I’ve been very busy with family matters so I haven’t been able to post much here lately. But I wanted to throw in a few good words about the latest Trek venture Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. (SNW)
Of course I LOVE IT! In our upside down real world, it is so nice to have this little respite of a new, yet familiar Star Trek world to still give us a little hope for the future. And how beautiful is The Enterprise!
If you don’t know, this exclusive Paramount + series, focuses on the early adventures of The USS Enterprise. With the crew of Captain Christopher Pike, Number One, and Lt.Spock, and it takes place a few years after the events of The Cage and 10 years before the command of Captain Kirk.
I am delighted to see how Strange New Worlds carefully crochets together elements of TOS classic with tweaked, more insightful backstories of characters new and familiar. Surprisingly, a few times so far the story would start in a very familiar place, for example:
Two characters stranded on a planet during an Ion storm, but if they’re beamed up, we know they might end up in a mirror universe?
The Enterprise Crew encounter Gorn ships!
Spock appears to be on Vulcan about to fight Ka-li-fee?
But none of these initial premises go where we ‘mature’ Trekkies think they might:
The two characters end up stranded on the planet throughout the storm.
We never actually see the Gorn.
Spock’s battle on Vulcan is merely a dream about his dual identity.
This is very clever and fun on the writer’s part. I really appreciate it!
I am also enjoying more back stories about TOS favorites that we knew little about in their first appearances 55+ years ago, as well as new characters.
For example, First Officer Number One‘s actual name is Una Chin-Riley, with a surprising backstory.
Uhura is a very promising Cadet, and the series is leaning wisely into her language and musical abilities.
Nurse Chapel is a no-nonsense medical pro with sharp humor, yet a subtle vulnerability.
Lieutenant Spock not only is involved with T’Pring*, but is perfectly capable of romantic canoodling without the benefit of Pon Farr. Indeed, in the most recent episode, (The Serene Squall), SNW gave Spock lovers the greatest ‘fan service’ I have ever seen! THANK YOU!!!
It’s a joy to have lesser-seen characters, Like Dr. M’Benga and Mr. Kyle resurface. We even find out that Jim Kirk’s brother, Sam, is serving on the Enterprise in the Sciences, although we haven’t seen much of him. We’ve even briefly seen the legendary Captain April! Ifind M’Benga’s story especially poignant.
However, the drama in SNW doesn’t mean that it takes itself too seriously (like TNG often did in its first season). One episode even hilariously mimicked the body transference we saw in the classic Turnabout Intruder, to a hilarious effect. Indeed, this series is full of humor: At one point Pike says ” I love my job!”
Speaking of Pike, It’s important to note that if you have followed Discovery, it’s known in this series that Pike knows his fate will involve becoming disabled sometime in the next decade, yet this doesn’t keep him from being the best Captain he can be. And who can argue with that killer quiff!** I look forward to Pike and Spock’s budding friendship, and watching Spock grow throughout this part of his life which leads him to be the First Officer we know in TOS.
Among new intriguing characters are:
Chief Engineer Hemmer, who is an Aenar, which is an albino subspecies of Andorian. He is legally blind, but this is not a deterrent to his abilities. He can be curt and a bit harsh in his mannerisms sometimes, but we’re only just discovering him.
Lt. Erica Ortegas is chief Helmsman. She is fiercely loyal to her duties, the crew, and Captain Pike. We are still learning about her.
And finally there is La’an Noonian-Singh, who’s last name will be very familiar most of us here. Yes, she is a descendant of THE Khan Noonian Singh, and she is friends with Number One, who rescued her when her home was being destroyed by The Gorn.
In a contrary nod to the original plot The Cage, I have to say it is a pleasure to see Captain Pike surrounded on the bridge by a mostly female crew. He’s come a long way from the Pike who said “I can’t get used to having a woman on the bridge.” (Thank God!!)
Also, this new series is ‘episodic’, like the Original Series, which means that like it’s predecessor, it ties up every adventure with a neat little bow. It does not have a season long story arc that has dragged down some of the other recent Trek series. This leaves the writers freedom to truly enjoy the adventures of exploring strange new worlds! I like this aspect so much, I don’t even watch previews of the next episode! Let it surprise me!
