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Star Trek: Discovery’s Red Angel Explained: Identity, Alternate Timeline Origin & Motives

How Has The Red Angel Attempted To Change The Past?

So far, the Red Angel's efforts have really been focused on Spock, as well as on the crew of the USS Discovery. It first intervened in Spock's life when he was a child, giving him a vision of Burnham's death in order to ensure that his sister didn't die. It then appears to have removed itself from this timeline until shortly before the events of Star Trek: Discovery season 2, when it gave Spock a series of visions. Unfortunately, it unwittingly drove him insane with the knowledge of the future he had acquired. Spock secluded himself in a mental institution, believing himself to be clinically insane. It was only when he learned that the seven flares were real that he decided to go on the run.

The Red Angel appears to be responsible for the seven flares, using them to initiate its endgame. It has used these flares as summons to lead the Discovery across the galaxy, and appears to have tested its ability to manipulate the timeline by rescuing the New Eden settlers. As a result of the Red Angel's manipulation, Discovery was the ship that encountered the sphere while hunting for Spock. The Red Angel seemed well aware how exposure to the sphere's energy would affect Saru, arranging for him to go to his homeworld shortly after. It chose to intervene directly in order to stop the Ba'ul committing an act of genocide by wiping out the Kelpiens.

Related: Discovery's Saru Just Became Star Trek's Best Alien Since Spock

But, so far, the changes in the timeline don't appear to have been enough. Just as in the Red Angel's timeline, Control has essentially taken charge of the Federation, and Section 31 are its pawns. Worse still, Control has become aware that something is trying to thwart it; it framed Spock for murder, and has currently declared the Discovery crew to be outlaws. Admiral Cornwell knows the truth - but Control is well aware of that fact. Control has acquired 25 percent of the data it required from the sphere, which means it hopefully doesn't yet have the capability to commit genocide on a galactic scale, but it holds all the cards.

Meanwhile, when the Discovery crew investigated a time rift near Kaminar they unwisely sent a probe into the future. The probe returned, adapted by Control, thus meaning the future version of the AI is now aware that history is being altered. It, too, is attempting to change the past; the probe was able to corrupt Airiam, presumably attempting to get the sphere's data to Control  a little bit faster than in the original timeline. As noted, the crew of Discovery - and Pike and Spock - are basically pieces in a game of four-dimensional chess. One of the players is the Red Angel, the other is Control, and they're now in the endgame.

Who Is The Red Angel?

Star Trek Discovery Red Angel With Silhouette

All of this raises one obvious question: Who is the Red Angel? It's clearly a humanoid who wears an advanced suit and travels in time. What's more, it has intimate knowledge of the Discovery, which perhaps suggests that it has personal ties to them. Its strategy is eminently logical, right down to seeming to have tested out the idea of changing time like this at New Eden. Given that's the case, it seems most likely that the Red Angel is trained in the scientific disciplines. Burnham herself can seemingly be ruled out - she died in the Red Angel's original timeline - so that leaves a handful of other possibilities.

  • Spock: This is the most likely candidate, given the Red Angel's knowledge of Spock's personal timeline. There's strong precedent in Star Trek for a version of Spock to have mastered time travel and attempted to rewrite history. What's more, as Star Trek: Discovery has taken pains to remind viewers, he's skilled at the kind of battle of logic being undertaken by the Red Angel and Control.
  • Stamets: There's an outside possibility that the Red Angel is Stamets, and that he survived Control's act of genocide because of his connection with the mycelial network.
  • Tilly: A recurring trope in Star Trek: Discovery is that "Tilly Saves the Day," so it would be quite amusing to see the show play this out on a cosmic scale. Tilly is quite the prodigy, and her whimsical nature would make her very challenging for Control to predict. What's more, she values people in the same kind of way the Red Angel does, and an intervention at Kaminar to prevent an act of genocide would be entirely in-character.

Ultimately, it's reasonable to assume that the truth will be revealed in the upcoming episode "The Red Angel." Control has revealed itself, and now it's time for the Red Angel to make itself known in Star Trek: Discovery before season 2 wraps up.

More: Star Trek: Discovery: Best Theories On The Red Angel's Identity

Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays on CBS All Access.

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