The second season of Star Trek: Discovery sees Captain Christopher Pike command as the crew searches for Michael Burnham’s brother, Spock.
In many ways, the start of the second season calls back to Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock. Not in the sense that Spock (Ethan Peck) is dead but in Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) searching for her brother. This comes at the same time as seven mysterious red signals are appearing in different places across the galaxy. In researching these signals, the crew of Discovery has their work cut out. Along with the signals, they are looking for a mysterious being that they know only as the Red Angel. Spock has insight into the signals so it is pertinent that they find him. Burnham and Spock are estranged these days so their reunion is sure to cause some friction.
I like the addition of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) to the Discovery crew for the second season. While it paves the way for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the season also opens the door for exploring Burnham and Spock’s relationship. We’ve never really seen their relationship explored before. Because Burnham didn’t get created until Discovery came along, Kurtzman and company needed to come up with a way to explain why we never hear about her or Discovery during The Original Series and subsequent motion pictures. I like their reasoning for explaining why nobody ever talks about Michael Burnham or Discovery. It’s sad in so many ways but it makes sense, much in the same way why we do not see Ahsoka Tano in Revenge of the Sith.
There’s a few other things happening this season. Dr. Hugh Culber surprisingly returns to the crew but not without a few bumps along the way. We see Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) going on his own journey between Klingon and human worlds. Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), now working for Section 31 recruits Tyler to join her, not knowing what’s about to happen to the covert ops organization. Leland (Alan Van Sprang) and artificial intelligence Control serve as this season’s antagonists. It’s better than having a repeat of the Klingons as villains! Thanks to the mysterious signals, engineer Jett Reno (Tig Notaro) brings some much-needed humor to the second season.
We have a lot of the same production values as the first season–the Enterprise crew also gets a modern uniform update. The 14 episodes certainly make for quite the binge when watching after the fact. Since we already know the crew for the most part, the series is able to further explore the galaxy. Obviously, they tend to stick with the familiar especially with the additions of Pike and Spock. Their addition to the cast is one of the reasons why I’m binge-watching Discovery now. I want to see how things play out ahead of Strange New Worlds. As I’ve previously written, my main knowledge of Star Trek is mostly from watching the movies. I’ll watch The Original Series and The Next Generation at some point but priority one is catching up ahead of May’s spinoff series.
It’s tricky to write a prequel series without messing up current canon. And yet, they manage to have some fun in doing so. We’re seeing Spock here for the first time and so, they have to establish why he never speaks of a sister. Having the Discovery jump into the future is the only way–you feel for Burnham’s family but otherwise, it would bring up continuity issues. I love that the season also includes a return to Talos IV and footage from “The Cage” pilot episode. With how the cinematic two-part finale plays out, Spock grows closer to the Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto versions. Burnham becomes more essential than we know to Spock becoming friends with James T. Kirk.
Star Trek: Discovery has a stronger second season–keeping the focus on Burnham while bringing in Pike and Spock–before the crew jumps into the future.
CREATORS: Bryan Fuller & Alex Kurtzman
SHOWRUNNER: Alex Kurtzman
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, James Duff, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth
CAST: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Wilson Cruz, Shazad Latif, and Anson Mount
GUEST STAR: Ethan Peck
SPECIAL GUEST STAR: Michelle Yeoh
Star Trek: Discovery is streaming on Paramount+. Grade: 4/5
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