... I'm liking the redesigned, alternate timeline warp core more and more. It has a more realistic, practical feel to it than the glossier, sleeker and more sterile warp cores of the Prime Starfleet we've seen over the decades. This is a warp core that shouts "raw power" and you can believe that this thing can propel a starship much faster than the speed of light.
A zappy electric arc doesn't shout "raw power" to me, it shouts "wiring mistake".
I think they went too far in the "realistic" direction; this is a power source that's supposed to be driven by matter, antimatter, and dilithium. None of those were involved in what we saw. I think going with something more fantastic, something that doesn't
look like something we can build, would've worked better.
You then have the question of "well, what can Kirk kick?".
Maybe they could've had something that looks like the TMP warp core (inside that outer "realistic" NIF set - radiation shielding?), and he needed to reseat the dilithium before the reaction could restart.