Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Things I'd like to see in Discovery season two

Classic Starfleet characters

The Enterprise appeared at the very end of the final episode of season one, with Captain Pike name-checked. It's pretty clear we'll be seeing more of the Enterprise and its crew in the second season, at least during the opening episodes. It will be incredibly disappointing if we don't get to see some familiar characters. Pike is one of my favourite captains in Trek - both Jeffry Hunter and Bruce Greenwood versions - and I'm stoked to think we'll get him back on TV. I'd say getting Greenwood back is a great idea, but it's more likely that we'll have a recasting. It's even possible that we'll see Pike command the Discovery, being that it's without a captain at present, although this seems unlikely, at least in the long-term.

There's also the enigmatic Number One, the first officer played by Majel Barrett in "The Cage." We know so little about the character that any further exploration of her would be fascinating. Number One occupied the logical second-in-command spot later occupied by Spock. With her Vulcan-like demeanour, she could make an interesting foil for Burnham - and perhaps she's due for a promotion? Could she become the captain of the Discovery? Then there's Spock. It'll be tricky recasting such an iconic character for the second time - it's highly unlikely Zachary Quinto will be involved - but having both Sarek and Burnham onboard, en route to Vulcan, and then stumble across the Enterprise basically demands Spock appear in some aspect.

Failing all that... Yeoman Colt? Please?

Getting to know the Discovery crew

We spent a lot of time with Lorca, Saru, Tyler, Tilly, Stamets and above all Michael Burnham in season one. Barring an appearance from his Prime Universe self, Lorca isn't showing up again, and we've been promised plenty more time with Saru and Burnham. But lets be honest, the characters we had the most fun with were Tilly and Stamets, and when they were paired together they absolutely sang. I'd love to see more science adventures with the two of them - perhaps even some away missions to give Tilly some command experience.

Beyond the core crew, there are a number of crewmembers who only were only explored briefly. The final few episodes gave the likes of Detmer, Owosekun, Bryce and Rhys a little more time in the limelight, but not much at all. An episode or two that takes the focus away from the main stars of the series could be really interesting. Plus, we all want to know more about Airiam, the mysterious cyborg crewmember, whose job so far has been to manage the spore drive. She'll need some new duties in the next season and I'm dying to learn more about her.

New worlds, new civilisations

One thing the creators of the series have mentioned is that season two will involve more exploration than the first. This is promising; a second season about warfare and survivalism might get very oppressive. We only got some brief visits to completely new worlds, and the only episode that revolved around exploring one (episode eight, "Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum") was pretty disappointing. We had some very intriguing additions to the Trek universe, though, from Saru's antelope-like people, the Kelpiens, to the gigantic spacefaring organisms the gormangander and the alien tardigrade. I'd really love to see more of this - bizarre new aliens, interesting new cultures, allegories for our own world's contemporary problems. We're also promised some more exploration of Saru's background, and there's certainly a lot more we could learn about the mysterious commander.

Revisiting alien races

On the other hand, one thing a Trek fan always loves to see is a classic alien species. Discovery did some interesting things with its depictions of well-known alien species. The Klingon redesign was very controversial with fans, although I've come to really like the new, more alien version of the famous warrior race. The Vulcans were visually the same as before, but we learned more about the more fractious side of their culture, building on elements introduced in Enterprise, as well as new sides to their psychic abilities. We also saw three classic series races: the Andorians, Tellarites and Orions, the former two redesigned but very much in keeping with how their look developed from TOS to ENT, and the latter, rather wonderfully, just people painted green. Other references make it clear that TNG-era races such as the Betazoids and the Trill are known in this period. There's a lot of scope to explore familiar races further, or to just pepper the series with fan-pleasing cameos.

One species I would absolutely love to see is the Cardassians. We don't know when the Federation made first contact with the Union, and while they're clearly not a major player in galactic politics until the 24th century, that's not to say they aren't initially contacted earlier. Could we perhaps see the first contact with this fascinating civilisation, perhaps enjoying a more prosperous earlier period of exploration? The idea of a Discovery redesign of the Cardassians is hard to resist. Other species that could appear as antagonists without damaging continuity include the Tholians, the Sheliak and the Suliban.


Some serious stuff happened in season one. Major Starfleet and Federation figures condoned the extermination of the Klingon people and the destruction of Kronos. L'Rell took control of the Klingon houses by holding them to ransom. Tyler/Voq left to join her, possibly offering a sort of link between the Klingons and humanity. Starfleet became intimately involved with its Mirror Universe counterpart, leaving Mirror Georgiou running around somewhere in the Beta Quadrant. The Federation survived a war that involved swathes of it territory being occupied by Klingon forces. This stuff has to have consequences, and while we need to see new exploration in the second season, it can't just carry on like none of this happened. The showrunners have also been talking about making it clear how the events of Discovery so far fit into the established timeline, something that looks like will be quite a difficult job.

Section 31

A recently released extra scene (that you can see here) shows nasty Mirror Empress Georgiou hanging around on Kronos after the events of the final episode, where she is approached by a mysterious operative of Section 31, Starfleet's secretive dirty tricks department (who's pretending to be a Trill, for some reason). Given how dark the events of Discovery season one were, it's no surprise that a lot of fans surmised that Section 31 were involved, perhaps even that they were directing the Discovery's mission. Given that Starfleet are openly in support of the Discovery and Lorca was actually acting on his own agenda, this now seems less likely, although it's not impossible they had a hand in it. After all, being secretive and undercover is their MO. In any case,it looks like Section 31, probably along with Georgiou, will be involved in season two.

More time travel

The best episode of season one was the largely stand-alone time loop episode "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad," which saw Rainn Wilson's more sinister take on Harry Mudd repeatedly murder the Disco crew. As well as being a tremendously fun episode in itself, it proved there's still mileage in Trek for timey-wimey episodes. With both the past and the future of Discovery's timeframe already mapped out in significant detail, there's plenty of potential exploration to be had of the Trek timeline, and a visit to the present day could be very interesting in a series that's not afraid to pull its punches.

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