Star Trek: Discovery (season 2)
The second season of the American television series Star Trek: Discovery is set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series and follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they investigate seven mysterious signals. The season was produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment, with Alex Kurtzman serving as showrunner.
|Star Trek: Discovery (season 2)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Original network||CBS All Access|
|Original release||January 17 –|
April 18, 2019
Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, along with the returning Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, and Shazad Latif; they are joined by Wilson Cruz—promoted from a recurring guest role—and Anson Mount as original Star Trek captain Christopher Pike. Ethan Peck recurs as another original series character, Spock. These characters and their starship, the USS Enterprise, were included as part of the series' attempt to explain its connections to the larger Star Trek franchise. The season was officially ordered in October 2017, and filming took place in Toronto, Canada from April to December 2018. Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, the first season's showrunners, returned for the second but were fired during production; co-creator Kurtzman replaced them.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|16||1||"Brother"||Alex Kurtzman||Ted Sullivan & Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts||January 17, 2019|
|En route to the planet Vulcan to pick up its new captain following the betrayal of Captain Gabriel Lorca during the Federation–Klingon war, the USS Discovery receives a distress call from the USS Enterprise. Captain Christopher Pike takes emergency command of the Discovery and explains that the Enterprise was investigating seven mysterious red signals when it was catastrophically damaged. All but one of the signals have disappeared, but it too is gone when Discovery arrives at its location. They discover the wreckage of the USS Hiawatha—which went missing during the war—on an asteroid made of non-baryonic matter and inside find engineer Jet Reno nursing the last survivors of the crew. All are transported back to the Discovery. Commander Michael Burnham has a vision of a red figure while on the asteroid, and later visits the damaged Enterprise to investigate the quarters of her foster brother Spock, who had previously taken leave for a personal investigation. She discovers that he had been having nightmares of the seven signals.|
|17||2||"New Eden"||Jonathan Frakes||Story by : Akiva Goldsman & Sean Cochran |
Teleplay by : Vaun Wilmott & Sean Cochran
|January 24, 2019|
|Burnham confronts Pike about Spock's nightmares and his personal leave and learns that Spock had committed himself to a psychiatric unit and requested that Starfleet not inform his family. Discovery detects another of the signals and uses its spore drive to instantly travel to a planet, Terralysium, with a previously unknown human population. A looped transmission suggests the population departed Earth during World War III. Pike and Burnham lead an away team to the planet's surface and find a primitive society with a religion combining multiple human faiths. During the team's investigation, an anomaly produces an extinction-level radiation shower. Ensign Silvia Tilly, after receiving advice from a medical staffer, uses a fragment of the non-baryonic asteroid to avert the catastrophe, later recognizing the staffer as classmate May Ahearn who died five years earlier. Returning to Discovery, Pike reviews footage from a helmet camera recovered on the planet to see that the population had been taken from Earth by the Red Angel from Burnham's vision.|
|18||3||"Point of Light"||Olatunde Osunsanmi||Andrew Colville||January 31, 2019|
|Spock's mother Amanda Grayson learns that he has escaped the psychiatric unit and is wanted for murdering three doctors. She steals his medical records and takes them to Discovery for decryption. Grayson recognizes a drawing in the records from Spock's childhood art: the Red Angel. Burnham admits to emotionally hurting Spock when they were young, to protect him from Vulcan's logic extremists. On Qo'noS, Klingon house leader Kol-Sha threatens to kill Starfleet Officer Ash Tyler—formerly the Klingon Voq—and the Klingon Empire's leader L'Rell for having a secret child. Instead, they kill him with the help of Philippa Georgiou, the Empress of the Mirror Universe's Terran Empire and now a Starfleet Section 31 agent. In a ruse to consolidate power, L'Rell convinces the Klingon High Council that Tyler and the baby are dead. Georgiou delivers the baby to a monastery and recruits Tyler to Section 31. Burnham and Engineer Paul Stamets use dark matter to remove a parasite from Tilly that was causing her hallucination of May.|
|19||4||"An Obol for Charon"||Lee Rose||Story by : Jordon Nardino & Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts |
Teleplay by : Alan McElroy & Andrew Colville
