Anson Mount as Captain Pike may be the best thing to happen to Star Trek: Discovery yet. Season 1 was riveting, but Pike brings a touch of old school that grounds Season 2 in Star Trek lore and makes it feel like home. It seems that you can come home again. The Season 2 premiere of Discovery proved that.
With Sarek playing a big role in the premiere, so much talk about Spock, and callbacks to The Original Series (including the colorful uniforms!), the Season 2 premiere gives sure footing to where it stands in the Star Trek timeline, unlike Season 1 where I had to keep reminding myself that we weren’t somewhere beyond Star Trek Voyager. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery. But Season 2 feels like it’s already on firmer ground, with an even more intriguing premise. I’m very excited to see where this “red angels” storyline is heading. Will they be led to someone they need to help every time? Why was Spock dreaming about the very creature that we’re now seeing? And why did Michael have a vision of the creature too?
The episode had a lot of humor mixed with touching moments of human fragility, and action that kept me at the edge of my seat. When they first went out of warp and were in an asteroid belt, and then quickly discovered a Starfleet ship was on an asteroid that was about to disintegrate — that was a compelling, action-filled story. Michael’s encounter with the red angel was confusing and intriguing. And her acting was on point for the premiere.
Stamets, of course, tugged on the heartstrings. He lost the love of his life and can’t let go. His desire to leave Discovery because of all the memories was so authentic (as was Tilly’s heartbreak at the idea of his leaving.) But then the new discovery of an element that can power the spore drive pulled him back in, and that was authentic too. We didn’t get one of those silly “I’m staying because of the power of friends” storylines. His passion for a new discovery he couldn’t study anywhere else was the only thing that could override his grief.
And Tilly, of course, was a joy to watch. I especially loved her interactions with Captain Pike and hope that we see more of that. She was so flustered around him, and it was just adorable (even that fun touch where he pretended to be injured, when he wasn’t.)
Then there was the introduction of Tig Notaro the engineer. She had a Dr. McCoy feel to her, and she was fascinating in just the short time we had with her. She used engineering to save all the people on her ship. I would absolutely love to see her as an engineer on Discovery.
The show even avoided killing a red shirt. When they had the mission to the asteroid, I was positive the red shirt was going to die. That was a surprise! The only part I questioned was the captain going on such a dangerous mission. (Don’t captains usually not go on away missions like that?) But of course, we needed the character there in order to give him more interactions with the crew and to start building his storyline.
Anson Mount is perfect as Pike. He’s confident, but he’s also imperfect and funny. The emotional scars that Lorca left Discovery with are palpable, and Pike seems like the perfect captain to step in after what they all went through. His willingness to work with Saru and his respect for Saru was also meaningful and said a lot about the character’s humility.
Lorca was a fascinating captain in Season 1. I honestly wasn’t sure if a new captain could live up to the shadow Lorca left behind. But after the premiere, I’m 100 percent on board with Pike and can’t wait to see what he brings next to the show.