The new season of Star Trek: Discovery isn't wasting any time changing up their status quo, even if that change comes in the form of a "back to Trek basics" approach. An old friend is returning to help them do just that, too.
The second episode of Season 2, called "New Eden," looks to be one of the first "away team mission" episodes that the show has done. Though Trek shows of the past have thrived on these kinds of episodes (ship finds something on a planet, away team beams down, trouble ensues, trouble gets worse, day gets saved, the end), Discovery rarely has. The Discovery crew's adventures usually flow in and out of each other, and even when they had an away mission on the planet Pahvo in Season 1 (in "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum") the events were highly tied to the saga of the Klingon War.
Though stateside viewers (watching on CBS All Access) only got a full "this season on" trailer at the end of the premiere, audiences abroad (watching on Netflix) actually got a trailer for "New Eden" itself, which really does look like a classic away team romp. It has disguises, lethal consequences, and lots of mystery. Take a look at the trailer here, courtesy of the Star Trek Netflix Instagram page:
Get ready to face an "extinction level event," as Lt. Detmer (Emily Coutts) announces on the bridge, with both Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and Commander Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) in the thick of the action. The best part of this little trailer might be that we see Lt. Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) actually present on the planet with them — this is the first time that the character has been featured like this, and one of the only times that we're actually seeing her away from the Ops station. Here's hoping that Detmer, Ariam, Bryce, and Rhys get similar opportunities in future episodes.
We did mention an old friend helping out, didn't we? That friend is none other than Jonathan Frakes, Commander William T. Riker himself, from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Frakes will serve as the captain behind the scenes, meaning that he will direct the episode. It's far from his first time in this particular chair — Frakes directed episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and the feature films Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. He's no stranger to Discovery, either, as he came aboard to direct the episode "Despite Yourself" last season.
Here's a behind-the-scenes look at "Number One" back in action, which includes a surprise visit from another TNG castmember:
What will Burnham and the Discovery team find on this planet? Will Frakes get "The Riker Manuever" into the episode somehow? We'll have to wait until "New Eden" launches to find out.
Star Trek: Discovery will beam this episode over to CBS All Access on January 24th at 8:30.