Two Theories On How The Mysterious Carl On ‘Discovery’ Could Tie Into Star Trek History

The following analysis has spoilers (and potential spoilers) for Discovery season three.

Just as we are starting to get some clues about the mysterious Kovich, Star Trek: Discovery introduces yet another mysterious character, also tied into the season’s arc about Emperor Georgiou. The enigmatic Carl appeared in “Terra Firma, Part 1” and he has fans buzzing with theories. But some possibilities seem more likely than others, with one, in particular most likely—but perhaps not our favored choice.

The facts: Carl sends Georgiou home

This week’s episode of Discovery kicked off with Kovich revealing that Georgiou is dying due to jumping from the Mirror Universe AND over 900 years into the future, causing all the molecules in her body to rebel. Georgiou’s condition is particularly acute due to how far the Prime and Mirror universes have “drifted apart” since she left, and her condition is incurable. However, the growingly sentient USS Discovery computer—infused with ancient sphere data and centuries of Starfleet databases—says there is a remote chance for a cure on the remote planet Dannus V.

After jumping to the icy world, Michael Burnham detects up what is described as “not exactly a life sign,” but what appears to be a middle-aged human male in a bowler hat, seated next to a door. Ominously he is reading a newspaper with the headline “Emperor Georgiou Dies Horribly Painful Death.” When asked for his identity, he says (with a bit of hesitation): “I’m, uh… I’m Carl, and you are asking the wrong questions.”

Carl and his door

The door itself gives off no discernable readings, but after making some bad puns, the jovial and cryptic doorman reveals it is for Georgiou herself “so she can go through,” adding “the cure to all your ills can be through here. Who knows?” As for that newspaper, Carl reveals it is “tomorrow’s news,” grimly adding “you are still very much alive today, but by all means, continue wasting time.”

Carl points Georgiou through his door

Facing certain death, Georgiou decides to use Carl’s door. After she opens it and he theatrically points the way, she walks through to the Mirror Universe. Suddenly she is Emperor again (in full Terran regalia), and it is years before she originally left. Georgiou finds herself on a very important day in her life that she has regretted: the day she killed her adopted daughter Michael.

Carl sends Georgiou back to be Terran Emperor again

So this Carl is clearly no ordinary guy. He has the power—or at least controls the power—to send people to different times and different universes. His motivations are unclear, as are the rules regarding how all of this impacts the timeline or can lead to a cure. But within Star Trek, a lot of this feels familiar. Perhaps we have seen Carl or his kind before. There are certainly a couple of likely suspects…

Possible Theory: Carl is Q

Star Trek has no shortage of beings who wield immense power, either through their own nature or via advanced technology. Such beings have been part of the franchise since the beginning, with Star Trek: The Original series introducing us to the Organians, Metrons, and Trelane, just to name a few. This tradition carried on in the TNG era starting with the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which introduced us to Q, a somewhat whimsical immortal being with godlike power. Q returned several times to play games with the USS Enterprise-D crew as well as paying visits to Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Lower Decks. Many of Q’s appearances would be in the form of some kind of test or judgment. Q was part of the Q Continuum, with each Q—all of whom are named “Q”—possessing the same seemingly limitless powers.

The original Q in TNG “Encounter at Farpoint”

Evidence for: Beyond the power to send Georgiou back in time and to another universe, there was something about Carl’s mix of whimsy with a hint of malevolence that felt like Q, especially like the original Q as played by John de Lancie. And there is something about Georgiou’s return to her past that feels like a test. As for dying and being sent back in time to a pivotal point of regret, that feels a lot like the TNG episode “Tapestry,” where Q appears to Jean Luc-Picard in a vision as he lies dying on an operating table, and gives him a chance to revisit one of his biggest regrets as a young man. Picard finds himself back in time and in uniform as a Starfleet cadet, just like Georgiou appeared back in time as the Emperor again. And like her, he is given another chance to change his fate.

Q sent Picard back to be a cadet again

In addition, the circumstances in which Carl was introduced on Dannus V was reminiscent of our only visit to the Q Continuum, in which a Q named Quinn took Captain Janeway there in the Voyager episode “Death Wish.” There you could see various Q hanging around an old gas station on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere, including one reading a book called “The Old,” and another with a magazine called “The New.” While the weather was different, there are parallels to the isolated nature. It was also said that Quinn was once exiled to a comet by the Continuum, which is a bit closer in nature to Dannus V.

A Q reads “The New” magazine in VOY “Death Wish”

Counter-arguments: The most obvious strike against this theory is that Carl’s name is Carl and not Q, or even something that starts with Q like Quinn. But it still starts with a hard C sound so it’s sort of in the ballpark. A bigger issue is Carl’s motivation. Q had a particular fascination with Jean-Luc Picard, whereas there is no indication Carl was aware of Georgiou before meeting her on Dannus V. Georgiou wasn’t just sent back home to remove her from a time and universe where she didn’t belong, but to a very specific time in her life. If this is a game or test, it’s not clear why Q even cares about Georgiou. Perhaps the Sphere Data was aware a Q frequented (or was exiled on) Dannus V, and this Q has a penchant for hard-luck cases.

