Warning: SPOILERS below for Star Trek: Discovery‘s Season 2 premiere:
Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 premiere, “Brother”, brought Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) aboard the titular starship. However, fans hoping to also see Mr. Spock (Ethan Peck) will have to wait a bit longer; only the famed Vulcan’s voice is heard in his ship’s log late in the episode, which leaves behind several major questions for season 2.
Picking right up from Star Trek: Discovery season 1 finale’s cliffhanger, the U.S.S. Discovery has come face-to-face with a damaged U.S.S. Enterprise. Captain Pike beams aboard and takes command of Acting Captain Saru’s (Doug Jones) vessel with a new mission to investigate seven red signals in space, one of which crippled the Enterprise’s systems. Meanwhile, Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) expects to see her foster brother Spock, the Enterprise’s Science Officer, and is disappointed when he’s nowhere to be found. Burnham and Pike lead a team to investigate one of the signals, which is emanating from an asteroid. They instead find a crashed Federation starship with an engineer named Jet Reno (Tig Notaro) aboard. As they escape the asteroid, Burnham is injured and sees a ghostly red vision before Pike saves her. Back aboard the Discovery, Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) beams an asteroid fragment composed of dark matter aboard as Burnham boards the Enterprise to search for Spock, finding instead the star map to the seven red signals her Vulcan foster brother left behind.
Star Trek: Discovery‘s season 2 premiere introduces a bit more fun and levity into the series while still generating several mysteries about the red signals in space, about the Starship Enterprise, and about Spock’s unrevealed history with Michael Burnham. Here are the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premiere’s biggest questions:
- This Page: Questions About The Red Signals
- Page 2: Questions About The Starship Enterprise
- Page 3: Questions About Michael Burnham and Spock
What Are The Seven Red Signals?
Captain Pike’s orders were to take command of the Discovery and investigate the mysterious red signals that damaged the Enterprise. There are seven red signals spread out over 30,000 light years but the first signal appeared to vanish when Discovery went to investigate. The trailer for Star Trek: Discovery season 2 already revealed that the threat the crew will face is “The Red Angel”. However, while Burnham does see a vision of the Red Angel – an otherworldly apparition of a humanoid silhouette with what appears to be wings – the name “Red Angel” isn’t spoken in the episode and Discovery comes up with no real answers about the “red things”, as Pike called them.
Besides the apparition and the star map Michael discovers in Spock’s quarters aboard the Enterprise, we learn little about the mysterious Red Angel, but the story of the African girl thousands of years ago who created the Milky Way that Michael narrates must be tied to it. Is the Red Angel indeed “a message in a bottle” left among the stars with answers to ancient cosmic questions? After dealing with Klingons, war, and the Mirror Universe in season 1, is the Red Angel Discovery‘s season 2 pivot in the direction of meeting the kind of space gods that have appeared throughout Star Trek history like the Metron, the Iconians, or the Q Continuum?
Is Jet Reno Lying About Not Knowing What The Signal Is?
When Discovery investigates the first red signal which emanates from an asteroid comprised of dark matter that’s heading into a pulsar, Michael, Pike, and Commander Nahn find the crashed U.S.S. Hiawatha, a Starfleet medical frigate believed to have been lost 10 months prior. Aboard the Hiawatha, they met Jet Reno, the sarcastic Engineer who kept members of her crew alive by jerry-rigging various means of life support. However, when Pike asked what she knew about the signal, Reno claimed she’d never heard of them.
Is Jet lying? After all, she spent 10 months alone on the Hiawatha and she had the ingenuity to turn the ship’s systems into medical life support, plus she constructed three flying drones she calls “the kids” that serve as her eyes and ears. It doesn’t seem likely Reno wouldn’t have encountered the signal or even seen a vision of the Red Angel. And if Reno isn’t telling the truth, she certainly wouldn’t be the first duplicitous Starfleet character introduced by Discovery. The mysterious Jet Reno knows more than she’s letting on and she definitely bears watching, especially now that she’s aboard the Discovery.
