As Kobayashi Marie finishes it’s mission to cover the First Season of Star Trek Discovery the column begins its journey into Season 2 with Episode 1 –Brother
“I was expecting a red thing. Where’s my damn red thing?”
Season 2 of Star Trek Discovery had been teased pre-season as heralding the appearance of Spock, and with the revelation that the episode title is Brother, then we are all full of anticipation.
But like Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Sarek (James Frain) we are left frustrated and confused by his absence in this opening episode.
I felt like this was a strong start to the season, but there were a couple of things which seemed odd right from the get-go. Firstly, and most obviously for me, the young Michael Burnham (Arista Arhin). Early in season 1, we get a little of Burnham’s back story and see her in a flashback as she is studying at the Vulcan academy. The flashbacks in this episode see Michael being welcomed into Sarek and Amanda’s home for the first time, yet the person is older than the child we saw last season. Obviously the actor is older now, but the fact that the character is supposed to be younger had me well and truly confused for a moment.
Secondly, how on earth is Michael allowed to enter Spock’s personal quarters on the Enterprise, and then listen to his personal log? In these days of data protection, surely she wouldn’t have been able to do that?
Anyway, let’s start with our new Captain. Anson Mount has a job to do in becoming Christopher Pike, and for the most part I’m very happy with how things went in this first episode. For a few moments, I’ll admit to feeling a little unsure about him. The notification that he was to take command of Discovery didn’t seem to reach the ship, and then his hand-print identification wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. But then we’ve already had one captain take over who turned out to be not all that he seemed, so the writers wouldn’t do that to us again, would they? Would they? I decided they would not. Or if they did, it would be extremely disappointing. He’s clearly someone who’s used to being in command though, and has a clear vision of how the ship should operate. Trouble is, he’s not used to this bridge crew yet and so when he raises his voice to assert himself, Michael puts him in his place in no uncertain terms. Thankfully, he acquiesces respectfully.
Other new characters provoked a range of responses during my watch, most of them highly positive. Pike arrives with Commander Nhan (Rachael Ancheril) and Lieutenant Connolly (Sean Connolly Affleck) and along with the majority of viewers I made the assumption that the one in red was not going to be around for too long. Brother completely upended expectations by taking out Connolly mid-mansplain in delicious fashion. Do not underestimate the knowledge and experience of the women, my man.
I liked the wrap-around visor guy’s look on the transporter, and I really do hope that Linus (David Benjamin Tomlinson) becomes a regular feature. It would be great if he’s constantly standing in just the wrong place in the turbo lift every other week.
That’s not to forget about our familiar crew – that lovely relationship between Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is still developing, and becoming extremely touching whenever they share screen time. Although Stamets encouraging Tilly to “say fewer things” was a little unfair – she wouldn’t be Tilly if she said fewer things, so don’t stop, Sylvia! Of course, Tilly attempting to assert herself on the bridge now that she’s on the command training programme was one of the top comic moments.
One great filming trick used a couple of times this episode was the way doors close on a person then open on them as they enter the next scene. It’s a great way of having the mood or energy change as characters move from one scenario to another, and the swish of the turbo lift door is always a great sound.
The jury’s still out for me on the strategically-placed fortune cookie message. Is it just a clever, passing reference to the original Star Trek pilot episode The Cage, where Christopher Pike was captain, or does the text of the message indicate something deeper? I suppose we’ll find out over the next few weeks.
Not every cage is a prison, nor every loss eternal.
Kobayashi Marie will be back on Friday with an all new column for Season 2 of Star Trek Discovery