Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premiere recap: Brother


reStar Trek: Discovery returns for its sophomore season with an exciting premiere that sets up the central premise and introduces Michael Burnham’s relationship with her brother, Spock.

Star Trek: Discovery season 2 starts with an updated version of the iconic monologue that has become synonymous with the franchise. It segues into how Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) came to be adopted by her Vulcan foster father, Sarek (James Frain), and his human wife, Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner). We get no details of the ‘unthinkable’ thing that led to the child being orphaned as Michael had talked about it in the first season of the show, but we glimpse Michael meeting her adoptive brother for the first time.

"“Wherever our mission takes us, we’ll try and have a little fun along the way,” – Captain Christopher Pike."

Spock is pretty unwelcoming, sending a digital monster to greet Michael before closing the door on her. The two definitely don’t get along, but there will be more to discover about their relationship over the course of this season of Star Trek: Discovery.

At the end of season one, the USS Enterprise had sent a priority signal which the USS Discovery had picked up. Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) asks to come onboard, along with a security officer, and a science officer. Sarek and Michael immediately look perturbed – the science officer aboard the Enterprise is Spock, who neither have seen in years. Are they to meet him now after so long?

Saru (Doug Jones) and Burnham greet Pike and his fellow officers, but surprisingly, Spock is not with them. Pike has come aboard to take command of the Discovery because the Federation has picked up simultaneous red signals across the galaxy. But when the Enterprise went to investigate the sole signal whose location they could triangulate, the ship sustained heavy damage.

Pike knows that the Discovery crew is on edge after their previous captain, Gabriel Lorca (Jason  Isaacs), betrayed them. He implores them to put their faith in him – he is nothing like his predecessor. I like that Pike is trying his best to respect what the crew has gone through, as well as an attempt to preserve Saru’s pride, despite the circumstances he’s been put in.

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Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) reminisces about his late partner Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) with an old recording of him talking about Kasseelian opera. He is interrupted by Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman), who has completed the Command Training Program and is now ‘drunk on power’. But nothing she says is making much of an impact on Stamets. It turns out, he has taken up a training position on Vulcan, because he can’t bear to see Hugh’s ‘ghost’ everywhere on Discovery. Had Pike’s mission not postponed Stamets’ transfer, he would have been long gone by now.

Sarek meets with Michael to tell her that he will be leaving Discovery once they drop out of warp. He is needed to help decipher these mysterious signals. It is not related to the Klingon war that broke out in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery, as the Klingons are also unaware of the origin of the signals. Sarek has already spoken to L’Rell, the Klingon leader, to confirm this.

When the Discovery reaches their destination, they fly straight into some kind of asteroid debris field. The point of impact matches that of the red signal’s origin and Burnham’s scans spot a Starfleet vessel in the field. It’s a medical frigate, the USS Hiawatha, thought to be destroyed in the Klingon war.

“Brother” — Episode 201– Pictured (l-r): Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun; Ronnie Rowe as Bryce; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham; James Frain as Sarek; Doug Jones as Saru; Mary Wiseman as Tilly; Anthony Rapp as Stamets; Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pike insists on boarding the frigate and Burnham joins him, along with Pike’s Enterprise colleagues. The tech in Star Trek: Discovery is unlike the ones that we are used to seeing in the Star Trek franchise – in fact, the sound design is similar to that of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

Burnham, who was a test pilot for these particular shuttles, takes the lead, but the Enterprise science officer, Connelly, doesn’t listen to her and gets blasted by a stray asteroid. Pike’s shuttle is consequently hit by shrapnel, disabling his shuttle and his suit. Burnham defies Pike’s orders and manages to catch him before he impacts on the asteroid surface. It’s a close call, but she grabs him and the Discovery helmswomen, Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) and Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts), activate Burnham’s suit thrusters to help her land safely with Pike in tow.

When they reach the frigate, a disembodied voice leads the away team to safety. Somebody’s still alive in here? Pike and Burnham meet Jett Reno (Tig Notaro), who has been living on this frigate for over 10 months. Despite being an engineer, she used her skills to set up medical units to preserve the lives of several of her officers.

“Brother” — Episode 201– Pictured: Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Burnham gets the frigate operating well enough to start transporting the patients. As always with Star Trek, just as Burnham is about to beam back to her ship, there’s a massive explosion and she gets left behind while the last of the crew are transported out.

Injured and alone, she sees a mysterious figure aglow in red light. But the vision evaporates and Pike appears to rescue her. At the last moment, Burnham remembers to grab a sample of the asteroid for Tilly to examine, but she’s beamed away without it. How did the transporter not get a lock on the rock?

While in Sickbay, Burnham locates some possible asteroid debris that Tilly can capture for her examination to see why the mycelium spores onboard Discovery reacted to the asteroid in the first place. The ‘sample’ that Tilly brings on board is huge – it looks like an asteroid itself!

Now that the mission is completed, Pike immediately bequeaths the Captain’s chair to Saru. I really like this guy! However, Pike is remaining onboard Discovery as the ship has been tasked with uncovering the source of the red signals.

Burnham asks to go onboard the Enterprise to visit Spock, but Pike tells her that Spock is no longer there. Pike and his entire crew were deeply affected by the Klingon war, mostly because the Federation kept the Enterprise away from it. Something changed in Spock over the last several months and now he’s unreachable.

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Burnham boards the Enterprise anyway, seemingly to feel closer to her foster brother. According to Spock’s logs, he had nightmares as a child and now those nightmares have returned. Spock seems to have gone to investigate them and he’s a left a star chart that Burnham examines – a chart plotting the red signals the Federation is looking for.