The Red Angel is a Time Lord.
After watching this week’s episode of CBS All Access‘s Star Trek: Discovery – ominously titled “The Sound Of Thunder” – there is only one reasonable conclusion you can draw. The Red Angel, the mysterious being that the Discovery has been tracking all season and the reason that Spock (Ethan Peck) is in the middle of an emotional crisis, is a time-travelling alien from the planet Gallifrey.
There really is no other explanation.
But how did we get here? I know it doesn’t seem possible, but there are actually more spoilers ahead.
In the first moments of the episode, Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Commander Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) discuss the red signals that Starfleet has been chasing around the galaxy and what their intended purpose may be. So far, the signals have appeared just before disaster strikes. Tyler has a good point, however, when he asks if the red signal is the warning of these calamities – or the cause. The reality is, the Discovery has been chasing these signals and solving the problems they encounter without ever wondering about the motivation of the sender.
Suddenly, a new red signal appears over Saru’s (Doug Jones) home planet of Kaminar. The timing of this signal, shortly after Saru survives his sphere-induced “vaharai” and learns that his entire belief system is a lie, cannot be merely coincidental. In fact, it supports the conclusion that the Red Angel and the signals it uses have their own agenda.
When Saru arrives on Kaminar and reveals himself to his sister, the Ba’ul become enraged and kidnap both Saru and Siranna (Hannah Spear). Eventually, through Saru’s interactions with the Ba’ul – who look like swamp things – and the data on Kaminar the Discovery got from the sphere, we learn the truth about the planet’s history. The vaharai-ed Kelpiens historically hunted the Ba’ul, so the Ba’ul used their technology to create a culture where no Kelpien would ever make it through vaharai to threaten them.
Leveling the playing field, Saru uses the Ba’ul’s technology and the sphere’s vaharai inducing signals to metamorphose the entire Kelpien population without warning or consent. While I understand the impulse, and that the Ba’ul threat meant they needed to act quickly, I felt that Saru’s actions seemed heavy handed and just as paternalistic as the Ba’ul – though less bloody. We all watched as Saru suffered horribly through his own vaharai, a slower process that gave him time to process what was to come. To do that to an entire population without giving them the same preparation seems rather cruel.
Once the entire population of Kelpiens are freed from their fear, the Ba’ul attempt to retaliate violently. It is only through the very timely intervention of the Red Angel, appearing to Saru and his sister, that the Kelpien species survives. Saru’s keen eyes see the mysterious being clearly and describes it in his report:
“The entity appears to be a humanoid wearing a mechanized suit exhibiting technology far beyond present federation capabilities.”
Having seeminly adapted to spy level paranoia with aplomb, Tyler points out that whoever and whatever the Red Angel is, they are manipulating the fates of entire species – and using Starfleet to do it. He goes further to describe the Red Angel as, “a time travelling being pursuing its own agenda.”
Saru’s description and Tyler’s phrasing immediately bring to mind the main character from another beloved science fiction series: The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) from BBC’s Doctor Who – a Time Lord from Gallifrey, a time travelling being who leaves messages throughout the galaxy and often pursues her own agenda. Travelling through time and space, the Doctor often has technology centuries ahead of the people she tries to help.
Coincidentally – or maybe not – both Doctor Who and Star Trek: Discovery quoted Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law this season: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Doctor Who used the quote in the context of witch trials, and Discovery used it in the context of the red signals and the Red Angel. It is hard not to see that Discovery‘s use of this quote about a time traveler could very easily be describing the Doctor herself.
So is the Red Angel a Time Lord? Absent additional data, I am going to go with the hypothesis that the Red Angel is, in fact a Time Lord. Maybe Spock is really a Time Lord and the Red Angel? It would explain why we still have not seen him this season. Come to think of it, “Time Lord Spock” would also explain the whole Kelvin Star Trek film timeline. Until next week’s episode brings me back to Star Trek reality, I am going to keep designing Spock’s TARDIS in my “head-canon.”
In the meantime, here are some additional thoughts from this episode:
● If Dr. Culber’s body is all new, how come he is still ripped?
● Tilly is still the cherry on top of my delicious slice of galaxy pie.
● It seems like the “handheld communicator as universal translator” is something The Original Series and The Next Generation could have used.
● Despite being warp capable, the Ba’ul drones look like something you buy at Costco.
● What exactly is Lt. Commander Airam? Android? Cyborg? Cosplayer?
● Now that Saru has lost his ganglia, he needs to pick up a filter.
● Burnham witnessing Saru almost die on his home world has made her realize she needs to go back to Vulcan. This might not end well.
● We see Spock in the trailer for next week! This better not be another tease, because I am not allowed to rage quit this show.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery “Light and Shadows” premiers Thursday February 28, 2019 at 8:30 p.m. EST on CBS All Access.