|February 7, 2019|
|A living, intelligent, planetoid-sized sphere pulls Discovery out of warp and immobilizes it. The crew surmises the Sphere is well-intentioned and has gathered gargantuan amounts of data from all over the galaxy that it does not want to be lost before it dies. However, the Sphere's hold on Discovery triggers the Vahar'ai in Commander Saru, a fatal condition to his species the Kelpiens. The Sphere transmits its information to the crew and dies, releasing Discovery so as not to be caught in the ensuing explosion. Saru asks Burnham to help prepare for his death by removing his threat ganglia, which sense danger. However, they fall out on their own and leave Saru healthy and living without overwhelming fear. Meanwhile, the parasite attaches itself to Tilly again, once again accessing her memories to communicate as a hallucination of May. The parasite claims Discovery has nearly destroyed its ecosystem by using its species' mycelial network to jump through space with the spore drive. It then consumes Tilly, leaving no trace of her.|
|20||5||"Saints of Imperfection"||David Barrett||Kirsten Beyer||February 14, 2019|
|Stamets and Burnham conclude that Tilly has been taken into the mycelial network. She wakes up there with the May parasite, who wants her to help stop a "monster" that is ravaging their world. Discovery finds the shuttle that Spock used to escape the psychiatric unit, only to find Georgiou on board. Section 31 Captain Leland assigns Tyler to Discovery as a liaison, to ensure that Discovery does not interfere with Section 31's own investigation into Spock. Discovery conducts a half-jump into the mycelial network to give Stamets and Burnham limited time to find Tilly before the network consumes the ship. Burnham and Stamets discover the "monster" is Stamets' husband Hugh Culber, the former Discovery Medical Officer who was murdered by Tyler during the war. Stamets was connected to the network when Culber died, allowing his energy to be recreated by the spores. Burnham now convinces May to use the parasite cocoon on Discovery, through which Tilly was transported into the network, to rebuild Culber's body in normal space.|
|21||6||"The Sound of Thunder"||Douglas Aarniokoski||Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt||February 21, 2019|
|Another of the mysterious signals leads Discovery to Saru's homeworld of Kaminar, where the Kelpiens' predators, the Ba'ul, demand Pike surrender Saru as Starfleet has agreed to stay out of the conflict between the two species. Pike refuses, but Saru turns himself over to prevent a fight. Tilly works with technologically-augmented Lieutenant Commander Airiam to sift through the Sphere's information on Kaminar: they learn that the post Vahar'ai Kelpiens were once Kaminar's dominant species and nearly eradicated the Ba'ul, with the latter only surviving by using their superior technology to cull Kelpiens before they lose their threat ganglia. Pike uses the Ba'ul's technology to trigger Vahar'ai in all Kelpiens, hoping the two species can instead work towards a peaceful solution once the Kelpiens are freed and learn the truth about their past from Saru's priestess sister Siranna. The Ba'ul retaliate to Starfleet's actions by attempting to commit genocide, but are stopped by the Red Angel who Saru sees is a humanoid wearing a highly-advanced suit.|
|22||7||"Light and Shadows"||Marta Cunningham||Story by : Ted Sullivan & Vaun Wilmott |
Teleplay by : Ted Sullivan
|February 28, 2019|
|Discovery is confronted by a time anomaly while researching the Red Angel's signal over Kaminar. Pike and Tyler investigate the anomaly in a shuttlecraft, sending a probe into it. They are soon attacked by that same probe, now upgraded with future technology, which uses their shuttle's computer system to secretly infect Airiam. They are able to destroy it with Stamets' help, as his exposure to the network allows him to ignore the time discrepancies in the anomaly. Meanwhile, Burnham visits Vulcan as she continues to search for Spock. Confronting Grayson, Burnham learns that she has been hiding Spock who is in psychological distress, repeating various phrases and a series of numbers. His father Sarek instructs Burnham to trust Starfleet and take Spock to Section 31 for help in fixing his mind. Section 31's doctors claim that they can help him, but Georgiou warns her that Spock will not survive the memory extractor that Section 31 plans to use on him. Georgiou allows Burnham to attack her, staging an escape in which Burnham and Spock escape the ship.|
|23||8||"If Memory Serves"||T. J. Scott||Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie||March 7, 2019|
Previously, the Enterprise visited Talos IV where Pike and Spock met the Talosians, beings that can create incredible illusions. Pike fell in love with Vina, an injured Federation crewman in the Talosians' care, but she was unable to leave the planet and survive, while Pike chose to return to the Enterprise. Starfleet banned future visits to Talos IV.
