If season one of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ was set against the grim and action-packed but ultimately weary backdrop of the Federation-Klingon war, season two marks a return to familiar Trekkian territory, one of gentle exploration and hardcore diplomacy.

And while the spectre of that recent war still hangs over the crew of the Disco, as both the show and the eponymous starship are affectionately called, there’s room for more humour and lighter moments in the course of this new season, which picks up a new central mystery to solve and the re-introduction of a quintessential Star Trek character.

Not only do we come face-to-face with an all-new Spock, the iconic half-human, half-Vulcan Starfleet officer made famous by Leonard Nimoy and more recently Zachary Quinto, we get to meet him in a much younger avatar and finally find answers to the nature of the relationship between him and his foster sister Michael Burnham, the face of ‘Discovery’.

As to the aforementioned ‘mystery’, season two trailers and show notes indicate the appearance of seven red signals that appear at the same time, spread across 30,000 lightyears. The USS Enterprise, Starfleet’s flagship starship, suffered a shipwide shutdown after tracing one of the signals, forcing one Captain Pike (another old ‘Star Trek’ character played now by Anson Mount) to take the helm of Discovery to find the cause of these energy bursts.

Adding to the unstable situation is the vision of the Red Angel, a winged apparition that appears only to Burnham and Spock, and is somehow connected to this whole seven signals business.

Before you jump into season two, new episodes of which drop every Friday on Netflix in the UAE, here’s what you need to know about all the main characters, where we left them at the end of season one and where we expect them to boldly go now.

1. Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) returns, stronger than ever

190217 Burnham
Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham Image Credit: CBS

From beginning season one as a prisoner for mutineering against her captain to finishing by successfully ending the Federation’s war against the Klingons, Burnham saw herself being put through the wringer but emerging victorious. The new season, while distancing itself from violence and bloodshed, is not going to be exactly conflict-free. New allies and old relationships surface as she leads the charge in solving the seven signals mystery and the question of the Red Angel’s identity. According to the makers, the series will also see Burnham tackle the issue of faith versus science and logic.

2. All’s not well with Spock

Ethan Peck as Spock
Ethan Peck as Spock Image Credit: CBS

While the makers insisted during season one that they will not be casting for Spock, the iconic role was finally assigned to Ethan Peck, who debuted his bearded look to mixed reviews. Since the events of ‘Disco’ take place roughly a decade before that of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’, we know that there’s much terrain for the Enterprise’s prized Science Officer to navigate before he grows into his full master logician (and best friend to Captain Kirk) potential. Season two of ‘Discovery’ will focus on the relationship between Spock and Burnham. They’ve been estranged for some time now and the seven signals and the Red Angel mystery suddenly brings them back together. Expect bucket loads of sibling tension and emotional breakthroughs.

3. Saru (Doug Jones) goes home

Doug Jones
Saru (Doug Jones) Image Credit: CBS

Discovery’s First Officer, who took up Acting Captain duties in the latter section of season one, will again see himself play a combination of the two offices in the new season. But Saru, Starfleet’s first Kelpien officer, will see himself face a new kind of challenge this time around. For those who don’t know, Kelpiens are a species driven by fear because on their planet they are farmed as prey for a predator species known as the Ba’ul. Saru is the only known Kelpien to have left his home planet Kaminar and establish contact with the Federation.

Season two will see Saru returning too Kaminar under mysterious conditions, and the road back home will be fraught with tumultuous feelings of guilt and regret of having left his people and family behind in the first place. Production notes reveal that Saru will be reunited his estranged sister Siranna when he returns home.

4. Captain Pike (Anson Mount) is ready to take the helm

Anson Mount as Captain Pike
Anson Mount as Captain Pike Image Credit: CBS

While some of us out here still have our fingers crossed for the return of Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaac’s treacherous captain character), the helm now goes to Christopher Pike, predecessor to none other than the OG himself, Captain James T Kirk, and a character whose reputation precedes him but only just. Having had little screen time in ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’, his mythology could use some beefing up. And to do just that, actor Anson Mount (‘Inhumans’) takes the reins as the charming, affable and chummy new captain, the kind the men want to be and the women want to be with, and more importantly, the exact antithesis to evil Lorca.

5. Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) and L’Rell (Mary Chieffo) have their hands full

190217 LoRell
Mary Chieffo as LoRell; Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler Image Credit: CBS

Last season, surprising absolutely no one, Ash Tyler discovered that he was actually the Klingon Voq surgically implanted into Tyler’s body, which immediately killed his fledgling romance with Burnham and split his world into two. To find his true place in the grand scheme of things, Tyler/Voq left with L’Rell, the Klingon woman hell bent on unifying the Great Houses of the Klingon world into one big nation. L’Rell showing up with what looks like a human by her side, one with ties to Starfleet of all the things, will not go down well with the High Council, and if she wants to stay in power, she will have to make some hard choices.

