‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Fan Theory Analysis: What Is Captain Lorca Hiding?

WARNING: Although this article is complete fan speculation, it should be treated as spoilers in case any of it turns out to be true.

We can’t help it. We are Trekkies, and so poring over every detail of the show is kind of what we’re all about. So far, in our Fan Theory Analysis series, we’ve taken a critical view of the early theory that the USS Discovery is really a Section 31 ship and broke down why Tyler could be none other than Klingon Voq.

In our latest edition of Fan Theory Analysis, we tackle that issue that’s been gnawing away at the back of your mind all throughout this season of Star Trek: Discovery. Namely, what’s the deal with Captain Lorca? Can we trust him? What happened to his crew when he was in command of the Buran? What is his connection (if any) to the Mirror Universe? In this analysis, we begin with a simple hypothesis: that Captain Lorca knowingly manipulated the botched jump that stranded his ship in the Mirror Universe. If true, what does that tell us about our dear friend Gabriel?

Captain Lorca orchestrated the jump to the Mirror Universe

Captain Gabriel Lorca seems to be perhaps the most indecipherable character in Star Trek’s history. Just when you think you have him figured out, he does something to surprise you, leaving you always unsure of his true intentions. Not to mention his muddy past, which involved a series of unknown events that lead to Lorca blowing up his own ship, the USS Buran, and killing the entire crew complement along with it.

Now, some fans think they’ve figured him out, and it all hinges on just a few seconds of episode 9, “Into The Forest I Go”. At the end of the episode, Captain Lorca purposely manipulated the jump sequence that was intended to send Discovery to Starbase 46.

It’s here, as the jump is initiated, where we get our biggest piece of evidence. It’s a blink and you miss it moment, but Lorca most definitely overrode the jump sequence from his panel on the captain’s chair. The panel pops up, and Lorca taps his way to “Navigation Control”. Here, he enters new jump coordinates. Look even closer, and you’ll notice that he has overridden the jump sequence with his personal authorization code with coordinates that simply read “UNKNOWN”.

Lorca overrides the navigation sequence on that final jump with his personal authorization code

Up until this point in the show, Lorca could be seen as a complex and nuanced character who is ultimately good; he doesn’t run things by the Starfleet book, but these are times of war. This subterfuge, though, is a pivotal moment for Lorca. When he sent the Discovery into the Mirror Universe, it became clear that he has a hidden agenda and is willing to maintain his lie. This all begs the bigger question: why did he do it?

Is Captain Lorca from the Mirror Universe?

Perhaps the most intriguing theory as to why Lorca overrode the jump is that he is actually Mirror Lorca, trying to find his way home.

“You’ve opened the door to a whole new era of exploration,” Lorca told Stamets, congratulating him for his heroic 133 micro-jumps, which provided enough data not only to see through Klingon cloaking technology but also to map out places of the universe outside our preconceptions of space and time. When Stamets clarifies that he will make only one more jump, to get the crew safely to Starbase 46, and then will never jump again, Lorca looks almost panicked. Perhaps he worries that this is the last chance he will get… to make it home.

Stamets offers to make one last jump after Lorca refuses a medal for himself and awards it to the heroic Paul Stamets.

Exhibit A: Lorca’s map of the universe

In, “Into The Forest I Go”, the Discovery and her mycelial pilot must make hundreds of “micro-jumps” to gather enough data to see through the Klingons’ cloak. But, Lorca himself shows us that the data gathered from jumps can be used for more… exploratory purposes.

In his ready room, Lorca shows Lt. Stamets a map of the universe that he has been creating based on data gathered each time the discovery jumps via the mycelial network. “You’ve been accumulating this data from my jumps this whole time?” says a bewildered Stamets as he examines the map. But he sees that there is more there, “And these scattered pockets of negative mass. They could indicate alternative parallel universes connected to the mycelial network. And with more jumps, we could find a pattern. Perhaps even the coordinates to reach them.”

Lorca may have been collecting data to beat the Klingons’ cloak, but was he also collecting enough data to allow them to jump into another universe? Lorca is not a scientist; why would he be collecting extra data to map out transdimensional portals in spacetime? How would he even know to look for alternate universes, which, as revealed by Stamets, are only theoretical as far as anyone in the Prime Universe is concerned.