Now, Burnham and Spock secretly travel to Talos IV, where the Talosians heal Spock's mind in exchange for Burnham's memories of emotionally scarring Spock. The latter reveals that he mind-melded with the Red Angel, a time traveller trying to avert a galactic catastrophe in the future. Stamets attempts to reconnect with Culber, who is going through an identity crisis. Culber confronts Tyler, but realizes that he is going through a similar crisis. Discovery collects Spock and Burnham after the Talosians helped Vina contact Pike telepathically, and projected illusions of Spock and Burnham for Section 31 to capture as a distraction. Escaping, Discovery and its crew become fugitives from Starfleet.
|24||9||"Project Daedalus"||Jonathan Frakes||Michelle Paradise||March 14, 2019|
|Starfleet Admiral Katrina Cornwell secretly joins Discovery to interrogate Spock, and brings video footage depicting Spock murdering the three doctors. Saru discovers that Section 31 faked the footage using holograms, and Cornwell directs Discovery to Section 31 headquarters where Starfleet's Control artificial intelligence is kept. Control is behind the forgery and has been directing Section 31 to pursue Spock. Burnham, Security Officer Nahn, and Airiam beam into the headquarters to find the personnel, including Section 31's leadership, dead after Control turned off life-support systems. Airiam is tasked with restoring Control to Starfleet's intended purpose, but the virus from the future she carries is Control itself, and instead attempts to upload the Sphere's knowledge of all artificial intelligence into Control's database. Airiam asks to be ejected into space before Control gains the knowledge that it wishes, and Nahn does so before it is too late. Airiam dies reliving her favorite memory from before she was technologically-augmented.|
|25||10||"The Red Angel"||Hanelle M. Culpepper||Chris Silvestri & Anthony Maranville||March 21, 2019|
|While preparing for Airiam's funeral, her system is purged of the Control virus along with all other Control systems around Starfleet. While doing this, Tilly discovers a bio-neural scan of the Red Angel in Airiam's code that matches Burnham. Leland reveals that Section 31 built the Red Angel time travel suit twenty years ago in a temporal-arms race with the Klingons, and that Burnham's parents had been part of that program (with Leland's carelessness at the time leading to their deaths). They now plan to use Burnham as bait for the Red Angel. Discovery travels to Essof IV, where there is enough energy to power their trap. Burnham is left out in the planet's unbreathable atmosphere until the Red Angel appears. Leland's Section 31 ship is able to close the wormhole behind the Red Angel to stop future Control from following her through, though Leland is attacked by the present Control which is still active within the ship. The Red Angel is caught in the trap and revives the momentarily dead Burnham, who recognizes the figure as her mother.|
|26||11||"Perpetual Infinity"||Maja Vrvilo||Alan McElroy & Brandon Schultz||March 28, 2019|
|When the Burnhams' laboratory was attacked by Klingons years ago, Michael's mother donned the time travel suit to go back in time an hour and warn them of the attack. She instead arrived 950 years in the future to find all sentient life destroyed by Control. Tethering herself to a nearby planet, Dr. Burnham made over 840 attempts to change the future, including moving humans to her planet, Terralysium, to test how she can change history. Trying to stop Control from gaining the Sphere's data, Dr. Burnham was responsible for it crossing paths with the Discovery. Now, the Discovery crew plans to upload the data into the suit and send it into the future where Control cannot access it, while keeping Dr. Burnham in the present, but a Control-possessed Leland intercepts their download. Georgiou and Tyler confront Leland, with Tyler gravely injured but able to warn Discovery. The crew is forced to cut the transmission short and release Dr. Burnham back to the future, with the suit now damaged. Control-Leland escapes with half of the sphere data.|
|27||12||"Through the Valley of Shadows"||Douglas Aarniokoski||Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt||April 4, 2019|
