appeared in Calypso no longer exists. The ship was retrofitted in Scavengers, and in addition to features like programmable matter interfaces and detachable nacelles, now sports the designation NCC 1031-A.

This is important because, as you can see above, we got a clear look at Discovery in Calypso, and not only were the ship’s nacelles very much attached to the hull, the designation clearly lacks the -A addition. So how will this circle be squared? That is very much up for debate right now!

My theory is that, if indeed Discovery somehow travels backwards in time this season, the crew will very deliberately un-retrofit the ship first, removing any 32nd Century features to avoid polluting the timeline in case of accidental discovery. However, that’s just one of many possibilities, and with a Calypso tie-in having been seen already this season, I’m sure we’ll get something more sooner or later.

Number 4: Discovery Season 3 is taking place in an alternate timeline or parallel universe.

Is all of this happening in a parallel universe?

As mentioned last week, the piece of music that Burnham called attention to (which we’ll look at in a moment) may indicate that Discovery Season 3 is taking place outside of the prime timeline. Where this theory originally came from was that Dr Gabrielle Burnham – Michael’s mother – is missing. She wasn’t on Terralysium. She wasn’t at Starfleet HQ. So where is she? Is it possible that she remained behind in the prime timeline while Burnham and the crew crossed into an alternate reality?

Then there’s the fact that the time-wormhole went wrong. Burnham and Discovery planned to arrive at the planet of Terralysium, but they didn’t. This in itself had been evidence pointing potentially to a parallel universe, as the planets were not in the “right” place. However, Burnham says that she doesn’t know for certain what went wrong, but has a theory that gravitational waves may have disrupted their passage. Could these waves indicate a crossover to a different universe? Or could they be the cause of such a crossing?

We talked about the possibility of Season 3 perhaps taking place in the Kelvin timeline last week. That remains a possibility, but one thing we saw this week could be argued makes that theory less likely: a 24th Century hand phaser. This phaser, while clearly damaged and despite only being on screen for a few seconds, was undoubtedly identical to those we’re familiar with from Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and The Next Generation’s films. Given the Kelvin timeline was aesthetically very different to the prime timeline, perhaps this piece of evidence is pointing to that not being the case.

The 24th Century phaser in Scavengers.

Even if Season 3 is not taking place in the Kelvin timeline, though, that doesn’t mean it’s in the prime timeline! If we look at past iterations of Star Trek, there are a few references to the 30th and 31st Centuries which may hint that the Burn did not take place in the prime timeline. Notably Voyager’s Doctor was re-activated in the 31st Century, but there have been others. Most of these references, however, are vague enough that Discovery can afford to wholly ignore them.

The second half of this theory is that the Burn happened due to the interference of a time traveller or time travelling faction. From Starfleet’s point of view, the timeline in which the Burn occurred is not the “true” timeline, and thus part of the resolution to the Burn may be travelling through time to undo it.

I consider the first part of the theory – the parallel universe part – more likely. But both are possible at this juncture.

Number 5: Michael Burnham will leave the series.

Burnham leaving Discovery behind in Scavengers. A hint of things to come?

This is the theory that seemed to see the most advancement this week. Burnham has, in short, been driven apart from the rest of the crew. Initially her year alone (with Book) in the 32nd Century contributed to that, as she got her first taste of a freer life away from Starfleet and its rules. For someone who has always been happy to put herself and her perceived uniqueness and specialness ahead of the chain of command, this clearly suited Burnham.

Burnham also missed every (on screen) instance of the crew bonding and coming together. It’s possible she got to spend more time with them while overseeing Discovery’s retrofit and re-training, but everything we saw for ourselves saw her increasingly standing apart from the crew. This culminated in her stupid, selfish, and arrogant decision to disobey Saru’s explicit order and take off in search of Book.

Saru stripped her of her role as first officer following the debacle – understandably so. How can he or the crew trust her? How can we as the audience trust her or support her? Do we even want to see her succeed any more? I’d love for the Federation to learn more about the Burn and begin to come back together, but if that ends up being a Burnham-centric story too, one which tries desperately to portray her as the wonderful, amazing, forward-thinking heroine who boldly ignored orders because she’s wonderful and the ends justify the means then… meh. It’ll be less enjoyable.

