Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Reviews
Boldly going again.
We bring you the Star Trek Discovery Season 2 episode reviews, because we want to; it’s my website and I can do what I want.
Season 1 of Discovery came and went, and boy has it been a while since the cliffhanger with the Enterprise. (Yes, I know, we got the Short Treks. Tilly met royalty, a guy bonded with Discovery in the future, Saru did NOT get eaten, and there are a thousand Dwight Schrutes, er, Harry Mudds in the Milky Way.) Now, the picture is being painted of the show’s second season. Just like last year, we will rank the episodes and share random thoughts, laugh a little, cry a little, and…well, I mean, if this is making you cry then something probably went wrong.
No time to waste.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part II” (E14)
The loose ends are tied up, Spock is clean-shaven, and PAUL AND HUGH ARE BACK TOGETHER! Don’t make me tell you everything that happened when you can watch the action-packed hour for yourself. Any of you with sci-fi blue balls after last week, I hope this got you off, so to speak.
Speaking of such innuendo, I have to tell you, that last scene of Pike and the Enterprise crew, including Spock, making chit-chat on the bridge got me all hot and bothered for a Pike pre-TOS reboot. I would watch the hell out of that show. If you are reading this, so would you. Do not even bother denying it.
The Section 31 plotline has always been kind of meh for me, but how can you not have enjoyed Evil Georgiou’s deep schadenfreude while she watched Leland rip apart? It’s also a good thing she killed Leland before they got to the future, as, obviously, keeping Control out of the future was the whole point. As we suspected, now we know why Section 31 goes underground after this whole hullabaloo and doesn’t come back until Deep Space Nine.
I understand that they had to have the schmaltzy goodbye moment between Spock and Burnham, but considering how things were blowing up all around them, you think they could have, you know, sped it up a little?
Notice also how while Burnham and Discovery evidently made it to the future, they showed us nothing about how it is. We only saw the promised seventh signal that they made it. Now, the question (for Season 3) is if they get back, how they get back, and when they get back. You could say they went back to the future — maybe Burnham and Saru come back in a DeLorean with Huey Lewis playing in the background.
Season 2 of Discovery was miles better than the first season. Have to admit, I’m going to miss it on my Thursday nights. Please don’t make me wait over a year for Season 3.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part I” (E13)
For a build-up episode, it gave me a lot. Others this season have not, but considering how little the plot seemed to advance during that 48 minute stretch, this did it. Yes, the Michael Burnham goodbye tour played itself out, but you can get behind this Discovery crew. Nice of Tilly to round up a posse to go to the future with Burnham.
The Enterprise was beautiful. I hope you had a towel nearby because that was a multiple nerdgasm event. We better be seeing that set in future seasons and/or shows, wink wink, nudge nudge.
Questions: Do we see the other two “signals” next week? Who set them? Was it Burnham herself in the future finding a way to set the very signals for which she searched? Does Saru finally get to become the captain? Is Prime Lorca hiding in the future? Is there a Sub-Prime Lorca who only underwrites risky mortgages? Will other bridge characters get more than a few throwaway lines? Are we going to see more of Captain Pike in the future before, you know, the beeper chair?
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Through the Valley of Shadows” (E12)
Control is taking over more people, and entire starships. That’s bad. The season is kareening towards its conclusion. That’s even worse. Now they’re going to blow up Discovery? ¡Ay, Dios mio! We get to see the Enterprise again next week? Hallelujah.
Sadly, Captain Pike found out he’s going to become a drooling vegetable. By taking the Klingon time crystal, he locked in that one-beep-yes-two-beeps-no hellscape of a future. One wonders if he will give a flying shit about anything going forward, or how knowing his miserable fate will affect him at all. Yet, he sacrificed his future to have a chance at saving all sentient life in the galaxy. We tip our Starfleet caps to you, Captain. After I saw him accept his horrible future, I sat despondently on the floor, like I found out an old friend was going to get radiation burns on an aging J-class trainee starship and be stuck in a life support wheelchair. Because he is.
PLEASE let Reno have gotten through to Culber. I need him and Stamets to get back together so badly. I mean, I’m not losing sleep over it or anything, but I really want it to happen. Also, I want an Enterprise-Pike spinoff. Give me what Roddenberry intended from the start. Anson Mount was BORN to be Christopher Pike, baby.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Perpetual Infinity” (E11)
Michael Burnham met her mother again, and then lost her mother again as she was sucked into a time wormhole. That’s sad. It fits in with another parallel this season: Stamets gets Culber back and then loses him. That storyline got a rest this week.