Lorca smirks as Stamets puts the pieces together — could we travel to alternate universes on the mycelial network?

Exhibit B: Lorca quickly acclimates to the Mirror Universe and doesn’t appear eager to return home

Somehow, Lorca seems a bit too comfortable in the Mirror Universe. He’s quick to don a sexy black leather jacket and doesn’t hesitate to rough himself up a bit by slamming his face full force into a bulkhead. He is also the one to “discover” that a Prime ship had made its way into the Mirror Universe once before (the Defiant), but perhaps he already had that knowledge. In various discussions with other crew, he speaks with detailed authority on the way things are done in the Terran Empire.

Either way you cut it, Lorca’s actions upon initially landing in the Mirror Universe are suspicious, and they fit well if we assume he is actually Mirror Lorca. When the crew start strategizing to make their way home, he dismisses the notion instead saying that finding a way to survive in this new universe is top priority.

This acclimation may even be physical as well. Lorca has shown a pronounced sensitivity to light, and in last week’s episode it was noted by Burnham that “even the light is different” in the the Mirror Universe.

Lorca does not seem interested in finding a way home.

Exhibit C: Lorca’s moral code is not that of a traditional Starfleet captain

In the Prime Universe, we know that Lorca is a military man, through and through. He studies weapons, war strategies, and is obsessed with winning the war with the Klingons. Because of the myriad of complexities in Discovery‘s characters, it was not a stretch to file Lorca’s behavior as that of a man who is complex. We know Lorca is tormented by his past, and his actions are consistent with a man whose PTSD blinds him from seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to issues of morality.

Lorca is cold and calculated, and he is willing to sacrifice a lot more than most Starfleet officers should. This includes the health and wellbeing of his crew (e.g. Stamets, Tyler) and the exploitation of a sentient alien species (Ripper the Tardigrade). But all of these morally questionable actions were in service of the same goal: to win the war with the Klingons. At least, that is what Lorca tells his crew. But, the same actions lead to a second, perhaps more purposeful, result: Lorca getting himself to the Mirror Universe via the spore drive.

Lorca being from the Mirror Universe is the perfect explanation to all of his inconsistencies put in place by Discovery‘s writers throughout the first half of this season: Why is Lorca, who spent the majority of his Starfleet career in peacetime, so interested in and so adept at war? Why is Lorca obsessed with getting the spore drive to work, whatever the cost, as soon as possible? How can Lorca overlook the harm he causes to the likes of Ripper and Stamets for the purpose of using the spore drive? Why was Lorca collecting information to map out alternate universes, and how does he know anything about their theoretical existence? Why is Lorca so comfortable in the Mirror Universe? Why does Lorca seem to recognize Emperor Georgiou?

Lorca smirks when he sees the Emperor for the “first” time. Does he recognize her?

Exhibit D: Lorca seems to be manipulating events like he has a plan

Let’s put all these points together, from his first episode it’s clear Lorca can read people and manipulate them to his benefit. It’s pretty clear Lorca was looking to get Burnham on the Discovery when he had her prison shuttle rescued in “Context is for Kings.” A few episodes later in “Lethe,” Lorca disobeys orders and rescues Sarek, to solidify his relationship with Burnham, and he says as much. Never mind that Sarek is a well respected Vulcan diplomat and is worthy of saving on his own.

Also curious, during the events of “Into the Forest I Go,” when Burnham wants to finish what she started on the Klingon Sarcophagus ship, Lorca forcefully says no, only through logic and some appeals to his warrior side does Burnham get to go on the mission. Lorca seems to really want Burnham close by and unharmed. After the triumphant destruction of the Sarcophagus ship, Lorca masterfully manipulates poor exhausted Stamets to jump one more time, even though earlier in the episode we learned that Starbase 64 was only 3 hours away at warp 5, so surely they could make it there quite quickly by punching it at, say, warp 8. But, he’s doggedly determined to get a spore jump one last time…

Once the crew arrives in the Mirror Universe, we learn that Mirror Lorca attempted a (failed) coup against the Emperor, which is how he lost the ISS Buran in this universe. Mirror Lorca is also wanted for the murder of Mirror Burnham. With such a huge price on his head, Mirror Lorca is nowhere to be found.