Burnham lost her position as first officer.

I dedicated much of my criticism of Scavengers to this storyline dragging Burnham back, undoing two-and-a-half seasons of growth. But in a way, she’s even worse than she was in Season 1. Not only because her reasoning for going rogue is even weaker and more selfish (being in love with Book and enjoying the freedom of life outside Starfleet as opposed to genuinely believing what she was trying to do was the best way to avoid a war) but because she’s been down this road before, demonstrating not only that she’s learned nothing, but that at her core she remains incredibly arrogant, selfish, and unreliable.

Ever since I first coined this theory I’d been asking the question: would it improve or harm Discovery if Burnham leaves? After the abysmal display in Scavengers, what I’ll say is this: if this is the way Burnham is going to be from this point on, I’m all for her departure. Make Discovery an ensemble series based around Captain Saru instead.

So those theories were new or saw significant movement in Scavengers this week. Now, for the sake of keeping everything together, let’s briefly recap the other remaining theories that are still in play. If you want to see any of these in more detail, check out previous weeks’ theory posts on my dedicated Star Trek: Discovery page.

Number 6: The music Burnham keeps encountering is indicative of being in a parallel universe, simulation… or even a dream.

Adira played a melody that would recur several times.

As I said when I reviewed Die Trying, it isn’t much of a stretch to think that a piece of music could be well-known across the Federation. Even though the alliance is fractured in the 32nd Century, there were over a thousand years for its various members and cultures to exchange everything from information to lullabies. However, for story reasons I understand that this piece of music is sure to be important… somehow!

One way in which this could manifest would be if the piece of music were somehow indicative of Burnham and the crew being caught in some kind of parallel universe or alternate reality, one in which somehow this piece of music was prevalent. It could even suggest that the 32nd Century setting the crew have encountered is artificial – the music could be part of a simulation or even hinting at these events all taking place inside Burnham’s head.

The latter two points in particular would not be a route I’d like to see the show go down. The “it’s all a dream” or fake-out story tropes rarely end well, and while for a single episode or two-parter (like parts of Deep Space Nine’s third season episode The Search) this can be okay, on the whole it feels like a cheap way to end a story. I don’t expect to see Discovery go down this route, but the unexplained music could indicate that the story may be headed in this direction.

Number 7: The ships at Federation HQ represent the majority of Starfleet’s remaining vessels. And they’re all 120+ years old.

Discovery docked at Federation HQ.

How many ships were present as Discovery arrived at Federation HQ? Ten? Twelve? It wasn’t much more than that, that’s for sure. In a post-Burn environment, one where the Federation has shrunk considerably and where dilithium is in short supply, it’s possible that these ships are all that remain of the once-mighty Starfleet.

In That Hope Is You, Mr Sahil noted two Federation ships in flight, so perhaps we can say from his comment that there are at least two more! But I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that we’ve seen the bulk of Starfleet. Certainly the Federation seems incapable of either building any more ships nor fielding a large armada right now, which is perhaps one of the reasons why they need to keep their base cloaked.

Because of the catastrophic nature of the Burn, it also seems highly likely that shipbuilding facilities would have been damaged, destroyed, or would be inaccessible. That may mean that the Federation’s fleet entirely consists of ageing vessels, each one over 120 years old and probably not designed for being in service this long. In addition, without fuel what would be the point of expending a lot of resources building a new ship?

Number 8: Someone has stolen Burnham’s Red Angel suit.

Burnham with her suit on Hima.

This has been a theory I’ve been pushing since Burnham sent her Red Angel suit back into the wormhole in That Hope Is You right at the beginning of the season. I was struck by a line in Die Trying: Admiral Vance described the Red Angel suit as being “inaccessible.”

Burnham goes on to say she set the suit to self-destruct, but all this did for me is reinforce the fact that we didn’t see the suit’s destruction with our own eyes. The finale of Season 2 confirmed that Pike and Spock received the final red burst in the 23rd Century, but beyond that we simply do not know what became of the suit.