In case you missed it, Michael’s mom sent the sphere into Discovery’s path, which caused Saru’s vahar’ai, which changed him biologically, which helped him liberate his people. Oh, and it could also have had the effect of causing the interception of knowledge on artificial intelligence that she is seeking to destroy. Para, meet dox. Control takes over Leland, who is now the official villain of the rest of the second season.
I really enjoy Michelle Yeoh as an actress; we’ve said that here before. It’s interesting to watch the transition of Evil Georgiou into Less Evil Georgiou and perhaps someday into Kind of Decent Georgiou. A cunning former emperor, she figured out that Leland was compromised by Control. Can she figure out where Prime Lorca is, too?
The arc for the rest of the season has changed from finding the identity of the Red Angel to stopping Control from decimating all sentient life. We knew that this would happen, but did not before know why. Next week, we go back to the Klingon storyline that gave us a rather pointless episode early in the season. Perhaps it was setting up a better episode here, and as long as L’Rell is saying “Call Me Mother” then I say slay, queen! And you know what, slay, Evil Georgiou. Work that Section 31 bridge, honey.
Also, was Admiral Cornwell just not interested this week? Not even going for the Seinfeld pop-in on the bridge?
Another also, glad that Burnham’s mom didn’t tell Pike he was going to turn into a drooling vegetable who could only communicate by beeps.
And for a final also, I’m reminded of a line from Alanis Morissette’s famous song: “Isn’t it ironic…that Doctor Culber, who got his neck snapped by Ash Tyler, now has to save Tyler’s life?” Or something.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “The Red Angel” (E10)
We finally learn the identity of the Red Angel. It’s Burnham, or so we learn at the beginning of the episode. Please note that the prior statement is factually accurate. I did not say which Burnham.
Section 31 did some bad shit back in the day and got Michael Burnham’s parents killed. Er, maybe.
Admiral Cornwell was a therapist and she sat Hugh Culber 2.0 down on the proverbial couch. He’s still gay, check. He respects Paul, check. He does not know how to feel about Paul because he doesn’t know anything about himself aside from the aforementioned sexuality. Check and check. Hope she didn’t charge 200 quatloos an hour for that session.
That, however, was not the point of the episode: it was catching the Red Angel, which they believed to be Michael Burnham. She was placed in a toxic gas situation in which her death was imminent, but then, a wild Red Angel appears! Starfleet catches it in a pseudo-tractor beam and powers down its fancy Federation secret-prototype time suit.
Scores of Discovery viewers, mildly irritated by the Red Angel being Burnham and maybe a little turned on by Ash and Michael making out earlier, were shocked to discover they had the wrong Burnham. It is, in fact, Michael’s long-lost, not-quite-dead mother. How’s that for a plot twist. Y’all thought the writers copped out right at the start of the episode, didn’t you?
Season 2 remains miles ahead of Season 1. The (bald) Klingon war just didn’t do it for me.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Project Daedalus” (E9)
A Requiem for Airiam. They finally humanize the robot lady, who used to be a real lady, and then they kill her. Damn you, Section 31. It would have been dandy to get some character development before Control took over her cyber-brain but we had to cram it all into one episode.
This was not as good an episode as last week, but only because “If Memory Serves” was the best Discovery has had to offer to this point. That does not, however, mean it was bad. Far from it, in fact, and it got orders of magnitude better towards the end. Nicely done, Two-Takes Frakes.
Spock hates Burnham. She does not hate Spock, but that relationship is frostier than those dead admirals floating around the space station. This is why we never hear anything about Burnham in prior Star Trek canon. That, and the character was invented 50 years after the franchise began.
The Spock-Stamets relationship advice bit seemed forced and out of place, but someone had to say it, I guess.
We learned a lot from this episode: Project Daedalus is the thing to look for, Burnham is why the Red Angel is coming, Spock was framed, and Airiam had life before her horrible disfigurement left her a half-human. You know, kind of like Spock, except no disfigurement.
