The crew of the U.S.S. Discovery joins forces with Captain Pike to unravel the mystery of seven mysterious red signals that have appeared across the universe.
Star Trek: Discovery had a rocky start. Despite the fact that many wanted a new Star Trek series on our screen Discovery suffered from prequel fatigue. Despite an interesting story the first season seemed to suffer from close ties to the overall franchise history. Despite being entertaining it, at times, began to crumble under the weight of all that came before (or after) it.
Flash forward to season 2 and Discovery has found a new lease of life. A creative refresh behind the camera has given the show a well deserved energy boost visible on screen right from the opening scene.
There still strong ties to the past, particularly given the cliffhanger featuring an appearance by the NCC-1701 Enterprise. The writers had somewhat written themselves in to a corner by tying Burnham so intrinsically to Spock.
But for those thinking this season would be overshadowed by the ghost of Spock that isn’t the case. This episode handles his appearances mostly through flashback. He’s a little angstier (and possibly hornier) than we’re used to seeing.
The fleeting moments of Young Spock do, however, serve a purpose. We get to see much more of his relationship with Burnham. From season one we know relations between the two are not great. But little time was spent focussing on why the two haven’t maintained a relationship.
“Brother” catches us up fast so that the story can get going. Before we know it we’re thrust in to the story of the week surrounding seven mystery signals across the galaxy.
There are some huge set pieces in this episode which really ramp up the quality of the action for the series. There’s a few callbacks to the Kelvin timeline movies, particularly the pod jump through the asteroid belt. It’s a pretty thrilling sequence which shows just what CBS is capable of when it comes to high quality production.
That sequence in particular takes the show to a whole new level of special effects. I’ve never bothered to look at the budget for the show but this episode alone is showing a huge shift in quality away from the generic TV style of special effects to something much more cinematic.
Bringing in Anson Mount as Pike appears to be a huge coup also. He embodies the man I think of a Christopher Pike and brings a new atmosphere to the ship. For those who felt season one was too dark there are certainly some steps towards a course correction in this episode.
If this episode is a sign of things to come then Star Trek: Discovery is going feel a who lot slicker in season 2. Storytelling, set design, score, it all feels like a much better production. The show is exuding a new confidence which really works in its favour.
It’s still not the Star Trek you grew up with but it is the Star Trek for a whole new generation. Anyone who knows what should happen to a Red Shirt can attest to truth of that statement.
“Brother” is an exciting reintroduction to the world of Star Trek: Discovery. Moving the series on from the shackles of the Klingon war of season one the series is beginning to carve a niche for itself in the Trek universe.
In the next episode…
Star Trek: Discovery is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout, Bryan Fuller’s Living Dead Guy Productions and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Fuller, Heather Kadin, Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts, Akiva Goldsman, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth serve as executive producers.
The series airs on CBS All Access in North America and Netflix internationally.