Spoilers ahead, no further warning.

I really, really don't get the Season 2 story arc of Star Trek Discorvery. Can someone help me with making sense out of it?

  • The season starts off with 7 red signals appearing in the galaxy.
  • Then it's revealed that Spock predicted the exact location of these 7 signals already as a child.
  • Then it's revealed that Burnham's mom was time-traveling back to child-Spock, giving him info about the future (which is why he knew about the signals)
  • however, it is then revealed that Burnham's mom actually neither knows anything about those 7 signals nor was it her causing them, instead it was Burnham herself in another time-travel suit.
  • Burnham then travels back during the climax battle to 5 signal locations (why exactly??) at different times and hence creates them in the first place (or so?), and later creates 2 more (did the creators run out of episodes?).

Seriously how does this make any sense?

  • Why were 7 signals visible initially simultaneously if they were actually created only at later points in time (destination stardates of burnham's jumps where not the stardate of the initial episode but different points in time)?

  • How did Spock know about these signals if they were not actually created by Burnhams mom who was the one visiting him as a child?

  • 7
    Apparently, neither do the writers of Discovery's 2nd season have any clue about the signals! They just made things up as they went along...
    – Hans Olo
    May 31, 2019 at 11:49
  • 1
    Another question is how did they know that these signals had appeared in certain places, but not actually know their locations until later on
    – Josh
    May 31, 2019 at 12:58
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    While the first 7 signals were strong and well received, the 8th signal was largely regarded as weak and badly through out. Burnham Sr - creator of the original signals - has gone on record as saying that, while she gave Michael the basic outline of her intent for the 8th signal, the actual details of her own 8th signal may vary and evolve as she creates it. No, wait... Wrong series. May 31, 2019 at 15:31
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    @HarleyQuinn: "picked up by Federation sensors but disappeared again after just enough time to get a reading, (...) They failed to get precise reading." - I think that's what the series conveys, and I thank you for writing it down just the way it was shown/explained on the show, but I hope you were away just how utterly nonsensical this sounds at the time of writing your comment ;) Also, to add insult to injury, season 3 is basically centered around piecing together sensor readings made long ago of a sudden and fast happening event with the very objective of determining the exact ... Feb 13, 2021 at 23:53
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    ... location of that event's point of origin. Feb 13, 2021 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


I tend to agree that this was confusing and hand-waved away. The problem was we have multiple moving parts

Major Season 2 Spoilers Ahead

Burnham's mother had been adjusting the past to try and fix the future. She is the one who makes some of the key changes (like Spock finding the runaway Burnham, moving The Sphere into Discovery's path, or pulling WWIII humans to Terralysium).

Burnham herself was unable to set the coordinates in the future because, as Spock noted, she hadn't yet set in motion the events that had lead them there. Which brings us to your questions

Why were 7 signals visible initially simultaneously if they were actually created only at later points in time?

All 7 signals are stabilized for only 24 hours intially. They then appeared in sequence, to trigger certain events in regards to Discovery. Apparently Burnham was able to trigger them all at once for that 24 hour period, although they never directly show her doing so (which is the only way to square this with the events of the series).

How did Spock know about these signals if they were not actually created by Burnhams mom who was the one visiting him as a child?

This one was less clear, but it appears that Spock's dyslexia allowed him to perceive the bursts. It's implied that this was because of the visit of Burnham's mother, but never explicitly stated. Tor put it like this

Spock—who is apparently dyslexic, an interesting factoid that doesn’t actually contradict anything we know about Spock, and which he typically views as a human failing he needed to overcome—is uniquely able to interpret the visions of the “red angel,” as the distortions of the wormhole the suit creates make it hard for her to be perceived when she travels in time.

Presumably, Spock's encounter left him able to see other things connected with the suit, but in ways that nearly drove him mad. When the signals reappeared later, he thought he was going mad again, only to have Control try to stop him from leaving the facility he had checked himself into.

  • But it was only stated that the dyslexia allowed spock to perceive Burnham's mom when she was there (who is completely unrelated to - and doesn't even know about - the 7 signals) - that's like a completely different skill than being able to predict the future. May 31, 2019 at 16:48
  • @user1282931 I understand. But they never really circled back to what mechanism allowed Spock to to know about them. The implication was Burnham's mother was somehow related. Given the rather prominent mention of dyslexia, it's the only thing that really fits
    – Machavity
    May 31, 2019 at 16:51

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