To me this latest iteration of the Star Trek Universe is as comfortable and as warm as a fuzzy tribble and tasty as plomeek soup! The next new episode airs today, Thursday, June 23 on Paramount Plus, May it Live Long and Prosper!
* The Original Series gave the impression that Spock had not seen T’Pring since they were seven. ** Man, everyone on this show has great hair!
Note: I write this without any knowledge of Star Trek fan-fiction or any of the official published fiction or comics of the franchise. The following is purely my fertile imaginings.
In the Star Trek:TNG episode Sarek, Captain Picard mentions that he met Sarek at “his son’s wedding”. But we never know when that wedding was or to whom Spock was married. This opens up a host of possibilities.
I thought, well, who would Spock have married in Picard’s time? Could it be possible that Picard wasn’t referring Spock at all but Sarek’s other son Sybok? Nope. Sybok was already dead in the time of TNG. It couldn’t have been anyone he had known during his time in Starfleet; they would all be deceased by the time Picard was around (save for McCoy) Yet this fact does not rule out that Spock may have married once or more in his many decades before Picard.
So how many weddings did Spock have? Let’s just say that if Kirk was the Casanova of Starfleet Romances, Spock was the Henry the Eighth of Starfleet Weddings! On to the ceremonies, and may you never mistake the following for canon!
Wedding #1 T’Pring — Again!
In the fourth year of the Enterprise’s voyage, Spock received word that his unconquered rival for T’Pring, Stonn, had died unexpectedly while rock climbing on Capella IV. According to Vulcan tradition, because Spock had survived the Kalifee, he was expected to marry T’Pring as originally planned. Spock agreed, to bring honor to T’Pring and her family and they were married by T’Pau. Jim Kirk was best man, happy that this time it didn’t mean a battle to the death! He didn’t dare kiss the bride, although he did squeeze in an incredibly intense hug! Yet seventy-seven days later, it was revealed that Stonn had not died while rock climbing on Capella IV, but had instead been in clandestine meetings with lawyer Samuel Cogley to arrange a divorce from T’Pring. You see, Stonn had realized not long after his marriage that Spock was right; how “having (was) not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting.” T’Pau had their marriage annulled immediately. Spock went back to the Enterprise, much to the delight of the crew. (Especially several potential prospects…) T’Pring later had a brief fling with Captain Kirk, just to see how her chosen rival would have been, but she never spoke of it again.
Wedding #2 Christine in the Sistine
So, when Spock came back to the Enterprise, no one was more thrilled than Nurse Christine Chapel, who had pined for him for ages. With T’Pring out of the way, she managed to convince Spock that their forced kiss on Platonious wasn’t so bad and that it was surely “illogical to protest against our natures”. With the five-year mission ending, Spock succumbed to the logic of the situation, not to mention Christine’s excellent spicy plomeek soup. They took their vows within days after the Enterprise‘s last mission. Logically, Christine Chapel married Spock in the Sistine Chapel, and the good nurse chose green as an accent color, to compliment her husband’s T-Negative blood. Jim Kirk was best man again, feeling some relief that Spock was off the market, if a bit green with envy. (How did Spock land the most beautiful blond on the ship?) Kirk kissed the bride, and almost the groom too, but quickly backed off.
Alas, this union too did not last. The good nurse loved her Vulcan, she really did. But his incessant Vulcan-splaining on every. aspect. of her illogical humanity even wore her down in time. Two years was enough, the divorce was uncontested, and they remained friends. “You can never stop loving someone like Spock” she said, “Our time together will always warm my heart.” She went back Starfleet and became a full-time doctor. She had a fling with Captain Kirk, but later married Dr. McCoy. She’d still send Spock Plomeek Soup every Christmas.
Wedding #3Back to Paradise?