It’s at least possible that someone intercepted or stole the suit before it could self-destruct. It would have to be someone familiar with the suit and who had the ability to travel or at least scan through time, but neither of those things are impossible within Star Trek. This theory could connect to the Burn itself – as we’ll look at in a moment.

Number 9: The Burn was caused by one of the Red Angel suits.

Red Angel suits were very powerful.

There are two Red Angel suits known to exist – Michael Burnham’s and Dr Gabrielle Burnham’s. The suits are very powerful, and it isn’t a stretch to think they could be weaponised or cause some kind of accident. In an age where time travel has been prohibited, they could also be the only surviving examples of time-travel tech, or the last possible source of time crystals. If someone nefarious got their hands on a suit, they could’ve used it travel back in time and attack the Federation by destroying most of their dilithium. The name “Burn” may even be related to the name “Burnham” if this theory is correct.

As a second part of this theory, the Burn may have been caused by Dr Gabrielle Burnham or Michael herself. This might be something they indirectly did, something accidental, something they did under duress, or something they considered the least-bad option when confronted by something far worse. The idea that Michael would deliberately cause the worst disaster the Star Trek galaxy has ever seen is almost laughable… but Discovery loves to put her at the centre of every story, so there may yet be a connection.

Number 10: Dr Gabrielle Burnham will make an appearance.

Michael and Gabrielle Burnham in Season 2.

With Dr Burnham not on Terralysium, I wondered if she might’ve travelled to Federation HQ. However, it seems clear that she isn’t there either, not least because the information about Control and Discovery’s mission to keep the Sphere data safe was all new to Admiral Vance. So we’re running out of likely places where Dr Burnham could be. However, with the show seeming to move toward beginning to unravel what happened with the Burn, perhaps Dr Burnham will be found.

When Dr Burnham arrived in the 32nd Century for the first time, all life in the galaxy was gone. It was only after Discovery and the Sphere data left the 23rd Century that that changed; Control’s defeat meant life could continue. It’s possible that when that change occurred, Dr Burnham was killed or captured by whichever faction controls Terralysium. She may have sought out another Federation colony or vessel and worked with them to figure out the Burn. In short, there are many possibilities for where she could be and what could have happened to her in this timeline that make an appearance possible.

Whether she appears or not, though, I do think we’ll learn her fate. 

Number 11: The Spore Drive is going to become Starfleet’s new method of faster-than-light propulsion.

Captain Saru orders Black Alert.

After Admiral Vance had initially wanted to commandeer Discovery in Die Trying, he was content to allow Saru to remain in command, utilising the retrofitted ship as a rapid-response vessel purely because of its powerful Spore Drive.

If it’s possible to figure out a way to either create more mycelial network navigators, or better yet, a navigation system that doesn’t require a living person to have their DNA messed with, it would be possible for every Starfleet vessel to have its own spore drive. In such a scenario, whatever happened with the Burn and dilithium, Starfleet could begin the task of reuniting the fractured Federation, jumping back and forth between member worlds with ease.

In Forget Me Not, Tilly had an idea for creating a dark matter-based spore drive system, and whether this ultimately pans out or not, the idea of the spore drive expanding beyond Stamets’ control is now firmly on the table.

This theory would allow the resolution to the Burn to keep the current timeline intact – there would be no need to go back in time and undo anything, nor would there be a deus ex machina of a sudden discovery of a huge cache of dilithium. Instead, Starfleet could get back on its feet using the spore drive – finally finding a proper use for Discovery’s most controversial piece of technology!

Number 12: The Dax symbiont is still alive.

The symbiont pools on Trill.

This one is looking less likely, because the two locations where Dax could have appeared have both seemingly come and gone without them: most notably the Trill homeworld in Forget Me Not, but also Federation HQ in Die Trying. However, there are hints at a lifespan for Trill symbionts that may be exceptionally long, in which case Dax could very well still be alive in the 32nd Century.