Just another point: you’re going to keep kicking that sealed door while your Barzan friend suffocates on the ground? You’re just not going to address that? Okay. Glad she figured it out on her own.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “If Memory Serves” (E8)
That, simply put, was the best episode of Discovery to date.
From the literal opening with scenes from “The Cage” to Spock coming around to the big heads showing up to Pike meeting Vina again to the Talosians mind-fucking Section 31 to Culber attacking Tyler…(hyperventilating)
Star Trek brought the house on a blitz tonight, baby. There was a lot to unpack, far too much for the Bracket Yard staff who must now watch queens slay on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
There is a reason this episode was the one where we got into Spock’s mind and saw Culber’s distress at the same time. Both of them were/are having out-of-mind, out-of-body experiences. Spock spoke of having nothing as a foundation: not logic, not emotion, not family, but build he must. Culber also has no foundation, and like Spock, is trying to figure out who he is. The parallels in their situation was not lost.
To this point, Captain Pike (played exceptionally by Anson Mount) has been a gravitas emitter. Something, namely Vina, reached him emotionally, and this was the first time we saw this side of him. By the way, I am grateful that the producers gave us “The Cage: Part II” and gave a little more depth to (literally) Star Trek’s oldest storyline.
Yet, there was so much more with which this episode hit us. The Red Angel is a human. Burnham was a cold-hearted, Vulcan-hating bitch to doe-eyed little Spock. The Talos IV flowers made the “Original Series” planet hum. Airiam is being controlled, possibly by Section 31, and sabotaged the spore drive. The Talosians were not portrayed in a bad light. Saru *let* the Culber-Tyler fight happen. Discovery is on the lam for breaking General Order 7. Bet we missed something.
And now for a closing thought: yes, I am glad Culber is alive again. No, I am not glad he and Paul are having problems. Yes, I hope Hugh figures it out and they can be a happy couple again, baking cookies and seeing Broadway shows together. This is very important to me so the writers need to make it happen. I’m willing to wait.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Light and Shadows” (E7)
Alternate Episode Title: “About Damn Time We Met Spock”
Not a bad effort by Discovery this week, though not the best episode of the season so far. Question about the “time tsunami” that resulted from the temporal distortion: what happened to, say, Kaminar right down below? We’re not going to address that? Okay, fine.
From violating the Prime Directive (maybe) last week to possibly violating General Order 7 next week, the Discovery goes to…drum roll…
Talos IV! (audible gasp)
The big heads are back, baby. That’s then, however, and this is now. For whatever reason, this week I liked evil Georgiou. I don’t trust her and never will, thanks to the evil mirror universe thing, but maybe I’ve come to like Michelle Yeoh as an actress.
Sarek showing a crack of emotion when finding Spock — meh. He is an unfeeling Vulcan, with his only emotion to come when he encountered Captain Picard. I actually thought it was evil Georgiou in holographic disguise as it was so out-of-character.
The time distortions were trippy and I like how they rolled with it. For example, Pike seeing himself firing a phaser at Ash Tyler, which he did, but we later learn it’s because the evil (that word again) future octopus probe stuck its tentacles into the ship.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “The Sounds of Thunder” (E6)
The Prime Directive, a fake rule by a space-faring organization existing only within the confines of a TV show, states that the Federation will not interfere in the natural progression of a pre-warp society, among other tenets. We knew that this would come up in the most recent episode, taking us to Kaminar to visit the Kelpiens. Or, as the Ba’ul called them, lunch.
Philippa Georgiou flew her shuttlecraft through the Prime Directive’s loophole in going to get Saru from his home planet. After all, Saru stole Ba’ul technology to create a communications device, with which he contacted Starfleet. It would not be the first time this has happened on a Star Trek show, if one remembers Data’s “pen pal.”
The Red Angel brought Discovery to Kaminar. They got their Prime Directive stuff out of the way on the bridge, saying that it “no longer applied” because of the Red Angel mission. Saru goes home, meets his sister, tells her that the ganglia fall out if you don’t get harvested, and then the Ba’ul get wise to it. As it turns out, the Kelpiens were the predator species in ancient times, though why they would want to eat those ugly, slimy things, it’s beyond me.
