Jonathan Frakes Is Solving A Star Trek Mystery

Jonathan Frakes is making sure a Star Trek mystery doesn't stay a mystery for long.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

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Historically, when it comes to Star Trek, it’s usually characters like Brent Spiner’s Data and the late Leonard Nimoy’s Spock who see themselves as their respective ships’ closest analogues to Sherlock Holmes. But now it’s the guy who played William Riker — Jonathan Frakes — who’s finally getting around to solving a mystery that’s been troubling Trek fans for three years. Namely: what the heck happened in “Calypso?”

The canonical integrity of “Calypso” — one of the entries in Star Trek: Short Treks — has represented a big question mark for fans ever since it released in 2018. A millennium in the future, a man named Craft (Aldis Hodge) finds the USS Discovery abandoned, with no one aboard but the A.I. Zora (voiced by Annabelle Wallis). Unfortunately, the ship can’t bring Craft back to his planet because Zora was last ordered by her captain to “maintain position.” By the end of the episode, Zora agrees to give Craft use of a shuttlecraft to return to his home, and the story ends without the mystery of what happened to the crew of the Discovery answered. It was particularly troubling to fans since by 2018, Zora had yet to be introduced on Star Trek: Discovery, nor had the ship traveled 900 years to the future.

According to Jonathan Frakes’ recent interview with Inverse, while the mystery of “Calypso” remains, the most recent episode of Discovery sets up a future solution. Frakes directed “Stormy Weather,” the episode that dropped this Thursday, and one scene in particular had some fans thinking “Calypso” would finally be addressed. The entire crew is temporarily beamed into the transporter’s pattern buffers, making it appear as if the ship is abandoned. However, Captain Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) doesn’t order Zora to maintain position beforehand, which is what we’re told happens before the events of “Calypso.”

Still, while the events of “Calypso” could not have occurred during those of “Stormy Weather,” Jonathan Frakes says the recent episode has set up a future explanation. First, because we now know Zora has the ability to beam the crew into the pattern buffer, and second because a stronger bond of trust has been established between Burnham and Zora. Of course, there’s still one pretty big question: why in “Calypso” has Discovery been abandoned for a millennium? While, yes, the crew is now nearly a thousand years from when they were in season 2, they have been with the ship the entire time, whereas in “Calypso” we learn Zora has been on her own for that long.

star trek the next generation james doohan scotty

A partial answer could be found in a Star Trek episode Jonathan Frakes appeared in. James Doohan reprises the role of Scotty in the season 6 TNG episode “Relics.” The time jump is possible because in order to save himself after his ship crashed, Scotty beamed himself and the less lucky Ensign Franklin into the transporter’s pattern buffer. Scotty is kept alive in the buffer for over 75 years. So, we could eventually find out that in the 31st century, transporter pattern buffers are made of even stronger stuff and can keep the entire Discovery crew alive for much longer.