Obviously we won’t see Ezri Dax (barring some bizarre time travel/stasis storyline) but the symbiont itself could have lived this long. When Adira “met” the Tal symbiont’s former hosts in Forget Me Not, one was wearing a Star Trek: Picard-era uniform, hinting that Tal may have lived 700+ years. There are production-side explanations for this Easter egg, and as stated the fact that two of the best opportunities so far to meet Dax have come and gone may mean it won’t happen this season. But I’m sticking to my guns on this one: Dax is alive!

Number 13: Lieutenant Detmer is going to die.

Detmer in Scavengers.

The past two episodes haven’t really expanded Detmer’s storyline much. However, even with a three-week time jump she’s clearly not okay, as her scenes in Scavengers seemed to show.

I maintain that we’ve seen hints at a possible premature end to Detmer – and that includes the fact that she’s been given a storyline of her own for the first time! In Far From Home she appeared injured, and despite being given a clean bill of health from the doctor, seemed to still be suffering some kind of implant-related injury. Last week we got one line that may yet prove to be significant, as Admiral Vance noted that her “baselines are unsteady, to put it mildly.” Is that a reference to her mental health? Or a more oblique reference to her overall health being in terminal decline?

Number 14: A character from a past iteration of Star Trek – such as Voyager’s Doctor – will make an appearance.

The Doctor.

I’ve been kicking around this theory since well before Season 3 debuted last month! In short, there are a few characters with lifespans long enough to potentially set up a 32nd Century appearance, and it would be a fantastic way for Discovery to tie itself to the broader Star Trek franchise by including someone in that category. This concept worked well in Season 2 with Spock, Pike, and Number One, so why not here too?

Other than a backup copy of Voyager’s Doctor, other characters I suggested included Soji (or a synth who looks like her), Lore, Captain Sisko, and Enterprise’s Crewman Daniels – the latter of whom was a 30th/31st Century temporal agent. While these characters are among the few who could still be alive in this era, there’s no reason why literally any 23rd or 24th Century character couldn’t be included; perhaps they had been in stasis or travelled through time.

Number 15: Booker is a Coppelius synth.

A group of synths on Coppelius in Star Trek: Picard.

The abilities Book had in That Hope Is You – including strange glowing spots which could be technological in origin – are still unexplained. Burnham may well know more about Book, having spent at least some time with him over the past year. But for us as the audience, Book is still a mystery. Thematically, his relationship with Grudge mirrors Data’s with Spot, which could be another hint. It’s possible Book is an enhanced human, or even an alien from a different race. But his abilities could be indicative of a synthetic origin, and if he is a synth, he could be part of a civilisation founded on Coppelius in the late 24th Century.

Number 16: The Federation collapsed because of its response to the Burn, not the event itself.

Federation HQ.

Captain Ndoye hinted at this in People of Earth, as did Book and Zareh in earlier episodes. Book said that the Federation couldn’t answer questions people had about what the Burn was or what caused it, and Captain Ndoye said that the citizens of Earth, fearing attack or invasion, essentially kicked the Federation out in the aftermath of the Burn.

I had hoped to hear the Federation’s side of the story in Die Trying, but perhaps that will come in a future episode. Regardless, we’re at least halfway-confirmed with this one!

Number 17: The Federation was in terminal decline long before the Burn.

The Federation flag.

Why are there so few stars on the Federation flag? Does this represent systems and races that have seceded or left the Federation? And if that’s the case, why does the decades-old, pre-Burn flag (that Mr Sahil owned) represent those secessions? Perhaps the answer is that the Federation was already in decline. The Burn may have been the final straw – but not the only straw. Admiral Vance said that the Federation consists of 38 worlds, down from a peak of over 350. When was that peak? Was it when the Burn hit… or decades prior?

Number 18: The ban on time travel is being flouted – possibly by secretive elements within the Federation.

Agent Kovich.

Unless Admiral Vance was straight-up lying to Saru and Burnham in Die Trying, he believes that the ban on time travel is still in effect. But while he’s the head of Starfleet, he may not be in total control. Section 31 was known to be rogue, and Kovich, who interviewed Georgiou in that episode, may well be a Section 31 agent.

