(written from a Production point of view)
After answering a distress signal from the USS Enterprise, the USS Discovery welcomes aboard Captain Christopher Pike and begins a new mission to investigate the meaning behind seven mysterious red signals. Michael Burnham grapples with her past growing up on Vulcan with her foster parents and brother Spock. (Season premiere)
"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.
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.
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 twenty-four 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.
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.
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.
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, Nhan, 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.
Pike, Burnham, and Nhan 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, Nhan, 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.
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."
- "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."
"Forgive me, Captain, your directive is only instituted under three contingencies: when an imminent threat is detected, when the lives of Federation citizens are in danger, or when no other officers of equal or higher rank are present to mitigate this threat. May I ask under which contingency you are here?"
"All of them."
- - Saru and Christopher Pike
"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."
- - Nhan, Pike, Saru, and Burnham
"Sometimes it's wise to keep our expectations low, commander. That way, we're never disappointed."
- - Christopher Pike after Michael Burnham expresses confusion at not seeing Mr. Spock with Pike
"I'm Captain Christopher Pike. Up there are my commendations, my diagnosis of childhood asthma, that big red F, that was my failing grade in astrophysics at the Academy. I know this is a hard left turn. You were en route to Vulcan to pick up a new captain. I was briefed on the classified details surrounding your last one. I know he betrayed this crew. If I were you, I'd have my doubts about me as well. But I'm not him. I'm not Lorca."
- - Christopher Pike, introducing himself to the bridge crew of Discovery
- - Christopher Pike, ordering warp speed
"Tilly, you are... incandescent. You're going to become a magnificent captain, because you do everything out of love. But I need you to repeat after me."
"'I will say...'"
"I will say..."
"...fewer thi- okay."
- - Paul Stamets and Silvia Tilly
"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 got debris!"
- - Michael Burnham and Evan Connolly, as they fly into the asteroid field
"Relax. Tellarite blood is rich in hemerythrin. The only place on Earth you'll find anything like it is in marine invertebrates. Evolution's a fickle bitch, am I right?"
- - Jett Reno
"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
"What are you doing here?"
"Well that depends. Are you attempting to capture an asteroid, Ensign Tilly?"
"Uh, just a little piece. If my theory's correct, we'll be able to interact with dark matter, sir."
"Well I'm offended I wasn't invited to the party."
"Oh my- oh my God, you're so invited!"
- - Sylvia Tilly and Paul Stamets
"This is the power of math, people!"
- - Sylvia Tilly, after successfully capturing an asteroid fragment in the hangar
"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
Story and script
- Alex Kurtzman described the genesis of the Cassini archive footage that begins this episode's teaser as a "weird moment of inspiration" that came "out of nowhere, at 2 am." He elaborated, "It was weird. We were sitting in Hearn, right? We were freezing, freezing, and it was the middle of the night, […] and somebody handed me this […] Cassini footage, and I saw it, and it instantly hit me that seeing the future through the lens of the past, and through the satellite that was initially sent out on the same mission as all the Federation ships, which is exploration and understanding of other planets, was such an interesting way to frame this story. I'd just never seen it, and it felt like it suddenly grounded everything in reality, and, in that moment, it was like, 'Wait a minute; we've gotta start with the Cassini probe, and then we have to hear [Burnham actress Sonequa Martin-Green] say, 'Space, the final frontier,' and that's how we're going to start,' and that would segue us into this whole thing about Spock." ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Prior to the young Spock and Burnham appearing in this episode's flashback, Sonequa Martin-Green imagined them together in their childhood. Partly from Burnham's perspective, she commented, "I see him now and go, 'Oh… Spock. I see you running around the house. I see you walking around the house in a very weird way.' It's been fun building memories with him involved." (Star Trek Magazine issue 190, p. 20)