As we see in the preview for this Sunday’s episode “Vaulting Ambition,” Prime Burnham’s cover as Mirror Burnham becomes Lorca’s ticket to get close to the Emperor. It sure seems like Lorca is back in his home universe and is hoping to make another attempt at assassinating the Emperor. Was this his plan all along?

Lorca gets close to Emperor Georgiou, was this his plan all along?

Alternative theories to explain Lorca’s hidden agenda

Whether or not Lorca is Mirror Lorca, he definitely manipulated the jump that stranded the Discovery and her crew in the Mirror Universe. Here are a couple of alternate theories that might explain what the captain was up to.

To keep his ship

A very simple explanation for why Lorca manipulated the jump is that he wanted to jump pretty much anywhere but Starbase 46. He was told point blank by Admiral Cornwell that she was going to take his ship away, and he would probably be put in therapy to help him deal with some seriously deep-seated issues. Lorca has said time and time again how important it is to him to win the war with the Klingons, and it’s clear that the Discovery (and his command) are key elements to this goal. Would Lorca really do anything to keep his ship, even if it meant putting them in danger?

While this could easily be true, it doesn’t seem a satisfying narrative for such a brilliant and mysterious man. Surely, the Discovery writers have something more exciting in store for us than “Lorca’s a coward.”

Whether or not this explanation is true, it still begs the question: did Lorca purposely jump to another universe, or did he just want to jump somewhere besides Starbase 46? Did he purposely jump to the Mirror Universe in particular? Let’s dive a little deeper…

Pointing a phaser at an Admiral is a good way to lose your ship.

To find alternate versions of the Buran crew

Lorca’s guilt and distress over his actions that resulted in the destruction of the Buran and all of its crewmembers has been a defining piece of Lorca’s character. It’s a fact about his past that has been sprinkled throughout the narrative of the season, with very little information about what actually occurred being revealed.

What we do know, however, is how strongly the events affected Lorca. Cornwell notices his erratic behavior, and their interactions seem to almost suggest that Lorca has PTSD from the Buran that he is still struggling with.

Not very long after the Discovery lands itself in the Mirror Universe, Burnham looks up some old friends. Lorca is quick to ask about the Buran, and he is saddened to learn that it was blown up in this universe, too. “Here’s me hoping I’d find a better version of myself over here,” he remarks, dismayed.

In a hasty plan to use the Discovery’s new data on the mycelial network to jump away from his problems, did Lorca think he might be able to find his old crew from the doomed Buran and make amends for his actions in the Prime Universe?

“Here’s me hoping I’d find a better version of myself over here.”

All will be revealed

Based on our analysis, it seems that the most likely scenario for Gabriel Lorca is that the man we have come to know over the past several months is in fact from the Mirror Universe. This, of course, opens up several new questions, including how Lorca got to the Prime Universe in the first place, the whereabouts of Prime Lorca (is he alive?), and whether Lorca’s coming to Prime was purposeful (is he a Mirror Universe spy? was he sent to retrieve Prime Burnham?). For answers to these questions, we’ll just have to wait and see. But, I have a feeling we won’t be waiting long.


Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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This is one of those “Is Tyler Voq?” debates–meaning it isn’t a debate. Of course Tyler was Voq–it was telegraphed. And of course Lorca is from the Mirror Universe–it has been telegraphed. I love this show, but they make the big reveals way too obvious.

I don’t think that’s true. The Voq thing was messed up by actually saying before the show aired that Latif was playing a Klingon then mysteriously they dropped that. There was also the IMDB credits for the show that pointed to the fact that Latif was playing dual roles. We’re also in the era where it’s easy for internet fan sites to get information, discuss it among themselves and make conclusions. If you were staying away from possible spoilers like some do with movies, it wouldn’t have been such a clear reveal.

The fact that they had Latif play both roles is a sign they weren’t trying too hard to hide it. If they wanted to keep it a complete secret, hire a different actor. All that makeup, all the physical changes Culber says were made to Voq– no real reason not hire a different actor if it helped keep the secret.

There are plenty of other storytelling techniques they could have employed to hide it as well, and chose not to, because a shocking twist reveal is not what they were aiming for.

Unlike Khan, I think JJ really wanted that to be a reveal to the audience, and only when people figured it out based on leaked info did they start denying it.

Frankly, as fun as a big twist can be, they’re usually too gimmicky for my tastes. And it’s not like Trek has a history of them either.

