Stamets’ life away from his professional duties was explored for the first time in Sunday’s episode, his relationship with Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) coming to light in a sweet conversation between the Starfleet colleagues. Rapp zeroed in on a piece of dialogue by Culber -- “You don’t care about you, but I do” -- as proof positive that the couple, the first openly gay pairing in Star Trek TV lore, works on many different levels.
“Like many scientists, he’s obsessed with his work and probably spends hours in front of whatever experiment or investigation [he’s been tasked to work on], and doesn’t remember to eat, doesn’t remember to go to the bathroom, doesn’t take a shower. That’s pretty typical of probably many driven scientists and I think they ground each other in different ways,” Rapp says, before adding with a laugh, “Well, Culber certainly grounds Stamets. I’m not sure Wilson would say Stamets grounds Culber. They balance each other.”
Rapp says it’s been “deeply important” to be one-half of the first openly gay couple in a Star Trek TV series. Star Trek: Discovery, for its part, doesn’t make a big deal over the history-making moment, instead treating Stamets and Culber like any other romantic coupling.
“For whatever reason, it took this long,” Rapp says. “But it was also important that it be completely part of the fabric of the story. It’s also smart of the writers and meaningful that you see them in the midst of their relationship, that they are already a mature, settled partnership living and working together -- that you get a glimpse of that in a way that’s unusual for Star Trek, in an intimate, very domestic moment like this. I’m proud that it’s so simple and direct.”
Star Trek: Discovery premieres new episodes every Sunday after 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT on CBS All Access. The After Trek aftershow launches live Sundays at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.