- The hologram that boyhood Spock makes appear in the teaser flashback was originally intended to be a Le-matya, in reference to TAS: "Yesteryear". Explaining why this idea was dropped, Alex Kurtzman noted, "The Le-matya design didn't quite work right with the hologram." ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- According to Alex Kurtzman, the Star Trek: Discovery staff writers knew "for a while" that they wanted to introduce the character of Christopher Pike into the series' second season (as this episode does). This followed naturally on from the idea of bringing the USS Enterprise and Spock into the series, which the writing staff knew they wanted to do in order to answer the question of why Spock hadn't mentioned Burnham in any previous iteration of Star Trek despite the fact they were foster siblings. Since Pike was the captain of the Enterprise at the time the second season would be set, it made logical sense to bring him into the show too. (TRR: "Brother and New Eden")
Cast and characters
- Sonequa Martin-Green passionately believed that the Cassini footage at the start of this episode brought a sense of reality with it. She highly appreciated how this archive footage ended up in the installment and how Alex Kurtzman was "bold enough" to make the choice of inserting it into the episode. "I love that in just this teaser," she said, "you see that we have this really beautiful return to the spirit of Trek, and the essence of Trek, and the canon itself, you know, in a really major way, but then also, you know, all the uniqueness that we're trying to bring, as well." Martin-Green also referred to a moment from the teaser, depicting the very first conversation between Amanda Grayson and Michael Burnham, as "one of my favorite moments of the entire show," due to Amanda's "openness" and "warmth of her spirit that's just radiating from her eyes" in the scene, as well as how Amanda says she blesses Burnham and how much the moment conveys regarding backstory. "I thought it was such a poignant moment," related Martin-Green. She also approved of how emotional the end of the teaser is. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Since Wilson Cruz was added to the DIS main cast for the show's second season, his name appears in the opening credits of this episode.
- Anson Mount appears for the first time in this installment and is credited as a main cast member in the opening credits. With the addition of this episode, Mount became the fourth actor to portray the role of Christopher Pike. Jeffrey Hunter originated the role in TOS: "The Cage", while Sean Kenney portrayed an older Pike in TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II", whereas Bruce Greenwood portrayed his alternate reality counterpart in the films Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness.
- As of this episode, Jason Isaacs is no longer credited as a main cast member. Isaacs left the show following the death of Gabriel Lorca in "What's Past Is Prologue", even though his name was still listed in the opening credits for the remainder of Season 1.
- Shazad Latif is not credited as a main cast member and does not appear in this episode.
- The character of Spock is portrayed by Liam Hughes and Ethan Peck for the first time. Leonard Nimoy originated the role in TOS: "The Cage". Actors Carl Steven, Vadia Potenza, Stephen Manley, and Joe W. Davis portrayed younger versions of the character in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Another younger version of Spock, from TAS: "Yesteryear", was voiced by Billy Simpson. Jacob Kogan portrayed Spock's alternate reality counterpart as a young boy, while Zachary Quinto portrayed alternate Spock as an adult.
- Starting with this episode, actress Hannah Cheesman took over the role of Airiam. Actress Sara Mitich had portrayed Airiam in Season 1. Mitich took the recurring role of Nilsson from this episode onward.
- This episode introduced the recurring role of Jett Reno, played by Tig Notaro. However, the performer struggled with her lines of technobabble in this installment. "It's not that I couldn't remember anything; it's just, it's made-up space stuff, so I couldn't picture what I was saying at all," she recalled. 
- Alex Kurtzman planned the scenes in this installment meticulously. "Every scene was very designed, so we knew in advance exactly where the shots were, and pretty much the cut points," he said. "I had a lot of it in my head before we started shooting." ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- The production design on this episode began while the post-production work was ongoing on "Will You Take My Hand?". Visual Effects Supervisor Jason Zimmerman commented, "Alex [Kurtzman] started to drop hints about what we were going to be doing, so we all got together and started talking to discuss the different aspects of what the sequences would involve. Then they got busy right away and started to provide concept art that we could all look at and give feedback on, and react to, just to start to hone the world in a little bit and figure out what things were going to look like." Noted Olatunde Osunsanmi, "There were so many things [to get right] in the first episode: the music, the visual effects themselves, the production design." 
- There was one particular sequence in this episode which took a long time to plan. "Jason [Zimmerman] and I spent about six months prepping the asteroid sequence that's in this," recalled Alex Kurtzman, "and it was a long, long, long process of working with pixel, storyboards, and doing it again." 
- There are new animations for the opening titles starting with this episode.
- 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. 