I don’t see this as any kind of blunder but in fact quite deliberate storytelling. I suspect they wanted fans to figure this out, not just for the buzz and discussion it would generate, but as a means of enhancing enjoyment. They want the audience looking for clues and putting things together because that keeps people coming back.

It was the same for Westworld where pretty much every “twist” was well discussed and uncovered long before they were revealed outright.

A twist that is a total surprise works for a movie, but on a season long show can be wasted if it can’t keep an audiences attention before you get there.

There is no doubt in my mind they expected us to figure this out– the fact that we know or suspect Lorcas motivations, that we knew and suspected Tyler’s identity– that knowledge heightened the tension for us because we know Burnham shouldn’t trust her captain. It makes us as a viewer uneasy when she got closer to Tyler emotionally and physically.

When Lorca sends her on a mission we now ask ourselves “hmm what’s really going on?” When Tyler is sent along to protect her we worry more for her safety.

It’s all very deliberate and very well done.

Now the question I have is: are these two theories connected? Did Lorca know Voq was Ash?

I definitely think he suspected Tyler, quite strongly.

Brilliant analysis, SanFranDisco! I think that they have done a very good job of getting those who actually like this show, to be quite emotionally invested in what happens with the characters, and the storytelling. Personally, I believe the writers are too cruel at times, the way they put the characters through the wringer on multiple levels, but it makes for great entertainment. The show itself cannot show everything that happens with the characters; some of it just has to be inferred. I can safely say that if I were the Michael Burnham character, I would have crumpled long ago. And if I were the Ash Tyler / Voq character, I might have slit my wrists when the Klingon torture flashbacks started coming back. Yes, at times the writing and execution is not perfect, but the ideas being conveyed — the implications of the story they are telling — that is some powerful stuff. One other thing… Many Star Trek fans keep decrying this show, calling it a betrayal of ST-TOS and all the spin off shows — with everything from character portrayals to technology used. I disagree. I think the DISCOVERY vision is more realistic in terms of where the world is now. Remember, this is set 10 years before TOS. The idealism shown there, and the optimism / universalism in TNG cannot exist in this iteration. DISCOVERY shows how the foundation was laid for that universe that is introduced in TOS and TNG, and all the other spin-offs.… Read more »

No they don’t.

Thanks for that well-reasoned reply.

If they make it so obvious, then you can point out ten obvious clues that Lorca is from another universe.
After all, it’s obvious, right?

There is an essay several hundred words long on this page detailing the evidence.

From a business point of view it makes sense for CBS to release this show episodically but this series is clearly designed for binge watching. I think the twists would have been genuinely surprising to a lot of people if not dissected over the internet for months before the big reveals.

I’m finding the show a lot more enjoyable to watch if I binge a few at a time. Better flow to the storytelling. And, on CBSAA it’s cheaper because I’m signing up for a shorter period of time as opposed to weeks on end.

@Danpaine Ive been watching them weekly but I look forward to binging on it when I rewatch it.

that’s a good point, though not Trekkie friendly.

@DiscoTrek I love nitpicking with my fellow Trekkies and I’m still loving the show even though I’ve known the surprises ahead of time. Also I’ve enjoyed having new episodes of Trek to look forward to each week, it just would have been interesting to see how many viewers might have been surprised by the revelations had the episodes all been released in one go,

But no one is obligated to scour the internet for clues or go to fan sites for speculation. Most people don’t do that.

We come here and we say oh it’s so obvious. We’re not the average viewer. And even then people HERE still debates the Voq thing right up until last episode.

Not criticising TUP, I do the same and I enjoy it. Just making the point that had the show been released in one go all It’s twists and turns might not have seemed so obvious. I’m speaking hypothetically of course because I realise how much CBS has riding on this show and they couldn’t possibly use the Netflix release model on CBS All Access at this time.

Mirror Universe Lorca I think is pretty much assumed. Best guess is that he’s a resistance sympathizer and a member of the resistance. He knows how to get back but getting back isn’t his primary goal and I suspect that the loss of his crew may not have been the Prime Universe crew at all.

Discovery’s crew is made up of outcasts who are all deeply flawed but who have repeatedly demonstrated selfless acts on behalf of their crew mates and the Federation. Lorca is no different.

