Why Spock As The Red Angel Makes Sense For Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery's first season leaned into the structure of modern genre television that largely developed during the decade that Star Trek was off the air, complete with a "big bad" in the guise of Mirror Universe Gabriel Lorca. And yet even with the grander picture in mind, Lorca was used largely to explore Burnham's soul in her darkest days; the Red Angel will almost certainly have an even stronger connection to her personally.
Indeed, at this point in season 2, there's no indication the Red Angel is a malevolent force, quite the contrary; and while the show is finding continued success in its exploration of largely standalone stories, the overall arc of this season is unquestionably the frayed relationship between Burnham and Spock. This theory connects everything up neatly
On a more pragmatic level, it could also potentially let the show honor the late Leonard Nimoy. Indeed, when Ethan Peck was announced as Spock, he was photographed and warmly welcomed to the Star Trek family by Nimoy's son, Adam, and his wife, Terry Ferrell, who played Jadzia Dax for six seasons on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. If Nimoy's family signed off on Peck, perhaps they would sign off on the show using Nimoy's likeness. Star Trek Beyond ended up featuring a lovely, understated tribute to Nimoy, but it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about Star Trek: Discovery paying their respects as well.
Star Trek: Discovery is in many ways the smallest scale, most personal story in the franchise to date. That doesn't always play to the show's strengths; Burnham, in particular, often gets bogged down in some of the more unfortunate tropes of prequel stories, and the rest of the crew can occasionally feel more like bit players than a true ensemble - though Pike's arrival has helped with that tremendously. But the show is what it is, and Burnham's family strife is still a fundamental part of the story currently being told. Spock has been the green blooded elephant in the room since the series' premise was announced, and the show is finally leaning all the way into exploring the franchise's most famous character. It could be argued the series relies too heavily on the icons of its past, but if Star Trek: Discovery ends up telling an epic Spock story that adds something important to the character and his legacy, it will have solidified its place in the franchise mythos.
Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays at 8:30pm on CBS All-Access and the next day internationally on Netflix.