Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 2 recap: New Eden


After an incredibly strong return, the second episode of Star Trek: Discovery season two explores a subject not often examined in the franchise – religion.

"Perhaps you should disobey my orders more often, Ensign – Commander Saru"

The second episode of Star Trek: Discovery begins with Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) sharing Spock’s final log with Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) – Spock made drawings of the red signals two months before Starfleet even picked them up. Burnham believes they should speak to Spock about this, but turns out he is currently in a psychiatric facility on Starbase 5.

Spock specifically asked Pike not to reveal this information to his family, which is why Burnham doesn’t know about it. Despite wanting to respect Spock’s request, Pike feels his association with the red signals outweighs his privacy. Pike suggests Burnham extend an olive branch, but that won’t be possible – Burnham hasn’t spoken to her brother in years.

Pike and Burnham are called to the bridge as Discovery has found another red signal thanks to Sylvia Tilly’s (Mary Wiseman) ship modifications. Burnham suggests they get closer to extract the exact coordinates of the signal, but it’s in the Beta Quadrant and the only way to get there in less than 150 years is the mycelium network.

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Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is still the only person who can navigate the network, but he is reluctant to go back in because he saw his partner Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) in the network there even after his death. Unfortunately, he has no choice – it’s Black Alert time!

Discovery reaches their destination, but there’s no signal. Instead, they locate human life-signs and a distress call. According to Saru’s (Doug Jones) scans, the distress call has been transmitting on loop… for 200 years. That was even before warp energy was created. How did these humans get here?

According to Burnham’s calculations, these people arrived in the Beta quadrant at the same time as World War 3 on Earth. The planet is Earth-like, but to investigate how these humans got so far outside the Alpha Quadrant, Pike needs a team on the ground. Burnham suggests Lt. Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) join them for the away mission. The human community is pre-warp and don’t even use electricity, so the away team have to follow the Prime Directive General Order One.

The Discovery away team locate the origins of the distress call – it is coming from a church which seems to have cobbled aspects of several faiths from Earth. The stained glass has several familiar motifs on it, except for one alien figure.

Before they can investigate further, they are spotted and invited to a prayer meeting where they learn more about this planet. New Eden was populated by the First Saved, who took cover in a white church during WW3. When all hope was lost, an ‘angel’ appeared to them surrounded by fire (like the red angel Burnham saw in her vision in the first episode) and brought them to Terralyssium. Not knowing which God had rescued them, the people combined all religions into one as thanks to their savior. They are guided by their faith and don’t really care to examine how they got here.

On Discovery, the crew realizes that the radioactive rings around New Eden are moving towards the planet. In a little over an hour, the planet will be destroyed. Unfortunately, this new phenomenon is affecting the ship and Saru isn’t able to contact or transport the away team back. But the Discovery’s mission isn’t just about rescuing the landing party. It seems the mysterious red signal called to them to save the planet’s inhabitants.

The away team are oblivious to all this. Burnham is distressed that Pike is planning to leave the people behind – she believes they belong on Earth. But Pike doesn’t think they need rescuing, and there’s the Prime Directive to consider.

One of the locals, Jacob, finds them in the church basement – when he sees Owosekun’s tricorder, he asks to be taken back to Earth. His family is scientists and he doesn’t believe in divine intervention, nor that the Earth was destroyed. When Pike and team don’t relent to his requests, Jacob knocks them unconscious and steals their tech.

Tilly is injured while examining the sample of asteroid she had brought on board in the previous episode of Star Trek: Discovery. While recovering in Sickbay, she and a mysterious colleague realize that the asteroid is exactly what they need to pull the radioactive debris away from the planet. While helmswoman Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts) has the skills to fly around the planet, the only way for Tilly’s plan to work is if Discovery is in the center of the debris field. Looks like it’s Stamets and the mycelium network to the rescue again!

Discovery successfully pulls all the debris away from the planet, just in time to beam the away team off New Eden. Having successfully saved the day, Tilly heads back to Sickbay. She meets her mysterious colleague again, who greets her as ‘Stilly’.

The name rings a bell – May Ahearn was a classmate who sent Tilly a message when she was young. But no Ahearn exists in the ship’s crew manifest. When Tilly digs deeper she discovers May Ahearn is deceased. Why is Tilly seeing a dead classmate all of a sudden? Does this have anything to do with Spock and Burnham’s visions?

Burnham finally discloses to Pike that she saw a red figure in the previous episode. She wouldn’t ascribe any divine properties to it, but Pike believes that context can change their perspective – till they figure out what the creature is, at least. Burnham is still cut up about leaving Jacob behind on New Eden – more than that, they weren’t able to retrieve a helmet camera that recorded the First Saved.

Since meeting Jacob will directly go against General Order One, the only person who can make this decision is the captain. Pike returns to New Eden and gives Jacob the closer he needs. That is enough for him, which is a relief. Can’t imagine how a Luddite community member would survive in 23rd century Federation space. But Pike sweetens the deal, trading a long-lasting energy cell for the helmet. At last, New Eden’s church has power once again.

Pike replays the footage from the camera – it shows WW3 soldiers in the white church and then the red ‘angel’ appearing out of nowhere.

Next. Star Trek: Discovery season 2, episode 3 recap. dark

It’s a dissonant feeling watching characters on Star Trek discuss religion and divinity – the twain has rarely met in past shows. Yet, the subject is deftly handled and the nod to more religions than just Christianity (as is common in most American media) is a great way to respect the global audience that has followed this franchise since the beginning.