With the CBS All Access series set several years before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series, the famed Vulcan hasn't yet developed into Captain Kirk's (William Shatner) trusted voice of reason. Instead, Discovery presents a younger and more unkempt Spock struggling to understand cryptic visions of a "Red Angel" that are somehow connected to seven red signals which have mysteriously appeared in the galaxy. It's an internal battle that will play out over the season and expose a side of Spock you haven't quite seen before.
"Spock, because of his experience with the Red Angel and because the seven signals and these visions that he's had since childhood, all of his logical training cannot make sense of it. These experiences have basically broken his brain and he doesn't have the emotional understanding of how to deal with [it] either. So both logic and emotion have failed Spock. He's not the Spock you know from TOS yet. He's the Spock who's still figuring out who he is," showrunner Alex Kurtzman told TV Guide.
Part of understanding who he is will come from his relationship with his adoptive sister Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), who he hasn't spoken to in years. Season 2 will not only explain why he's never mentioned her in Trek canon before but also explore a complicated dynamic that will test his character in unexpected ways and shape him into the level-headed Vulcan we first met in TOS.
"It's through his relationship with Michael and their working out of their issues that Spock comes to understand where he lies in the line between logic and emotion and actualizes himself as the Spock that we do know from TOS. By the time that you get to the end of the season, you'll see how he became that guy," said Kurtzman.
"Ultimately, he will become [Leonard] Nimoy's Spock but we're at a place with him where he's a little disheveled and the beard is a great externalization of that internal disarray," Ethan Peck explained. "What's wonderful about Spock is that he's got this incredible built-in conflict between his human side and his Vulcan side, or his emotional side and his logical side. You'll see that struggle brought much more to the surface and so at times, [Spock] will be severely logical and at other times, severely emotional."
In addition to the family drama, the upcoming season finds Spock and the Discovery crew, now led by USS Enterprise's Captain Pike (Anson Mount), searching for clues about those inexplicable red signals across the galaxy. According to Anthony Rapp, that journey will see Spock teaming up with Stamets (Rapp) to figure out the science of it all and possibly deliver the epic bromance we didn't know we needed.
Plus, it looks like we're getting loads more Tilly (Mary Wiseman), who will continue to step into her own now that she's entered the Command Training Program. "This season, she's gonna come across some more personal challenges, some demons she might have to do battle with," Mary Wiseman said. Those challenges, however, will undoubtedly help her become the fierce captain we saw a glimpse of in the Mirror Universe.
See how it all turns out when Star Trek: Discovery returns for Season 2 Thursday, Jan. 17 on CBS All Access.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS.)