Anyhoo, Discovery decides to help Saru liberate his people, saying this is what the Red Angel brought them there to do. Are we sure the Prime Directive doesn’t apply here? It was one thing to beam down and have Saru make contact with his own people, but to help them start an insurrection, meh. I enjoyed the episode, don’t get me wrong, but we’re not on the correct overtechnical, Federation-bureaucratic, regulation-quoting level here. You know, the Kelpiens could turn the tables again, and it would be the Federation’s fault. Does the Red Angel bringing them there absolve them of their interference?
Them saying near the start of the episode that the Prime Directive doesn’t apply was, in my estimation, a line designed to placate overzealous Trekkers/Trekkies and give them some assurance that the next 45 minutes of television are totally Kosher with Starfleet. As if THAT is going to stop said overzealous Trekkers/Trekkies from analyzing the finer points of a made-up rule on a television show, as we have done.
In over 50 years of Star Trek history, this is a recurring theme. Star Trek writers over generations have discovered that it’s much more fun (and interesting to watch) to savage the Prime Directive and explain why they did it than to observe it, go to warp, and spend the rest of the episode watching Burnham play kal-toh (assuming she does). They are probably right.
In conclusion, please, please, PLEASE don’t let the Red Angel be Q. Have we said this before? Not that Q would care about the Kelpiens being slaughtered or some villagers about to get bombed in the 21st Century. We just had to put that out there.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Saints of Imperfection” (E5)
Did the Mycelial Network plot move a little slowly? Yes. Did we really need Section 31 and evil Georgiou to come back? Not really.
Are we HAPPY AND MOVED TO TEARS BY HUGH AND PAUL GETTING BACK TOGETHER!? YAS! Makes the whole episode worth it; it doesn’t matter that he’s a mushroom-land Genesis recreation. No, we can’t even begin to explain the science behind that, but the end result works for me and I am HERE for it, bitch.
Oh, and still no Spock. Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown again.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “An Obol For Charon” (E4)
Be sure to check the up-to-date episode rankings at the bottom of this page.
What We Liked
The sarcastic interaction between Jett Reno and Stamets. It can only work in small doses, but they can be the comic relief.
The introduction of Number One. She did the first lady of Trek, Majel Roddenberry, proud.
What We Didn’t Like
When the hell are we going to meet Spock? We’re getting to Gilligan’s Island-level tomfoolery. Oh boy, we’re real close! But the shuttle got away. Spock is calling! No, it’s just the Federation funny farm where he was staying. Spock is beaming over! No, it’s some guy that’s going to get killed halfway through the episode. The tease is getting old already. Just get on with it, producers.
This time, it was a living sphere-thingy that stopped Discovery from finding Spock. Think the Infosphere from Futurama but rockier.
What We Want to See Soon, Aside From Spock
How Saru’s revelation will change his people. That’s coming in Episode 6 of this season. Everything we previously knew about Kelpiens is wrong, and I appreciate that they’re going there. At the same time, however, how many sentient Star Trek races do we see that are prey? It is, maybe was, a unique characteristic of their people. They’re more like slaves.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Point of Light” (E3)
Discovery brought it to the runway and turned a look the first two episodes of Season 2. The third episode, “Point of Light,” was not a bad episode, but there were times it did not hold my attention. It occurred to me that this was a transitional sort of episode where they are setting up future storylines. They talked about Spock’s file and other possible developments with him, but we did not see him. It reintroduced the Klingons, but only began that story with Ash Tyler’s departure, and brought Section 31 to light in an early canon reference (though Enterprise’s was earlier).
Oh, and did we mention Tilly’s dead friend is a sizable, amorphous, Machiavellian fungus living inside her that manipulated her brain?
It was not an epic episode by any means, but it served an important set of functions. First, it continued the main theme of the season and brought about new elements. Second, it tied together some Season 1 loose ends. For example, the green speck that landed on Tilly at the end of the season, that we all knew would come back in the future, was said giant fungus. Also, L’Rell and Ash/Voq doing the bad thing got her preggo, and now that Ash and the baby are separately in exile, there’s an orphaned space baby that will almost certainly play some major role in a future Star Trek series of events.
I, for one, am just glad the Klingons have hair again. This bunch of Klingons was upset that a human lookalike “Federation puppet” was even present, whereas 110 years down the pike, a Klingon chancellor will make Captain Picard the Arbiter of Succession. Needless to say, we have a long way to go before the Klingons become chill again, but they’re still working through some things after the war.