He didn’t seem to care that much at first that the resistance was ordered to be destroyed. Only when Michael pleaded her case that they should not be destroyed was he like, “Oh, ok, sure.”

khanisnottheeasyroute

If this is Mirror Lorca, he probably doesn’t care about the resistance at all because he’s interested in taking over the Terran Empire, not taking it over and then lose a war to the resistance.

In the Wolf Inside, Lorca and Burnham’s chat before she leaves for the planet…
He admits to her that he is compromised due to torture and then finally agrees with her strategy to spare the rebels on the planet…. this compassion felt a little out of place to me.

Unless he knew that disobeying the order would draw the Emperor to their location?

On the issue of Lorca, he’s from SOME other universe but it’s not clear which. I think he’s Mirror Lorca but it sounds like he knows there’s a multiverse (big fan of multiverses), he’s got to be from one of them.

I feel like they haven’t established any sort of motive for him to want to go back to the Mirror U if he is from there. He’s a captain here, he’s got a war to fight, he’s doesn’t have to worry about the crew killing him and he’s got the spore drive and a free pass from Starfleet to do whatever he needs. I’m not saying he isn’t from the MY, I just want them to state why he would even want to go back if he is.

That will be clear in the next episode based on the preview.

The Voq/Tyler theory had stronger evidence. I’m still not buying the MU Lorca theory. There are too many moments going back to the end of the midseason finale where Lorca seems genuinely confused and disoriented by this new environment. Yes, he tried to make a jump to somewhere unexpected, but I don’t think the MU was it (or if it was, it was because he thought this different universe would be a means to a particular end).

Also, Ted Sullivan said on After Trek that the season’s not going to go where anyone expects. I can’t think of a more obvious fan theory to debunk than MU Lorca.

I heard Sullivan too. I wasn’t sure how to take it

It took him about 12 seconds to deduce that they were in another universe. If Lorca is from the MU then it’s fair to say he’s adept at deception, he’s been fooling everybody for months so it’s reasonable to assume he would at least try to feign some surprise and confusion to continue the ruse.

@Corithian7: yes but there’s a difference between knowing they’re in a different universe and knowing which universe that is. His expression at the end of the mid season cliffhanger suggests this is not what he was expecting to see. And there was that time he didn’t know he wasn’t Captain of Discovery anymore, etc. . .

I felt that he was feigning the confusion to be honest or maybe he was genuinely surprised because he expected something or someone to be there when he arrived. I like Lorca, I hope he’s going to still be here in season 2 and I guess there’s less chance of it if he’s from the MU. So I hope that you’re right but the Mirror Lorca theorists have got me pretty convinced at the moment.

That’s fair. But the thing about Lorca’s expression is that he was looking out at the screen and no other crew could have seen his reaction in the moment. His only audience was us. But you might be on to something in terms of his planning to meet someone.

Another clue for me on this theory was what Admiral Cornwell said to Lorca after he put a phaser to her face in bed — that he had changed. He’s not the same man she previously had an affair with, I’m assuming pre-Buran. We are lead to believe that the scars on his back she was examining were from his Klingon captivity but I submit they are from torture received in the Mirror Universe.

If this theory pans out, I’m curious as to how he got to the Prime Universe and if it was before or after the destruction of the Buran and is his Prime counterpart alive.

These are very interesting thoughts I already had on my own. What do you think about my theory of prime Lorca beneath?

One way or the other: It must have to do with the Buran.

He also had what looked like an agonizer scar on his back.

I don’t think he’s an evil/mirror Lorca. If he was, then wouldn’t Saru’s threat ganglia have been going bonkers all season in Lorca’s presence?

Also, Lorca surviving the Buran’s destruction and his claim that he destroyed it to save his crew from Klingon capture and torture seems very odd and should have certainly resulted in a court-martial or at least being stripped of command. I’m guessing what Lorca actually blew up was the ISS Buran that had somehow switched places with the USS Buran and ventured into the prime universe.

I also can’t help but to think that section 31 is involved somehow supporting what Lorca is doing. It would explain why he still has command even though he wiped out his “crew” on the Buran and saved himself. I’m also guessing that section 31 will ultimately be responsible for keeping the spore technology under a gag order, which would be a reason why this tech has never been referred to previously in Trek canon.

