Shazad Latif Explains Tyler’s Loneliness—And His Beard—In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 2

In “Perpetual Infinity,” Ash Tyler’s divided loyalties were put to the test, and he finally decided to turn against Leland. In a new interview, actor Shazad Latif talks about the episode and the choices Tyler has been making, as well as giving some hints as to where Ash is headed. We also have some behind-the-scenes details on “Perpetual Infinity” and a minor spoiler (revealed by Shazad) for the next episode. (Scroll to the bottom of the article for that one.)

Tyler soldiering on for the greater good

As this week’s guest on The Ready Room, Shazad Tyler explained Ash Tyler’s motivations in season two, and why he joined Section 31:

In episode 10 he said he doesn’t believe in their tactics, but he does believe in their cause. And I think that’s the main point. He is trying to do things for the greater good and trying not to hurt people. And if they have to do something maybe a bit dodgy, it is worth it for the greater good…He doesn’t want to be the bad guy again.

However, in “Perpetual Infinity” Tyler ends up confronting Leland who had been taken over by Control, leading him to question some of his choices:

I think he is like: “Oh come on, I thought this was a good organization.” He wants to bleed that goodness into that place, but that is very hard if Control is there. I think he is in shock. I think in that last moment he was trying to save everyone.

Ash is a lonely guy, not expecting romance

Shazad went on to explain how his history has given him a new focus, but it results in a solitary life:

The main thing is damage limitation for him. He has built up such collateral damage hurting people along the way. In life, we just try to hurt people less…I think he is saying, “I am trying to not hurt Michael anymore, I don’t want to hurt L’Rell anymore. I want to do good as a soldier.” He just wants to do it less and hope. Because he spends a lot of time now on his own sitting in the mess hall. He is just sort of standing in corners on his own. He is quite lonely.

In “The Red Angel” there was a moment when Michael and Ash put aside their differences with a kiss, but Latif points out this wasn’t a real rekindling of their relationship. He explains why Michael did it saying:

“I need to say goodbye in case you die,” that is the special thing, they find time for it and they always will. But as he has broken that trust, I don’t think he can come back from certain things. Especially what they have gone through.

Latif went on to say he now sees Tyler more as a guardian for Burnham than a boyfriend:

I think they are always going to have a place in each other’s hearts. There is a love there, but since that trust has been broken, I think it is hard to come back from. But I think they are always going to find time…She is going through so much—her mum’s come back from the dead—she is going through so many emotional things. I think it is too much for someone to take. But he will always try to protect her, now. He is more like a guardian now. He will always make sure he doesn’t hurt her anymore…But if they get drunk together, who knows what will happen?

Shazad Latif says this moment was not the start to a renewed romantic Burnham and Tyler relationship.

Latif pushed for shaggy Tyler

One of the big changes in season two was Tyler’s beard and hair, which started out quite long in “Point of Light.” The actor revealed that the hair was his idea, and something he wanted to do in the first season:

I arrived with long hair with the first season read-through. I was “take this in,” because when I shave and my hair’s short, I look about nine. I said, “This is a better look.” We ended up shaving and it made sense as Ash Tyler was sort of growing up, but I asked to grow my hair long because if he is with the Klingons and there for six months, he doesn’t have time to go to the hairdresser. He’s focusing. And also the Klingons in peacetime grow their hair. He wanted to assimilate. He wanted to say: “Look, I am a Klingon.” He was trying to be an ambassador there saying “I am one of you, I don’t look like you anymore, but I’ll grow my hair.” When he goes back to Starfleet, he goes back to the barber, gets a little trim.

Watch it

You can watch the full Ready Room, which has much more from Latif. He explains why he thinks shooting on the Section 31 ship is better and tells stories about life on the set, which include drinking and getting fight training with Michelle Yeoh.

Behind the scenes on “Perpetual Infinity”

Sonequa Martin-Green’s husband Kenric Green made his Discovery debut this week playing Michael Burnham’s father in a flashback. The actor shared a slideshow of images from the set with the whole Burnham family.

View this post on Instagram

Happy to make my #startrekdiscovery debut in ep 211 “Perpetual Infinity” as Mike Burnham Sr. #daddyburnham * * If you’re wondering…the answer is Yes. Yes I’m playing my wife’s character’s #michaelburnham father. Yes, I’m my wife’s dad (on the show). Yes she is named after me. When you’re a two actor family you find yourself playing pretend in all kinds of ways. And when something this cool comes along, like playing your wife’s dad on TV, well that’s just too rich pass up. See you out there 🖖🏾 #disco #trekfamily #familybusiness #weallKINDSoffamily #wehavethebeststoryforparties #iwonderwhatoursonwillthink🤨😂😂😂 @therealsonequa @aristaarhin @sonjasohn

A post shared by Kenric Green (@iamkenricgreen) on

The Star Trek writers’ room Twitter account shared a fun image of some of the books on the shelf of the Burnham household.