Probable Theory: Carl is The Guardian of Forever

When it comes to methods of time travel in Star Trek nothing is more iconic than The Guardian of Forever, introduced in the first season TOS episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” widely considered to be one of if not THE best episode of the franchise. When the talking stone portal was asked by Kirk and Spock if it was a machine or a being it answered cryptically, saying it was “both and neither,” revealing it was created billions of years prior as “a gateway to other times and dimensions.” When Dr. McCoy—crazed due to an accidental drug overdose—jumps through the portal into the past the USS Enterprise disappears. Kirk and Spock follow him, jumping to a time before he arrived in 1930s America to stop him from altering the timeline.

The Guardian of Forever shows Kirk and Spock the past

Evidence for: It has been established that in the 32nd century, time travel has been outlawed following the Temporal War, and in “Terra Firma, Part 1” Kovich revealed the Federation cannot send her home due to the “Inter-dimensional Displacement Restriction” within the Temporal Accords. However, the Sphere data with its unique combination of databases would likely know that the Guardian was capable of doing the job. And when Carl introduced himself, he told Michael and Georgiou they were “asking the wrong questions.” The Guardian was also fixated on questions, introducing itself with, “A question! Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question.”

As the Guardian’s gateway scrolled through time it showed historical events including newspaper accounts, which Spock was able to record on his tricorder. He was able to record events both before and after McCoy went through, showing different newspaper reports from after the timeline was altered. The specific newspaper was “The Star Dispatch.”

The Guardian reveals news from The Star Dispatch

The Star Dispatch was the newspaper Carl was reading in Star Trek: Discovery. In addition to the headline about Georgiou’s death, his newspaper reported: “Starship USS Jenolan Reported To Be Missing,” an event from the 23rd century (TNG “Relics”), and the ancient history of “Supernova Threatens Tkon Empire” (TNG “The Last Outpost”).

Carl reads the news in The Star Dispatch

Things tie in to “City on the Edge of Forever,” even more when you look at the back of Carl’s paper, which has an ad for the “Good Soup!” at the 21st Street Mission, the soup kitchen run by Edith Keeler, the pivotal character in “City on the Edge of Forever.” There is even what looks like a possible drawing of Keeler, next to the words “Let Me Help!” something she said to Kirk and he replied “Let me help. A hundred years or so from now, I believe, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He’ll recommend those three words even over I love you.”

The back of Carl’s newspaper has more references to “City on the Edge of Forever”

The resolution in “City on the Edge of Forever” is to restore the original timeline in which Edith Keeler dies, which became more difficult after Kirk fell in love with Keeler. Spock lays the choice facing Kirk out starkly, saying: “Save her, do as your heart tells you to do, and millions will die who did not die before.” In “Terra Firma, Part 1” Michael is only allowed to go on the mission after answering Admiral Vance’s question, “Will you really be able to let her go when it comes down to it?” As things in Discovery always come back to Michael, the key to this two-parter appears to come to if Michael can let go of Georgiou, like Kirk had to let go of Edith Keeler.

A devastated Kirk holds McCoy back from saving Edith Keeler

Counter-arguments: The most obvious disparity is that Carl and his door are two separate things, bearing no resemblance to the original Guardian of Forever, although it’s possible the Guardian can create different forms just as easily as it can send people back in time. Also, Dannus V bears no resemblance to the Guardian’s planet, and it is unlikely the original USS Enterprise would routinely travel as far as the edge of the Gamma Quadrant. But perhaps the Guardian’s planet moved,  the Guardian itself moved, or there is more than one Guardian. When first encountered, the USS Enterprise located the Guardian due to it emanating powerful time displacement waves detectable millions of miles away, whereas Carl’s door emanated no detectable readings at all.

And the biggest strike against Carl as a Guardian was the precision by which he sent Georgiou back in time. In “City,” the Guardian displayed time in a linear fashion and the traveler would have to jump through based on their observation of how time was progressing. Importantly the Guardian declared, “I was made to offer the past in this manner. I cannot change.” Carl chose a specific (and significant) time and place. And while the Guardian presented itself as a conduit for journeys to the past, there was no indication it got personal, creating the same issues with Q regarding Carl’s motivation to even get involved in helping Georgiou resolve her regrets. Also, changes made in the past via Guardian’s travel had profound impacts on the Prime timeline. If Georgiou succeeds in saving Mirror Michael while thwarting Lorca’s coup a different way, would that not change the events of Star Trek: Discovery, especially if Lorca does not survive? Michael would still be in prison.

