With the U.S.S. Enterprise making a surprise appearance at the end of Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery, a potentially scary promise was made by the producers. This prequel series that brushed up against canon, but more often than not, carved new paths separate from that continuity, will attempt to align itself with the known Star Trek universe. Quibbles over uniform disparity, technological advances, Spock’s adopted half-sister, and hairless Klingons will be addressed head-on. Can showrunner Alex Kurtzman thread the needle, finding harmony between new and old Trekkies?
We learned earlier this year that the Enterprise‘s Captain Pike (Anson Mount) will take command of the Discovery to track down several mysterious signals and that they are associated with a bizarre lifeform known as the “Red Angels.” These are also creatures that both Spock (Ethan Peck) and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) have experienced via vision. Everyone’s favorite science officer has fled to the outer reaches in an effort to explain their existence, leaving breadcrumbs for Pike to follow.
Taking the stage at the New York Comic-Con this past weekend, Kurtzman and the cast brought whole heaps of new information to the table, including a fancy new trailer featuring our first official look at Ethan Peck’s shaggy Spock. We catch a few more glimpses at the plot as well as how the second season will cement Star Trek’s wobbly timeline. This season is a big, bold reach and I’m eager to see if they can pull it off.
Let’s start at the end with Ethan Peck as Spock. Check that scruffy beard and ragamuffin haircut. We’ve seen the character looking a little worse for wear before, most notably in Star Trek: The Motion Picture when he was rocking the long locks before denying the Kolinahr purging of emotions on Vulcan. I’ve always appreciated seeing Spock pushed to the limits, watching him battle logic over emotion. As we saw in J.J.’s rebootquels, the younger Spock struggles with his identity, and he’s still many years away from finding the balance between his Vulcan and Terran halves that Leonard Nimoy represented.
We hear narration detailing his relationship with the Red Angel visions, but now he firmly states, “I understand its meaning and where it must lead.” Will this statement put him at odds with Captain Pike? Probably. But it will also most likely reaffirm his relationship with adopted-sis Burnham. She’s already found one family amongst the stars, and the time has come for her to reconnect with past family members. Much of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 was about Burnham resisting flight from purpose, and finally settling her distressful relationship with Spock will go a long way in completing her character arc.
Yes, the Klingons have regained their manes. According to TrekMovie, the plot detail to explain Chancellor L’Rell’s (Mary Chieffo) new ‘do is that when at war Klingons shave their heads, but now that the battle with the Federation has dwindled, the hair can come back. Sure, ok. I wasn’t complaining about the discrepancies in look, but whatever. The white-haired Klingon with Dryden Vos’ laser whip and the House of Kor face tattoo looks rad as hell.
After Spock, the coolest aspect of the trailer is Michelle Yeoh’s return as Terran Emperor Georgiou. We see her undercover amongst the Klingons, but then she disrobes, and we get a quick shot of someone handing her a black delta shield. Section 31, baby! While her Mirror Universe origins remain a secret to several (including Captian Pike), Starfleet’s covert operations wing is using her deadly morality as a scalpel in their toolkit. When we see her later on in the trailer give the “come at me, bro” hand gesture, we know that Georgiou is going to be a massive adversary this season. At the very least, Georgiou will be a headache that Burnham can’t quit.
I am cautiously optimistic that Season 2 can pull off the bridging of the Discovery to the Enterprise. It is a difficult task that will certainly continue to alienate some traditionalist viewers, but for Star Trek to survive beyond its already impressive 50-plus year lifespan, the concept and the characters must evolve.