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WARP FIVE: Eve Harlow and Elias Toufexis on Star Trek’s Unrelenting Star-Crossed Lovers

The Star Trek: Discovery actors give us more insight to their approach towards Moll and L'ak.

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains story details and plot points for the fifth season of Star Trek: Discovery.

Graphic illustration featuring Eve Harlow and her Star Trek: Discovery character Moll and Elias Toufexis and his character L'ak

Getty Images /

Welcome to Warp Five,'s five question post-mortem with your favorite featured talent from the latest Star Trek episodes.

The fifth and final season of Star Trek: Discovery has Captain Burnham and the crew of U.S.S. Discovery chasing a Red Directive mystery that has them on an epic adventure across the galaxy. At the end of the chase is a tool of immense ancient power that’s been deliberately hidden for decades.

However, the Federation isn't the only ones on the hunt; the main antagonists this season are a mysterious pair of ex-couriers who are desperate for prize themselves, unrepentant of who they harm along the way.

"Elias [Toufexis] and Eve [Harlow] play L'ak and Moll who are our two new bad guys this season," executive producer and co-showrunner Michelle Paradise previously told "We talked about them as kind of a Bonnie and Clyde unit. We hadn't had a couple before as our antagonist. In turn, they're obviously formidable foes for our heroes. But we also really wanted to make sure that they felt well-rounded, and that they weren't just one note, bad guys. We understood the why of what they were doing the depth of their love for one another. People will be surprised that they may start rooting for these bad guys, actually. But they'll never want them to win more than our heroes, of course."

Ahead of the release of "Mirrors,” a turning point episode that unmasks the real driving force behind Moll and L'ak's actions, had the opportunity to sit down with Eve Harlow and Elias Toufexis about portraying this season's big bads.

Star Trek's Bonnie and Clyde

'Red Directive'

"Red Directive"

Moll and L'ak are a formidable and impressive pair as they continue to outmaneuver and outwit Michael Burnham and the Discovery crew. The two are fiercely protective of one another, and "Mirrors" showed us how their unlikely pairing came to be, given the Breen Imperium's stance on "lesser beings."

"Moll and L'ak are an inter-species couple, and it's kind of breaking all of the rules," summarizes Eve Harlow. "It’s why they're on the run. Whether you want to think of it like Romeo and Juliet or Bonnie and Clyde because they are like star-crossed lovers."

"When we are first presented with them, you think of them as villains," continues Harlow. "But as the season progresses, you get to learn their story, you begin to empathize more with their trials and tribulations, and it just explains their actions."

"My favorite thing was their relationship and their love," offers Elias Toufexis. "How it literally defines them and informs every decision they make, is their love. That was my favorite thing to play because I play a lot of bad guys on television and, for the most part, they're not really given a background. I have to make up a background or a reason why I'm doing this."

"This was all given to me, and we got to play it," Toufexis adds. "The idea of, as cliché as it sounds, doing something for love, but it was written with so many layers, and Eve is so great at playing these things, and it's easy for me to play off of her. This is the reason I'm doing this. She is the reason I'm doing this. That was my favorite part. My take on it is their love and how it informs what they do is my favorite thing about that."

'Red Directive'

"Red Directive"

Echoing Michelle Paradise's earlier sentiment above, Harlow states, "The reason why [everyone is rooting for them] is because everybody understands that kind of pain. Of wanting to fight for something that you love. When this love for a person is there, everything else goes out the window, and what is normal, what is acceptable, all of a sudden is topsy-turvy, it doesn't matter. It's like, 'I will do whatever for this to survive, for this to succeed.' When people see that, it's relatable. We've all done crazy things for love, not killing people, hopefully, love. Abide by the rules, you guys. [Harlow laughs] That is not the message. In this world, that's how far they go."

Referring to the Progenitor's tech the duo is chasing, Toufexis exclaims, "The tech means freedom. The tech just means freedom to them. It doesn't mean power, it just means freedom."