- Alex Kurtzman's method of directing this episode impressed the cast and crew. "You know, we were all so floored by the way he directed this episode," reflected Sonequa Martin-Green, "because he came in and decided to shoot a movie, and that was just that. And so we said, 'Oh, oh, okay, so you're shooting a movie! Oh, I see.' And, you know, with the [2.39:1] lens [….] And so we were just all, the whole time, like, 'What is Alex doing?! This is impossible!'" ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- In turn, Alex Kurtzman found the cast very easy to work with. Regarding Sonequa Martin-Green, he remembered, "The thing that really blew me away one day was we came early in the morning, it was early, and we were blocking the scene […] and Sonequa comes in and is just reading scenes like… I don't know if [she was] reading them for the first time but she's, like, giving it and bringing it before there's even a crew to be shooting it, which is incredible." ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Filming on this episode began on 16 April 2018.   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.  Also shot on the same date was B-camera footage of scene #107E, which was filmed on the Discovery bridge set. 
- Amanda and Sarek's home was filmed at Integral House, a mansion located in downtown Toronto. "It was a perfect logic, Vulcan house," noted Alex Kurtzman. He specifically thought its extreme starkness "felt very Vulcan." ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Actress Mia Kirshner was certain about how she wanted to perform the teaser moment when Amanda verbally blesses Michael Burnham. "She had that in her heart [….] She knew from the beginning how she wanted to do that," commented Alex Kurtzman, an observation which Sonequa Martin-Green agreed with. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Filming the episode's teaser was enjoyable for Alex Kurtzman. "I loved shooting all of this," he remarked. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Preparing to film the turbolift scene with Linus sneezing turned out to be extremely funny for the cast and crew. "The first time we blocked it, we could not contain ourselves," commented Sonequa Martin-Green. "I know it looks like we did, but we did not." Alex Kurtzman added, "I wish we'd been rolling on that." The scene was filmed very late at the end of one specific filming day, at approximately 3 a.m., so the cast and crew were exhausted. While shooting one particular take of the scene, David Benjamin Tomlinson performed the sneeze but his teeth simultaneously flew out of his mouth, and Martin-Green found the incident hysterically funny. The cast and crew, despite enjoying the shoot, didn't know how they'd manage to sustain their seriousness during the filming. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Having done lots of pre-production work on the asteroid sequence in this episode, Alex Kurtzman and Jason Zimmerman were fully aware, during production, what footage they had to shoot live-action for the sequence. "When we were actually shooting with our cast, and all they were doing is sitting in a chair against the green screen," said Kurtzman, "we knew exactly how it was going to cut in with the [previz], to the moment. There was no improv in any of that." 
- The surface of the asteroid on which the Hiawatha crashes was actually shot at Hearn Generating Station. The nighttime incident in which someone handed Alex Kurtzman the Cassini footage happened during this location shoot. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- The scene with Linus sneezing included green snot that Jason Zimmerman digitally inserted into the footage. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
Music and sound
- One of the tasks in composing the score for this episode was creating music to reflect the young Spock. "Now, when I was writing for Spock as a boy," recalled Composer Jeff Russo, "I thought, 'Oh, okay, so I can write something here that's a little deconstructed and not such a big, emotional, 'Oh my God, it's Spock' thing yet, because he's still just a kid and it's a flashback." 
- A few musical cues from this episode were released in the soundtrack collection Star Trek: Discovery - Season 2. The first, "The Final Frontier", is used in the episode's teaser, accompanying Sonequa Martin-Green's opening voiceover, as well as the flashback to Burnham's youth; the second, "What's Wrong", plays over the segment of the teaser which is set on Discovery's bridge; the third, "All Of Them", accompanies the transit of a joint Enterprise-Discovery team from the transporter room of the Discovery to the ship's bridge; the fourth, "Captain Pike", is the final musical cue in the episode's first act, audible while Pike introduces himself to the Discovery bridge crew and sends the ship to investigate the red bursts; the fifth, "I'm Coming Back", is audible from the point Burnham bids farewell to Tilly up to the moment when Burnham, Pike, Connolly and Nahn launch in their landing pods; the sixth, "Lost Communication", can be heard while Pike experiences trouble in his landing pod and is then saved by Burnham; the seventh, "Stuck", begins while Burnham is running through the wreckage of the Hawiatha and plays until she is beamed up to Discovery with Pike, leaving a rock behind; and the eighth and final cue, "Flashback", can be heard when Burnham visits Spock's quarters at the end of the installment.
