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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
MA 2009Warning!
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Discovery, and thus may contain spoilers.

For the TNG episode with a similar title, please see "Brothers".

Discovery and its crew are drawn into an investigation of seven unidentified signals detected across the galaxy, bringing Captain Christopher Pike aboard and leading Burnham to explore her relationship with her foster brother, Spock. (Season premiere)

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

Cassini Emblem

Early space exploration...

"Space. The final frontier. Above us. Around us. Within us. We have always looked to the stars to discover who we are. A thousand centuries ago in Africa, the /Xam Abathwa tribe gathered to share a story. The tale of a girl who dug her hands in the wood ash and threw it into the sky to create the Milky Way. And hidden there, a secret buried among the eternal stars, was a message. An enormous letter in a bottle made of space and time, visible only to those whose hearts were open enough to receive it. All my life. When I first heard the story of the girl who made the stars, I wasn't ready to understand. I still don't know if I am."

Following on the heels of Michael Burnham's mutiny aboard the USS Shenzhou, the death of Captain Philippa Georgiou and the rescue of her mirror universe counterpart, Burnham's service aboard the USS Discovery, the death and revelation of Gabriel Lorca's true identity, and the conclusion of the Federation-Klingon War, the Discovery is met by the USS Enterprise.

Michael reflects on the history of space exploration, the NASA-Cassini mission to Saturn and its moons, and the /Xam Abathwa legend of the girl who made the stars.

Sarek and Amanda home entry

Michael meets Amanda, observed by Spock from above

Sarek and Amanda blue stairway

Amanda and Sarek take Michael to meet her new foster brother

She thinks back to being brought to Sarek and Amanda Grayson's home on Vulcan for the first time, her first encounter with Amanda, and her introduction to Spock - drawing alone in his room; pondering if she is, even now, ready to understand the story of "the girl who made the stars..." Young Burnham extends a hand of friendship to young Spock, only to have him slam his drawing-room door shut before her and his family.

Snapped back to the present on the bridge of the Discovery, Saru is attempting to determine the condition of the Enterprise. Joann Owosekun at Ops reports the Enterprise is completely offline, though Burnham confirms life support is still functioning, with a full crew of 203. Ensign Sylvia Tilly joins to suggest using Morse code, allowing Captain Christopher Pike to request to transport aboard with a science and engineering officer. At the thought of being reunited with Spock so unexpectedly, both Ambassador Sarek and Burnham note to each other they had not expected to encounter Spock ever again.

Act One Edit

Evan Connolly

Lieutenant Evan Connolly

As they make their way to the transporter room, Saru notices that Burnham's endocrine system is running very high, which he attributes to her anxiety about meeting Spock again after so long. Burnham heatedly retorts that she is on a mission and in problem-solving mode, and that is what he senses. Saru is unconvinced, but lets it go as they enter the transporter room. Burnham then asks if Saru had any siblings; he mentions his sister, Siranna, remarking that he does not expect to be reunited with her. The transporter energizes, beaming aboard three officers in the newer Starfleet uniforms: Captain Pike, his engineer Commander Nhan, and his science officer – not Spock as Burnham was expecting, but instead Lieutenant Evan Connolly. Pike informs Saru that he has been sent by Starfleet to assume command of Discovery, under Regulation 19, Section C. Saru remarks that there are only three contingencies for that regulation – an imminent threat to the Federation, danger to Federation citizens, or no officers available of equal or higher rank to mitigate the threat – and asks for which of them Pike is there for. "All of them" is Pike's reply.

As they make their way to the bridge, Pike explains that over the past 24 hours, Federation sensors have detected seven red bursts spread out across more than thirty thousand light years, appearing in perfect synchronization just long enough to be scanned, and then vanishing – all save one. Saru points out the perfect synchronization rules out a natural phenomenon, asking if it was some kind of signal. Pike confirms that's what Starfleet believes; Connolly adds that whenever the Enterprise tried to scan the bursts, the computer went haywire, with Burnham comparing it to a compass at the North Pole. Upon learning her identity, Pike remarks that "he said you were smart", and that they had "someone in common"; Burnham admits she had expected to see Spock when Pike beamed aboard. Saru wonders if the phenomenon is a temporal anomaly or a black hole, both of which cause similar distortions. Connolly replies that neither fit the scale; the single burst stabilized long enough to have its coordinates plotted, and Pike had ordered the Enterprise to intercept when it suffered ship-wide system failure, necessitating his move to the Discovery while the Enterprise is towed back to Spacedock.