A scene in the trailer shows Tyler and Burnham sharing an intimate kiss. While this could be a flashback scene just to throw the viewers off, this could also mean that Tyler leaves L’Rell’s side (under trying circumstances, we assume) to rejoin Starfleet at some point.

6. Mirror Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) is having a blast at Section 31

Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou
Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou Image Credit: CBS

In season one, when the Discovery suddenly found itself in the Mirror universe and they made their way back to the Prime universe, they brought along with them the Mirror version of Philippa Georgiou, the much-loved Discovery captain who was killed off in the second episode. This alternate reality version Georgiou, however, turned out to be a bloodthirsty Terran Empire empress, who gleefully joined Starfleet in its fight against the Klingons. When the war ended, she decided to stay back on Qo’noS as a cabaret owner. However, a bonus scene at the end of the season revealed that she was approached by Section 31, a black ops division of the United Federation of Planets, to join their ranks for undoubtedly nefarious purposes. Trailers indicate that she’ll return to the Discovery ship to ‘help’ them in their new mission.

7. Tig Notaro makes her Starfleet debut

Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno
Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno Image Credit: CBS

Fans of actress-comedian Tig Notaro will be excited to know that she’s joined Starfleet as the glib engineer Jet Reno. Because what could be more fun than listening to a stream of technobabble delivered in deadpan? “Valentine took a piece of shrapnel to the left aortic valve and needed a donor. I couldn’t find a transplant so I piggybacked his heart on a dead Bolian to keep it ticking,” says Notaro’s Reno at one point in the season two pilot, [spoiler] when she was rescued from the USS Hiawatha that had crash landed on a collapsing asteroid.

8. Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) gets a promotion

190217 Sylvia Tilly
Sylvia Tilly Image Credit: CBS

Sylvia Tilly, the mouthy and quirky engineer and the perfect foil to the more brisk Burhman, found herself being promoted to the rank of ensign and entering the Command Training Programme at the end of season one. It’s still early days but we have a feeling that Tilly is 2019’s version of Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’): a young, eager and clearly brilliant mind, destined for success. Season two will see the ever-cheerful Tilly face down some dark demons.

9. Original Number One (Rebecca Romjin) returns to Star Trek after 54 years

Number one
Rebecca Romjin Image Credit: CBS

Another Starfleet officer beams over from ‘The Original Series’, but this time an even more obscure one: Number One was Captain Pike’s right hand woman before Spock came onboard. She was played by Majel Barrett in the short-lived role. Barrett, who was also franchise creator Gene Rodenberry’s wife, went on to play Nurse Christine Chapel in ‘The Original Series’ and Luwaxana Troi in ‘The Next Generation’. In this iteration, she’ll be played by Rebecca Romjin, and little is known about her role, apart from the fact that she’s quite resourceful and that Pike trusts her with his life.

10. Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is ready to grieve

Paul Stamets
Paul Stamets Image Credit: CBS

Astromycologist Paul Stamets had some big and pivotal moments in season one. Not only did he break Federation history by being the human interface to the spore drive so Discovery could use the mycelial network to jump from any one point in the universe to the other, essentially rendering the warp drive almost useless, he also lost the love of his life, Dr Wilson Cruz, when he was killed by Tyler in a wasteful altercation. It was one of the most heart-wrenching moments of season one, and with the human-spore navigation being put on time out this season, Stamets will finally find time to properly mourn for his partner.

Sonequa Martin-Green shut down a popular fan theory

When it was disclosed in episode one, ‘Brother’, that Burnham and Spock haven’t spoken in years and that the cause of the schism between the foster siblings was Burnham herself, fans quickly put on their tin foil hats and got to work. The widely-published and divisive theory suggested that the cause of the rift was a possible forbidden romance between the two when they were younger and that Burnham rejected his advances at some point, which caused the two to not speak to each other for many years.

But Martin-Green is having none of that. In an appearance on the chat show ‘The Talk’, the actress who plays Burnham addressed the fan theory. “There is a theory I want to talk to you all about… people are saying that maybe they had a sexual relationship, and that’s why they’re estranged? NOT TRUE. I saw that, and I saw a few articles about it… I am here today to say no-no,” she said, reiterating again that the relationship between them is “complicated” but not incestuous in any way.

After all, we’re dealing with Vulcans, not the Lannisters.