"It’s not about power, it's not about wealth," Harlow continues. "It's not about any of those things. Ultimately, everybody just wants to be safe and happy and loved, and that is what we want as well."

The Ghost of Cleveland Booker

In the corridor of the I.S.S. Enteprise, Moll and Book look out ahead of them in 'Mirrors'


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For Moll, every day has been a fight to survive since she was 14. Her father Cleveland Booker IV sold her mother and her on a dream — a safe haven in the Gamma Quadrant — but he disappeared one day and left them alone to fend for themselves. And then she lost her mother.

Confronted by Cleveland "Book" Booker, a man who was so touched by his relationship with her father that he took on his name, Moll's resentment and pain bubbles up to the surface.

"People contain multitudes," reflects Harlow on this raw side of her character Moll. "Moll only saw her father as a traitor, and then she meets Book. Initially, she is very dismissive of his version of her father."

In "Mirrors," Moll is intrigued by Book's determination to help her and L'ak, even going as far as giving her his phaser. On Moll's wonder, Harlow explains, "She gets to know Book and sees how he is as a person, like, oh man, my dad helped him become that. Maybe there was something good to him."

However, it doesn’t change her past and the atrocities and anger she endured. Harlow hopes Discovery isn’t the last we'll see of her character and allowing her to work through those complicated feelings, stating, "If we saw more of Moll in the future, I think she would be a little bit more open to seeing her dad as maybe having failed her in one way, but that doesn't define his entire life in person."

But for now, with Book on their tail along with the Federation and Breen Imperium, Harlow shares, "They're on this one mission this entire time. On the surface, it's like, 'No. Fuck this guy, I don't care.' Subconsciously, of course, it impacts her because she doesn't have family and all of a sudden this person comes along that knew my dad. I think as much as we try to cut our family bonds and stuff, there's something there, even if she won't full-on admit it."

On Holding their Own Against the Federation

Moll and L'ak hand a weapons dealer a satchel of latinum on the surface of Salata Major in 'Face the Strange'

"Face the Strange"

As we traverse through the galaxy, one thing’s for certain. With their determination and resources, Moll and L'ak have managed to stay one step ahead of Michael Burnham and the Discovery crew.

"Screw the Federation," Toufexis proclaims. "That's another great thing about them. Again, it just comes back to these are layered people, layered characters. They're smart. One of my favorite things that we're not in, but when they're talking about us, is when Book says, 'They're in love. They're having fun.' They are. There are big stakes, high stakes for them, but that's why they're doing these flips. They're so smart, and they're so ahead of the game. Man, that's one of the best things about them, their love, their smarts, their wits, their passion. That's why it's one of my favorite characters I've ever played."

"I felt badass," Harlow adds. "I put on those boots, and I stomped around like I fucking owned the place. It was really fun, especially because we are winning. We are ahead, and it feels cool." 

Pulling the Mask Off the Breen Imperium

The Breen Primarch faces his nephew L'ak and reprimands him for consorting with lesser beings in 'Mirrors'


Despite being a major player in the Alpha Quadrant, not much is known about the Breen until "Mirrors."

Moll isn't the only one with complicated familial relationships. L'ak, a member of the Breen royal family, steps away from the Breen Imperium and his uncle, the Breen Primarch, acquiring an Erigah — a blood bounty — following his betrayal. He saves Moll and runs away with her, but unfortunately, they’re constantly looking over their shoulder because you can’t escape a Breen Erigah.

"For me, the family thing, it's more than just family for him," Toufexis reveals. "It's not really even family. He doesn't want to be there. He's there because he's forced to be. Moll, at first, for him, is [a way out]. It's a couple of things; he wanted to leave anyway and now he's in love. So it's like, 'Let me get the hell out of here and she's my way out of here.' But he's not using her, if you follow what I'm saying. He is in love with her. That gives him maybe the impetus to finally escape. That's why he does what he does. But his family is a burden him. It’s very different from Moll and Book."

