Trekathon 759: Brother (DIS)

Discovery is back with Season 2. Spoilers ahead.

My big concern going into the episode was that Discovery was a one-trick pony. Season one was a fairly tightly plotted mystery box, almost all of which was resolved within the season. The second season won’t have the same opportunities, as the table is already set.

So what do we have after one episode? A fairly dull mystery (a few mysterious space thingos), a Burnham/Spock backstory deliberately obscured, and a new Captain. While the trailer suggests the threat will become another ‘existential threat to the galaxy’, at the moment it’s not even very clear why it’s an emergency.

An awful lot of this season is going to rest on an explanation of ‘how come Spock never mentions an adopted sister’. Personally I don’t feel like I need that explanation, I’m happy for it to be something he never mentions just because. But I suspect that’s not the writer’s approach. And from the episode it’s been set up as a key element of the overall plot.

But I’ll be very impressed if they mention Sybok as well.

Overall this was a pretty flat episode for me. There’s too much forced conflict between Pike and the crew. And the writing is just a bit shaky and uneven. For instance, the fairly nice performance by Tig Notaro as the commander on the crashed ship is undermined when they just abandon her in favour of doing some predictable ‘ship blows up and people escape by the skin of their teeth’ sequence.

Not a massively promising start to the year, but it is nice to be back with the crew.

Quick hits:

* I saw on Twitter the secret meaning of the US premiere date of 17 January – 17-01, as in NCC-1701. Cute.

* OK, Cassini footage at the start. Just love it. But why does it have to be in flickery fake 16mm?

* Young Spock is a bit of a brat.

* There’s a lovely little glance between Burnham and Sarek as she says ‘entire complement’ is intact. Nicely done.

* Romulan crest in the credits, pretty clear hint towards some of what this season will cover.

* “Sometimes it’s wise to keep our expectations low” – yes, very funny Mr/Ms Writer.

* Hated the fancy internals of the Discovery stuff – just made no spatial or logistic sense.

* The Tilly cringe sequence was a little overdone.

* An art form that involve suicide at the end of the performance seems an odd thing to be OK within the Federation.

* There was a bit more effort to give the ‘non main credit’ crew some time. I particularly love the subtle joy of Lt Detmer in piloting the ship.

* I’m glad that Saru is going to be more than just the science officer, he has a lot of potential as a captain.

759 down.