- With the cut points virtually all planned out prior to shooting, Alex Kurtzman found a relatively unique way of editing the episode. "I had a very interesting experience on this that I've never actually had before," he explained. "I had Jon Dudkowski, our editor, with us on set. And so, what was kind of amazing about that was […] by the time I would call cut on the last shot, we would have the scene assembled. So, like, we'd do a take, we'd say, 'Okay, great,' and then turn to Jon, [say], 'Go from here to here,' and he'd start putting it together. Literally by the time we were done shooting the scene, it was basically cut." Sonequa Martin-Green had never before seen a TV production being edited on the set while filming took place but had heard about this practice being employed in feature film production. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- The stardate for this episode was given in "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2".
- Following DIS Season 1 finale "Will You Take My Hand?", this is the second episode in a row to begin with a voice-over ostensibly by Michael Burnham (and delivered by Sonequa Martin-Green). The story she tells at the start of this episode's teaser is depicted more fully in ST: "The Girl Who Made the Stars".
- Sonequa Martin-Green considered the moment when Amanda Grayson and Michael Burnham meet each other for the first time as a milestone moment in Star Trek continuity. "As far as backstory goes, my goodness! We learn a wealth of information in two seconds," she stated, "because we see this woman and you get a sense of the woman she is, you get a sense of the mother she is, and automatically you get a greater sense of Spock, and, you know, [it] rounds out the whole world so quickly." Alex Kurtzman concurred with this perspective. ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- This episode marks the first appearance of Spock in Star Trek: Discovery. However, only a boyhood Spock appears, with an adult version of the character meanwhile audible but unseen in the installment's final scene.
- This episode picks up where "Will You Take My Hand?" left off, with the Discovery encountering the USS Enterprise.
- It is revealed that the Enterprise has a crew complement of 203. Captain Pike mentions the same number in "The Cage".
- This marks the only instance in which a 23rd-century VISOR is depicted. This type of device, albeit its 24th century variant, appears regularly throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation and in the film Star Trek Generations, worn by Geordi La Forge before he is portrayed as having replaced it with ocular implants.
- Saru makes a mention of his sister Siranna, who had appeared in ST: "The Brightest Star", and went on to re-appear in "The Sound of Thunder" and "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2".
- This episode marks the first on-screen appearance of the prime timeline version of Pike outside of Star Trek: The Original Series. His reference to Mojave harkens back to "The Cage", in which that town is not only established as Pike's hometown but also an illusory manifestation of it is made to appear, by the Talosians.
- This episode marks the first appearance of the Discovery's extremely spacious turboshafts. The Enterprise is portrayed as having a similar area in ST: "Q&A".
- The multiple references to a recent war with the Klingons refer to the Federation-Klingon War, which is begun in the second episode of DIS, "Battle at the Binary Stars", before continuing throughout the first season, until the Discovery is instrumental in bringing the war to an end in "Will You Take My Hand?".
- Saru mentions that standard operating procedure for transferring command codes of a starship from one captain to another has changed since the 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's statement that the previous captain betrayed the Discovery's crew harkens back to events in "Chapter Two" of the first season. This commanding officer, Gabriel Lorca, is revealed to be a Terran from the mirror universe (to Burnham and the audience) in "Vaulting Ambition", whereas the rest of the Discovery crew don't learn this about him until the episode which follows that one, "What's Past Is Prologue", in which he fights Burnham but ends up being killed by Emperor Georgiou.
- Pike's reference to the last time Starfleet investigated an unidentified energy distortion, resulting in a Klingon war, is a callback to the first two episodes of DIS. In the series premiere "The Vulcan Hello", Burnham herself investigates an unusual energy distortion emanating from a strange, ancient artifact, prior to the war beginning in "Battle at the Binary Stars".
- Although the modern colloquialism "hit it", in reference to engaging a device, was previously used in ST: "Calypso", this is the first installment of DIS to incorporate the phrase.