Our hope… Carl is something new

Arguments can obviously be made for Carl to be Q (or a Q) or The Guardian of Forever (or a Guardian). His whimsical nature and choice to give Georgiou a chance to revisit her past regrets fit well with what we’ve seen of the Q. The doorway and Michael’s parallel to Kirk having to let go of someone they love point to the Guardian. And the clues in the newspaper tip the scales to the Guardian, if we are assuming Carl is going to be tied into something from Star Trek canon.

As for all of those counterpoints, we have seen Star Trek: Discovery plow through issues like that before when the show wants to bring back elements of Trek’s past. This is the show that introduced its main character as an unknown human sister of Spock. That connection to Spock and the USS Enterprise ended up paying off in season two, spawning the highly anticipated new series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. This leads us to believe Carl is something from Trek history, most likely the Guardian.

While it can be a bit of fun to tie a character like Carl to an iconic entity in Star Trek’s past, one has to ask if there is really a benefit beyond a bit of fan service? And given all those counter-arguments, is it worth going through the twists it will require to make it all fit together, especially with the Guardian? Wasn’t running afoul of canon issues the ongoing dilemma of the first two seasons, with moving “beyond canon” the stated goal of the jump into the 32nd century? As noted before, Carl fits well into Star Trek’s tradition of mysterious powerful entities. So, why not let Carl just be Carl?

Hopefully, this time a cigar is just a Carl

Setting up the Georgiou-verse?

Something to keep an eye on in “Terra Firma, Part 2” will be how this trip back to the past sets up what we are expecting to be Michelle Yeoh’s departure from Star Trek: Discovery. Her Section 31 show was set to go into production after season three of Discovery, although the pandemic got in the way of that. Even though it now looks like Strange New Worlds will actually be the first Discovery spin-off to go into production, work has continued on the Section 31 show, which means they need to find a way for Georgiou to exit.

Carl seems to be the conduit for this exit, and he could even possibly be part of this new show. Georgiou’s condition was said to be due to how far the Mirror Universe has diverged from the Prime Universe. It’s possible that the changes she is making in the Mirror Universe are creating her own splinter of a parallel universe, one where she can survive and thrive and possibly travel back and forth to the Prime Universe on her brand new TV show.

Michelle Yeoh’s Emperor Georgiou returned home in “Terra Firma, Part 1”

What do you think?

Are you as curious about Carl as we are? Do you have a preferred theory? And where do you think Georgiou is headed for her new show? Sound off in the comments below.

More Carl talk in the All Access Star Trek podcast

If you want to hear more about our Carl theories check out the latest episode of the All Access Star Trek podcast, where TrekMovie editors Anthony Pascale and Laurie Ulster go in-depth on “Terra Firma, Part 1.” Check out our podcast section for details on how to subscribe with your favorite podcast app, or listen below.

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery premiere on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. Episodes are available on Fridays internationally on Netflix.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at

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The ad for the “Good Soup!”Well spotted! It will be interesting to see the reason for this connection!
Great to see “Jim Brass (CSI) actor Paul Guilfoyle in Discovery!

It’s possible that the changes she is making in the Mirror Universe are creating her own splinter of a parallel universe, one where she can survive and thrive and possibly travel back and forth to the Prime Universe on her brand new TV show.

That might be cool, actually – if she had like a doorway where she could be Emperor G one minute then hop back to see Michael the next minute on Disco.

“Carl? Call me Qarl.” ;-)

God I love Tapestry. Gonna watch it again…

Better than Inner Light in my book. Tapestry is SOOO good.

I definitely agree. I’m not a big Inner Light fan – but Tapestry is one of my favourite Trek episodes.

Inner Light is great – but it could be even better (imo) if once we left the enterprise, we never went back in the episode. Continuing to cut back to passed out Picard on the Enterprise undermines the mystery for the audience as well.

Yeah Tapestry is great. One of my top episodes and I referenced myself in my review of the episode.

I hope Carl is someone/something new.

I believe the Art Department (which may include Trek fans) are throwing references for the eagle eyed viewers. Remember the early LCARS from seasons 1 & 2 of TNG.

Or these details are nothing but red herrings to disguise the true nature of what’s going on. They make people ask the wrong questions. Mending Georgiou’s body, prevent it from falling apart involves dealing with her inner seams and cracks. This door adjusts you to your new position in space-time while healing your soul. Carl is Rourke, or at least Trek’s version of him…

The similarities to Death Wish or the City on the Edge of Forever newspaper, all good evidence, isn’t it? But what if this isn’t even about interdimension time travel at all? What if YOU are asking the wrong questions? What if Carl is no Guardian or Q at all, but Trek’s version of Fantasy Island’s Rourke? What if this door is nothing but a door to the soul and memories, a device that can make you come to terms with your past while at the same time adjusting your genetic makeup to your new position in space-time? Those visions might be nothing but a by-product of that procedure!

