Welcome back to the weekly Star Trek: Discovery recap, reactions, and ruminations posts! Star Trek: Discovery season 2 episode 1 gave us a lot of great things. But, before we get to that, a bit about this series of posts if you’re unfamiliar with them.
Every week, a couple days after an episode drops, I briefly recap the episode, share reactions from my Star Trek community, and ruminate about the larger themes of the episode. These posts won’t be containing lengthy recaps, but, instead, focus on the basics of what we learn. Catch up on season one discussion of Star Trek: Discovery.
Because this season’s episodes air on Thursday, the weekly post will go up each Sunday, giving people a few days to watch the episode and jump in on the discussion.
This post will contain mild spoilers, so don’t read ahead until you have watched “Brother.”
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 1: “Brother” Recap
The USS Discovery find the USS Enterprise in distress. After Tilly comes up with a brilliant way to communicate with the Enterprise, Captain Pike comes on-board the Discovery and takes command. As usual, Tilly is good for many laughs through the episode.
Sarek is still on-board the Discovery, and we begin to learn a little bit about why we never knew Spock had an older foster sister. There were also some great father/daughter moments between Sarek and Burnham that show us their relationship is beginning to heal after the events of season one.
There are strange signals coming from different points around the galaxy—signals that resemble a story from Burnham’s childhood.
Things are not good with Stamets as he continues to mourn the loss of Culber.
There was also some space-flying action, a daring rescue, asteroids exhibiting strange behavior, and we learned that Spock had childhood nightmares that were similar to the story from Burnham’s childhood. He’s gone off to seek answers.
Star Trek Discovery Season 2 Episode 1 Reactions
The reaction to “Brother” in this week’s discussion in my Star Trek community was overwhelmingly positive. My community has been eagerly waiting for the return of Star Trek: Discovery, but that isn’t why the reactions were so positive.
Some of the criticisms from last season included missing the assemble/family feel of the bridge crews on previous series. Also, while the first two episodes of season one were well-received, there was a little bit of excitement missing from the reactions. A lot of what people didn’t like is already well on its way to being rectified after episode one of season two.
As for my reaction, overall, I enjoyed it. I really liked the nod to Leonard Nimoy in this episode, with the play on Nimoy having said, “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.” The way that nod played in out in season two episode one of Star Trek: Discovery was during an exchange with Burnham and Captain Pike, when Pike said:
“Spock asked the most amazing questions. Completely logical. Yet, somehow able to make everyone see that, logic was the beginning of the picture and not the end.”
I was excited to see Cruz in the opening credits as a regular cast member—instead of guest starring like last season—only to see him being used in a “video.” If that is how Hugh “comes back” this season as we were promised, and they don’t magic box the hell out if by Stamets deciding, “Screw it. I’m not going to quit, I’m going to go back into the network to get Hugh,” I’ll be even more pissed.
I liked the movie feel to this first episode. I liked how they’ve begun to work in why Spock never talked about having an older foster sister.
I really like how they’ve continued the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) thread, where the crew is now at the part of working through trauma that involves learning to trust again. There was a bunch of having to blindly trust: Pike of the Discovery crew, and the crew trusting Pike who is just coming in to take over after they’ve just suffered major trauma, having formed very tight and protective bonds as a result.
Also, I don’t remember if I said it during a discussion in my Star Trek community or in a post from season one, but I had said that the uniforms on Discovery were probably the uniforms after Enterprise—since they shared some of the same feel—and before The Original Series. Sure enough, within minutes of ”Brother,” that is how they uniforms were explained.
I’m excited to see where we go next.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 1 Ruminations
As I already mentioned, I like how they are continuing the thread about PTSS. I really like how accurate it is regarding how people move through trauma. I’m very curious to know who the writers are consulting on this piece because it’s being done remarkably well and responsibly.
I’m in regular trauma therapy for C-PTSS, and one of the steps in working through trauma is learning to trust again, going against every instinct to distrust and just put what feels like blind trust in others to help take care of my well-being. With C-PTSS, you never learned the ability to trust because from early childhood, the people who were supposed to protect you didn’t. So, one doesn’t even know where to begin and it’s completely foreign.
Then there are people who have PTSS because of combat. They too lose trust that once was drilled into them from basic training. The systems of trust lost are complex and multi-faceted. Losing that trust and learning to trust again is a difficult thing with which to deal. Many veterans experience huge amounts of guilt around it. There is also the guilt one experiences for not being there and witnessing the death from afar—the same guilt Captain Pike and Spock are feeling.
And while combat and childhood trauma can destroy trust, it can also build great bonds: bonds between people who shared the same, or similar, experiences and came through it with you. And that is where the theme of family comes in.
The crew of the Discovery is a family now. There is no denying that. I suspect that the family bonds of this crew will be much tighter than any other crew we’ve seen because of the trauma they share. It is these bonds, this next step of working through trauma, that I’m most excited to see explored during season two of Star Trek: Discovery.
A Note About PTSS vs PTSD
PTSS is what PTSD is called now. It was supposed to be updated in the DSM V, but it wasn’t included in time. However, all professional psychiatric and psychology associates call it PTSS, both in treating patients and in official treatment guidelines and literature.
Post Traumatic Stress is not a disorder. Someone isn’t disordered because of the way their brain reacts post-trauma. It is a syndrome and perfectly logical reaction to trauma designed to protect oneself. Using the word “disorder” adds stigma.
If you were to use PTSD with an actual trauma therapist (someone who spent years going to school to specialize in trauma and does trauma therapy almost exclusively), they will quickly correct you if you were to use PTSD. Just sharing for information and so that people reading this can help reduce stigma around PTSS by being mindful of the language you use.
PTSS is on the schedule for formal inclusion the DSM VI.
So, that’s it for this week. What are your thoughts about Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 Episode 1? What are you looking forward to?
Until next Sunday, Live Long and Prosper!