- The Discovery was previously shown speeding through space while accompanied by the sound of Kasseelian opera (as it is at the start of this episode's second act) in "What's Past Is Prologue", during the ship's return journey from the mirror universe.
- Hugh Culber briefly appears in a previously recorded message to Paul Stamets. Earlier in the series, Culber was killed by Ash Tyler in "Despite Yourself" and was last seen in "Vaulting Ambition" as an apparition in the mycelial network. His fondness for Kasseelian opera was previously established in episodes such as "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" and "Vaulting Ambition".
- Stamets reveals to Sylvia Tilly that, following the peace accord signing in Paris (which takes place in "Will You Take My Hand?"), the Vulcan Science Academy offered him a permanent teaching position. Starfleet approved his transfer, and, as of this episode, he intends to leave Discovery following the completion of Pike's mission.
- Sarek mentions that L'Rell is formally now a High Chancellor. In "Will You Take My Hand?", she is persuaded by Burnham and Voq/Tyler to assume leadership of the Klingon Empire, though her specific title in that role isn't established until this episode.
- This outing reveals that, under Pike's command, the Enterprise and its crew intentionally refrained from involvement in the recent Federation-Klingon War. The episode also establishes that this was on orders from Starfleet – as the organization viewed the ship as a potential last resort – but that, as Pike says, this took a toll on the crew.
- Tilly mentions she witnessed a huge mycelial energy spike with a tardigrade, referencing Ripper from first season installments "Context Is for Kings", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", and "Choose Your Pain".
- The sequence in which the landing pods fly through a debris field is reminiscent of such high-speed transits through debris fields as are depicted in the film Star Trek Into Darkness and DIS series premiere "The Vulcan Hello", the latter of which features Burnham wearing an EV suit and losing contact with her ship, much as she does in the scene from this episode.
- The scene in which Enterprise Science Officer Connolly is overly confident during high-speed maneuvers towards a destination and consequently dies before he can make it there is similar to a scene in the film Star Trek, in which USS Enterprise Chief Engineer Olson dies while attempting to orbital skydive onto the Narada's drill platform. Both characters are quickly introduced and killed off before a more well-known character (though played by a new actor in each role) is established in the same line of work – in the earlier case, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott and, in this case, Science Officer Spock. Also, both high-speed maneuvers are carried out by away teams which are ultimately under the command of a Captain Christopher Pike, though the away mission that claimed Olson's life is indirectly commanded by the Pike of the alternate reality.
- Chronologically, this episode features the earliest appearance and on-screen usage of pattern enhancers.
- The effort to restore power to a transporter in an evacuation procedure aboard a crashed ship, in this case aboard the USS Hiawatha, is also done in such cases as aboard the USS Jenolan in TNG: "Relics" and the USS Franklin in Star Trek Beyond. Also, the scene in which Burnham runs out of the crashed remains of the Hiawatha while it falls apart around her is reminiscent of a scene in Star Trek Beyond in which Kirk and Chekov run out of the crashed remains of the USS Enterprise's saucer section while it falls apart around them.
- Pike finds a leftover fortune cookie message under Lorca'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" two-parter (which, chronologically, is yet to come).
- Pike comments that entirely logical questions Spock asked made everyone realize that "logic was the beginning of the picture and not the end." This harkens back to a scene in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country where Valeris initially views a picture in Spock's quarters aboard the USS Enterprise-A, Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise, and Spock subsequently tells her that logic is "the beginning of wisdom" and "not the end."
- The final scene of this episode establishes that Spock still held the rank of lieutenant in 2257. He is depicted as holding that rank in "The Cage", though his earliest rank in subsequent episodes of TOS (which are set after this episode) portray him as a lieutenant commander.
Reception and aftermath
- Alex Kurtzman was announced as directing the season premiere in March 2018. 
- This is the first episode of Discovery that didn't have a companion After Trek episode, or aftershow at all, at release. While TRR: "Brother and New Eden" covered this episode, it didn't come out until the day after the release of "New Eden".