Pike actor Anson Mount posted one of the publicity images for “Perpetual Infinity,” with a backside jab to his co-stars Shazad Latif and Doug Jones.

Editor Scott Gamzon got personal sharing how the story of Spock’s Vulcan dyslexia in “Perpetual Infinity” impacted him personally.

Control takes over @startrekcbs

On the night “Perpetual Infinity” aired, the official Discovery Twitter account appeared to have been taken over by Control and the new Leland, and wanted everyone to know they are the real heroes of this season.

Shazad reveals minor SPOILER for the next episode

On The Ready Room, Shazad Latif dropped a spoiler for next week’s episode “Through the Valley of Shadows.” When asked to say something about it, he revealed:

You might be seeing Kenneth Mitchell soon. That’s all I am going to say.

Kenneth Mitchell played the Klingon Kol, who was killed off halfway through the first season. He returned earlier in season two (in “Point of Light”) playing Kol-Sha, father of Kol, and then HE was killed. The preview for the next episode shows that it will involve Klingons, so perhaps there are more relatives of Kol for Ken to play. (Of course, in future episodes and seasons, he could play anyone, since his face is so hidden in Klingon makeup.)

Ken Mitchell as Kol-sha in “Point of Light.”

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

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The Tyler/Voq twist was probably the low point for the first season, but I love how this character has evolved. It’s a great example of how the newer PTB have incorporated older elements of the show to maximize effect.

Tyler is coming along as a character, but there is no much that could be explored.

I like the character and feel he’s been underused this season. I have a sense as long as he’s on Discovery his role will be defined as being the principal character’s romantic interest. I’d like to see more than that, but Discovery is centred on Burnham and not the ensemble.

I’m not sure which PTB you are referring to… Kurtzman only took over as showrunner after episode 7. I can’t say that I saw a big midseason shift in Tyler’s role.

One thing that all the writers seem to have lost sight of is that the real, original Tyler died. L’rell said that the copied his personality and memory engrams and they became an overlay on Voq’s.

So, he like Culber is in a new body, with Tyler’s DNA hiding a surgically altered Klingon.

It’s not Tyler’s original body, and unlike Culber he has no one from Tyler’s life before the battle of the Binary Star’s to anchor him.

Unfortunately, beyond the allusion at the end of Culber’s mess hall temper release, this isn’t being explored.

Perhaps E12 will do this a bit. But if not, it may provide some basis for intriguing long term searching for identity in the S31 show.

Tyler is having a identity crisis Holden. He is searching for himself. Trying to understand his human and Klingon personalities.

You think? You said you’re giving him a pass, though, so it all works out.

Will we finally see Kor? That would be dope. I keep wondering if Tyler’s appearance will become their cannon explanation for the ‘smooth’ head TOS Klingons.

I would be VERY happy if they just ignored it, and showed Kang, Kor, and Koloth with ridges, and retconned TOS to have ridged Klingons. Keep the scene from DS9’s “Trials” as the meta commentary, tongue-in-cheek joke it was intended to be.

There was an Enterprise two-parter that tried to explain the smooth forehead Klingons and even how some, like presumably Kor, Koloth and Kang went from smooth in TOS to ridged in TNG. Frankly, it was a bit convoluted and something of a stretch, involving Klingons stealing genetically engineered human DNA from the eugenics subjects and trying to incorporate it into Klingon DNA or something like that if I’m remembering correctly. I would have preferred it if there simply were multiple types of Klingons, some with ridges and some without.

Tyler is the most misunderstood person in Star Trek history. Is he human? Klingon? Voq? We don’t know his true intentions. Tyler now works for Section 31 for God knows what. His relationship with Michael Burnham is a low point for me. I will give him a pass.

All of Star Trek history! Wow! Such a bold statement. Luckily, as you already said, your CBSAA membership ends this month, so it’ll be a easy “pass” for you.

I only hope once your membership ends, you won’t bother spamming the review threads since you won’t know what you’re talking about.

Holden I’m not spamming. You don’t have to be rude to me Holden. That’s your opinion.

It’s redundant to say that someone else’s opinion is “your opinion.”

I’m sorry if anyone thought I was rude. But you said you’re not renewing your membership, so there’s no reason to express your “opinion” about the last few episodes of Discovery going forward.

Why can’t Professor Spock speak his mind about the show?

He’s more than welcome to speak his mind about anything he actually bothers to watch.

@Holden: He’s welcome to speak his mind about anything the admins allow. If you don’t like it, skip it. Just because you like the show doesn’t mean others have to like it.

PaulB: It has nothing to with what I like or don’t. He has said he’s not renewing his membership in April. So, until he does so, who cares what his opinion is about something he didn’t watch?

Holden – mate everyone has the right to express their opinion. No caveats.

