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Star Trek: Discovery's Red Angel Identity Revealed (& It's Not Who We Expected)

Spock and Michael Burnham with Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Red Angel

The identity of Star Trek: Discovery's Red Angel has been revealed - and the time traveler is Michael Burnham's mother (played by Sonja Sohn from The Wire). The shocker was the cliffhanger ending episode 10, "The Red Angel", built towards when the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery captured the Red Angel.

The quest to discover the Red Angel's identity drove the action of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 but the crimson apparition affected Star Trek canon long before the series even began. In the 21st century, the Red Angel appeared during World War III and used her advanced technology to transport a church full of humans who were about to die to the planet Terralysium in the Beta Quadrant. The Angel appeared to Spock in the 2230s after Michael Burnham was adopted by Sarek of Vulcan; it told Spock where Michael had run away to, which ended up saving her life. The Red Angel appeared to Spock again months before Star Trek: Discovery season 2 began and it brought the Vulcan Science Officer to an unknown planet, mind-melded with him, and showed him a vision of all sentient life in the Alpha Quadrant being wiped out by an artificial intelligence from the future. This same A.I. has since infected Control, Section 31's threat assessment program that the entire Federation was inputting data into.

Related: Star Trek: Discovery's Red Angel Explained

Since the Red Angel was introduced, numerous fan theories sprang up about who or what it could be. Fans suspected that the Red Angel was an Iconian or was another one of Star Trek's space gods. Suspicion also fell on past and unseen Star Trek: Discovery characters like Gabriel Lorca, who was the main villain of season 1. "Calypso", arguably the best of the Short Treks, also led some fans to believe the Red Angel was Zora, U.S.S. Discovery's A.I. in the 31st century. Finally, the prime suspect was Michael Burnham herself and that the Red Angel was a future version of the series' beleaguered main character. This was ultimately the same conclusion the crew of the Discovery reached as well - until the surprise swerve that the Red Angel was Michael's mother all along.

How Discovery Revealed Michael Burnham's Mother Is The Red Angel

Michael Burnham and Red Angel in Star Trek Discovery

All evidence pointed to Michael's future self as the Red Angel, specifically a data core left behind by the A.I. that had infected the late Commander Airiam. In "Light and Shadows", the A.I. from the future came through a temporal wormhole and took over Airiam, who is cybernetically augmented, and used her to download data about artificial intelligence collected from the dying sphere the Discovery encountered in "An Obol For Charon" so it could evolve and gain sentience. Michael and Commander Nhan battled the rogue Airiam and were forced to kill her by blowing her out of an airlock. But once her body was recovered and a purge of data from her memory core was performed, Ensign Sylvia Tilly found a positive DNA sample that the Red Angel was Michael Burnham. Further tests by Dr. Hugh Culber confirmed Burnham was the Red Angel.

The crew of the Discovery, cooperating with Section 31, then set up "a mouse trap" to capture and contain the Red Angel so it couldn't time travel back to the future. Using Michael herself as bait and placing her life in danger, they successfully forced the Red Angel to appear - using the logic of the grandfather paradox that if Michael were to die in 2257, the Red Angel (who was presumed to be Michael) would cease to exist. The crew's belief that Michael was the Red Angel was reinforced by Spock assessing that the Red Angel's appearances coincided when Michael herself was in danger - when she ran away from home as a little girl, when she was injured on an asteroid in "Brother", and when she nearly perished in an extinction-level event in "New Eden". The Red Angel specifically targeting Spock, Michael's adoptive brother, also fueled the belief that Michael and the Angel were one and the same.

However, when the Discovery's trap was sprung and the containment field designed by Lieutenant Paul Stamets captured the Red Angel, the woman who emerged from the exo-suit wasn't Michael but Michael's mother (whose first name hasn't yet been revealed), who Michael believed was murdered by Klingons when she was a little girl.

Page 2 of 2: Where The Red Angel Suit Came From & The Questions Now Raised

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