It’s impossible to un-invent a powerful, useful, weaponisable technology, no matter how hard you try. Considering how crappy the 32nd Century seems to be, are we convinced that nobody at all is using time travel to try to give themselves an advantage? Not the Dominion? Not the Borg? Not Section 31? Seems unlikely to me, though for production-side reasons of wanting to keep the timeline intact and to avoid overcomplicating the plot we might be told this is true!

Number 19: The Burn was a superweapon – perhaps one the Federation or Section 31 built.

The Burn.

We learned in Die Trying that the Federation – at least, according to Admiral Vance and Kovich – doesn’t know what the Burn is or what caused it. One possibility that I considered when I looked at some possible causes for the Burn before the season kicked off was that it was the result of a superweapon.

Assuming Vance and Kovich are telling the truth, it wasn’t a Federation superweapon. However, it’s possible that the knowledge of such a crime was covered up, or that the secretive Section 31 was responsible but never told anyone else. It’s also possible that some other faction – perhaps the Borg, the Dominion, or the super-synths from Star Trek: Picard – are directly responsible. The latter point raises a strange question, though: if the Burn was a weapon, and it succeeded in its goal of decimating the Federation (which it clearly did), why did whomever is responsible not capitalise on that success? Where was the invasion that should surely have followed? The galaxy may be in disarray, but it clearly has not been conquered by any of these factions… so if the Burn is a weapon, what was the point?

It may have been a revenge attack; some kind of galactic-scale mutually-assured destruction. If the Federation, Section 31, or some other organisation launched an attack, the Burn may be that faction’s retaliation. That would explain the lack of an invader: they were already dead.

We’re edging closer to learning more about the Burn. Will the black box help find the source, and from there a cause?

Number 20: Mirror Georgiou will travel back in time to the 23rd Century.

Mirror Georgiou.

As mentioned, there was a lot going on with Georgiou this week. Whatever may be the ultimate explanation for her hallucinations and blackouts, Georgiou was not planning to travel to the 32nd Century; she was aboard Discovery when it left due to fighting Leland/Control. She has expressed her appreciation for the chaotic, “free” nature of the future, but there could be a reason for her to travel back in time. Not least because she’s supposed to be the main character in the upcoming Section 31 series which is meant to take place in the 23rd Century!

There could be a reason for Georgiou to travel back in time, but if she’s to work with Section 31, the main one I can think of would be to warn Starfleet about the Burn and give them time to prepare and/or prevent it. She may also want to try to return to her own universe – something Kovich told her is impossible in the 32nd Century due to the two universes “drifting further apart.” Her decision to leave the 32nd Century may also be related to her mental health/hallucinations.

Number 21: We haven’t seen the last of Zareh.

Zareh the courier.

Despite being quite content to kill all of Zareh’s goons, Saru balked at the idea of killing the man himself in Far From Home. Instead, he and Georgiou let him go, sending him out into the wilds of the Colony – despite being told by the locals that that’s a death sentence. However, we didn’t see Zareh die. And in stories like these, characters like Zareh tend to pop back up looking for revenge.

So that’s it. Those are the theories which remain in play as we approach episode 7.

The mystery of the Burn may be close to being unravelled, depending on how useful Burnham’s black box proves to be. Unification III is an interesting episode title, though. Will there be scope to learn much about the Burn if the episode looks at Vulcans and Romulans? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

One final note: no fan theory, no matter how plausible it may seem, is worth getting upset or disappointed over. I put these lists together for fun, and as an excuse to spend more time in the Star Trek galaxy, and that’s all. If something goes completely the opposite way I was expecting, far from being annoyed or upset I revel in that. That doesn’t mean writers should make arbitrary and silly decisions, but it means I like being surprised! If we could all remember to take fan theories with a healthy pinch of salt, there’d be less conflict in fan communities.

Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream on CBS All Access in the United States, and on Netflix in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The Star Trek franchise – including Discovery and all other properties mentioned above – is the copyright of ViacomCBS. This article contains the thoughts and opinions of one person only and is not intended to cause any offence.