Since it began, Star Trek: Discovery has had fans concerned about the show’s modern look as well a number of other things such as the darker tone. But is there a reason for this darker tone that hasn’t been discussed yet?
The YouTube channel Sketch From Superheroes seems to think so and has a plausible explanation, which works within Star Trek’s Continuity for many of these things. The channel has a theory that Star Trek: Discovery is the backstory of Section 31, which is Starfleet’s covert espionage wing — known for its less than diplomatic approach as well as the use of unauthorized high-end technology.
In their video, it is pointed out that Michael Burnham is brought to the U.S.S. Discovery under similar circumstances as to how Section 31 tried to recruit Dr. Bashir in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It also points out that Burnham is put under similar testing conditions to what Bashir had to endure. Ultimately, Burnham agrees to join the Discovery crew whereas Bashir turned down Section 31.
In the episode Context is for Kings, Burnham expresses her concerns to Captain Lorca about the use of biological spores being used as bioweapons. She goes as far as to quote the Geneva convention of 1928 and 2155. 2155 harks back to the first chronological appearance of Section 31 in a Star Trek: Enterprise episode, which sees the then leader of Section 31 telling Captain Archer about some latitude in the pre-Federation charter under Article 14 Section 31. He says that there are a few lines that allow bending the rules during times of extraordinary threat — i.e. a war.
So the use of biological weapons is not something beyond the remit of Section 31 and it is something they have a history of having created the virus that almost killed off Odo’s people during the Dominion War. In the episode, Lorca tells Burnham that they are harvesting the spores to create an experimental propulsion drive that would allow very fast hit-and-run attacks on the Klingons, but it is evident that there is much more going on.
In the video which Sketch From Superheroes posted, there are some strong visual cues that they spotted in last week’s episode of the show. Things such as the Black Badge worn by some members of the Discovery crew, to Captain Lorca’s somewhat Captain Nemo style demeanor and the conflict between him and Lt Stamets his science officer. But one of the funniest cues is the Registry number for the U.S.S. Discovery itself, which is NCC 1031, as shown in the picture at the top of this article.
Another clue could be Lorca himself. Jason Isaacs uses a very similar demeanor and intonation to Agent Sloan from Deep Space Nine. Lorca could almost be Sloan’s great-grandfather given the shared posture and demeanor.
Either way, irrespective of whether this is an early incarnation of Section 31, it is very evident that Captain Gabriel Lorca is tap-dancing on landmines when it comes to Starfleet’s conventions and rules. While this is all subjective, it certainly makes watching Star Trek: Discovery a little more fun.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below if you have any better theories.