What’s The Deal With Lieutenant Connelly?
Burnham was expecting Spock and was disappointed when the Enterprise’s acting Science Officer, Lieutenant Evan Connelly, beamed aboard the Discovery instead. Even more disappointing was how Connelly quickly established himself to be an arrogant idiot who looked down his nose at Michael and assumed he knew more than her. Then, because he was so pig-headed, Connelly foolishly got himself killed in short order while flying a pod through an asteroid storm.
Connelly seemed like Star Trek: Discovery season 2’s version of season 1’s dumbest character, Commander Landry. The former Security Chief of Discovery won herself no fans by also being arrogant and obstinate and she also got herself killed in short order by not listening to Michael – which led the Tardigrade to rip her apart. If Connelly is a sly callback to Landry, here’s hoping he’s also the last outright stupid character Star Trek: Discovery serves up. Starfleet Officers are supposed to be more competent and much smarter than that.
Who Is Supposed To Be The Discovery’s New Captain?
Star Trek: Discovery‘s game of musical Captain’s chair is continuing in season 2 with Pike remaining aboard and sharing Discovery with Saru in a form of “joint custody”. However that’s supposed to work, Pike becomes the fifth character to sit in Discovery’s top chair, after Captain Gabriel Lorca, Admiral Katrina Cornwell, Emperor Philippa Georgiou, and Acting Captain Saru.
But at the end of season 1, Discovery was en route to Vulcan to pick up their new captain – this was before they encountered the Enterprise, which now brings Pike aboard. So who is supposed to be Discovery’s new commanding officer? Why didn’t anyone mention the new captain’s name? Does Discovery even know who they were traveling to Vulcan to beam aboard as their new C.O.? Did Starfleet even tell them (and if not, why would something that important be kept a surprise from the crew)? And now that Pike is sharing Discovery with Saru and launching a new mission, what is the supposed new Captain doing? Is he or she just staying on Vulcan and waiting for Discovery to show up at some point?
Why Does The Enterprise’s Crew Have New Uniforms?
Captain Pike, Lt. Connelly, and engineer Commander Nhan beamed aboard Discovery clad in Starfleet’s new uniforms, which Burnham noted were “very colorful”. Of course, the bright, primary colored uniforms are a nod to the original Star Trek series, with Pike wearing Command Gold, Connelly wearing Science Blue, and Nhan wearing Engineering Red like Captain Kirk, Spock, and Scotty will respectively a decade from Star Trek: Discovery‘s era.
But why is the Enterprise crew wearing new uniforms anyway? After all, Discovery had just left the Paris Accords on Earth with all of Starfleet’s top brass in attendance and no one there was wearing the color-coded new uniforms. Furthermore, by Pike’s own explanation, the Enterprise missed the Klingon War entirely because they were exploring deep space on a five-year mission, so if they were so far away, at what point did they get new uniforms? (Also, in the original series’ pilot “The Cage”, which was Pike’s sole appearance in TOS, his era of the Enterprise wore monochromatic blue/grey uniforms.)
At the end of the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premiere, Pike decides to wear the uniform everyone on Discovery wears, making things even more confusing than in Star Trek Generations when Picard and Data wore the Deep Space Nine uniforms while the rest of the crew wore the Next Generation uniforms for seemingly no reason.
Why Did The Vulcan Science Academy Invite Stamets To Teach?
Lieutenant Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) lost his partner Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz), who was murdered by Ash Tyler/Voq (Shazad Latif) in Star Trek: Discovery season 1. He reveals to Tilly that he’s leaving Discovery when the ship arrives on Vulcan to start over because of all the bad memories of what happened to Hugh on the ship. Thanks to his breakthrough with discovering the mycelial network and inventing the spore displacement hub drive, Stamets has been invited to teach at the Vulcan Science Academy. This is both an extreme honor and something that sounds highly unlikely.
