Star Trek Discovery is back and as pretty as ever. Season One was a frustrating mixed bag of episodes: great visuals, interesting characters and stupid plots. The show didn’t know what it wanted to be, sometimes trying to capture the ethos of the original series, sometimes hinting at being a critique of the militaristic assumptions of Trek, at other times just going for ‘gritty reboot’. The best parts I found where it went off on its own thing — psychedelic interdimensional tardigrades, or full on evil galactic empire space opera. The problem though, the best episodes weren’t very Star Trek.
Two alternative directions were available for Season 2. One, of course, was the leaked script I revealed last year — weirdly not adopted by the studio bosses. The other is Discovery as an overt prequel to the original Star Trek. With Season 1’s (minor) cliffhanger ending, the show had already signalled that Captain Pike and the USS Enterprise would appear. It was also revealed that Spock would be a significant character in Season 2.
Launching into this first episode reminded me that I do actually like these characters. I felt happy to see Michael, Tilly, Saru and Stamets again. Also, Discovery remains visually impressive, it’s easily the best looking Star Trek. The promised story arc appears to be a mysterious simultaneous signal from five points across the galaxy — a signal that Spock knows something about and which (apparently coincidentally) Captain Pike has been tasked with investigating.
Most of the events in the episode are driven by some decent space gobbledygook (a collapsing/exploding asteroid with a crashed ship and weird gravity, racing towards a pulsar because racing towards a regular star wouldn’t be half as much fun). Just go along with it and enjoy the action sequences.
Behind the woosh, bang, whiz and non-baryonic matter, we get glimpses into Michael’s childhood relationship with Spock. Not much is revealed other than there’s an unresolved conflict between them. Despite the title, Spock himself doesn’t appear except in flashback as a child.
So, a decent episode with a fresh start for the Disco crew.
- Brother – well obviously there’s only one episode.
Bits and Pieces
- The proud Star Fleet tradition of sending your senior officers into life threatening situations continues. Hoorah!
- The first red-shirt death of the new season is a blue shirt.
- The Enterprise crew’s space suits were colour coded according to the new uniforms and Michael’s was silver. Which implies they had their space suits sent over? Replicated?
- The Enterprise had recently got back from a five year mission and missed the Klingon war. Is that why they got new uniforms? “Sorry you missed the war guys and a chance to get medals but guess what? New uniforms!”
- Alice in Wonderland is back.
- I loved the bit where Tilly asks Michael to promise that she’ll come back safely and when Michael doesn’t answer explains that she means that Michael needs to lie to her.
- I miss Lorca. He was an evil monster but…OK he was just an evil monster.
- Also see Cora’s review here: http://corabuhlert.com/2019/01/19/star-trek-discovery-is-back-and-it-actually-feels-like-star-trek-for-a-change/