- Captain Christopher Pike - Anson Mount was, for me at least, the standout star of the season. He breathed life into a character that for too long has been more of a footnote of what might have been. Captain Pike was, as I am sure you are aware, the first captain of the Enterprise in the original pilot episode "The Cage". First portrayed by the late Jeffery Hunter, Pike was supposed to be the leading man. When the network demanded that the show be completely overhauled, Pike was out. He was brought back in two-part story "The Menagerie" where it was revealed that he was severely injured in an accident. The character was brought back in the J.J. Abrams reboot films and played well by Bruce Greenwood, but Anson Mount's portrayal gave us a captain that lived up to all the hype that has been given throughout Trek's history. I loved how his fate was foreshadowed, and it added even more depth to an already beloved character.
- Secondary Character Backstories - As listed in "The Bad" from season 1, I mentioned how I would have liked some more information on some of the secondary characters, such as Airiam, Demeter, Owosekum, and Rhys. Well, we got them, or at least for some of them. We learned little things about some of them (past relationships, some family history, and even some of the trials that they have faced in life), and I enjoyed that. Yet, while we were able to get more from these interesting characters along the lines of dialogue and past history, I couldn't help but feel that we should be getting more. Having said this, it was a step in the right direction, and I appreciated what was given, but there was something about this development that gave me cause for concern, but more on that in a moment.
- Reconnecting with the Roots of Trek - One of the biggest complaints and concerns voiced about Discovery was that it just did not feel like Star Trek, even though it was set in the era of the original series timeline. With the arrival of Pike and the Enterprise (complete with the more familiar, yet updated, colored uniforms) and moving away from the war, we had a return to what many felt like was the way that Trek used to be. Yes, we still have one continuous story being told over multiple episodes, but that is more of a product of television in the current day of binge-watching on demand. The mood was lighter than last season, with more time to explore the happier side of the human condition. Season 1 dealt with war, so the mood had to be darker. Here, we see more social interactions and care and compassion. As an example, look at the episode "An Obol for Charon" and the strong bond depicted between Burnham and Saru. This is what Trek is all about. We also had footage from "The Cage" and a re-introduction to the Talosians and Vina, the woman who fell in love with Pike.
- She's Number One! - Majel Barrett was the original Number One, Pike's unnamed female first officer. For Discovery, she was played by Rebecca Romijn. This was a brilliant casting choice, and Romijn was fantastic. She channeled Majel Barrett's take on the character well, making it her own but still staying true to the essence of the original. It reminded me of Karl Urban's portrayal of McCoy in the Kelvinverse films. And, like Captain Pike, Number One was given more depth to her character. I loved how everyone still called her "Number One", and only once was a name for her given (Una, which could have been her first name or a nickname, depending on who you ask), which continued the secretive tradition of her character.
- The Development Towards Death - In other popular television programs today that feature a large ensemble of characters facing life-or-death struggles, there seems to be a recurring theme. As some of the secondary characters begin to be developed, it soon became apparent that the motivation was to build up the audience's connection to that character so that when said character was killed, the emotional payoff would be greater. This has been reported in many shows, such as "Lost" and "The Walking Dead". I mentioned in "The Good" section that I liked that the background characters were brought into the foreground more, and the one that received the most attention was Airiam. We learned that she was human who was given cybernetic augmentation after a devastating accident that claimed the life of her husband. Learning about this was wonderful, and then they had her corrupted by Control and subsequently killed. Now, I am not opposed to killing off popular characters in order to elicit an emotional response from the fans, but I am worried that Discovery is heading down a frustrating road. Yes, I want the supporting characters developed, and no, they should not be immune to tragedy and even death. I just have a problem with building up a character with the sole purpose of killing them off being over-used. First, it becomes lazy on the part of the writers. Second, it is predictable. We as the audience will spot it coming as soon as Owo or Rhys gets more attention being given. And finally, the more it is used, the less effective it becomes in eliciting the desired emotional response. I hope that this was more of a one-and-done use of the plot device, giving us a chance to develop the other characters without it meaning their eventual demise.
- Sometimes Dead is Better - Doctor Hugh Culber was a favorite character of mine, and his surprising death in Season 1 broke my heart. Hearing that Culber would return in one way or another left me feeling hopeful about him, but I have to admit that I was left feeling confused and underwhelmed when it was almost all said and done. I found his resurrection to be odd. By the end of the season, I was still scratching my head with why and how Culber was back. As much as I loved the character, and as intrigued I am with what this means for one of my favorite relationships on the show, I can't help but feel that maybe he should have stayed deceased. It is my hope that in the third season this will feel better.
- Section 31 - What I loved about Section 31 when it was first introduced in Deep Space Nine was that it was a covert, rogue element of Starfleet that was hidden in myth and legend. It worked in the shadows and was unknown to many. In this season, it became a branch of Starfleet that almost everyone knew about. Thankfully, with Control decimating Section 31, it appears that it has been pushed back into the shadows, and thereby staying true to canon, but I still felt that by making it such a prominent and established organization that acted in the open with its own fleet of vessels, I felt that the menace that was Section 31 was severely lessened.
- Spock's Beard - This is more tongue-in-cheek, but wow, that beard of Spock's was distracting at times. Yes, I know, he was on the run and had spent time in prison and couldn't get to a razor, but it was so unkempt that it just made me laugh at times. I was happy in the final episode when the character was finally able to shave it off.
- Trolls, Trolls, and More Trolls - Well, I had hoped that the second season of Discovery would lead to fewer trolls stalking the internet, and yet I should not be surprised that as the second season rolled out the trolls were still there. Some of them seemed to have left, but the ones that remain are as vocal as ever. I should point out that this is not a slam on those who offer valid criticisms and bring up some good points. Nor does it slam those who hate the show yet let those who like it live in peace. No, this is for those who for some strange reason have nothing better to do with their lives than go full nuclear every time somebody has the audacity to post that they like the show. Go away trolls, and in the immortal words of William Shatner: "Get a life!"