(I'll try to keep this as vague as possible, to avoid too many spoilers.)
- This show is as gorgeous as ever. The special effects are feature-film worthy, even in the madcap (and probably nausea-inducing, for some people) section to land on the asteroid.
- We're obviously setting up for a season-long arc here. There's the Enterprise! (Although it's conveniently damaged and knocked off-line in the first fifteen minutes.) And Captain Christopher Pike! (No Number One yet. [Edit: Yes, there is a Number One, per i09. Sorry, I missed that.]) And Spock, going AWOL! And flashbacks to Michael Burnham's childhood, with a petulant-looking child Spock. And Sarek, a little more palatable and a little less shitty this time around, so far at least. And a galaxy-spanning mystery, apparently tied in to Spock's nightmares.
- We get names for the bridge crew! Hurrah! They appear to be gelling, and the obnoxious (white) guy gets hoist on his own petard and wiped out by a rock. Nobody seems to miss him very much.
- Sylvia Tilly remains utterly delightful, and Saru has a laugh-out-loud scene when his threat ganglia extrude.
- There's a rather abrupt jump-cut at the end, when Burnham goes aboard the Enterprise, into Spock's quarters, and taps into his personal log. (And how could she do that, for that matter? Wouldn't officers have security encryption on their logs?) I suppose they had to do this for the final reveal about Spock, but I thought it was rushed and clumsy. Although they don't seem to want to show very much of the Enterprise, probably to avoid as much wrath from TOS fans as possible.
- There were several good character interactions in this episode, particularly between Tilly and Stamets. (Does anyone think he's really going to leave the Discovery? Come on.)
- With Captain Pike now at the helm, (even if he does say it's more of a "joint custody" situation between him and Saru), the show is trying to distance itself from last season's Lorca nastiness (even though I thought Jason Isaacs was one of the best things about the first season), and back to more classical Starfleet ideals. And, as Pike said, "have a little fun" along the way.