On the bridge, Pike has his DNA scanned for verification before he takes command, and his Starfleet file appears on the main viewer. Pike points out his commendations, his diagnosis of childhood asthma, and his failing grade in Astrophysics at Starfleet Academy. He explains that he knows about Lorca, and understands that the crew will have doubts about an outsider as captain, but emphasizes that he is not Lorca. He then explains the mission, and the reason he moved to the Discovery is because the Federation is not willing to wait to see if it's a friendship message or a declaration of malice, and orders Keyla Detmer to plot the coordinates of the remaining signal.

Act Two Edit

In engineering, Lt. Commander Paul Stamets replays a holomessage from his deceased partner, Dr. Hugh Culber, when he is approached by Tilly, who is overseeing the removal of the spore drive equipment and converting the engine room back to standard. Stamets reveals to Tilly that after the Paris peace summit that ended the Klingon war, he accepted a permanent teaching position at the Vulcan Science Academy. He compares his ordeal during the war to a prima donna in Kasseelian opera, who trains her whole life for a single performance before committing suicide, and admits that he sees Culber everywhere he looks aboard Discovery. Starfleet has accepted Stamets' transfer, albeit postponed due to Pike's mission. Tilly tries to convince him to stay.

In her quarters, Burnham reads Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, hearing Amanda reading it to her, when Sarek visits her. He remarks that he is returning to Vulcan when the ship drops out of warp, and that the Vulcan High Command is assembling an expedition to investigate the signals the Enterprise detected. He has also been in contact with High Chancellor L'Rell, who denies the Klingons are involved. Burnham asks Sarek why he thinks Spock did not come aboard; Sarek replies that perhaps Spock is devoting his time to repairing the Enterprise. Burnham then asks what Sarek expected Spock to learn from her when he brought her into his household. Sarek believes that Burnham would have taught him empathy, needed to interact with Humans, but he doesn't believe Spock ever accepted Burnham. Burnham says that he may have, "for a time". As he leaves, Sarek advises her to look at the problem ahead, rather than behind.

USS Discovery discovers the wreckage of the USS Hiawatha on the surface of an interstellar asteroid in 2257

The discovery of the USS Hiawatha

Burnham returns to the bridge just as Discovery drops out of warp in the middle of a massive debris field, and the signal appears to have vanished. A large chunk of debris misses the ship by only seven hundred meters; the point of near-impact was at the exact coordinates of the signal. Saru and Burnham indicate that the object is an interstellar asteroid traveling at five thousand KPH, and that it has an atmosphere, clouding sensors with hyper-charged particles. Detmer reports that the ship is caught in a fluctuating gravity well. Burnham suggests using Discovery's telescopic cameras, used for hull repairs, to scan the surface. As Detmer tries to keep up with the asteroid, Discovery bounces off its gravity well, causing its trajectory to change into a collision course with a pulsar, which will incinerate the rock within five hours. Burnham then reports that there is a Starfleet ship crash-landed on the surface. Saru, with his superior vision, is able to read the registry number, NCC-815 – the USS Hiawatha, a medical frigate believed lost to the Klingons ten months earlier. Pike orders a landing party.

Landing pod launch facility

The landing party prepares to launch

On their way to the hangar, Tilly explains that the sensors in engineering picked up mycelial activity they had not seen since they found the tardigrade on the USS Glenn, and asks Burnham to recover a sample of the asteroid. Pike, Burnham, Nham, and Connolly take the ship's landing pods, which are designed for high-gravity situations, into the debris field. From the bridge, Detmer reports that the gravimetric pressure on the rock inflates the debris to the point of explosion; the remark triggers Saru's threat ganglia. The magnetic distortions interfere with the landing pods' autopilots, forcing them to resort to manual control. Connolly flies ahead of them, despite Burnham's protests that his field of flight is too wide, and refuses Pike's orders to fall back just as a piece of debris smashes into his pod, killing him. The debris damages Pike's pod, and his auto-ejection system fails. Burnham convinces Pike to let her use her own ejection system to stop Pike's free fall. Just before impacting with the asteroid, Detmer remotely activates Burnham's thruster pack. Saru anxiously calls for a report; Burnham reports that they have touched down safely. Relieved, Saru's ganglia retract as he sinks into the captain's chair.

Act Three Edit

USS Hiawatha wreckage

The wreckage of the Hiawatha

Pike, Burnham, and Nham navigate into the wreckage of the Hiawatha, when they are met with a trio of customized probes made from salvaged Starfleet technology. A voice calls them "kids", and calls for the landing party to enter the wreck. The voice guides them through an emergency shelter inside the wreck, which has a breathable atmosphere. As they enter sickbay, they find the voice belongs to the ship's chief engineer, Commander Jett Reno, who is working to stabilize members of the crew, most of whom are in stasis. She remarks that she had decided not to vaporize the landing party when she saw their Starfleet insignia, having been expecting "someone with a bat'leth"; Pike and Burnham inform her that the war is over. Reno explains they had been en route to Starbase 36 when they were attacked, and that most of the war wounded were evacuated in escape pods before the crash. She stayed behind to keep the critical cases alive; when Nham points out that she was an engineer, not a surgeon, she replies "the body's just a machine."

