I wasn't sure I was ready for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 1.
After all, the first season was filled with ginormous highs and catastrophic lows.
There was great ambition built into this newest franchise member. They went dark. They dropped swear words. They played an incredibly long arc story. It was Moore's Battlestar Galactica for Roddenberry's base.
But, happily, by any measure of a narrative, this was a solid season premiere.
New characters introduced in interesting ways. Check.
New mission set up with a good dose of mystery and potential disaster. Check.
Some truly gorgeous special effects and action scenes. Check.
Oh, and yay to killing off the jerk who can't get along with (or even be halfway respectful of) Burnham. Double check.
Burnham: We'll set up pattern enhancers and beam back.
Connelly: Unless our signals get caught up in all that ion distortion and we rematerialize in a billion pieces
Pike: You want out, Connelly, now is the time.
Connelly: Not a chance, sir. I love roller coasters.
We don't need that sort of negativity hanging around. That's what we have Stamets for.
And the rest of our core crew is back.
Granted, Saru only gets his command for about ten percent of the action.
Tilly remains delightfully awkward. Or awkwardly delightful. Either way, she's always better in smaller doses.
Stamets: I need you to repeat after me.
Stamets: I will say...
Tilly: I will say
Stamets: ...fewer things.
Tilly: Fewer th... okay.
The Spock-factor was so of underwhelming. Well, until the end where it actually matters.
I've always like Sarek's scenes with Burnham. Even if he isn't her biological father, there's a quality to their discussions that feels like a real conversation between family and, more importantly, they figure stuff out. It's exposition that's interesting. Go figure.
Although Pike goes out of his way to state that he is not Lorca, there is still a specter that hangs over the role of captain when it comes to the U.S.S. Discovery. It'll take some time to really see him as a part of this crew and even more to see him leading it.
I thought the bridge roll call was a nice touch. Learning people's names goes a long way to gaining their trust. Not sure I'm a fan of "Hit it" as his catch-phrase but we'll see.
It was heartening to see Culber even if he was a hologram. I appreciate the respect being shown to Stamets' grief. Despite the real-time hiatus, there has been very little time since Culber's murder. And the fact his killer basically walked away.
Given what he's been through, Stamets can be forgiven for trying the duck and cover (or in this case duck and run away to Vulcan) method for dealing.
Did you know that a Kasseelian prima donna trains her whole life for one performance? And after she hits that last high E, she plunges a dagger into her own chest and dies. She's lived an entire lifetime in that last note. And I've lived an entire lifetime in what I've accomplished here on Discovery.Stamets
However, it was good to see him get excited about catching asteroids.
My favorite newcomer is easily Tig Notaro's Jett Reno. Warning bells are going off in my head that she's a moral quandary away from super-villain status but *holy crap* is she awesome.
I only see her credited with the one episode but I've got my fingers crossed for a return. I mean, they brought Mudd back, didn't they and Reno is far more useful. And funnier.
Relax, Tellurite blood is rich in hemerythra. The only place on Earth you'll find anything like it is marine invertebrates. Evolution's a fickle bitch, am I right?Reno
Plus she basically built the equivalent of a flying BB-8 with multiplicity option.
Quibbles I have (and there honestly aren't many) would be that the episode FELT long. Yes, it ran long.
Such is the joy of streaming cable channels that you can make your episodes as long or short as you want but there really should be a good reason for tacking an extra twenty minutes on.
In this case, it seems like the reason was they had some really fantastic footage of the launch pods racing through the asteroid debris field. It was undeniably fantastic footage but there was a LOT of it.
And, except for the shot of Connelly getting wasted by that baby asteroid (which I could probably watch as a looping GIF for DAYS), most of the footage was bonus track material.
Reno: We've been rockin' and rollin' for hours. Can someone tell me what's going on?
Burnham: This asteroid is on a collision course with a pulsar. The gravitational field is going to tear this place apart.
Reno: Huh. What a relief. Thought we were all going to die. Can you get us the hell out of here or what?
So, the last thing that needs addressing is the mystery bursts. Compared to the Klingon beacon, this seems pretty small potatoes.
I feel like, although the bursts give them direction (to be determined since they only tracked the position of the one they found Reno on) the season is going to look at the Enterprise's crew and the malaise that Pike described due to having sat out the war.
Of course, the fact that Spock is somehow involved in the bursts makes them far more... er, fascinating. The search for the bursts will most likely parallel Burnham's reunion with her foster brother and the reveal of whatever drove them apart.
So, more family angst on the horizon. Ooookay.
Overall, there are a lot more punchlines flying around here than I was used to from last season and I think Pike speaks directly to that in his final scene, pledging a lighter, more fun season to viewers in a way.
Wherever our mission takes us, we'll try to have a little fun along the way too, alright? Make a little noise. Ruffle a few feathers.Pike
Personally, my favorite lol-moment was the exchange about the uniforms. After a season of very little variance from the navy Discovery jumpsuits, the Pike crew's half-a-step-to-Shatner colors were blinding.
Nhan: I see where the Federation puts its pennies.
Pike: Do not covet thy neighbor's starship, Commander. Besides, we got the new uniforms.
Saru: And lovely uniforms they are, Captain.
Burnham: Very colorful.
And then the capper was the suits the away team donned for the launch pods. Who else thought "GO! GO! POWER RANGERS!" when they walked onto the launch pad deck? Be honest.
It's worth watching Star Trek: Discovery online for the Power Rangers-esque jumpsuits alone but, in all seriousness, this was a cinematically-shot, mostly well-paced premiere.
What are your initial thoughts on the premiere?
Did it meet expectations? Blow your mind? Confuse, inspire, or irritate?
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.