When I learned there was to be a new series of Star Trek I was intrigued, and this curiosity only increased as more details came out. I don’t consider myself much of a Trekkie, though I loved Deep Space 9, but the fact Discovery is a prequel to the original series drew me in.
Though the hero of ST: DISCO is Michael Burnham, my favourite character is her roommate, Ensign Silvia Tilly.
Tilly is very young and eager, and she rubbed several fans up the wrong way at first because of her upbeat nature and extreme awkwardness. I found her rather adorable, and this feeling only increased as the series went on and Tilly grew up.
As a woman who’s not stick-thin, I love that Tilly is curvy. I love that when she has her hair down, it curls something crazy. I love that’s she’s awkward and geeky and says inappropriate things.
Her friendship with Burnham is sparked by being assigned her as a roommate, but it really grows. Tilly brings a warm humanity to both the show and to the Vulcan-raised Burnham. She also has a great relationship with her immediate commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets, who’s in charge of engineering. When Stamets ends up in a coma due to overuse of the spore drive, Tilly is the one who fights to return his brain activity to normal.
Mid-season one, the Discovery has an accident and ends up in the Mirror Universe of the original series. Here Tilly not only has to pretend to be the antithesis of her usual character, but also the captain of the Discovery; nicknamed Captain Killy due to the number of people she’s supposedly disposed of.
But for me, the moment that really cemented my love for Tilly is the scene in the mess hall with Lieutenant Ash Tyler. Ash was essentially brainwashed and betrayed the crew, almost killing lover Burnham in the bargain. Yet Tilly realises his actions weren’t his own, and picks up her dinner tray to join him so he doesn’t have to sit alone. It was a really lovely moment that encompasses Tilly’s character, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up.