|A new signal appears over Boreth, a place sacred to Klingons, where a Klingon monastery is located and where monks guard time crystals. Tyler and L'Rell left their son to be raised by these monks. Pike visits the monastery to retrieve a time crystal and finds the son is now a fully grown adult named Tenavik. Tenavik explains that life on Boreth is affected by the crystals and that if Pike takes one he will not be able to change the future that it shows him. Pike sees a future where he is severely disabled in an accident, but chooses to take the crystal to serve the greater good. Meanwhile, Burnham and Spock investigate a Section 31 ship that had checked in ten minutes later than usual, and find all of the crew dead except for one, Kamran Gant, an old colleague of Burnham who has been possessed by Control and attempts to take over Burnham. Spock is able to stop Control with magnetism and they escape back to Discovery. The Section 31 fleet soon arrives, forcing Pike to order Discovery be destroyed to keep the sphere data away from Control.|
|"Such Sweet Sorrow"||Olatunde Osunsanmi||Michelle Paradise & Jenny Lumet & Alex Kurtzman||April 11, 2019|
|April 18, 2019|
Part 1: Discovery escapes and rendezvous with the Enterprise, with Discovery evacuated onto the other starship. From there, they initiate the self-destruct, but the sphere data takes control of Discovery's systems and prevents this from happening. It also defends itself from torpedoes. Burnham proposes that the time crystal be used to take Discovery itself to the future where Control cannot get to it, planning to wear a copy of her mother's suit to lead the ship there. Pike agrees and resumes command of the Enterprise to keep Control distracted. A new signal appears, leading Discovery and Enterprise to the planet Xahea which is ruled by Tilly's friend Queen Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po. A brilliant engineer, Po assists Stamets, Tilly, and Reno with preparing the suit and time crystal for the journey. Some of the Discovery's crew choose to stay with Burnham, as does Georgiou, while Saru is made acting captain by Pike. As the Section 31 fleet arrives, Discovery and Enterprise prepare for battle while the suit and time crystal are finalized.
Part 2: Tyler retrieves the Klingon fleet to assist in the battle, while Siranna arrives with Ba'ul fighters after receiving a farewell message from Saru. Stamets is seriously injured and is cared for by Culber. A Section 31 torpedo penetrates the Enterprise without detonating, but a secondary detonation kills Cornwell after she seals off the surrounding area. Control-Leland boards Discovery and is defeated when Georgiou magnetizes the nanites in his body, allowing Section 31's fleet to be destroyed. In the suit, Burnham travels to the past and sets the five signals that led them to this point. She then sets a sixth for Discovery to follow as she travels forward over 900 years, and promises to set a seventh when they arrive. The crew of the Enterprise tell Starfleet that Discovery was destroyed in the battle, and are ordered to never speak of it or the crew again (on Spock's recommendation, to prevent another incident like Control). Tyler is placed in command of Section 31. Months later, the Enterprise detects the seventh signal as it begins a new adventure.
Cast and charactersEdit
On November 2, 2015, CBS announced a new Star Trek television series to premiere in January 2017, "on the heels" of the original series' 50th anniversary in 2016. In February 2016, Bryan Fuller, who began his career writing for the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, was announced as the new series' showrunner. CBS did not have a plan for what the new show would be when Fuller joined, and he proposed an anthology series with each season being a standalone, serialized show set in a different era, beginning with a prequel to the original series. CBS told Fuller to just start with a single serialized show and see how that performs first, and he began further developing the prequel concept. By the end of 2016, Fuller had left the series due to further conflicts with CBS and other commitments, with Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts replacing him as showrunner. In June 2017, co-creator Alex Kurtzman said that he and Fuller had discussed plans for future seasons before the latter's departure.