Yes. This is a stronger theory. Lorca suddenly found himself somehow surrounded by an MU Buran–which explains why he toughened up, why he’s so paranoid in the sack, why he killed his “crew,” why he’s interested in finding the MU and knows something (but not everything) about it. I still think he’s trying to find his original crew somewhere.

And I think that would include finding the Prime version of Landry. I’m guessing the Landry we saw early in the series was actually her evil/mirror counterpart that somehow got shuffled in the destruction of the Buran. Of all the human characters we saw in the prime universe of this series, she seemed fit the MU mold the best.

I thought the same about Landry but her closeness to Lorca is one of the reasons why I subscribe to the theory that he is also from the MU. I do like your idea though, if Lorca has been trying to get to the MU to save his ship and crew it would make a lot of his more questionable actions seem more noble (or at least understandable) with hindsight.

I absolutely agree, except for Landry.

There is a going theory that DISCOVERY actually is Section 31, or perhaps sanctioned and operated by Section 31. Hence their experimental tech like the spore drive. Remember Stammets’ statement in an earlier episode about Lorca co-opting anything and everything he needed to help him win the war.
DISCOVERY literally has been portrayed in the earlier episodes as some special weapon designed to help them defeat the Klingons. Maybe the Section 31 (aka Black Ops) theory is correct?
I would like to see how that works out, if it is true.

Given we should see the Defiant any minute now, which might help clarify this issue… why no tease of Tholians? They’re the ones who started this…

I always thought it telling that the first preview for Discovery showed Discovery leaving an asteroid base that looked like the Tholian base from the mirror Enterprise ep.

I was also wondering whether that was a coincidence or if there’s some kind of narrative tie-in. Seems too front-and-center to be a coincidence. But it was also very early in the show’s development, so hard to imagine it was fully thought out at that point.

And that too… huh….

The asteroid base scene in Enterprise’s “In a Mirror, Darkly” was an homage to Ralph McQuarrie, who designed several paintings for Star Trek: Planet of the Titans”, a rejected proposal for the 1st Trek film. The Enterprise he designed for those storyboards also served as the inspiration for the Discovery ship for the new show. So there’s the connection. http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/movies/star-trek/39306/planet-of-the-titans-the-star-trek-movie-that-never-was

khanisnottheeasyroute

Do the Tholians still exist in this time of the MU?

Why is everybody assuming that Lorca’s facial expression is a smirk?
To me he is looking at Burnham and swallowing deeply, thinking how hard it must be on Michael seeing her mentor and mother figure as this evil despot.

I agree. I’ve said all along the look was, Can you believe this crap?

Because he himself isn’t in the least bit “surprised” or taken aback by this revelation… as if he knew all along who the Emperor was and is fixated on Burnham to gauge her reaction and how this might be useful to him.

That perhaps she will be useful in overturning the evil Empire, yeah, at least in my headcanon.

And I don’t think it’s a smirk either. I’ve seen the smirk, and this ain’t it.

Oh that certainly isn’t a smirk… but I’d rather think he is the former Captain of the ISS Buran, I mean, he is equally unfazed by the Agony Booths could be just him being the “Strong Soldier” but that would be too clichée.

I am right there with you.
It was not a smirk to me at all.

We know the story of the Buran from Lorca’s time in Klingon captivity, when Lorca tells the story to Mudd and Tyler. But IIRC it’s not been discussed in front of the rest of the crew, and (also IIRC) Cornwell doesn’t specifically describe the way he lost the Buran in any on-screen conversation.

So one possibility is that he’s from the MU, he described what happened to the ISS Buran, and while the USS Buran was also tragically lost somehow, it was lost in a different, less sinister manner.

There is this video with more possible clues from earlier episodes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmT4-B_sO4o&pbjreload=10, and a redditor believes “Even the light is different here” to be a clue.

Whatever about Lorca, Jason Isaacs is doing something right. Nomination for best actor on a TV series (for Disco) in the Empire Awards.

HOT DOG!

I think he really is a good ‘un!

He’s been freakin’ awesome!

You missed one very valuable piece of evidence to support the mirror Lorca theory and that is that when he and the Admiral sleep together, after he pulls a phaser on her, she says point blank: you’ve been different ever since the Buran. She makes it very clear that he’s a different person. That’s what clued me in a month or more ago, when they ended up in the mirror universe.