I believe we aren’t in the MU at all but in Georgiou’s fantasies about changing the past. Stuff doesn’t add up. People are in the wrong place, Stamets dies too early. What happens in the MU in this period is pivotal for DSC S1! Georgiou is nothing but dealing with her guilt.

If this was an actual portal, how comes that the Emperor is in full ornante as soon as she arrives? What a great time machine that is, one that gets you dressed for the occasion in an instant! This is no way time travel, it is mind games!

In “Mirror, Mirror,” Prime Kirk, McCoy, Uhura, and Scotty arrived in the clothing of their Mirror universe counterparts, so there’s precedent for arriving in the right clothing. :-)

I like your idea that this is all happening in Georgiou’s head, but I’d like it if this were real and if whatever Georgiou does right now undoes the bit in Season 1 where the Klingons won the war; that always left a bad taste in my mouth.

Well, she basically undid Season 1 by killing Stamets before he can establish the link to our DISCO / Stamets. If this is real, the series ceases to exist… This has to be in her mind…

I was thinking that, but Prime Stamets was in-between life and death when he met mirror Stamets and they were searching for the way out of the mycelial network. So makes sense Mirror Stamets was in-between life and death too.

The Guardian also sent Kirk and Spock back to the 23rd century in their own uniforms, with no indication that they had time to change.

The transporter accident could have mixed and mingled clothes and characters, a simple portal without a counterpart cannot. Even if that portal only transported her mind into past Philippa’s body, there would be no wrist band. Either it is riddled with continuity bloopers or it is an incoherent mind game…

We have no idea what this portal can do. Especially if Carl is a Q or something.

Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s basically whatever the writers want. I always thought it was ridiculous Kirk and company showed up in completely different clothes in a different universe in Mirror Mirror but that was the only way to pull off the deceit so you don’t think about it much.

In this case, a powerful entity is sending someone back 1,000 years into another universe via a door. I’m going to assume giving her different set of clothes as well is not exactly a big deal by this point. ;)


There’s a LOT of precedent for continuity bloopers. Hope they can at least explain it away.

Here’s why he can’t be Q. They were pointed to this being by the sphere data, which roamed around the galaxy collecting data, who saw this guy on this planet at some point. The doctor on Discovery then retrieves the information because the sphere thinks this guy can save Gorgeau. But the sphere, if it ever observed a Q, would likely have observed Q at numerous locations around the galaxy, as Q aren’t stuck to one planet. So why then this 1 spot rather than telling the doctor to try to call for Q? It doesn’t make any sense for a Q to be in permanent existence on 1 planet, they live in the continuum. This guy is likely just some sort of gatekeeper or guardian. That’s how he’s presented, it seems obvious.

Well, maybe Zora doesn’t necessarily know it’s a Q. Or whatever he is. Maybe she just has notes that “some crazy temporal-dimensional stuff went down on this planet this one time and maybe you should check it out”. She observed the effect, not necessarily the cause.

She’s probably seen some crazy stuff over the years, but doesn’t necessarily know that Crazy thing A and Crazy Thing B on the other side of the galaxy were both caused by Entity Q.

Well, it could be kind of like Quantum Leap, where you jump into “your regularly scheduled programming already in progress”. She’s just “leaping” into herself in that moment. So not so much physically traversing time and space, but “possessing” something that’s already there. I think there was an Eric McCormack series along those lines… Travellers? I never watched it but it sounded similar.

A couple of thoughts:

There seems to be a continuum with “fan service” at one end, and “creative use of continuity with past story elements” at the other end.

Deep continuity can be cool, as long as there’s not so much of it as to keep folding plotlines inward to the point that the universe feels small instead of grand.

For me, this appearance by Carl feeling like the creative use of continuity so far.
-Carl has a trippy transcendent being feel that has continuity with past series, and may be a/the Q or Guardian.
-But a viewer new to Trek doesn’t need to know of those precedents to enjoy the scene or understand it.
-More, because it’s obviously not the same Guardian portal on the same planet that Kirk and Spock visited, it’s expanding the universe – even if it were to turn out to be another manifestation of a guardian, or a portal built by the “guardian builders.”

FWIW the Guardian in TCOTEOF always has seemed like a kind of AI. It’s function is constrained to a single location in the Prime Universe and it has less scope for action than most of the transcendent beings in Trek.

Carl seems, so far, less of a construct than the Guardian. But he could still be some of AI governing a portal built by an unknown alien species in the past.

Humanity in the 60’s created the cassette tape, and in the 80’s, they created a player with auto-reverse, where you could just listen to the same tape over and over without even flipping the tape over. It was an advancement that changed the way we enjoyed music, and possibly began our inexorable slide toward the laziness we experience today.

Surely a species that could build a rock donut that sends you throughout space and time could release newer, enhanced versions of it after a few centuries.

