After the two handed first episode with Burnham and Book it was reassuring to be back with the Discovery and the rest of the crew. Burnham is an interesting character but now she is away from her Vulcan heritage and story lines she less spark. For me the real heart of the series of is the wider crew.
The episode opens by following Discovery’s flight through the rift and there is an amazing set piece showing its emergence and subsequent crash on an unknown planet. Its hard to tell if this is the same planet as Burnham landed on but plot points seemed to reveal that it was.
What follows is a standard Star Trek episode, missing repair components Saru and Tilly try to illicit help from a nearby colony which is being extorted by a gang of rogue couriers. This could be a ‘boring’ episode but what elevates it is Saru’s demonstration of character. He is a Starfleet captain. He was confident and idealistic; he is more Picard like than ever before. He was sympathetic and principled and held his ground against Georgiou.
Georgiou remains a problem in my mind, I liked her prime universe character but her mirror universe one was a bit too cliched. In counterpoint to this, Michelle Yeoh, plays the character with a dark menace that is compelling and the moment she walked into the bar you felt the tension rise and you knew those guys were dead. I am unsure how this uncompromising character will fit into the rest of the series, I suspect she is going to be the little devil on all their shoulders whispering the easy routes to success to the rest of the crew.
Tig Notaro’s engineer as last season was amazing, I find myself waiting for her every appearance. Her dry humour and delivery elevate any scene she is in. In many ways she is a more effective ships counsellor than Troi ever was.
It was good to see Linus again as well as a couple of the other alien races. We got a bit more from Dettmer and Osha but this was really the Tilly and Saru show. I hope that these other characters continue to grow. Tilly was relatively one dimensional having changed little from last season. Her nerves and babbling whilst a key characteristic felt a little over used in this episode and I felt that Tilly shouldn’t have hidden during the fight. She has shown she has some grit and I think would have got stuck in rather than waiting for the cliched flowerpot on the head at the end of the fight. Speaking of the fight, it was a nice use of Georgiou’s resistance to pain from years in agony booths etc to give them an edge and Sarus fighting prowess was impressive and suitably alien. We always knew Saru could be deadly, we saw that in season1 but here we saw him in control trying diplomacy first and then defending them. He also admirably stood up to Georgiou something I m not sure the Saru of season 1 would have done.
The opening two episodes have very firmly established the new universe in which they dwell, we managed to get the feeling that although gone, the Federation is still revered and people see them as an almost mythical halcyon past.
This second episode was another strong one with nice dynamics between Saru, Tilly and Georgiou and Stamets, Colber and Jet Reno. Now reunited Discovery can now get going and find out what happened and what they are going to do about it all. I very much look forward to this journey.