'Star Trek: Discovery' Reveals How Culber Returns

02/15/2019 01:33 am EST

The Star Trek: Discovery team promised Dr. Hugh Culber’s story would continue in the show’s second season, and they've made good on that promise in “Saints of Imperfection.”

SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, Episode 5, “Saints of Imperfection” follow.

Dr. Hugh Culber was Paul Stamets romantic partner and a medical officer aboard the USS Discovery. When Ash Tyler’s Klingon Voq personality began to reemerge, he had a breakdown and snapped Culber’s neck. Stamets later became trapped in the mycelial network that Discovery uses to makes its spore jumps. While there, he saw Culber, and Culber helped Stamets find his way home, but that was the last they saw of each other.

In “Saints of Imperfection,” Discovery creates a breach to reach the mycelial network so that they can search it for missing crewmember Sylvia Tilly. Tilly has been taken by May, a being native to the mycelial network.

May reveals to Tilly that a monster has been hurting her kind by chasing after Discovery every time it travels through the mycelial network. May wants Tilly to help kill the monster. Stamets and Burnham find Tilly and May, and together they search for the monster.

The group finds the monster, who is Dr. Culber. The touch of May’s kind burns Culber, so he covered himself in the bark of a tree that is deadly to them. He didn’t realize they were sentient and was only trying to defend himself.

But how is Culber there at all? May’s kind takes the matter that comes into the network and repurposes it. Stamets remembers that while he was stuck in the network, he would periodically return to his own plane. He remembers finding Culber dead there, and kissing him. He believes he carried some of Culber’s energy into the mycelial network and that May’s kind built a new body for Culber.

The problem is that Culber’s new body is made from matter from the mycelial network, without any human DNA. Thus Culber cannot maintain his form outside of the network. Together, the Starfleet officers and May come up with a plan to use the organic transporter that May created in Culber’s native plane to build a new body for Culber to inhabit there. The plan works, and Culber is taken to sickbay to be cared for.

Now Culber is back on Discovery. The longterm ramifications for him, and for the relationship between the mycelial network and Starfleet’s reality, remains to be seen.

Are you happy Culber is back? Let us know in the comments.

New Star Trek: Discovery episodes become available to stream Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS All Access.

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