Then again, the Iconian portal kind of shifted through a few presets sequentially, much like the Guardian. Maybe it was the Mark II, the Guardian was the Mark XX (with time functions!), and Carl was the Mark XVIIICMVIIXII with the AI equivalent of the Kung Fu Grip. I don’t know if that number exists, but it seemed appropriately impressive.

It will be nice to be rid of the Georgiou character if that’s where this is heading. She’s a distraction to some otherwise good plot ideas that need to move forward…


Don’t think they’ll dare to create another parallel/splinter universe.

Star Trek has featured MANY parallel universes. It’s a pretty common thing. People fixate on Kelvin, Mirror and Prime for some reason, but there are many others we’ve seen. It’s no big deal.

Totally agree Rios.

There are several main branches and side loops that Trek has explored over the series.

All started with The Alternative Factor….

I think you guys missed the obvious answer: the Guardian of Forever is one of several “guardians of the Tkon Empire,” just like the portal in “The Last Outpost” was and just like Carl is. Those who built these “guardians” also built the Dyson Sphere. It’s all connected.

Q has nothing to do with it.

I like the idea of building some continuity around those ancient civilisations. T’Kon Empire, Iconians and First Ones would do an excellent background for some truly awesome adventures, treasure hunting, time travelling etc… just like it was touched on Stargate.
I always envied SG for doing what Trek abandoned by mid-TNG (but then I didn’t because all SG continued to do was chasing baddies through the Canadian forests)…

I like the idea of revisting them, but they’ll probably stay in the background being set in the pre human era. The human journey is kinda the driving force of the franchise.

I like the reference to “Last Outpost”, but the Portal in that episode didn’t demonstrate any sort of power of time travel or interdimensional stuff. He was able to bring the Enterprise and the Ferengi ship to a halt, though.

In the TNG episode Contagion where we first saw the Iconian doorways I always thought that was going to be a future connection the Iconians were the race building these time portals on different planets. Of course their doorways only transversed space and not time itself, but I thought that would someday be revealed too. Of course it never happened and to this day we never got to understand who the Iconians were or who built the portal.

In a way, I like that. That there are still mysteries in Star Trek, some we may not ever get answers to no matter how many shows they make in the next 20 years.

Same time, I also love to see the connections and make things feel more whole. And I never thought about The Last Outpost as a connection to the GOF at all, but then I haven’t seen that episode in over 20 years…on purpose. ;)

And maybe it isn’t a Q but I remember swearing up and down Tyler wasn’t Voq. It doesn’t take much with these things and it’s also been a 800 years. Maybe the Q has switched some things up as well.

Interesting to consider Tiger2.

In the Relaunch novels, one of the powers comes across another set of Iconian gateways similar to those Picard destroyed in TNG, and this sets in motion a domino of clandestine cold war machinations among the Federation and other powers. It wasn’t the best plotline in those books, but it drove a lot of later dynamics.

The point is that the Iconian gateways are so powerful that they are inherently destabilizing of any strategic balance. More, they don’t seem to have their own AI to provide any kind of safety net. So, I’m going to say that’s not what we have in Carl.

BUT… like the Ni’Varan project, the Iconian Gateways might be a way to get around the limitations of the Burn. They also seem like a technology within reach of a Federation that had waged a temporal and trans-dimensional cold war.

Lazarus has returned….

Lazarus, indeed. The first reference to a parallel universe in TOS was in the first season’s “The Alternative Factor” where a mysterious disturbance has drained the dilithium crystals in the warp drive of the Enterprise and that Starfleet reports this disturbance has affected every quadrant. Sound familiar to Season 3 DISCO watchers?

Q and the Guardian of Forever are linked.

In the ST:TNG – Q Continuum book series, a young Q, upon looking at the Guardian of Forever, commented, “At least our ancestors made things”. Establishing that a biological ancestor of what would become the Q continuum built the Guardian of Forever

I think Carl is (or once was) a Tkon Empire Portal Guardian, like Portal 63 in ST:TNG “The Last Outpost”. The name “Carl” means “free man” and he has somehow become free from his Tkon Portal programming, and is now acting on his own initiative. The Sphere may have encountered him in the past and hoped he would be helpful for Georgiou.

BTW we encountered traces of the Tkon Empire in ST:PIC. They invented the technology to move stars that was used to make the 8 star system that contained the Admonition. The Synths and what became of them are a shoe that hasn’t dropped yet in ST:DIS, but I suspect the Synths may have something to do with the Burn.

Right, Soji, the Synths ARE at the center of the Burn as I suppose that “Starfleet” is actually Kovich’s private little synthetic Starfleet. Ad. Vance, is the most advanced of all Synthfleet officers, They may not even know they are Synths yet but in Kovich-19’s Endgame they’ll finally become aware… If Ad. Vance isn’t a telling name, I don’t know what is…

Synthfleet are the baddies of the season, the Emerald Chain is just your average gang of criminals to mirror SW’s Crimson Dawn.

