In the Star Trek Original Series episode S1:E10 Dagger of the Mind - we meet a character named Lethe.

We learn that she is a former therapist, and has been driven insane by her imprisonment.

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In the Star Trek Discovery Episode S1:E6 Lethe, we see Admiral Cornwell, a former therapist, taken prisoner. We know that Klingon prisons are known to be terrifying places, and it may be that this experience has had long term effects on her mental health.

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The name of the episode is also a clue.

My question is: Is there evidence to suggest that Admiral Cornwell and Lethe are the same person?

  • 3
    I think you mean "Lethe" This character was named after Lethe, a river of Hades whose water would cause one to forget earthly sorrows.
    – Paulie_D
    Nov 17, 2017 at 11:59
  • Thanks, that’s helpful
    – hawkeye
    Nov 17, 2017 at 12:27
  • Wow, well spotted! But I guess that's where you get your name from, @hawkeye! Nov 17, 2017 at 12:45
  • 1
    No evidence so far other than the episode title. They could go that direction with the character in the future or it could just be a coincidence. Nov 18, 2017 at 12:40
  • 1
    @hawkeye I'd prefer to wait until the entire season is aired and we can probably answer more definitively. Nov 19, 2017 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


No, they are not the same person. Spoiler ahead.

Cornwell dies in season 2 episode 14, saving the Enterprise from a torpedo that gets lodged in it.

Therefore they can't be the same person.


There are coincidences that support the theory that Admiral Katrina Cornwell and Lethe are the same person.

But at this point, there's no hard evidence, so it's still a fan theory with no definitive confirmation.

You're not alone! Judging from this YouTube video and this post on Inverse.com (among many others), there are quite a few people who recognized the same subtle coincidences. Here are the 3 biggest coincidences:

  1. The Episode Title: Lethe. In Greek mythology, Lethe is one of the five rivers of the underground world Hades. Those who drink from it experience complete forgetfulness. In classic Greek, Lethe means "oblivion" or "forgetfulness".

    The episode primarily centers around Sarek, so it's possible that Lethe refers to his imminent demise. But it's just as likely (if not more likely) to refer to the character Lethe from The Original Series. Her name could be a reference to the fact that she completely forgot her past life (as Admiral Cornwell).

  2. Cornwell and Lethe are both therapists. In TOS, the character Lethe is discovered by Captain Kirk when The Enterprise visits a penal colony on Tantalus V. There are many mentally ill patients at the colony, and Lethe is a former patient who had recovered but stayed at the colony as a therapist.

  3. The timing works. Star Trek: Discovery has one season that occurs in 2255, while Star Trek: The Original Series starts its first season in 2265. It's not hard to imagine that Admiral Cornwell could go through significant trauma sometime in those 10 years, and end up getting sent to a psychiatric penal colony.

As stated above, these coincidences are very far from being hard evidence. But it's a legitimate theory, so we'll just have to wait and see...

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