In August 2017, before the series premiere, executive producer Akiva Goldsman stated that though the series is not an anthology as Fuller first proposed, "it's kind of a hybridized approach. I don't think we're looking for an endless, continuing nine or 10 year story. We're looking at arcs which will have characters that we know and characters that we don't know." Kurtzman elaborated that the Federation-Klingon War story arc of the first season would not continue in a second. However, he was not interested in a full anthology series because "I wouldn't necessarily want to throw [the characters] away at the end of the season for a new show", and instead felt that the aftereffects of the first season would be felt moving forward: "The results of the war are going to allow for a lot of new storytelling", with "the casualties, the things that have grown in Starfleet as a result of the war" carrying over to the next season. By the end of the month, Berg and Harberts had developed a "road map" for a second season. After the first season premiered, Kurtzman explained that a "big idea" had been proposed mid-way through production on that season which became the "spine" of the second season, with the writers' "emotional compass" having pointed them to using that idea. He added that the series' producers wanted to avoid announcing release dates for future seasons just to delay them, but he hoped a second season would be available in early 2019 as long as the quality and scope of the series was not compromised to achieve that.
On October 23, a 13-episode second season was officially ordered by CBS All Access. CBS Interactive President Marc DeBevoise cited the increased subscriptions for All Access since the series' debut, as well as critical acclaim and fan interest, when announcing the renewal. In June 2018, during production on the season, CBS Television Studios fired Berg and Harberts. The studio and network were pleased with the scripts for the season and early cuts of already filmed episodes, but the first episode of the season had gone significantly over budget—to the point that the budgets for later episodes of the season would have to be cut to cover the difference—and the pair were allegedly abusive towards the series' writing staff, with multiple writers becoming uncomfortable working with them. Some had apparently been threatened by Harberts after stating their intention to file a formal complaint. Kurtzman was made sole showrunner in their place, and was described as the "glue holding Discovery together". With this change came news that Goldsman had not returned as executive producer for the second season, after serving as Kurtzman's "right-hand man", because he had a "management style and personality that clashed with the writing staff". At the end of the month, James Duff joined the series as an executive producer, specifically to help Kurtzman run the series' writers room. Olatunde Osunsanmi, who served as a director and co-executive producer during the first season, became a full executive producer as well and was set as producing director for the rest of the season's production. Additionally, Jenny Lumet, who joined as a consulting producer at the beginning of the season, was promoted to co-executive producer. In July, the season was confirmed to premiere in January 2019. Star Anson Mount revealed in December that the season had been extended to 14 episodes to allow CBS to amortize the cost of production delays following the showrunner change.
The series' writers began work on the second season in December 2017, and were considering "science vs. faith" as the main theme of the season. Harberts said the season would be "jam packed" with things that they were not able to do in the first. Without the first season's Federation–Klingon War storyline, Kurtzman said that there would be much less of a focus on the Klingons in the second season and far fewer Klingon-only scenes, but that Klingon characters would still appear. He later added that the Klingons would grow their hair back to show that they are no longer at war, something he said was always intended and not a response to fan criticisms of the bald Klingons in the first season. The season has a single serialized story just as the first season had, but the writers intentionally tried to move towards a more episodic feel than the first. This "classic episode feel" was created by having a central character or question for each episode whose story also contributed to the season-long story.
In March 2018, Harberts clarified that the series would not just be looking at religion, but also "patterns in our lives. It means connections you can't explain. Who enters your life and who leaves your life and these indelible impressions people make ... that is one of our biggest ideas now and it is threading through all of our characters' lives." Something that Kurtzman felt "all the best" Star Trek series had was examinations of the real world at the time of their creation, and so this season would address "building walls around ourselves, literally, to keep people out" and how that can "chip away at our essential understanding of Starfleet doctrine, and what it means to assume diversity". Mount felt that the season was able to "get back to those big questions" because it was no longer questioning the leadership of the Discovery as was done with Captain Gabriel Lorca in the first season. Kurtzman noted that religion is a controversial topic among Star Trek fans, and the series' study of faith was "never about picking on religion as much as it was about faith in each other and in themselves". He felt that protagonist Michael Burnham "really wrestled" with faith in the season because she was not raised with it, but in the end was rewarded for finding it. He interpreted this message as being, "If you believe in yourself, ultimately, the best outcome presents itself."