I really hope the Synths are NOT set up as the Borg ver. 2.0. That would be a rejection of everything Trek has ever stood for, and would mean that Data, Soji (and Picard himself!) are on the road to Hell, exactly as the Zhat Vash believed. I don’t think the writers would do that. If the Synths are involved in the Burn, there is more going on than just Synths are Evil.

This is a wild theory. Very enjoyable to consider how crazy they could get.

Between Data, and now Picard as a synth, it’s obvious that in Star Trek, tech and synths are good, or at least the main Federation ones are.

(Yes, I know, Lore, but Lore was the outlier accident, not the main character Data was.)

It’s a cool idea, but there’s a big flaw in your theory: the abbreviation of “admiral” isn’t “ad.” So “Ad. Vance” is likely just a coincidence since he’d actually be “Adm. Vance.”

No one noticed that he’s named after ’70s icon Carl(ton) the Doorman in RHODA? :)

Oh, I did. At least I HOPE that’s who he’s named after.

Yeah, I mentioned that in the earlier thread.

And hey, Carlton was played by Lorenzo Music, and the cause of The Burn is somehow related to MUSIC everyone seems to be humming!

Haven’t watched this season, but this music humming … are they riffing on the kind of thing nuBSG did with the WATCH TOWER song? (I had wished the big reveal on GALACTICA was that the tune they were humming is the disco number played in the original BSG pilot, called LOVE LOVE LOVE.)

I thought he was Carl N. Ellison. :)

Telepod fusion of George Carlin and Harlan Ellison … truly, for me, the very best of both worlds!

Time travel has always been a fascination, given one of the best of the original series “City on the Edge of Forever”, it would be natural to explore this thread. I always saw Q as a get out of jail card for writers block, hope we don’t see that here.

Here’s a thought: What if this situation is more like TNG’s “All Good Things?”

We’ve been focusing on Georgiou’s personal journey, but what if, like Picard in the TNG finale, there is a larger canvass of events at stake?

Could it be possible that the Q — or other keepers of the multiverse — need Georgiou to do something to avoid an unwinding of not just the Prime Universe, but the major threads of the multiverse that the franchise has encountered?


– The Temporal Cold War was so destructive, in not only the Prime timeline, but also other timelines, that any intertemporal or inter-dimensional travel has been banned.

– Kovich noted that the MU and PU are further apart and the last cross over was BEFORE the Temporal Cold War.

– Saru has noted that the Federation lost many of its databases in the Temporal Cold War. This could have happened due to discontinuities in the time lines.

– Kovich has established that Georgiou is exceptional in having not only crossed universes, but also has transited from before the Temporal Cold War until after the Temporal Accords were established.

– Unlike in TAS Yesteryear, there is only one Georgiou in the MU after she crossed through Carl’s Door. We are instead given to understand that she is superimposed on her old self, in the manner of TNG Tapestry or All Good Things.

Perhaps, as in TAS Yesteryear, Georgiou has to go back not only to save her own life (which is unsustainable in the 32nd century PU we have seen), but also to put into motion all the events that will lead to the events we saw in Discovery S1 and S2, as well as fix some major anomaly across the universes.

This suggests that she won’t be staying in the MU, and there may be implications for the 32nd century that we’ve seen so far. Could it be that we may see by consequence some kind of reset of what the 32nd century situation is?

On the other hand, the investment in a full set of new MU costumes, using the Discovery and SNW underlying pattern, might suggest that there will be more to come in that universe down the line.

I’m not sure on Carl, though the Tkon theory some people here have sounds intriguing.
When it comes to the story, I somewhat believe that Georgiou will find out she doesn’t fit into this “mirror” universe any more, will in some form return to Carl and Michael (maybe she encounters Carl in her own universe in some form or goes to Dannus V herself) and then Carl says there is only one other option where she can go – if not to her own universe, then at least to her own time. And then Michael will need to let her go back in time to the 23rd century, and then the Section 31 show can start there as Bo and Erika had written from the beginning…

On a completely unrelated matter, I love that the chair that Carl is sitting in is a Muskoka chair, thus showing off the Toronto connection the series has even further.

Interesting analysis

He’s obviously the American Doctor Who… Duh.

The Doctor would never sully their tongue with the damnedable American dialect!

Doctor Who is the show’s name, not the character’s name. He’s just called the Doctor.

Also… no.

Just started on Classic Doctor who with the first Doctor and his name is definitely shown to be “Doctor Who” in the credits.I don’t yet understand why it’s wrong to simply refer to him as Doctor Who when bringing him up out of context. But what would you have them say? “He’s obviously the American version of the Doctor from Doctor Who”? It just feels off.