Side note. My early feelings toward the show were mixed. I think it’s the best first season of any modern day Star Trek and I keep finding that every episode is my favorite, meaning I think it keeps getting better and better.

Yeah, because losing your crew BY YOUR OWN CHOICE wouldn’t change you at all.

You just reminded me of something from that same episode that makes me change my mind and agree with you that we’ve been seeing a MU Lorca all along. Earlier in that same episode Cromwell is reminiscing about the time she and Lorca spent watching a meteor shower. But Lorca doesn’t seem to remember it, and changes the subject. Even more important, Lorca’s actions in snatching Burnham up from the prison shuttle, giving her a role on the ship while also taking extra efforts to ensure her safety (remember — Lorca in “Lethe” warning Tyler, before the away mission, to bring Burnham back safely or don’t return at all), shows he values her in a very significant way. After Discovery enters the MU, the crew recovers MU data indicating that MU Burnham was captain of the ISS Shenzhou, but is dead, and her killer, MU Lorca, is AWOL. They realize that they can use Prime Burnham to get aboard and take control of the Shenzhou and hopefully gather intelligence to get the crew home. Putting this all together, it must mean Lorca is from the MU. He knows that the MU Burnham is dead, but that she was the key to getting something he wants in the MU. That explains why MU Lorca in the Prime universe snatches up Burnham and is very protective of her. The fact that he plans all this means he must be aware that the MU Burnham is dead and the only way he could… Read more »

Oh yes, this makes a PU Lorca unlikely. But I don’t think Landry was on the Buran and is from MU. Maybe Lorca just chose her for toughness.

Remember how surprised she was to see the scars on his back? In that scene, it looked as though those scars were not part of the Lorca she knew. Even if you factor in the Klingon torture… Or maybe seeing them convinced her they were from the Klingon torture and he was way more messed up than she thought?

You all are way overthinking this – like Daniels in Enterprise, Lorca is just another temporal agent. Or maybe a special temporal agent, with a ‘double oh’ license to make things right. All Trek series fart around with time travel episodes, why would this one be any different?

How is being from an alternate universe more complicated than being “a temporal time agent”?

By itself, it ties him in some form to whatever alternate universe he may be from. Canon supports this, when something was amiss temporally in previous shows it was always tied to someone being someplace they didn’t belong. A temporal agent carries a level of detachment that easily explains just about every action he’s undertaken, yet doesn’t tip off suspicion. Stamets and Saru have some level of extra sensory perception when something is off temporally, Lorca doesn’t seem to set off their Spidy-Senses. And I hate to say it, it’s a neat and easy cheat for the writers to just have Lorca ‘fix’ time and reappear somewhere where our heroes can head off and explore, which is what the showrunners are telling us will happen next season.

@Arathorn — agreed. Temporal Agents are the bane of Trek, as far as I’m concerned, and a decided artifact of Branaon Braga and the Berman era. It was as horrible a decision as choosing to reconcile the change in Klingon makeup with a canon explanation. Abrams films presumably don’t have temporal agents, bcause of the way time travel is supposed to work. Kurtzman was part of the team that concocted the KU, so his perception of time travel may be in line with that concept. Either way, it’s unlikely Kurtzman would embrace such a silly aspect of TNG era Trek. Let the ORVILLE carry on with that misguided concept — where poking fun at it, is exactly where it belongs.

My favorite theory is that Lorca is a rebel from the MU. He is fighting, alongside MU rebel Burnham, to overturn the Empire.

The Buran was crewed with MU personnel and Lorca blew them all up so they could do no harm in the Prime Universe. That’s pretty cold, but consider how savage those Mirror people are.

Indeed, all will be revealed, and I hope to heck we get to continue seeing Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca, mirror or no.

The strongest evidence of Lorca being from the MU is: “Even the light is different here.” That is actually enough to make me really consider Lorca is from the MU.

We know Lorca’s eyes were damaged, and he has to do treatment. There have been several points where this is emphasized – when we first meet Lorca, when he is captured by the Klingons and subsequently tortured, and when Discovery destroyed the Ship of the Dead. Since jumping into the MU, we haven’t seen Lorca do his treatment. Granted, he hasn’t had much opportunity, and being stuck in an Agony Booth is pretty terrible, but what about his eyes?

Some further questions should be:
Why is the override of Lorca between jump 132 and 133? Those where done before destroying the Klingon ship. The jump to the mirror universe would be 134!

