It’s been a while since we’ve boldy gone anywhere with the USS Discovery, but Star Trek Discovery season 2 wastes no time in getting back into the swing of things with an explosive first episode, Brother, which barely gives you a moment to pause for breath. The last time we saw of the crew of the USS Discovery, they were on their way to drop off Sarek on Vulcan and pick up their new, hopefully not evil, captain, when the USS Enterprise (yes, that Enterprise) flew into view blaring a massive distress signal.
We’re barely five minutes into the premiere before Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) is taking over the Discovery on the orders of the Federation to investigate the mysterious signals they’ve been tracking. He wastes no time addressing the elephant in the room (*cough* Lorca *cough*) as it’s clear the Disco crew are wary of the unexpected newcomers, and it’s refreshing, as a viewer, to see a show not afraid to reference past events rather than pretending every new season starts at zero.
Pike’s very matter-of-fact, yet fair disposition immediately differentiates him from the mysterious Lorca and you can almost see the well earnt joy on Mount’s face as he washes away any bad memory of his role in the panned Marvel TV show Inhumans. If, just like the Disco crew, you were worried about letting another captain into your heart, Pike doesn’t give you a moment to consider that as he sweeps through the ship with his charming flirtations and considerate and understanding approach to leadership.
One thing Star Trek Discovery season 1 excelled at was its explosive action sequences, which felt more blockbuster than traditional Trek, but were necessary for the series to work for today’s audience. Season 2 hasn’t lost any of its adrenaline-pumping antics as the action-packed premiere kicks things off with a bang as Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), Pike, and two other Enterprise crew members (one a short-lived douche, the other hopefully sticking around) take a bumpy ride down the surface of a volatile asteroid on a rescue mission.
Everything about the action sequence is pitch perfect, including a superb exchange between Burnham and Discovery helmsman Detmer (Emily Coutts) and Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo), which is both thrilling, funny, and a perfect slice of feminist TV (with Pike in serious trouble, Burnham asks “we have him right, ladies?” before her female colleagues back her up without question and figure out how to save him on the fly).
Down on the surface of the asteroid we meet Commander Jet Reno (Tig Notaro) whose harsh wit and intelligence will have you wishing she was a series’ regular, but sadly it appears she’s merely a guest-star for the moment. As for other new cast members, there aren’t many, which is perhaps a good thing considering how full the Disco crew is already. The premiere does an excellent job of picking up the story threads of every original cast member in a satisfying way, with a particularly heartfelt and emotional exchange taking place between Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Stamets (Anthony Rapp) who is still, understandably, struggling with the loss of Culber.
As for Burnham, with an episode title like Brother, you don’t need to be Stamets to work out that her adopted brother Spock (Ethan Peck) will play a role, but, without giving too much away, the Vulcan is surprisingly absence from episode 1. Having said that, his presence is felt throughout and we learn some hard (and interesting) truths about the Vulcan-Human family both he and Burnham grew up in. While Star Trek Discovery seems to be teasing the appearance of its iconic Original Series character a bit longer, it’s clear he’ll play an important role in the new season.
For now, there are no signs of the Klingons – despite a name drop for the new High Chancellor L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) – but we know both Shazad Latif and Chieffo are back for season 2, so here’s hoping they’ll put in appearance in episode 2. All things told, it’s hard to think of a better start to a season than this. Star Trek Discovery has always been good at stacking an impressive amount of story into each episode, but the season 2 premiere sets things up for another adventure impressively easily, while still holding onto it’s important past. It’ll be exciting to see where the series goes from here, but Star Trek Discovery season 2 is off to a spectacular start.
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