The season begins with the arrival of the USS Enterprise (where the first season ended) on a specific mission, which ties into a larger story that does not involve the Enterprise and is the main arc for the whole second season; the storyline involves seven mysterious signals and a strange "red angel" figure that appears to several characters in visions. Harberts wanted to explore the character Christopher Pike, captain of the Enterprise, feeling that he had not been seen much in Star Trek previously and provided "an interesting opportunity ... to delve into and flesh out a character who I think is a pretty darn heroic and selfless captain". Burnham's adoptive brother Spock is also a crew member of the Enterprise, but Harberts was less interested in him given his many appearances throughout previous iterations of Star Trek, and was reluctant to have an actor other than Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto portray the character. However, Spock was confirmed to be included in April 2018, and his relationship with Burnham became the most important part of the season for Kurtzman. The writers wanted to tell a new story with Spock that would show him become closer to Nimoy and Quinto's versions over time, visually signified by having the character shave his beard at the end of the season to look more like them. The season also reveals that it was Burnham's relationship with Spock that led to him "fully actualiz[ing] himself" with James Kirk in the original series, which was important to Kurtzman in telling this part of Spock's life.
The season finale had to answer all the season's mysteries, complete its character arcs, feature a large battle, and set-up stories for the next season. While planning this, the writers realized that they could not do justice to it all within a single episode's length. It was around this time that CBS added an additional episode to the season's order, which allowed the writers to expand their finale plans to a two-part season finale. Executive producer Michelle Paradise compared the scope of the finale to a feature film. A goal of the showrunners for the season was to "cement Discovery firmly in the timeline" by reconciling some of the apparent continuity errors caused by the first season, such as why Burnham has never been mentioned by Spock in the franchise before, or why the advanced spore-drive technology used on the USS Discovery is not used on other starships in later Star Trek series. The season ends with Discovery and its crew traveling over 900 years into the future, and Spock recommending to Starfleet that the starship or its crew never be mentioned again to prevent the events of the season from ever being repeated. Kurtzman said this solution was chosen after months of work with the writers, and was additionally made because of the implications it has for the future of the series; he compared the decision to the film Star Trek (2009) starting a new timeline to avoid established continuity.
The season stars the returning Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham, Doug Jones as Saru, Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly, and Shazad Latif as Voq / Ash Tyler. Wilson Cruz reprises his guest role of Hugh Culber, who died in the first season, and is promoted to the main cast for the second.
In April 2018, Anson Mount—who was considered for the role of Lorca in the first season—was cast as Pike, a "key role" for the season, and a young Spock was confirmed to be appearing in flashbacks; Kurtzman noted that casting for Spock took into consideration a balance between Vulcan logic and revealing "emotion in the eyes and in the small gestures". Mount revealed in July that he would star for the full season, and that Rebecca Romijn would portray the original series character Number One. Mount and Romijn both signed one year deals for the series, with their characters included as part of the series attempt to have the season align closer to the wider Star Trek continuity. In August, Ethan Peck was announced as portraying Spock in the season. Kurtzman compared the actor to both Nimoy and Quinto and stated that he believed Peck "would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock's greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning".
In March 2018, an alternate ending to the first season was revealed in which a Section 31 agent named Leland is introduced, portrayed by Alan van Sprang. The producers confirmed that Sprang would be portraying the character in the second season. Van Sprang had worked with Berg and Harberts on the series Reign, and they had been trying to find a character for him to play throughout production on the first season. The actor described his role in the second season as a "massive part of it". The alternate ending saw Leland approach Michelle Yeoh's Philippa Georgiou about joining Section 31, and in February 2018 Kurtzman said that it was possible for Yeoh to reprise the role in the second season along with Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca. Yeoh was confirmed to be appearing in the season to continue the Section 31 storyline in October 2018, while in January 2019, Kurtzman said that Isaacs would not be appearing in the season but could still return to the series in the future.