Why does Lorca order to open a Channel to the mirror ships not knowing he must not answer?

The so called “smirk” when he sees Georgiou is for me rather a knowing empathic expression for Burnham, seeing her dead menthor as Emperor.

My suggestion: Could it be it is prime Lorca with knowledge of the mirror? Because he almost makes some fatal errors. What if the Burans changed universes, but her captains did not! This could explain why prime Lorca had to destroy “his” ship. Was he even taken hostage by the mirror crew? And now he was seeking a way to the mirror to save prime Buran?
In this case, imagine mirror Lorcas face when he has suddenly a weak prime crew and Buran while trying to overthrow the emperor… That’s just one theory even for me. Let’s enjoy!

“Let’s enjoy!” is the best advice anyone can give regarding upcoming episodes.

Yes and for me, enjoying it means not analyzing and theorizing about everything.
The conspiracy theories are fun to read, but, I don’t come up with them myself.

Thanks Neil24. Those are things which make this theory unlikely:
Why he seems not to remember this romantic moment Cornwell describes?
Why he catches up especially Burnham from the prisoner shuttle? Ok, maybe MU Burnham was on MU Buran to kill MU Lorca. Suddenly there was PU Lorca destroying Buran and killing Burnham… difficult to see.
Oh, and I LOVE the idea we may have an additional time travel incoming… 24th Century Lorca?

How and why did Lorca survive the destruction of the Buran? It would make sense for a Mirror Captain to abandon ship and sacrifice everyone else but not a Prime Captain.

Unless , he wanted to be sure that everyone knew what happened, if he did, there had to be one survivor, not just a log entry.

Lorca is from the mirror universe. He is part of the rebellion. No one survived his ship’s destruction in the prime universe, not even prime Lorca which is why it was easy for him to mascaraed as the only survivor. The admiral commented he had changed which is further evidence that this was not her Lorca. His mission was to get a starfleet ship and crew into the mirror universe to help. That’s probably it.

The only thing that may not pan out is the death of prime Lorca. If Discovery swapped with it’s mirror counterpart, prime Lorca may be alive in the Mirror universe and has caused trouble which is why he is a wanted criminal.

I don’t really see this situation going in a different direction than one of these two options.

The only is I have is, it means Lorca isn’t in it next season. And there is no one else on the crew who can be captain at this point.

And beside Lorca:
What are the Stametses up to? A time jump to save them all and return Culber?
Will Saru try to save Tylers personality by erasing Voq’s?

Excellent summation Kayla. And the first point was the best. We’re trekkies. Speculation is what we do!

This would also explain why Captain Lorca has a Gorn skeleton, even though in the prime universe the Gorn won’t encounter the Federation for about another 10 years. From “In a Mirror Darkly” we know that the Gorn were known to the Terran Empire in the 22nd century.

To be fair… the Skeleton could mean many things.
I mean WE know it’s a Gorn, they do not, maybe it’s “just a Fossil” they found on some Planet and Lorca decided to keep it.
Now, when we go into Soft-Canon the Gorn had a much larger Empire some serious time ago (iirc) so it’s not that far off to think DSC Writers picked up that tidbit and incorporated a “Strange Fossil of a Bipedal Dinosauroid” into the Story…

OR it was just an Easter Egg :)

Agreed.
The skeleton could mean many things.
Besides, even if Lorca was from the MU, why would he bring a Gorn skeleton to The Prime universe?

This. is. so. fun!
Great theories everyone!

Why 133 unknown? We know where they ended up on 133. It’s 134 that’s the mystery…

It’s going to come down to this. It’ll come out that he is actually Kelvar Garth. Proving that CBS/Paramont chose to sue only one star trek fan film. Prelude to Axnar because it not only looked better. Had better special effects and better writing but they wanted the story for themselves. The 4 year Klingon war that took place prior to Star Trek the Original Series. Even though I like Discovery I have what they did to Axnar.

@james — wow, that’s quite a spin. You might want to apply for work on the current White House staff.

No Lorca isn’t from the MU, but he wanted to get there for some reason.

No, he wanted to get there because he _is_ MU :-)

The black jacket and smirk being symbolic confirmation. Too much icing on the cake, if you will.

I bet he will be staying in the MU as well…