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Essential Hugh Culber Episodes

The Discovery's doctor and counselor is always there to help and heal the crew.

Graphic banner featuring Dr. Hugh Culber in Sickbay holding a hypospray

Across four seasons of Star Trek: Discovery, Commander Hugh Culber — the U.S.S. Discovery's medical officer and counselor — has demonstrated countless times how much he cares for his crew and loved ones.

In celebration of the incomparable Wilson Cruz's birthday, we're spotlighting the episodes that showcase Culber's wit and care, as well as Cruz's memorable performances.

Culber Goes Against the Acting Captain's Orders in "Choose Your Pain"

I will not be party to murder.

Dr. Hugh Culber, "Choose Your Pain"

Hugh Culber, with Paul Stamets by his side, approaches Acting Captain Saru on the bridge of the Discovery in 'Choose Your Pain'

"Choose Your Pain"

When Michael Burnham expresses her concerns about how the spore drive jumps may be affecting Ripper, the ship's tardigrade, Dr. Culber promises to look into it. As a counselor, he acknowledges Burnham's cause of worry. And as a medical professional, Culber is interested in learning more about the tardigrade's deteriorating condition, and if the species processes stress the same way humanoids do.

When Captain Lorca is taken prisoner by the Klingons, First Officer Saru steps up as acting captain in search of a plan to rescue Lorca. Having located Lorca's whereabouts, Saru orders Lt. Stamets to bring the spore drive back "online." Unfortunately, Ripper collapses in the science chamber. Seeing as they're in "survival mode," Saru orders Culber to rehydrate Ripper and pull it out of its cryptobiosis shell. The doctor stands up to the acting captain, refusing to harm what he perceives to be a sentient creature.

"Choose Your Pain" also showcases a tender and loving moment between Culber and Stamets. Unable to use Ripper, the astromycologist makes himself the new human navigator as they rescue Lorca and bring the Discovery out of hostile territory, while also not crossing his husband by endangering the tardigrade. Relinquishing his fate to being "doomed to love a brilliant but reckless maniac who's willing to risk his life for glory," he makes Stamets promise to never do anything as stupid again because "You may not care about you but I do."

Culber Returns to Stamets in "Vaulting Ambition" and "Saints of Imperfection"

As you walked, you held out your hand behind you because you knew that I would grab it. And I did. And I knew everything about you in that moment.

Paul Stamets, "Saints of Imperfection"

Paul Stamets finds Hugh Culber in the mycelial network in 'Saints of Imperfection'

"Saints of Imperfection"

Despite being murdered by Lt. Ash Tyler when he and Dr. Culber both discovered he was a human vessel for the Klingon Voq in "Despite Yourself," Stamets and Culber proved their love transcended life and death.

While trapped navigating the mycelial network, Stamets came across illusions of his late husband who tells the astromycologist that he really is dead. Culber recalls his final moments and thanks Stamets for always making him feel safe. As Stamet is succumbing to a coma and finds himself trapped further in his mind, it's Hugh who pulls him through — reminding him of the good he's done and that his life's work's in danger due to his Terran counterpart corrupting the mycelial network. Before Stamets wakens, Culber reminds him it's never goodbye, and that nothing in there is ever truly gone; "Follow the music, Paul. Look for the clearing in the forest."

In "Saints of Imperfection," Sylvia Tilly finds herself transported into the mycelial network to aid the jahSepp species in killing a "monster." Navigating a half jump into the mycelial network, Stamets and Burnham find Tilly and the jahSepp in the form of a Starfleet officer, May. There, they all discover the "monster" is a disheveled Culber whose presence is wreaking havoc on the mycelial network. His essence was pulled into the network when Stamets, the human navigator, was cradling his lifeless body. As they try to return to the Discovery, Culber — made up of mycelial matter — is able to return to "normal" matter with May's help and the cocoon that had encompassed Tilly previously.

Culber Confronts Ash Tyler in "If Memory Serves"

In the Discovery's mess hall, Hugh Culber confronts a seated Ash Tyler in 'If Memory Serves'

"If Memory Serves"

Culber struggles to adjust to life on the Discovery, and just life in general, which strains his relationship with Stamets. More so, he's affected by the presence of his killer — Ash Tyler/Voq — still aboard the ship.

In Discovery's mess hall, Culber angrily confronts a seated Tyler, shocking the crew present. As Tyler tries to apologize and explain it wasn't him, Culber demands he bring the one responsible out, escalating into a full blown brawl. As others try to intervene, Saru stops them believing this must be allowed to play out as "a necessary and unavoidable catharsis," despite this not being in accordance to Starfleet's code of conduct. Exhausted by the moment, Culber admits he doesn't know who he is anymore; something that connects him to Tyler's predicament.

In this episode, Cruz's exemplary performance demonstrates how miracles can be curses for the ones who bear it.

Culber Finds His Home in "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"

Close-up of Hugh Culber in Sickbay as he leans over a severely injured Paul Stamets in 'Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2'

"Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"

In "Through the Valley of Shadows," engineer Jett Reno offers up an observation to Culber, "It's funny. People like us always find people like them, and thank god. You have a second chance, and it may not last forever. Don't screw it up." Despite this, Culber tries to push Stamets and him to move forward, separately, with him deciding to transfer to the U.S.S. Enterprise.

However, Discovery and Enterprise finds them up against a menancing fleet within Section 31 — Control. When Stamets is severely injured, Culber is on hand to offer aid to Dr. Pollard. At Stamets' side, Culber reveals, "I thought I could make my home on Enterprise. Then I realized that you're my home. So I came back. Just sorry it took me so long to see it. Everything always came back around to you. I'm just sorry it took me so long to see it. I'm your family. Wherever we go from here, we go together."

Together, they, along with countless others, join Burnham and the Discovery jumping to the 32nd Century to put a stop to Control. It's in this uncharted territory that Culber, as the ship's counselor, excels at helping the crew navigate their uncertain future.

Culber Aids Adira Tal and Gray Tal in "Anomaly" and "Choose to Live"

In Sickbay, Hugh Culber stands between Adira Tal and Gray Tal in 'Anomaly'


When Ensign Adira Tal joins the Discovery crew, Dr. Culber promises them he would help their late boyfriend, Gray Tal, who was only visible to them, find his own body. It's in "Anomaly" that Culber introduces them to a 24th Century process of a synth golem body, designed by Dr. Altan Soong. Culber commits to helping them both through the experimental procedure, which sees success in "Choose to Live."

Adira takes Culber's advice to heart and reaches out to Gray when they were unable to feel his presence; promising to help guide him if they couldn't find his way. Like Culber, Gray, with a second lease on life, feels whole and home, again.

In time, Culber, Stamets, Adira, and Gray form their own family unit together.