The first chapter of Star Trek: Discovery ended on quite a cliffhanger, with the USS Discovery lost in space and the crew unable to ascertain their position. Could that be because, when Lt. Stamets made that final failed jump, he caused the Discovery to leap into the mirror universe?
The episode, titled "Into the Forest I Go," certainly hints that may be the case. We know that Star Trek: Discovery's first season will have multiple episodes involving the mirror universe. Could it be that the show's entire second chapter takes place in this darker timeline?
In the fall finale, Captain Gabriel Lorca approaches Stamets about making the 133 micro jumps necessary to gather the data to circumvent the Klingons' cloaking capabilities. In order to inspire Stamets, Lorca reveals that he's been tracking Stamets' jumps and that data he's gathered could reveal the secrets of parallel realities and even time travel.
When the job is done, Captain Lorca talks to Lt. Stamets about all the new scientific frontiers they're going to explore with Stamets' spore drive technology. That's when Stamets reveals that he's only willing to make one more jump in order to get the Discovery quickly back to Federation space. After that, he's going to have the best Starfleet doctors examine what the spore drive has done to his body and brain.
Interpretations of what happens next may be informed by the theory that Captain Lorca is actually from the mirror universe. The Discovery prepares to make the jump home. Lorca himself lays in the coordinates from his captain's chair. That's when Stamets begins the jump. Things quickly go awry, and the jump leaves the Discovery lost.
What we know is that the Discovery equipment registers that the jump was incomplete. It's possible that the spore drive allows the ship to travel through alternate dimensions as a kind of shortcut to get where they need to go. If the jump was "incomplete," then its possible that the Discovery was deposited into one of these alternate timelines, perhaps that of the mirror universe.
And then there's Lorca. The preview for the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery's second chapter, "Despite Yourself," shows Dr. Hugh Culber, Stamets' partner, yelling at Lorca, asking if this is what he meant to happen. What if it is what Lorca intended?
This is easier to believe if you do think that Lorca is from the mirror universe, which makes it seems possible that whatever Lorca punched into the panel of his captain's chair was deliberately meant to a trigger a jump that would terminate in his home universe. Perhaps this also has something to do with why Stamets' eyes turned milky white after the jump, similar to how Lorca's eyes are sometimes shown to look, which has so far been attributed to a wartime injury.
Fans won't know anything for sure until Star Trek: Discovery returns, but this is certainly something to chew on in the meantime.
Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access on January 7, 2018.