The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Discovery’s first season went a long way towards correcting certain perceived continuity errors with canon established in Star Trek: The Original Series and beyond.
SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery, “The War Without, The War Within” follow.
The first continuity fix came for Ash Tyler. It was revealed that Ash Tyler is actually the Klingon Torchbearer Voq. Voq underwent an intense species reassignment surgery at the hands of the Matriarchs of Mo’Kai.
This is a twist borrowed from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” which concluded with the revelation that Arne Darvin was actually a Klingon spy who was surgically altered to appear human. However, Arne Darvin did not have the same psychological issues that Tyler did. In fact, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” revealed Darvin remained with his faculties intact for decades after being caught by Captain Kirk.
So why then does Tyler struggle so much with his dueling identities? “The War Without, The War Within” revealed that Voq was actually the first test subject for the experimental procedure. This explains why there were so many complications. “The Trouble with Tribbles” doesn’t take place until a decade after Star Trek: Discovery, which is plenty of time for the Klingons to perfect the process.
Another bit of continuity clean-up involves the Discovery’s trip to the mirror universe. The original mirror universe episode, “Mirror, Mirror,” suggested that Captain Kirk’s trip to the mirror universe was the first contact between the two universes. So then how is it the Discovery visited a decade before then?
Admiral Cornwell suggests that Starfleet command will want all records about Discovery’s trip to the mirror universe to be destroyed. The Federation is the midst of a terrible war. They can’t risk survivors getting the idea that they can travel to the mirror universe to see their lost loved ones. Of course, that still leaves the matter of the refugee Terran Emperor, but if her current role acting the part of Captain Georgiou works out that may take care of itself.
There are a few hints at other possible corrections in the episode as well. The destruction the Klingons wreaked on the Federation during the ninth months Discovery was away could help explain why the Federation and Starfleet seem less advanced and less powerful in the galaxy than they do in Star Trek: Discovery. It also seemed like Stamets running out of spores could have been used to explain why there are no spore drives in the future, but the terraforming of a moon seems to have solved that particular shortage.
There’s still one more episode to go in this season, so fans will have to wait and see what else comes up in the season finale.
New Star Trek: Discovery episodes become available to stream Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS All Access.