Correction: Even though the latest episode did not disprove the theory as to Ash Tyler’s identity, his uniform which the central piece of this article centers around was a new uniform not pictured yet.
So, by now you can’t really get on a Star Trek news site, forum, or fan page without someone talking about this suspected twist. That being said, there is way more to the story, and it’s right underneath everyone’s noses. Spoilers below.
Okay, so I am absolutely one of those (and one of the earliest voices. Check out the latest episodes of Red Shirt Rejects to find more) that think Ash Tyler and VoQ, Son of None, are one in the same. We can play through every permutation and counter argument later. But I’m more concerned with one thing … look at Tyler’s uniform in the pic above.
Now look at this picture of him in the last episode. Notice anything?
How about now?
You can see that sometime between Tyler’s arrival on the Discovery he’s somehow been booted out of Starfleet. His uniform no longer bears the Starfleet badge, or the bronze metallic accents that denote what branch of Starfleet he serves. Tyler’s now wearing the same non-crew outfit that Burnham wears (that being said the bands on the shoulder are still present, but they appear to be blue, and per Memory Alpha there is no color designation for it in this timeline). It makes no sense for him to not be wearing a true Starfleet uniform if he was still an officer. What if, however, he’s wearing a non-crew uniform because he was never in Starfleet. This could, of course, be because he’s VoQ. It could also be because he’s convicted of some crime and stripped of rank. I find it much more likely that they discover he is VoQ, but for some reason they keep him on as a member of the crew, because he has his own personal crusade against the Klingons. That’s because VoQ did not willingly go through his de-Klingonization willingly. He was marginalized, his title was stolen, and then everything he had left — his genetic Klingon identity — was taken away from him. I think the clues are all in that scene between L’Rell and Tyler. As Lorca leaves Tyler to try and find an escape route L’Rell pops out of the turbolift.
“Did you really think you could leave me, after all we’ve been through?” Tyler then jumps up and attacks her. The only statement that prefaces this relationship in the episode is Tyler mentioning that L’Rell took a liking to him. Some people have speculated that this was about a sexual assault storyline, but I don’t think this show has the capability, or the desire, to set that kind of story up. No, L’Rell has only been seen to like one other person romantically in the series thus far — VoQ. When she took VoQ to the House of Mo’Kai, they probably used the Klingon Augment Virus to change him into a Klingon. By changing his appearance it surely saved his life, but at the same time contributed to the genetic impurification implied by T’Kuvma in the pilot. For reference he said, in the cold open, “They are coming. Atom by Atom. They will coil around us, and take all that we are.” I think that T’Kuvma meant this statement literally. He was speaking of those Klingons whose genetic makeup became intermingled with non-Klingon DNA. I think that by becoming the symbol of T’Kuvma’s warnings, that VoQ/Tyler was broken and explains his hatred and anger for L’Rell.