@John Chilton: so someone who has admitted on a previous thread that they are not renewing their CBSAA membership after March, has a right to express their opinion about something they aren’t going to watch? Nope.

Actually, I totally agree. I’ve no problem that he’s a former Klingon sleeper agent, but it’s Discovery’s MO that the explanation as to what he is has to be over complicated. Wouldn’t it just have been simpler to somehow conjure up some sci fi technobabble and transfer Voq’s consciousness into Tyler’s human body, rather than expect us to buy that they altered a Klingon’s body to identically resemble a Starfleet officer. Stupid.

Shazad is so damn dreamy!

Mmmm hmmm!

As River Tam once said “too much hair, too much hair”!

So Fizzbin is real? I guess Kirk was telling the truth all along. And why do they have a book about what games a century old terrorist organization plays? I don’t really care whether the Klan likes to play Twister or not.

I wish you all the best, however Discovery should not use the name Star Trek. It should stand on its own. Everone I know agrees with me, STD is not Star Trek. S1 was a horrible story. S2 has had 2 maybe 3 nice episodes, thanks to bringing in Pike, and TOS. Now as it nears the end of its 2nd season. This story is also a mess. Even the ST BBB fanatics are realizing the bad writing. Just read the posts. Im sorry, I have always loved Star Trek, even Enterprise. This show gives new meaning to Disco Sucks.

Well, that’s fine. Nobody is making you watch it, so you’re free to simply ignore the series. There are plenty of fans out there who feel the same way you do about Enterprise, or Voyager, or any other series. It’s no big thing.
However, you don’t decide what is or isn’t Star Trek for other fans.

“Everone I know agrees with me, STD is not Star Trek”.

No one made you King to denounce it as not being STAR TREK.

Even Enterprise? Yikes.

You do not have the right to make that determination. Gatekeeping is not accepted here so button it.

You don’t decide what the fans want. I respect your opinion. Star Trek: Discovery is a mess right now but the show is improving every episode. This is Star Trek.

Wow professor Spock, I assure you I am not dictating to anyone as Im sure your not dictating to me as to what I like and what I dont.
I am only stating my opinion of this show. I would never attack anyone whos opinion differed from mine.
As for me I will continue to watch this train wreck as long as I wish. Thank you very much!

“This isn’t Star Trek” blah blah blah, 2016 called, try a new one.

Well, your opinion and those of “everyone you know”. And the opinion of people on another forum. As if that somehow makes you right and everyone else wrong. You don’t get to say “this is not Star Trek” as a blanket statement just because you don’t like it. It just means you don’t like it. And in that regard, nobody really cares. Go watch The Orville.

I couldn’t disagree with you more. The innovative ideas are refreshing. I’ve been watching Star Trek since the first episode ran in the 60s. Each rendition tweaked the story line just a bit, a very little bit. Good grief that cud is over 50 years old! EVERYONE I KNOW loves the new Trek and the characters. It was a little heavy on the Klingon dialect for my taste initially, but the twists and turnsin plot development are intriguing. Don’t like it? Don’t watch.

Tyler is a frustrating character. Nothing about his Section 31 storyline makes the slightest bit of sense. Dude is a Klingon; there’s no way Starfleet would allow him to be one of their spies, because there’s no scenario in which he could be trusted. And even if he could, not THIS fast; he only joined Section 31, like, a month ago. At this point, I think the writers are hoping viewers will mostly forget he’s Klingon at all.

That said, I like Latif and the way he plays the role is strong enough that I get close to not caring that the show around him is horsemeat more often than not. So I dislike Tyler on the one hand, but like him quite a bit on the other.

That’s “Discovery,” I guess.

If they like Kenneth Mitchell’s performance so much, why do they keep killing off his characters!? I hope his upcoming one will survive a bit longer…

Because he’s so good at dying. They didn’t want to waste this particular skill.

I don’t really like the character. It feels like his only purpose is to mope around now. It doesn’t help that he works for Section 31 which I wish wouldn’t be part of the Star Trek franchise at all.

I don’t like him either. He is so useless on the show.

I love the character Tyler and the dynamic between him and Michael. I wonder in what circumstances, Voq reemerges. The beard is a good look. I like that the writers are giving the characters texture and depth. There are no stereotypical archetypes that we’ve endured for the past 50 years.

Is it rude if I say “who cares?

I wish someone would explain my beard…and my loneliness.

Get an actor to play you. He can do it ;-)

Got to be a method actor, man. Method, man. The only way to capture the existential angst of my beard…and my loneliness.

Can Tyler be lonely and pitiful a little bit more like a soldier and less like he’s in a boy band?

I like Tyler, I expected to see more of him and Michael tbh but the way they are handling their dynamic is realistic. I think he’s just Tyler now, the klingon is dead.

Her husband played her father? 🤔 #DaddyIssues 😕