Is Voq really dead on Star Trek: Discovery? Inasmuch as the reimagined Klingons have been a derided element of the newest Star Trek series, Voq, the former Torchbearer of the would-be Klingon Messiah T’Kuvma, was part of one of the series’ stranger stories, which seemingly concluded with his demise. But has Voq truly departed for Klingon Heaven, Sto-vo-kor?
After months of fan theories, Discovery revealed that Lieutenant Ash Tyler is actually Voq incognito. The ‘Ash Tyler’ who came on board the Discovery is Voq, whose Klingon body was surgically altered into ‘a human shell’, while Voq’s memories and personalities were overlayed by those of the real Ash Tyler. The procedure that turned Voq into Ash wasn’t without side effects; Ash suffered from PTSD and the sight of Klingons – specifically Voq’s paramour L’Rell – triggered horrific flashbacks of the brutal surgery Voq/Ash endured.
Eventually, Voq’s dormant personality began to assert itself and war with the personality of Ash Tyler. The Ash we’ve come to know remembered much of his human past and had come to fall in love with Michael Burnham. Meanwhile, Voq would rear his ugly head with an entirely different set of feelings towards the disgraced mutineer – Voq was on the Klingon Ship of the Dead and watched Burnham kill T’Kuvma, Voq’s master. This left Ash/Voq in a state of constant agony and unable to serve as Burnham’s bodyguard while she maintains her deep cover as the Mirror Universe version of Michael Burnham. Ash/Voq was sent back to the Discovery, but the Starfleet doctors on board had no idea how to alleviate Ash/Voq’s suffering.
Luckily, there was someone on board who could help Ash/Voq: L’Rell, a prisoner of war in Discovery’s brig. L’Rell had been the one to trigger the return of Voq’s personality, as this gambit of placing a Klingon within the most advanced ship in Starfleet was their effort to win the Klingon war with the Federation. At first, refusing to aid her fellow warrior, L’Rell relented and told First Officer Saru that what had been done to Ash/Voq ‘can be undone.’
L’Rell performed the surgery herself where she seemingly erased Voq’s memories and personality from the mind of Ash Tyler. This came complete with both Ash/Voq and L’Rell speaking a Klingon prayer. Finally, when the procedure was complete came the strongest indicator that Voq had indeed been deleted from Ash’s mind: L’Rell performed the Klingon death ritual. She bellowed loudly, which is the Klingon practice of telling the dead that a warrior is about to arrive in Sto-vo-kor.
With Voq’s Klingon body reconfigured into the shape of a human’s and his memory and personality wiped away so only Ash Tyler’s remains, this seems to indicate Voq is gone for good. The exact nature of L’Rell’s procedure isn’t clear, but considering the severe and crippling trauma Ash had been suffering from, it would seem likely that there is no ‘putting Voq back in that bottle’, as it were. Ash would not be able to survive a resumption of sharing his mind and body with Voq’s personality, even if Voq being able to come back was even a possibility.
There is, of course, another Voq in Discovery, his Mirror Universe doppelganger. However, Mirror Voq, who was known as the Firewolf and was a heroic Klingon freedom fighter and the leader of the Klingon/Andorian/Tellarite/Vulcan alliance at war with the Terran Empire, seems to have also met his end. Emperor Georgiou apparently annihilated all of the insurgents on Harlak. Still, without seeing Mirror Voq’s corpse, there’s no way to know for sure.
If Mirror Voq is also dead, that means the light of the Torchbearer has been snuffed out in both universes. As a Son of None, the prime universe’s Voq was an outcast in Klingon society who believed he was destined for greatness. His memory may yet achieve some kind of destiny depending on Ash Tyler’s future deeds. But ironically, by becoming Ash Tyler in the first place, Voq ultimately failed to uphold his beloved leader T’Kuvma’s prime directive: Remain Klingon.
Star Trek: Discovery streams on Sundays @ 8:30 pm on CBS All-Access, on Space Channel in Canada, and on Netflix worldwide.
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