Last week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Vaulting Ambition,” revealed that Captain Gabriel Lorca was actually from the mirror universe. Tonight’s episode finally revealed how a native of the mirror universe wound up in the prime timeline and it includes a nice nod to Star Trek: The Original Series.
Lorca himself explained it all to Mirror Stamets when Lorca found the scientist cowering in the laboratory on the palace ship ISS Charon. Lorca was out recruiting more forces to his side for the coup when Stamets sold him out to the Emperor. The Emperor’s ships came to him and he flew his own ship into an ion storm. The effects of the ion storm caused a transporter malfunction that sent Lorca to the prime timeline (and presumably sent Prime Lorca to the mirror universe).
This method of jumping universes is a callback to the first mirror universe episode, “Mirror, Mirror” from Star Trek: The Original Series. In that episode, it was a transporter malfunction caused by an ion storm that swapped Captain Kirk, Dr, McCoy, Lt. Uhura, and Mr. Scott with their mirror universe selves, just like what happened with Captain Lorca.
Jason Isaacs, the actor who plays Lorca, helped clarify some of Lorca’s history in both universes in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“There was a Prime Lorca, he was captain of the Buran in the Prime world,” Isaacs said. “He swapped with him and found himself captain of the Buran. This never came out, this backstory detail we never put in the dialogue: Although Lorca spins this story having had to sacrifice the men on Buran and had to blow them up to save them from Klingon torture. Actually, if I remember correctly, there was some kind of DNA identification that would have exposed Lorca as not being Prime Lorca, and so he blew up the ship and killed everyone on it.”
As to where Prime Lorca is now, Isaacs is keeping tight-lipped about whether he knows anything.
“If I did, you’d have to stand behind my wife, friends, and professional collaborators to find out the answer,” he said. “I’ve kept this one big secret for six months — I am certainly going to keep any others.”
New Star Trek: Discovery episodes become available to stream Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS All Access.