Being Part of a Star Trek Production

L'ak and Moll stand defensively in Sickbay of the I.S.S. Enterprise with phasers drawn and pointed ahead of them in 'Mirrors'


Strong pillars of a Star Trek production include rich landscapes, alien species, and well-choreographed stunts. And both Harlow and Toufexis reveled in what Star Trek: Discovery offered them.

“I've loved a lot of sets that I've been on, but I think I've just never been on sets like Star Trek because it's just visually beautiful," remarks Harlow. "And I've said this before, that you read something on a piece of paper, like script, and you're like, 'oh, this is cool.' And then you come to set, and you have these incredibly talented people who've built what was on the paper, and they've not just built it, but they made it even better than what you could have possibly imagined. You come to set, and you never know what you're going to get."

Switching gears to the action sequences she participated in this season, Harlow explains a yet to be aired choreographed number, "I've never done as much action and fight sequences as I did on Star Trek. And even Sonequa [Martin-Green] said that the fight that she and I have, it's the longest fight that she's had on the five seasons of Discovery. And I am not an athletic person, so it was funny. I got the first script, and in the first script, there's this fight. And I was like, 'Oh, I need to get the stunt coordinator's email because I need to tell him that I have not done anything like this before.'"

"His name's Chris [McGuire], he responded right away. We met up, and he's like, 'Look, you're doing yourself a disservice. You got this.' And they were so supportive and so helpful, but I will say it was like we're learning a fight sequence or whatever, it takes me an hour to learn it. Sonequa comes, learns it in 15 minutes. I saw some of the finished product, and I was like, 'Man, we look so badass. It looks so cool.' Again, Chris and his team, they're amazing, and they really held my hand through the entire process. Our stunt doubles were amazing. Everybody was so supportive. And coming to these sets that are gorgeous, I think it's the combination of all these people being really great at their jobs, and then you get the final thing, which I think is amazing."

"And it turned out so great," Toufexis adds in. "Eve was so worried about it, and it turned out so great. You kick ass. The whole season, you kick ass. It was great."

"I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, so I'm like, 'I want to be as good as these stunt people,' and it's like it's impossible," Harlow proclaims. "These people have been doing this for 20 years. I cannot in the span of a week gain the knowledge that they've had of 20, 30, 40 years of experience. But, when I saw the result, I was like, 'I look so cool. Wow, this actually worked. Amazing.' Honestly, I'm lucky because I didn't have that much. I honestly feel like a lot of it fell onto Elias. I'm like, I didn't have the prosthetics, I didn't have the tech talk. Yes. I just got to run around fighting people."

On the surface of Salata Major, Moll grips L'ak face as she reassures him in 'Face the Strange'

"Face the Strange"

What was it like for Toufexis to tackle the stunts while donning all his prosthetics and Breen gear?

"More than anything, it was the heat," states Toufexis. "The head piece was very heavy, but I don't think it affected my stunt stuff that much. But the heat of it, after a day of doing that stunt stuff…."

"Here's a funny thing, the stunt stuff, there were parts of me that would come off or the glue would melt or would be less adhesive because I'm sweating," shares Toufexis while laughing. "But you know what was the most difficult thing? It was kissing because every time we would kiss, my lips would start ripping off. The one big scene in Episode 4 there, how many times did we have to pause and just let him fix my face? It was very hot."

"Please, I'm glued to the lips," jokes Harlow.

"Compared to the previous episodes, the stunts in "Mirrors" challenged Toufexis as the bulk of the episode had him in his Breen Imperium uniform. "There was a different wardrobe in 505," states Toufexis. "It was a lot heavier, and that was tough because I could barely swing. Unlike Eve, I'm like, 'I want to do everything.' Well, Eve wanted to do everything, too, to be fair. But I'm definitely a stunt guy at heart, so I always wanted to do everything, and it was very difficult in that costume."