In April 2018, Tig Notaro was cast in the guest role of Denise Reno; she later revealed that this would be a recurring role for the season, and that she had been able to rename her character to Jet Reno. That October, Martin-Green announced that her husband Kenric Green had been cast for the season, and would be making an "indelible contribution". He portrays Burnham's father Mike in a flashback in the episode "Perpetual Infinity", while Sonja Sohn portrays her mother Gabrielle. The latter is revealed to be the "Red Angel", a character seen throughout the season. Several other recurring guests also return from the first season, including James Frain as Sarek, Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson, Mary Chieffo as L'Rell, and Jayne Brook as Katrina Cornwell. Introduced in the season are Bahia Watson as May Ahearn and Rachael Ancheril as Nhan. Kenneth Mitchell, who had a recurring role in the first season as the Klingon Kol, appears in the second season as Kol's relative Kol-Sha. He also portrays the older version of Tenavik, the son of L'Rell and Tyler.
Hannah Cheesman took over the role of Airiam for the season, with original actress Sara Mitich recast in the role of Nilsson. Other returners include Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer, Patrick Kwok-Choon as Gen Rhys, Oyin Oladejo as Joann Owosekun, Ronnie Rowe Jr. as R. A. Bryce, Ali Momen as Kamran Gant, and Julianne Grossman as the voice of Discovery's computer. David Benjamin Tomlinson also appears throughout the season as Linus. Hannah Spear and Yadira Guevara-Prip respectively reprise their Star Trek: Short Trek roles of Saru's sister Siranna (from the short "The Brightest Star") and Tilly's friend Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po (from the short "Runaway"). The episode "If Memory Serves" begins with archival footage from the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage" featuring the original actors for several characters seen in the series, including Spock, Pike, and Number One, as well as Vina and the Keeper, portrayed in Discovery by Melissa George and Rob Brownstein, respectively.
Several new sets for the Discovery were built for the second season, adding to the ones constructed for the first. These included a new "loop corridor" and new entrances to the mess hall and sick bay sets. The engineering set from the first season was also renovated for the second, with production designer Tamara Deverell explaining that the cinematography department had been complaining about the large amount of light coming from the spore chamber in that set in contrast to the rest of the room. Additionally, some season one sets were repurposed for the second season, with Lorca's season one ready room becoming a new science lab for Burnham in the second season. Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page of Alchemy Studios, who provide prosthetics and armor for the series, teased in May 2018 that the season would feature a "truly alien" character for which they had to figure out new ways to reduce the weight of the prosthetics and make it breathable for the actor, as well as try improve the actor's vision because the eyes of the creature did not align with where human eyes are positioned. Hetrick added that there would be more interesting prosthetics for extras playing background characters, while the pair were able to use a species from earlier Star Trek canon that had not been in the first season of Discovery after producing a list for the executive producers featuring all the species they would like to use.
John Eaves and Scott Schneider, designers of the starships for the series, were required to redesign the USS Enterprise for Star Trek: Discovery, making it 25 percent different from Matt Jefferies' original design due to legal concerns regarding the ownership of different Star Trek elements. CBS ultimately confirmed that they were free to reuse Jefferies' design in Star Trek: Discovery, but stood by the changes made by Eaves and Schneider as creative improvements that took advantage of modern visual effects. These changes included adding elements that could realistically be removed or replaced in the time between this series and the beginning of the original series. The visual effects department made further adjustments to the design after Eaves and Schneider completed their work. The final version of the ship seen in the series also adopts some of the characteristics of the Enterprise from the films, such as being "a little bit fatter, a little bit bigger", to fit into the aesthetic of the series. Elaborating on this, Kurtzman explained that the original designs for the Enterprise would look out of place within the series due to the far more advanced modern technology being used to produce the show. He added that any sets designed for the Enterprise would bridge the look of the original series and Discovery while still trying to adhere to canon and remain consistent with the original designs where possible.