Burnham restores power to the Hiawatha's transporter room, and has pattern enhancers set up to strengthen the signal, allowing the Discovery to beam out the survivors six at a time. Forced to keep shields down to transport the survivors, Saru orders evasive maneuvers even as the ship takes impact from the debris. As Pike, Nham, Reno, and the last survivors prepare to beam out, the transporter loses power; Burnham is able to reroute, but is knocked aside by an explosion just as the others beam out. Forced to navigate through the exploding vessel, Burnham returns to the outside just as she is knocked out by a flying piece of debris.

Act Four Edit

Burnham regains consciousness, a piece of superheated shrapnel stuck in her leg. As she looks up, she sees an angelic figure in the flames... then after a moment, the figure is replaced by Pike, who came back to rescue Burnham, beaming back to Discovery. Burnham grabs onto a sample from the asteroid, but the rock fails to transport with her. An anxious Tilly visits Burnham in sickbay, where Burnham explains what happened with the rock, which means the asteroid is not entirely made of baryonic matter, which could explain the gravitational energy. Burnham shows Tilly a projection of the closest pieces of debris they could capture. Tilly sets up a gravity simulator in the shuttlebay. With his mission complete, Pike turns the bridge over to Saru, who orders Detmer to keep the asteroid fragment in Discovery's wake. The fragment impacts hard inside the bay, but is captured by the gravity simulator, at which point Saru orders the ship to withdraw.

In the ready room, Pike – now wearing a Starfleet uniform similar to that of the Discovery crew – meets with Burnham, explaining that the Enterprise will require more repairs, and that he and Saru have "joint custody" of the ship. As they walk through the decks, Burnham admits that she is the reason she and Spock do not speak, and says that she would like to go over to the Enterprise to see him. Pike replies that Spock is on leave; Starfleet had ordered the Enterprise to remain on its five-year mission as an instrument of last resort, sitting out the war, which took a toll on Pike and his crew. Pike remarked that Spock had asked where the logic was of staying away if there would be nothing to return to, and was able to show the crew that logic was the beginning of the answer, not the end. A few months earlier, Pike noticed a shift in Spock, as if he had "run into a question he couldn't answer", which he refused to share with Pike or anyone else. As Spock was one of his officers, Pike trusted him implicitly and allowed him to go on leave without asking why. Burnham still wishes to go over to the Enterprise to find out for herself.

"Personal log. As a child, I had what my mother called nightmares. She taught me to control my fear by drawing it, rendering fear powerless. The nightmares have returned. The same vision, again and again. I now understand its meaning and where it must lead me. In the event of my death, I have encoded it within this audio file. This may be my last entry aboard the Enterprise."

Burnham enters Spock's quarters and looks around the room, searching for something. She finds his old drawing table and accesses his latest personal log, in which Spock remarks that he had been plagued by nightmares as a child, which his mother taught him to control by drawing. The nightmares have returned, showing the same vision, and Spock now understood their meaning; he encoded the "vision" within the audio file to be played in the event of his death. Burnham activates the drawing table, showing the map of the seven red bursts, and realizing what Spock had seen.

"There are so many things I wish I'd said to you, so many things I want to say now. I'm too late, aren't I? Oh, Spock. I can only pray I don't lose you again. Brother."

Log entries Edit

  • "Personal log. As a child, I had what my mother called nightmares. She taught me to control my fear by drawing it, rendering fear powerless. The nightmares have returned. The same vision, again and again. I now understand its meaning and where it must lead me. In the event of my death, I have encoded it within this audio file. This may be my last entry aboard the Enterprise."

Memorable quotes Edit

"I see where the Federation puts its pennies."
"Do not covet thy neighbor's starship, commander. Besides, we've got the new uniforms."
"And lovely uniforms, they are. Captain."
"Very colorful."

- Nhan, Pike, Saru, and Burnham


"I was expecting a red thing. Where's my damn red thing?"

- Christopher Pike, after not seeing a mysterious red burst that he had been searching for


"We've been rockin' and rollin' for hours. Can someone tell me what's going on?"
"This asteroid is on a collision course with a pulsar. The gravitational field is gonna tear this place apart."
"Oh, what a relief. I thought we were all gonna die."

- Reno and Burnham


"Wherever our mission takes us, we'll try to have a little fun along the way, too, huh? Make a little noise? Ruffle a few feathers."