Doctor Who is the show’s name, not the character’s name.

I love when someone nitpicks about this, because the show’s credits frequently call the character “Doctor Who,” and much of the BBC’s official material and tie-in works (including the titles of episodes and famously a series of novels) use “Doctor Who” specifically to refer to the Doctor. But of course, the show itself pointedly never calls him/her that on screen in any episode.

So which is it?

It’s like this piece of trivia in in a quantum superposition where anyone who makes an argument one way or the other about it is demonstratively wrong. It’s the most Doctor Who thing imaginable.


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Georgiou is going to realize that the Terran empire is not worth saving… She will find Prime Lorca while destroying the Buran and setting up a 32nd century version of Section 31 with Book, Phillipa and Lorca at the main characters….

I hope they don’t over explain it. Let Carl be his own mystery, like the Man From Another Place on Twin Peaks.

Just going to throw another theory into the mix…

Carl could be an agent of Kovich, or whatever organization Kovich belongs to. All of this could be setup to be like any typical TOS or TNG encounter with a god-like being, but by the 32nd century, anyone could appear this way. Transporters are nearly instantaneous, and potentially long-range, so Carl could have easily appeared out of ‘nowhere’ behind their backs. Holographics and programmable matter could make the door appear like a door even if it’s something else. And the door could be a time portal (they’re already established, though illegal), or it could lead to an advanced form of holodeck. The events within such a holodeck could be taken from Georgiou’s mind. Even the Romulans did something like this with Riker back in the 24th century, it’s probably even easier by now. This holodeck could be anywhere (the door could have transported her), or it could be cloaked, or even space-folded (like parts of the small ship from the future that was recovered by the NX-01 crew). The technology in this time period can allow for a lot of trickery, especially to a couple of 23rd century rubes. Georgiou’s ‘sickness’ started right after meeting with Kovich, so perhaps he injected her with something and came up with a convoluted story they’d believe. As Discovery now has additional databases, maybe he also slipped a secret one in to lead Discovery to this planet, all in an attempt to get Georgiou into a particular place and particular situation in which he can study her. Heck, maybe it’s even just a recruitment ploy.

I’m not sure I quite believe this to be the case, but it’s possible. One thing that makes me question the notion of it being the Guardian or anything else is Kovich’s line about the MU drifting away from the PU, and how there hadn’t been any crossings in hundreds of years. If that’s true, I’m not sure that anything (except maybe a Q) could bridge them. Also, considering Kovich’s fascination with the MU, I doubt he’d let Georgiou go that quickly and easily… Plus, he’ll be returning in this role. Everything he’s done so far has been Georgiou-related. So either she comes back, or she’s not really gone…

Just pointing out that the solution was from the Sphere AI, not Kovich.

From Kovich’s perspective, Discovery’s evolving Sphere AI is a cipher at this point.

Supposedly from the sphere data. The information could have been planted.

But Kovich also said there wasn’t a solution when the computer cited one. Are you suggesting he somehow set all that up for some kind of theatrics and pretended he didn’t have a solution when he did all along? I don’t really see the point of doing any of that.

Not necessarily theatrics, just misdirection. If he planted the information in the computer and then offers no solutions and even objects to the presented solution, then nobody suspects he has a part in any of this. And Michael did specifically say they’ve incorporated many other databases aside from the sphere data. Maybe the whole point in accessing the classified file (the hologram in Sickbay) was to run a program that sets all this in motion.

It just seems a bit too convoluted. I just don’t see the point.

I like to think he’s the homeless guy who accidentally zapped himself with McCoy’s phaser, and the Guardian unzapped him and gave him a job as an immortal doorman. Good work if you can get it.

loved Carl. loved it. glad when georgiou leaves. never liked that character.


Ha. A nice call out to Sonequa’s show before Discovery!

Carl has become an instant fan favorite. This is when Star Trek does things right. He’s clearly a throwback to TOS or TNG super entities but gave us zero on who or what he represents. There is really nothing I can add to the two main theories, Q or Guardian, but would be happy with either one. But I also agree it would be more interesting if he was something completely new.

I still think the fact the sphere data knows something about him, even being able to even know he can help Georgiou is very very intriguing. I don’t expect it go to anywhere, but it would be interesting to see this entity have deep connections in the galaxy for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years we are just learning about if it’s not a Q.

I love the character, too, He reminds me of TOS Harry Mudd. The Disovery casting crew is great, they always find the perfect actors even for the small parts.

I agree that the casting is generally strong.

It’s a toss up between Discovery and DS9 for the overall deepest cast. That’s a major reason why so many of us are frustrated that the secondary crew aren’t given much to do.

