Review: Star Trek Discovery Season Two Premiere – “Brother”January 18, 2019
While I loved the darker tone of the first season, I was happy to see the tone start a little lighter, let by newcomer Anson Mount as Captain Pike. Discovery did a great job in the premiere of covering all the plot points, Pike, Spock, the Red Angel mystery, and does it in a way that did not feel rushed or cheap.
The Red Angel mystery is what looks to be a season-long story arc that at the same time was a great way to bring the Enterprise and Discovery together. While investigating this strange phenomenon, the Enterprise took heavy damage so while it is repaired Pike has joined the Discovery as Captain to continue the mission to find out just what these red lights, or Red Angel, is all about.
Anson Mount takes little time in establishing how different Pike is from Lorca and how his easy demeanor, humor, and smile are instantly disarming. He makes the bridge crew feel more like part of the team, wanting to know their first names and showing little interest in rank. The horrors that the crew of Discovery were forced to endure thanks to Lorca has left them a little shell shocked and Pike seems to be the perfect Captain to help rebuild trust and comradery on the bridge and for that matter, the whole ship.
The big action piece of the episode accomplished two things: the first being that the powers that be want to make it clear that they have a big budget for a reason and two, the entire bridge crew was allowed to help out, even if they weren’t directed involved in what was happening outside the ship. While the Landing Pod sequence was great, watching the underutilized members of the bridge crew make an impact is already an improvement from last year.
This rescue mission also introduced us to Chief Engineer Reno from the crashed starship Hiawatha. Her humor amongst the chaos and horrific surroundings she had been living with for the past ten months was wonderful. The episode really walked that fine line between humor and horror here and did a very good job with it, not going too far in either direction and making the situation Reno was in actually seem plausible.
Tilly once again had some well, Tilly moments, babbling on in nervous and excited verbal pieces while still managing to be useful with her intelligence and charm. Her initial interaction with Pike was perfect and for that matter, Burham’s numerous interactions with Pike were also well done. We are going to be seeing a lot of these two together so it was important for Discovery to show that the chemistry was going to work between them and one episode in things look to be on the right track.
The episode weaved and danced its way around the other big addition to this season, that being Spock. I’ll give the show credit, they just didn’t dive headfirst into that challenging character but instead, gave us what looked like a little self-centered bratty Spock in some flashbacks by Burnham to set the stage for what was and still is a difficult relationship between the two. It will interesting to watch these two as they interact more and more during the season, something that could go a long way in making this season a success.
Without a doubt, “Brother” was a strong start to season two and a solid episode overall. It was a bit heavy-handed in its story building and setup at times but it never felt like we were being spoon-fed disposable material. Instead, the premiere hit all the right notes and made the rest of season two very intriguing indeed.
Four stars out of five