Star Trek: Discovery May Answer a Years-Old Star Trek Mystery

This week's episode of Star Trek: Discovery was the 800th entry in Star Trek canon. It also solved the mystery of what the United Federation of Planets replicates its food from in the 32nd century. However, it may point towards an answer to another lingering, unresolved mystery set up years ago. SPOILERS for the Star Trek: Discovery, "There Is a Tide…" follow. In the episode -- the penultimate chapter of Discovery's third season -- Osyraa pilots the USS Discovery, which she hijacked from its crew, into Starfleet headquarters to force a meeting with Federation leadership. With his hands tied, Admiral Vance meets with Osyraa to discuss the terms of a Federation alliance with the Emerald Chain.

Meanwhile, Cmdr. Michael Burnham is trying to retake the ship, going full John McClane in Die Hard as she loses her boots fighting off Osyraa's henchmen. Elsewhere on the ship, Ensign Tilly leads the Discovery bridge crew in their own attempt to fight off the Emerald Chain. They manage to get free of the ready room where they were being held hostage and make it to the ship's armory.

Tilly and her crew are loading up on phasers when a group of small robots finds them. These are DOT-23s, upgraded versions of the DOT-7s first seen in Discovery's second season (a DOT is also the protagonist of the Star Trek: Short Treks episode "Ephraim and Dot"). The crew is surprised when the DOTs speak to them but quickly realize that the sphere data they picked up in the show's second season, which showed signs of intelligence earlier this season, is inhabiting the robots. The DOTs then offer to help the crew take back the ship.

What's especially interesting here is the voice that the DOTs use to speak. It belongs to actress Annabelle Wallis, who voiced Zora in the Star Trek: Short Treks episode "Calypso."

The episode sees a soldier named Craft (Aldis Hodge) seeking respite on Discovery after finding it idling and abandoned. An artificial intelligence named Zora speaks to Craft, telling him that she's been alone in this spot for 1,000 years.

"Calypso" has been a sticking point for Discovery's continuity. CBS All Access billed the story as being set 1,000 years into the future ahead of Discovery's second season. At first, fans assumed that meant 1,000 years from the 23rd century, which would put it only about 70 years past where Discovery is following its jump into the future. But now Zora's comments suggest it may be 1,000 years past the 32nd century. Some fans have wondered if Discovery's writers would choose to ignore "Calypso," assuming it was far enough into the future that the gaps would fill in themselves eventually. Others wondered if the episode is part of the Star Trek canon or as a standalone tale in a separate timeline.

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But "There Is a Tide…" suggests otherwise. From earlier on in the season, when the sphere data gave Captain Saru the idea to bring his crew together with a movie night showing classic films (using the combined voices of the ship's computer and Zora), fans wondered if this was the first step towards the artificial intelligence emerging. Discovery bringing back Wallis certainly speaks to that possibility. Fans may soon have their answer to the mystery of "Calypso" and its relation to Discovery.

Star Trek: Discovery's third season finale debuts Thursday, January 7th on Star Trek: Discovery.