Kobayashi Marie ventures deeper into the unknown journey that is Season 2 with Episode 2 – New Eden
“If you’re telling me that this ship can skip across the universe on a highway made of mushrooms, I kind of have to go on faith.”
So the first two episodes of this season have both seen Discovery urgently following a signal, with the result that they end up helping or rescuing people they were previously unaware of. And despite Spock’s ongoing physical absence, it does feel like he’s had a hand in guiding both of these, interestingly.
But let’s start with Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) this time. Perhaps trying to run before she can walk, Tilly finds herself in sick bay after a bump to the head, and is encouraged to find a solution to this week’s problem by May (Bahia Watson). May is already proving a conundrum for me, as we learn at the end of this episode that she died quite a while ago and so couldn’t possibly have actually been with Tilly in sick bay or the turbo lift. On the one hand then, that perhaps leads back to the one tiny little spore which landed on Tilly’s shoulder in S1E13 What’s Past Is Prologue – is Tilly seeing May the same way that Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) has seen Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz)? Is Tilly now able to navigate the mycelial network to some extent, even though she doesn’t realise it yet? On the other hand, there was something about May that – for me on first viewing at least – was very Tilly-like in her delivery, even down to using the phrase “What the heck” which is a very Sylvia Tilly expression. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of May, and we’ll eventually realise her significance to Tilly and Discovery. But whatever happens, Tilly standing on the bridge in a hospital gown telling Lt Detmer (Emily Coutts) “You would be doing a donut. In a starship.” is the best line so far this season.
New Eden then is an episode in need of yet another landing party. But on this occasion it’s the version where it’s a pre-warp community and so the team has to dress down and fit in. This time, it’s all about not violating the Prime Directive. Or as it’s constantly referred to in Discovery, General Order One. At what point does it become the Prime Directive? Specially selected for the task of joining Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) – and this is because she grew up in a Luddite community on Earth
*record scratch* Wait, wait wait. There are Luddite communities on Earth in the 23rd century? How does that work? And even more interestingly, tell us more about Owo’s background then! What is her family like, and how did she end up joining Starfleet? I really, really hope we get that story one day.
Anyway, back to Terralysium, where Pike shows quite a depth of knowledge of Earth’s various religions (inherited, we are led to believe, from his father) – but glossed over for the moment is the part when he admits that he knows what it like to live with doubt. It may have been passed over quickly in the episode, but this is clearly a reference to The Cage, the original pilot for Star Trek, in which Pike feels guilt at the demise of his landing party and considered resigning his commission as Starfleet officer, uncomfortable with the burdens of leadership.
The angel theme is picking up pace now, and clearly requires an explanation. A scientific one, of course. If you’re one of those people who has the option to click ‘skip credits’ when you’re watching episodes of Discovery, you might be interested (as I was) to see that the angel motif actually appears in the credits sequence of the episodes, so there is a significance.
Having almost had a self-contained adventure in New Eden, I’m still left with a number of unanswered questions, several of which I hope will be answered over the course of this season, and these are apart from the ones I’ve mentioned already! In no particular order, they are:
How did the residents of Terralysium get there without a starship? Discovery is only there because of the spore drive.
Will we ever meet Jacob (Andrew Moodie) and Rose (Kiara Groulx) again? (I wouldn’t be surprised if we did.)
And most importantly … why does every episode have to end on a cliffhanger? I know the writers are attempting to weave a larger story arc, but every now and again it would be good to have an episode end on a success. Or a bit of McCoy/Kirk style banter. But because each episode seems to have to set up the following one, there’s no sense of completion. I mean, it’s not like I’m not going to come back anyway; I’m already fully invested. Obviously!