Episode eight of this season starts with a "previously on Star Trek" that includes clips from the original Star Trek pilot. It was unexpected the first time I watched the episode, but I appreciated getting that. The episode relies heavily on that episode for backstory, and I have never seen the pilot. I actually paused the episode the first time I watched it and read a plot summary of the pilot, which I think helped me follow what was happening better. I'm fairly certain that I would have understood what was happening anyway. It wouldn't have been confusing, but I preferred having that background knowledge.
I'm sure for people who have seen the pilot, this episode was even more exciting.
After the pilot clips, we find out that Section 31 is telling Discovery that Michael has Spock and ignored Section 31's hails. Discovery is ordered to search debris and not participate in the search for them. As a viewer with more knowledge, it's frustrating because we know what actually happened with Section 31. Ash tells Pike to trust Michael in this scene though, and the Ash/Michael shipper in me loves that moment.
Meanwhile, Michael and Spock arrive at Talos IV, the same planet the Enterprise visited in the pilot. Spock has brought Michael here because he knows the Talosians can help him. This was the first time I'd seen the Talosians, and while I don't know exactly how they come across in the pilot, I find them quite creepy despite them helping Vina and, in this episode, Spock.
Still, it was interesting to see Michael and Spock share their memories with each other to help both themselves and the audience understand. We know for sure after this that Spock didn't murder anyone and Section 31 is lying, which isn't a huge surprise.
Spock also reveals that the Red Angel's thoughts were those of a human. It's one of those reveals that kind of raises more questions than it answers because there's no telling how a human got the ability to do everything the Red Angel seems to be doing.
Culber is still adjusting to being back, and it's still not going well. Stamets is showing him around the ship, and he's irritable. Culber sees Ash for the first time since his death, and understandably, he doesn't take it well. He ends up fighting Ash in the mess hall on top of fighting with Stamets.
His emotions are extremely understandable. He says that he has his memories intact, but his senses aren't connected to those memories, so he tastes his favorite food but doesn't recognize the taste in the same way despite his memories of it being there. It's heart breaking.
Vina appears to Pike as an illusion created by the Talosians. They have a conversation about her being happy because the Talosians have created an illusion of Pike for her to be with. He tells her he's happy about this which, to be perfectly honest, wasn't a moment that sat well with me. Vina may claim to be happy with the illusions, but it just strikes me as incredibly sad. It's like she's living with these illusions without actually healing with actual help. To me, it doesn't seem all that different from people who use alcohol or drugs to momentarily forget problems instead of actually dealing with them.
Of course, a lot of people do that, so I get Vina as a character making that choice. It's merely the moment where Pike expresses happiness for her irked me a bit.
The crew of the Discovery also discovers that someone has corrupted the spore drive, and they did it using Ash's code. Ash gets confined to his quarters, which is an understandable reaction, though I can't imagine that Ash would be as obvious as using his own code if he was actually behind it.
As viewers, we get a look at Airiam's eyes flashing red, and it's quite obvious that she's guilty of something and it almost certainly has to do with the spore drive being corrupted.
Towards the end of the episode, before they leave Talos IV, Michael also shows Spock her memory of telling him she didn't see him as a brother. It adds a lot of context to their relationship although it doesn't seem to change anything between them at the moment.
The episode ends with Michael and Spock on the Discovery and Discovery now a wanted ship, which is sure to lead to some drama.