There had been plans to show the interior of the Enterprise during the first-season finale, but this was ultimately saved for the second season. Deverell did extensive research on the original sets before trying to recreate them using Discovery's "new methodology", including searching through the CBS archives to do color tests on the original bridge sets which feature a distinctive red that sometimes appeared to be orange on the original series (the series includes a joke about it being orange, though Deverell insisted that it is red). The Enterprise bridge set was built on a new soundstage for the series specifically for the two-part season finale, rather than being a repurposed set. James Cawley, owner of the Official Star Trek Set Tour, provided reproductions of the buttons from the original bridge set for Deverell to base her buttons on.
Filming for the season began at Pinewood Toronto Studios on April 16, 2018, under the working title Green Harvest. Production was set to take place on the series at the studio until November 8. At the time of Berg and Harberts' firing, production was underway on the fifth episode of the season, and a hiatus in filming was planned to follow that. This allowed Kurtzman to take the time to "regroup" the series' writing staff without delaying the series' production. The production was ultimately delayed enough that it needed to extend its time at Pinewood in order to complete the season, and to amortize these costs CBS added an additional episode to the season's run, which pushed the end of filming on the season to December 21. Due to the delay, episodic director Jonathan Frakes ultimately directed the ninth episode of the season instead of the originally planned tenth.
Kurtzman hoped that if the series was projected in a theater it would appear indistinguishable from a feature film, and chose to use anamorphic lenses for the season to "immediately [convey] a sense of scope and scale". He also pushed the lighting and design departments to use color in ways that are not traditionally considered for television, and challenged the episode directors to each shoot a scene where they would not use the same shot twice; this was to encourage them to use more inventive shot choices rather than just typical "coverage" (filming a master shot of the scene followed by angles from several different sides if time permitted). Kurtzman also wanted as many options available to the editors as possible during post-production. Addressing the fact that Star Trek was originally inspired by naval tradition, Kurtzman said that the season would be leaning further into that than the first did, especially in the way that they filmed the bridge scenes and a funeral sequence. He named Crimson Tide (1995) as an influence for the filming style. Frakes reiterated the cinematic approach to the series, especially comparing the camera work to the style of the Star Trek films directed by J.J. Abrams. He added that Osunsanmi encouraged the episodic directors to "express ourselves visually in as exciting a way as possible" which was different to the restrictions Frakes was used to from other series.
During filming of one of the season's episodes in August 2018, Mount was involved in an "on-set physical altercation" with the episode's director when he touched the director while rehearsing a pointing action before beginning a scene. The incident was reported to CBS's HR department who reviewed it and decided against any disciplinary action for Mount. The actor had apologized to the director at the time. The incident had no effect on Mount's involvement with the series, as work on the season continued without interruption and the series production was believed to be interested in working with Mount further despite his contract being for the second season of the series only.
Composer Jeff Russo planned to begin work on the second season in May 2018, after receiving the first script for the season. He did not expect to significantly change the tone of his music for the season, feeling that so much work in the first season had gone towards creating a unique sound for the series within the Star Trek franchise which he would like to continue moving forward. Russo did feel that the score for the second season would focus more on the "swashbuckling" aspects he wrote at times for the first season. Russo generally works directly with the showrunners rather than any of the episodic directors but discussed his score for the season's second episode with director Frakes.
The season was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2018, with Notaro moderating a panel that featured Kurtzman, Martin-Green, Jones, Latif, Wiseman, Rapp, Cruz, Chieffo, Mount, and executive producer Heather Kadin. The first trailer for the season debuted at the panel before being released online.
The season premiered on January 17, 2019 on CBS All Access in the United States. Bell Media broadcasts the series in Canada on the specialty channels Space (English) and Z (French) before streaming episodes on Crave, while Netflix has streaming rights for the series in another 188 countries. Netflix releases each episode of the series for streaming within 24 hours of its U.S. debut.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 82% approval rating with an average rating of 7.15/10 based on 26 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "The second season of Discovery successfully—if stubbornly—cleans up the problematic storylines of Trek past while still effectively dramatizing new takes on the lore." The average rating for each of the season's individual episodes is 82%. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 73 out of 100 based on reviews from 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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