- Alex Kurtzman described the Cassini footage which begins this episode as "amazing" and spoke appreciatively of the teaser in general, commenting about its flashback sequence, "I love the idea of going back into Burnham's history in this very dream-like, very ethereal way where, you know, the memory of the past is more poetry in her mind than sort of a literal representation." Due to the flashback featuring the first moment Burnham sees Spock, Kurtzman considered the flashback "such a poignant and powerful memory." He also approved of the end of the teaser, saying it was, "for me, so emotional. I mean, that's the thing that I love about it. Just so, so emotional." Kurtzman also described the scene in which Burnham, while Amanda is reading to her, sees Spock observing from a distance as "so painful." ("Brother" audio commentary, DIS Season 2 DVD & Blu-ray special features)
- Executive Producer Heather Kadin was of the opinion that this episode presented a better sense of each of the bridge crewmember's individual personalities than had regularly been the case in Season 1. (TRR: "Brother and New Eden")
- The Ready Room host Naomi Kyle found the interaction between Pike and Tilly memorable; Kyle remarked that seeing Tilly deal with experiencing "a little bit of the captain's presence" was "really cool." (TRR: "Brother and New Eden")
- Olatunde Osunsanmi approved of the TOS uniform colors being used in this episode. "They come on board with those amazing colors," he enthused. "The minute you see those colors, you're like, 'Oh, my God, that's like The Original Series.'" 
- 16 April 2018: Filming begins 
- 3 January 2019: Title publicly revealed 
- 17 January 2019: Premiere airdate on CBS All Access
- 18 January 2019: International release date (outside Canada and the USA)
Video and DVD releases
Links and references
- Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
- Doug Jones as Saru
- Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets
- Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly
- Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber
- 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 Jr. as Lt. R.A. Bryce
- Ethan Peck as Spock V.O.
- Sean Connolly Affleck as Lt. Connolly
- Rachael Ancheril as Cmdr. Nhan
- Arista Arhin as Young Michael Burnham
- Raven Dauda as Dr. Tracy Pollard
- Julianne Grossman as Discovery Computer
- Liam Hughes as Young Spock
- Sara Mitich as Lt. Nilsson
- David Benjamin Tomlinson as Linus
- George Alevizos as Discovery crewman
- Avaah Blackwell as Bridge crewman
- Andrew Shiff as Discovery transporter chief
- Unknown actor as Grek
100,000 years ago; 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; brake; Brianna; Caitian; candle; Cassini; cat; Cheshire Cat; Christ; clockwise; Command Training Program; compass; Connolly's roommate; covet; crash landing; dagger; dark matter; decapitation; Dione; DNA authentication; drawing; DSC 01; duotronic; endocrine system; Enterprise, USS; ethno-botanist; 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; Hiawatha-type; High Chancellor; Human; hybrid; inertia dampener; interstellar asteroid; invertebrate; Kasseelian; Kasseelian opera; kid (robot); kill zone; Kim-Tara; landing pod; launch station; Leaning Tower, The; logic; 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; nail bed; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; nightmare; north pole; orphan; Paris; particle; pattern enhancer; peace accord; penny; phaser cannons; pinkie; Pisa; planetoid; prima donna; Prometheus; 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; task force; telescopic camera; Tellarite; temporal anomaly; Tethys; three-dimensional chess; titanium; tonal matrix; tower; tow ships; tractor beam; tribble; Ursa Major; Valentine; Vulcan; Vulcan bells; Vulcan High Command; Vulcan lute; Vulcan Science Academy; worker bee; /Xam Abathwa
Christopher Pike personnel file references: Advanced Navigation; Advanced Tactical; allergic reaction; Ancient Philosophies; Antares, USS; Aryabhatta, USS; asthma; Astrophysics; Campbell Award; campus; Carrington Award; childhood; Chatelet, USS; Communications; Decoration for Gallantry; diagnosis; Earth; Earth History; Extended Tour Ribbon; Federation Citation of Honor; first officer; fracture; Graduating class of 3201.14; infection; Interspecies Protocol; laceration; Legate's Crest of Valor; Legion of Honor; Medal of Commendation; Medal of Excellence; medical leave; Okuda Award; Order of Tactics; Proficient Service Medallion; Rigel Cup; San Francisco; Scientific Legion of Honor; space sickness; Star Cross; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Award of Valor; Starfleet database; Starfleet Medical; Starfleet Silver Palm; Survival Strategies; Tactical Analysis
- "Brother" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Brother" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Discovering Season Two: Brother" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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