Season 2 Episode 2 of Star Trek: Discovery captures that nostalgic Star Trek feeling that fans have been missing since the many beloved Star Trek series left television. And mixed in that nostalgia are mysteries that fans are trying to unravel. One mystery, of course, is the identity of the Red Angel. Another mystery that we’re exploring in this article is the possibly related question of just who Tilly was seeing all through the episode. Fans have a lot of theories about this one. This post, of course, has spoilers for Season 2 Episode 2.
Tilly is a fan favorite on Discovery (and possibly my overall favorite, right after Captain Pike.) She’s fun, awkward, and really smart. Then in tonight’s episode, it looked like Tilly had found her very own Tilly.
The “new Tilly” came in the form of an officer working in sick bay who was apparently a fan of Tilly. When Tilly said that she needed a “yes man” to talk to, this person showed up.
She’s May Ahern (played by Bahia Watson, who also portrays Brianna/Oferic on The Handmaid’s Tale) and there’s a lot more to her than meets the eye, as we learn by the end of the episode. Tilly thinks this is simply a friend from her childhood who’s now in Starfleet and is super supportive of her.
But that turns out to not be the case. By the end of the episode, Tilly learns that her friend is actually not there at all. Her friend, May Ahern, died years ago. She was never on the ship or in sick bay at all. Tilly imagined the whole thing. The friend that called her “Stilly” had died years earlier in 2252.
This calls back to a discussion that Tilly and Stamets had earlier in the episode, when Stamets told her that nothing is ever truly gone. He talked about seeing Hugh Culber in the mycelial spore network, and how he believed Culber’s spirit was living on. Is this the same for Tilly’s friend?
A top theory among fans is that Tilly’s hallucination is connected to that tiny green spark, that little green “fairy” particle of sorts, that landed on her at the end of Season 1. Remember, this friend at one point told Tilly, “Your mind is fun.” It seems like something an alien would say who’s hitching a ride. Here’s a discussion about the particle from last year:
Other fans think that Tilly’s hallucination is connected to when she was knocked out by the gravity-dense asteroid that can somehow activate the spore network.
Some think these “dead hallucinations” are benevolent guardian angels of some kind, connected to the red angels. Perhaps the red angels are “fallen angels” and the ones that Stamets and Tilly see are benevolent angels. (Maybe there are some shades of Battlestar Galactica leaking into this theory.)
One way or another, it’s all interconnected. The green spark that landed on Tilly was connected to the spore network, and the asteroid somehow activated it. And this spore network can somehow communicate through the people connected to it by showing visions of dead people. (Either that, or it can connect to the dead people’s spirits somehow.) Either way, the green spark, the asteroid, and Tilly’s hallucinations all have to be connected. And likely, the connection is going to reveal the reason why Starfleet isn’t still using the spore network in the future.