With the Federation-Klingon War officially in the books, Star Trek: Discovery's resilient crew now embarks on a journey across the galaxy to solve a mystery that has even the most brilliant minds in the universe baffled.
Seven synchronized red signals spread across 30,000 lightyears mysteriously appeared in space, and the Federation's efforts to figure out what they are have been met with disastrous results. The USS Enterprise, Starfleet's most advanced ship, suffered a catastrophic meltdown after tracing one of the signals, forcing Captain Pike (Anson Mount) to take the helm of the USS Discovery in search of clues about this imminent threat to the galaxy. The signals' arrival also coincides with Spock's (Ethan Peck) apocalyptic visions of a Red Angel, setting the stage for an overarching mystery spanning the entire second season.
There are plenty of questions that need to be answered about this ambiguous figure and those cryptic signals, but here's what we know so far:
Spock predicted the signals before they appeared. In order to cope with recurring nightmares as a child, Spock learned to draw and that skill has served him well. Those horrific dreams returned in adulthood and Spock sketched what turned out to be the seven red signals two months prior to their appearance in space, giving Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) her first clue to unlocking the head-scratching mystery.
The Red Angel mystery has broken Spock's brain. Season 2 finds Spock unable to decipher what those Red Angel visions mean, and that has essentially broken his brain. Taking several months off from serving as Pike's first officer aboard the USS Enterprise, he secretly checked himself into a psychiatric facility on Starbase 5.
"He's had an experience with the Red Angel that kind of pushed him beyond logic," Ethan Peck previously told TV Guide. "He has to uncover his emotional side to have a deeper understanding of what's going on."
It's somehow connected to the red signals. The USS Discovery locked in on one of the signals. This took them all the way to the Earth-like planet New Eden, where a group of soldiers were rescued by that mysterious Red Angel 200 years prior. They were hiding out in a church during the chaos of World War III when the figure came to their rescue and sent them far across the galaxy to the Beta quadrant. Although the angel remains an enigma, it's clearly drawn to individuals in dire situations and appears to be using the signals in its efforts to help.
The signals — with help from the Red Angel — lead to people in need. The signals are virtually unreadable, but when a Starfleet ship does trace one of their locations, it often leads to someone in need of assistance. Discovery tracked one of the signals to an asteroid carrying the USS Hiawatha, a medical rig that crash-landed during the Klingon War, and they were able to save dozens of critically injured officers. The crew also found the New Eden settlers through a new signal and realized the planet was just over an hour away from a nuclear winter before figuring out a way to save everyone.
It's during these stressful times that the Red Angel also appears. Burnham first saw the cloaked figure on the destabilizing asteroid while dangerously close to death, and again on New Eden just after a grenade went off right in front of her.
It's not a hallucination. Pike obtained a soldier's old helmet camera which captured the Red Angel on video, confirming that Burnham, Spock and the New Eden settlers weren't seeing a figment of their imaginations. The figure is, indeed, real.
Burnham's mother is the Red Angel. While examining Arium's system, Tilly discovered a filled titled Project Daedalus which contained the bio-neural signature of the time-traveling humanoid: Burnham's. But after a risky experiment, in which Burnham agreed to die in order to lure the Red Angel into their trap, we learned that her mother had been traveling through time and space in that technologically advanced suit all along.
She wants to save the galaxy. According to Spock, the Red Angel's benevolent actions are in service of a greater mission: to prevent the death of all sentient life in this universe.
Section 31 created the Red Angel's suit. Twenty years ago, Section 31 discovered that the Klingons had been researching time travel, and that revelation set off a temporal arms race. Searching for a strategic advantage, the covert organization developed Project Daedalus, a suit designed specifically for time travel. But just as they were about to test it, Klingons destroyed the suit, and the project was believed to have been abandoned until those mysterious red signals appeared in the present day. Since then, Section 31 has been trying to capture the angel, along with their lost tech, but they haven't been successful.
Burnham is behind the signals. The Red Angel suit contained data not just from Burnham's mother, Gabrielle (Sonja Sohn), but from Burnham as well. This confirms that she's the second time-traveler to don the suit. Although Gabrielle saved Burnham from several near-death experiences, Future Burnham is responsible for the appearance of those red signals.
Three red signals remain cloaked. So far, Discovery has tracked four out of the seven signals, to the USS Hiawatha wreckage, New Eden, Kaminar, and the Klingon planet of Boreth. With just one episode left, uncovering those final three is more important than ever since they might contain the answer to stopping Control before it destroys all sentient life.
Catch Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c exclusively on CBS All Access.
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)