“Initiating donut maneuver.”

As far as produced Trek goes, Christopher Pike was Kirk 1.0, but in this episode, which very much hearkens to the classic series, we see a critical difference.

Pike actually follows the Prime Directive which, apparently, applies even to star-lost Terrans who have sent a distress signal.

Head now to Eden
Yeah brother…

Title: “The New Eden”

Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Written by Sean Cochrane, Akiva Goldsman, Kirsten Beyer

Cast
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike
Doug Jones as Commander Saru
Anthony Rapp as Commander Paul Stamets
Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly
Sheila McCarthy as Mother
Andrew Moodie as Joseph
Hannah Cheesman as Lt. Cmdr. Airiam
Emily Coutts as Lt. Keyla Detmer
Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt. Gen Rhys
Oyin Oladejo as Lt. Joann Owosekun
Ronnie Rowe as Lt. R.A. Bryce
Raven Dauda as Dr. Tracy Pollard
Julianne Grossman as Discovery Computer
Noah Davis as Lieutenant (2053)
Bahia Watson as May
Kiara Groulx as Rose
Claire Qute as Teen May
Ethan Peck as Spock (vo)

Premise:

Discovery uses the spoor drive in order to follow a red signal to an earth colony that should not exist. As far as its inhabitants are concerned, however, there’s no place they’d rather be.

High Point:

I’ll take one more opportunity to note that this season incorporates some of Trek‘s key elements. We have danger and issues, but also, characters who are fun to engage. The showmakers will have to raise the stakes a bit next week, but I’m on for this season.

As for Ensign Tilly: Yeah, Wesley Crusher is far more interesting as a socially-awkward woman.

Low Point:

For the second week, we have an episode that wants us to know this season will be more like Treks of yore and, in the process, crams a little too much into one hour. I know we’re watching serialized Trek, but a little more character development and world-building in the episode would be good.

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6 We have an episode heavy with tropes, and a classic Trek Make Sh*t Up solution. And yeah, that link is moderately NSFW.

Effects: 6/6 This week combines state-of-the art effects with old-school location shooting.

Acting: 5/6 I’m liking this version of Pike, and it’s good to see Sheila McCarthy, even in a bit part.

The crew continues to develop a rapport, but it will take time.

Production: 6/6

Story: 4/6 Good, but a little crammed. This one would have worked better as a two-parter.

Joseph gets accused of attacking strangers and stealing their things, but all gets overlooked. It’s a good thing Terran theocracies have always been forgiving and non-legalistic.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 4.5/6 We have angels, theological quasi-discussion, and the second appearance of a dead person.1 They have some classic SF exploration, but it could easily go awry, or play as simplistic.

I’m hoping.

In total, “New Eden” receives 31.5/42

Lingering Questions

1. So some of us will survive to see Trek‘s World War Three? That sounds like even less fun than that Eugenics War back in the 90s.

2. These humans have developed their own culture in the last two centuries. Should the Prime Directive apply?

3. Will the angels be Organians? Metrons? Vorlons? Gorgon’s “Friendly Angel” Species?2 Something entirely new?

4. What do angels need with a starship?

Notes

1. Tilly doesn’t know her middle school friend died a few years after she last saw her. That’s how much a paradise Trek‘s future is: people aren’t addicted to social networking anymore.

2. And if so, will they let us know about the Zodiac?