Perhaps she’ll spin off to a newly created timeline

i think Carl maybe a synthetic life form that may be in charge of temporal and inter dimensional travel and the evolution of section 31. Sort of like MR. 7 in the original series with Terri Garr. Perhaps thats the plot of the new show for Georgiou …a kind of section 31 spy where they send her to different time periods and other dimensions to solve problems…. the MU is just one stop for her …then onto kirks enterprise … then into thenTNG timeline ..Voyager.. back to the klingon homeworld and hopefully Harry Mud reappears …and eventually even Picard’s current timeline….its a good way to tie all the shows together. I always wished they made a spinoff from the Mr 7 episode doing time travel. Carl maybe a recurring character in the show opening doors to give Georgiou missions. It also ties into the theory that Georgiou gets a new show and in section 31 .

That would be my thought too, but the 32nd century folk take the ban on intertemporal and trans-dimensional travel very seriously.

It would be my guess that synthetic lifeforms have evolved far beyond corporeal lifeforms and may be trying to correct or limit damage done to timelines and dimensions…they also may be the ones who laid down the temporal law…The ban may not involve advanced non corporeal life. The remnants of the federation are still struggling withe the same problems we are struggling with today ….still think a Ruthless inter dimensional time traveling assassinesque Georgiou would make great show jumping all over the trek universe timeline….and a enigmatic Carl is her perfect foil. Sort of like Emma Peel and John Steed in the old avengers series.

The Emma Peel – John Steed imagery is powerful Ray, and certainly is a twist in a 60s kind of way.

It hadn’t occurred to me, but I probably won’t be able to avoid seeing it now. ;)

Could the endgame be changing Disco history so that Phillipa stays in the past and perhaps bring back Ash? The writers may be looking to add love triangle drama for Michael in S4. I’m assuming Phillipa will be ok in her correct time (more or less) if not her correct universe.

I think the Section 31 show will take place in the MU. Saru appears to have been recruited.

Why would you need a Section 31 in the MU, when the entirety of the Terran Empire is basically Section 31?

The fact that the EPs and production folk are still referring to it as S31 is the biggest indication that it won’t be principally set in the MU, even if it returns there from time to time.

Have you guys gotten a single one of these predictions correct so far?

Many of their predictions have been correct, so I’m not sure what your snark is about.

I will say about 50-50. Not bad for Star Trek though. ;)

YOU are going to try to lecture someone on being snarky…?

I’m three for three being among the first to declare rumored sequels to STB dead, and take a lot of grief about it.

It’s the Guardian. The newspaper ad for the soup kitchen proves it.

Carl is the Disco universe’s version of Q.

What do you mean ‘Disco universe’? It’s literally the same universe all the other Qs we seen before lives in.

I was all set to suggest his name is “Qarl” until I saw all the Guardian references. Wow!

The Guardian could quickly devolve into a sort of Deus Ex Machina, so it’s best if it’s ignored as often as possible. Major disaster? Go back in time. Of course, we all know what can happen…so they probably decided to ignore it in real life as well. One of the “Strange New Worlds” volumes had a very nice story about the Guardian along these lines. Basically, historians are allowed to ask it to display any historical event for study, but the Horta move to its planet and keep anyone from actually stepping through.

Plot Twist: Carl is a member of the 1701-D and watching a holonovel.


That would be an amusing thought experiment if this hadn’t actually been done with the Enterprise series finale.

Georgiou changes the past so that season 4 can start back where S1 should have begun. This time, no mushroom space networks and tardigrades navigation systems. No Klingon time crystals. No stinking secret black badges in plain sight for everyone to see. No angel suits more powerful than a Starship. Less estrogen and a bit more testosterone or less drama more sci fi. Or the show just ends and Strange New worlds starts without the Vulcan trained, super duper rule breaking, emotional know it all Michael character.

Sorry, nope.

The biggest knock against Carl being the Guardian of Forever is precisely all the references to “City on the Edge of Forever” in the newspaper. These are 4th-wall-breaking Easter egg references, not story clues.

What sense does it make that the Guardian (or especially another of its kind) would be so obsessed with its one encounter with Kirk and crew?

Of course, the show has made this conflation in the past, and even in this episode when they canonized the phrase “Prime universe” as well as previously referring to it as the “Mirror universe” a term which DS9 for example carefully avoided using.

Personally, I hate the mirror universe as a concept and think it’s cheapens Star Trek, *and* I was hoping for a biological cause for Georgiou’s condition (related to Kovich’s statement about Terran’s “genetic” villainy) rather than a hocus-pocus “time+dimension” explaination, but in spite of all that I really liked this episode because all the drama felt earned given the history of the show and the characters.

The hardest way for a fan to watch Star Trek is with preconceptions, because it will never work out like you would have written it.


LOL! ;)

Carl could be something original and unique, not something derivative.
Oh, wait, never mind.


It’s obvious that Carl is a Time Lord and this is a prelude to the inevitable Doctor Who – Star Trek crossover.

If this guy is meant to be a Q, his acting and bowler were pretty ridiculous.