And bitch I WAS GAGGED when L’Rell said “call me mother.” Slay, Mama L’Rell! Work that High Council chamber!
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “New Eden” (E2)
The second episode of the second season had a lot to unpack. First, any attempt at trying to organize thoughts should begin with bullet points (try and stop us):
- Another red angel appears, leading Discovery to another place in distress.
- The ancestors of the people on the discovered planet had already seen the red angel 200 years earlier.
- Oh, and on this planet, they smashed all the religions together into one. They should hire The-e-e Space Pope.
- Spock is in a psychiatric ward, evidently having gone loopy from his visions of said red angel.
- The spore drive is back, and maybe Stamets saw Hugh in the mushroom ether again (or didn’t).
- Tilly saw an apparition of a dead school friend of hers, just as hyperactive as she is, who helped her save the planet.
- Captain Pike, like a badass, bent the Prime Directive to get the 2053 video footage and told the forlorn scientist on the planet that space travel was real.
Episodes like this are what Star Trek is meant to be, more than just blow-up-the-Klingons battle royales. It’s mystery upon mystery, science fact and the unknown, reason and fantasy coming together. It makes you think, it makes you wonder, and it makes you question what you know and what you think you know. Michael Burnham played the role of the agnostic doubter, even having seen the red angel apparition for herself, questioning the townspeople on their beliefs of their divine arrival at their new land. But, as she perhaps learned, she does not have all the answers. Star Trek is in part about the pursuit of the answers through peaceful exploration — that is to say, the answers available to mere mortals.
Needless to say, the episode was enjoyable. From discovering a human colony 50,000 light years away to Pike giving the villager Jacob closure on his theory that Earth wasn’t destroyed 200 years earlier, it worked. It was more than just the ship going to the planet-of-the-week and saving the day: they created more questions than they answered. The writers could have very easily made the episode’s main conflict “Discovery crew held captive by nutjob all-religion cult” but they did not go there; the villagers were quite sane, aside from their ignorance about the future and how they arrived there. That would have been too predictable.
I throw this out there: if the season builds to its final climax and we realize Q was behind the whole thing, it’s going to be a major letdown.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Review: “Brother” (E1)
If you did not think Season 1 of Discovery was in the true spirit of Star Trek, then if you still have complaints about Season 2’s premiere, consider pursuing a new hobby. This episode got us to the wonder and mystery at the heart of Trek without being overly dark or difficult to follow at times. Specific notes:
- Anson Mount is a great Captain Pike. Gravitas is a good word to use; he’s got that command of a scene like Jason Isaacs as Lorca did, except his character is not a sadistic, mirror-universe maniac. Mount brings personality to the role like a vintage Kirk.
- The Pike fortune cookie reference to a “cage” — bellissimo.
- I want to see more of Tig Notaro. The character’s sarcasm might be too much in large doses but she could be a solid sporadic comic relief.
- They are already doing what they promised in trying to work in the other bridge characters more this season. You know, like every other Star Trek has done.
- The Burnham character needs to calm down the I’m-the-smartest-girl-in-the-class-and-get-100s-on-all-the-tests bit and I think we’re fine.
- We got faked out by the red shirt living and the jackass science officer dying, but within a minute of its happening one could tell very easily he was toast.
- Discovery remains a graphic/visual stunner.
- I hope Stamets and the ghost of Hugh get back together.
- Spock was a jealous little (expletive) to his foster sister, but they have established with the “Red Angel” mystery that they share a common bond.
This had my attention from start to finish and I did not want it to end. “Brother” was a real table-setter for the rest of the season, and a miles-better premiere than “The Vulcan Hello.” No question, the show has gotten better since it started and continues to do so as we bridge from one season to the next. We are getting back to “fun Trek,” if this is any indication.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode Rankings
1. “If Memory Serves” (E8)
2. “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part II” (E14)
3. “New Eden” (S2)
4. “Brother” (E1)
5. “Through the Valley of Shadows” (E12)
6. “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part I” (E13)
7. “Project Daedalus” (E9)
8. “Light and Shadows” (E7)
9. “Perpetual Infinity” (E11)
10. “The Red Angel” (E10)
11. “The Sounds of Thunder” (E6)
12. “An Obol for Charon (E4)
13. “Saints of Imperfection” (E5)
14. “Point of Light” (E3)