Even with Stamets’ accomplishments, it’s very unlike the Vulcans to welcome any human into the Science Academy. After all, Spock was only half-human and he faced tremendous difficulty with the Vulcan’s notorious racism and xenophobia. Meanwhile, Michael Burnham, who was raised by Sarek and trained as a Vulcan, was rejected from joining the Vulcan Expeditionary Group. Unless this is simply a plot for the Vulcans to learn the secrets of the mycelial network, an invitation to even the brilliant Paul Stamets to join the Vulcan Science Academy seems very suspect.
Where Did Spock Go?
One of the big mysteries in the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premiere is why Spock hasn’t come onto the Discovery, with Michael finally learning from Pike that he took leave from the Enterprise. After she beams aboard and searches Spock’s quarters, Michael learns from her foster brother’s log that the nightmares he had as a child had returned and finds a star map with corresponds to the seven red signals.
Obviously, Spock left to search for the source of the signals and his nightmares – the Red Angel – but where did he go? Did he return to Vulcan? Did the Enterprise beam him somewhere or did he take a shuttlecraft – if it’s the latter, it shouldn’t prove too difficult to track him and find him? Whatever the case, where Spock went is where the answers to the red signals likely lie.
We know from the trailers that a bearded Spock does appear at some point in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, so Michael and Discovery are able to find him. For now, all Michael has are the clues he left behind (though the star map did spark some recognition in Michael).
Why Didn’t Saru Ever Mention His Sister To Michael?
En route to the Transporter Room to receive Captain Pike, Saru and Michael have a quick exchange about the anxiety Saru sensed in Michael about seeing Spock again. Obviously, Saru knew all about Michael’s life being raised on Vulcan and that Spock is his foster brother. But then Michael turns and asks Saru if he has any siblings, to which Saru responded yes; Saru’s sister is named Siranna and fans were introduced to her in the third Short Trek, “The Brightest Star”. Saru left Siranna and their father Aradar behind on their homeworld Kaminar and he’s forbidden to return.
The shocking thing about this exchange is that Michael apparently never asked Saru about his sister before this moment. After all, they have served together as colleagues and friendly rivals for seven years on the U.S.S. Shenzhou under the late Captain Philippa Georgiou. And yet, after knowing each other for eight years and serving on two different starships in two parallel universes, Michael never thought to ask Saru about his family until now?
What Really Happened Between Spock and Michael?
All throughout the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 premiere, Michael is in quite a bit of emotional distress in regards to Spock. Of course, Michael is no stranger to emotional distress; she spent all of season 1 repenting for her mutiny that caused the Klingon War. However, Michael is upset when she believes Spock remained on the Enterprise and is deliberately ignoring her. In her conversation with Sarek, the elder Vulcan intuited that there was a great deal Michael was not saying, despite her hint that “for a time”, Spock definitely “felt empathy” to her.
Something definitely happened between Spock and Michael that contributed to his decision to join Starfleet and not speak to her or Sarek for several years. If the foster siblings had a falling out, what could it have been about? Michael’s choice of words regarding “empathy… for a time” is curious; is she intimating that perhaps Spock developed romantic feelings for her when he was growing up? (This is one way to interpret the young Spock’s hostility and then how he watched Michael with fascination when she first came to live with them.) Also, the young Spock was betrothed to T’Pring until the arranged marriage was dissolved in The Original Series episode “Amok Time” – did Michael factor into this somehow? Or was Spock and Michael’s falling out the result of sibling jealousy of another sort because Sarek chose Spock over Michael to join the Vulcan Expeditionary Group (before Spock opted instead to join Starfleet in defiance of his father)?
There is bound to be a lot of new information fans will learn about Spock and Michael Burnham’s complicated relationship, and whatever secrets are revealed, they’re bound to have a fascinating impact not just on Star Trek: Discovery season 2 but on Spock’s known future in Star Trek canon.
Star Trek: Discovery season 2 streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access, on Space in Canada, and Fridays on Netflix internationally.