Star Trek: Discovery is back for a second season on Netflix, opening with an action packed episode that introduces some new series regulars, sets up the main mission for the series and teases a deeper dive into Michael Burnham’s past, as we finally meet a young Spock! It’s definitely a strong start for the series, seemingly course correcting the tone of the first season as we dive into an intriguing mystery and a search for Spock…
We’re huge fans of Star Trek here at Hulk HQ, and as much as we enjoyed the first season of Disco, it felt like there was a distinct lack of actual exploration, ethical dilemmas and scientific discoveries, which fellow space based seriesThe Orville had bags of. The series leaned towards a darker tone with the Federation-Klingon war and was much more action based than previous iterations of the franchise, which isn’t a bad thing – it was a fantastic looking series filled with twists and turns that kept you gripped. But it seemed to lack that crucial moral and heartfelt premise which made Star Trek such a well loved show.
Well it looks like the writers are sending Discovery down a safer route this season, as we’re introduced to a number of classic characters, uniforms (I’ve missed those colourful tops!) and ships, as well as the iconic opening line “Space, the final frontier’ as spoken by Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael, (yes I squealed a little when I heard this!). Her opening monologue links our exploration of the solar system to an African myth that told the creation story of the Milky Way, which will more than likely play a part in the red angel mystery. In this sequence we’re treated to flashbacks of Michael’s childhood and the first time the young girl was welcomed into the Vulcan home of Sarek, with a less than welcoming first meeting between her and Spock. Yep, young Spock was a bit of an arse, as he threw a holographic dragon at the scared, young girl and proceeded to slam the door in her face. Good job Spock!
Flash forward to the current situation on board the Discovery ship, as the crew find the USS Enterprise disabled and damaged during a mission to investigate one of seven mysterious red bursts that have shown up in the galaxy simultaneously – queue the main mystery for this season! Anson Mount’s Captain Christopher Pike takes command of the Discovery, with engineer Nhan and science officer Connolly, to continue the ‘Red Angel’ mission. How charismatic is Mount’s Pike?! His first speech to the Disco crew was absolutely fantastic, as well as his first interaction with Tilly!
The crew enter warp factor five to investigate the mystery signal left by the red burst, but en route discover a Starfleet ship, the USS Hiawatha, crashed on the astroid. As per usual Trek storylines, the asteroid is set to collide with a pulsar in five hours, so it’s up to the Crew to rescue any survivors whilst retrieving a sample of the asteroid. Queue an impressive J.J. Abrams-esque action sequence involving Michael, Pike and his fellow Enterprise crew in one-man pods as they dodge a minefield of rocks to reach the ship (anyone else pick up the nod to red shirts?) Once aboard, they discover a couple of survivors kept alive by engineer Jett Reno, played by a hilariously deadpan Tig Notaro, who I’m very much looking forward to seeing as part of the Disco crew!
Overall, ‘Brother’ is a much more lighthearted and fun episode that successfully introduces Mount’s Pike, Notaro’s eningeer Reno and teases Spock, as well as featuring a couple of nice little nods to the originals (yes I saw that Geordi looking visor!). The show’s strengths are the fantastic performances from the central cast, and I’m happy to say they’re all still amazing, particularly Mary Wiseman’s Tilly and Anthony Rapp’s Stamets. I’m very intrigued to see if the dynamics of the Discovery will change with Pike, Nhan and Reno now onboard, but so far the relationship between Pike and Burnham seems to be a great new addition. I also really enjoyed seeing some new species featured in this episode, the makeup cast involved really are great. The Spock tease was a bit frustrating, as we only heard the voice of actor Ethan Peck, but the search for Spock will definitely be an interesting one, and I’m sure it’ll be connected to the ‘Red Angel’ mystery.