- Christopher Pike, to Michael Burnham, on Discovery's new mission

Background information Edit

  • Alex Kurtzman was announced as directing the season premiere in March 2018. [1]
  • Filming on the episode began on 16 April 2018. [2] [3] Shot on that date was A-camera footage of scene #116D, using a forty millimeter camera lens. At least three takes were filmed of the scene, which was to later be embellished with visual effects. [4] Also shot on the same date was B-camera footage of scene #107E, which was filmed on the Discovery bridge set. [5]
  • This was the first episode of Discovery to be released with the aspect ratio of 2.39:1 rather than 2:1. It followed on from the first four episodes of Short Treks being released in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. [6]
  • Amanda and Sarek's home was filmed at Integral House, a mansion located in downtown Toronto.

Cast and characters Edit

Continuity Edit

  • This episode picks up where DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?" left off.
  • The stardate for this episode was given in "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"
  • Chronologically, this episode features the earliest appearance and on-screen usage of pattern enhancers.
  • It is revealed that the Enterprise has a crew complement of 203. Captain Pike mentions the same number in "The Cage".
  • Saru makes a mention of his sister Siranna, who had appeared in ST: "The Brightest Star", and will re-appear in "The Sound of Thunder" and "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2".
  • Saru mentions that standard operating procedure for transferring command codes of a starship from one captain to another has changed since the Federation-Klingon War, in that starship command shall not be transferred without DNA authentication and witnessed by the bridge's crew.
  • This episode contains the first canonical confirmation that Pike's command of the Enterprise included a five-year mission. It also includes, via an on-screen display, the first live-action canonical reference to Robert April as the commander of the Enterprise prior to Pike (a fact established in TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident" but due to the uncertain canon status of the animated series, and despite previous references to April on-screen, was not confirmed in live-action until now).
  • Pike finds a leftover fortune cookie message under the previous captain's desk. It reads "not every cage is a prison, not every loss is eternal.", a possible reference to Pike's Talosian arc featured in "The Cage" (which is set a few years before this episode) and "The Menagerie, Part I" and II (which is yet to come).
  • The tugs which are seen towing the Enterprise appear to be Ptolemy-class ships. They are not named as such, nor are they seen up close, possibly because to do so would require permission from Franz Joseph's estate as the Ptolemy first appeared in his Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual.
  • Stamets reveals to Sylvia Tilly that following the Peace accord signing in Paris, the Vulcan Science Academy offered him a permanent teaching position. Starfleet approved his transfer and he would be leaving Discovery following the completion of Pike's mission.

Reception and aftermath Edit

  • This is the first episode of Discovery that didn't have a companion After Trek episode, or aftershow at all at release. While The Ready Room: "Episode 1" would cover this episode, it didn't come out until the day after the release of "New Eden".

Production history Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

and

Guest starring Edit

Co-starring Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

References Edit

Africa; Alice; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; aortic valve; armistice; asteroid; atmosphere; ball; baryon; bat'leth; Battle of the Binary Stars; Bible; black hole; blood; bloodwine; Bolian; brain; Brianna; Caitian; candle; Cassini; cat; Cheshire Cat; Christ; clockwise; Command Training Program; compass; covet; crash landing; dagger; dark matter; decapitation; Dione; DNA authentication; drawing; DSC 01; duotronic; endocrine system; Enterprise, USS; ethnobotany; EV booster; evolution; exo-suit; Federation-Klingon War; Federation tug; five-year mission; flux coupler; fortune cookie; free fall; girl who made the stars, the; gravity; gravity simulator; gravity well; Grek; handshake; heart; hemerythrin; Hiawatha, USS; High Chancellor; Human; inertia dampener; interstellar asteroid; invertebrate; Kasseelian; Kasseelian opera; kid (robot); kill zone; Kim-Tara; landing pod; launch station; Leaning Tower, The; logic sciences; L'Rell; letter in a bottle; Lorca, Gabriel; magnet; medical frigate; meditation; metaphor; Milky Way Galaxy; mirage; Mojave; Monday; Morse code; multi-vector propulsion; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; nightmare; north pole; orphan; Paris; particle; pattern enhancer; peace accord; penny; pinkie; Pisa; planetoid; prima donna; Prometheus (moon); proverb; pulsar; rank; Red Angel; red burst; red shirt; Rhea; roller coaster; roll call; shrapnel; simile; Siranna; Spacedock; stars; Starbase 36; Starfleet Corps of Engineers; Starfleet General Orders and Regulations; Starfleet uniform (late 2230s-2250s); stream; tardigrade (alien); task force; telescopic camera; Tellarite; temporal anomaly; Tethys; three-dimensional chess; titanium; tonal matrix; tow ships; tractor beam; tribble; Ursa Major; Valentine; Vulcan; Vulcan bells; Vulcan High Command; Vulcan lute; Vulcan Science Academy; worker bee; /Xam Abathwa

External links Edit


Previous episode:
"Will You Take My Hand?"
Star Trek: Discovery
Season 2
Next episode:
"New Eden"