Although Spock’s divorce from Christine was a disappointment, he was thankful for Jim Kirk and his other friends through Starfleet who kept in touch. Spock took a five year leave from Starfleet, delighting his father by becoming a professor at the Vulcan Science Academy. Surprisingly, three years into his tenure, his former lover, Leila Kalomi became an fellow professor there, specializing in Botany. After a failed tryst with Elias Sandoval, Leila took the job on Vulcan knowing through Starfleet gossip of Spock’s two marriages. With love for Spock still in her heart for over a decade and their brief, requited romance on Omicron Ceti III still burning in her memory, she convinced him that the third time would be the charm.
They married two months later on that same planet, in a sentimental wedding ceremony where Spock swung from a tree years earlier. The bride wore creamy lace, with a deactivated bouquet of spore buds. Jim Kirk was again the best man, and he couldn’t wait to kiss the bride. Hmm.
But then, nearly a year into the marriage, Leila also found out that having was a somewhat less pleasing thing than wanting, for Spock without spores was far less cuddly than Spock with spores. He could spend hours, even days away with his intensive work projects, often working into the weekends. Leila’s loneliness was becoming unbearable, and Pon Farr was still two years away.
At a Starfleet Conference, she found herself entertained by Captain Kirk, who sang an intense, staccato karaoke version of “Layla” to her at an after party. Maybe it was the Saurian Brandy, maybe it was her increasing isolation from Spock, but rock n’ roll history repeated itself, and she found herself taken in by Starfleet’s hammy Lothario. Wracked with guilt, she told Spock all about the affair as soon as she got back, asking forgiveness but also tearfully suggesting that they divorce. Spock responded:
“Considering the Captain’s proclivity for love addiction, I am not surprised that he seduced you. Your actions were logical, as I am aware that I have been physically neglectful to you. Leila, I need not forgive you.” His eyes lowered. “I hope you can forgive me. I understand your need to be free.” He touched her cheek. “There are times I regret that I am what I am. But in your own way, you have made me…happy”
They agreed to a friendly divorce, and remained friends. Spock cut his five year stint on Vulcan short and returned to his commission in Starfleet. He attended Leila’s wedding to Lt. Kevin O’Reily only two years later, and wished them well.
Wedding #4With a Song in His Heart
Uhura had seen her friend Spock go through three marriages with little success. But she knew a secret to his heart. Had it really been nearly a decade or so since her first flirtation with him on the Enterprise bridge? She had enjoyed their mutual love of music all these years and their musical bond grew ever closer as he taught her to play his treasured Vulcan Lyrette. “Music soothes the Vulcan brain,” she smiled, “and we communicate the language of love! They wed at the foot of the great Kagera Falls in Burundi. Yet romantic as it was, it proved a hindrance to their vows. The gushing falls were so loud they could barely hear themselves.
A week later they received notice from Starfleet that their marriage was annulled as a recording of their vows revealed what they actually said:
“I, Spock, bake you, Nyota, for my waffle shredded fife, to calve and twofold from this lay forward, for wetter, for verse, for snitcher, for borer, in thickness and stealth, until Beth does us tart.”
“I, Nyota, shake you Spock, for my awful bedded custard, to halve and toe-hold from this play forward, for, petter, for purse, for twitcher, for horror, in chicness and in felt, until Seth does Jean Smart.”
And so yet another marriage down the drain for Spock. The honeymoon did produce a wonderful result though. Their son… Tuvok.* Kirk swooped in to ‘comfort’ Uhura but she told him to get lost.
Wedding #5 Yes They Did!
By now it was becoming clear to Spock that maybe he was just not cut out for marriage.
Jim Kirk had been watching Spock’s nuptial entanglements for nearly 10 years now, and found himself longing to make his friend happy. Well, at least as happy as a Vulcan can be. Kirk took it upon himself to take Spock on a vacation. They settled on the beach-side planet of Aquara. Spock insisted he needed quiet time, and spent hours meditating by the ocean. Kirk rode horses on the beach and chased the bikinis.
Of course this sent tongues wagging. For years the crew wondered if the ‘Space Husbands’ of the Enterprise had any basis in fact. Well… Kirk couldn’t stay distracted from Spock for long. He trekked up the sea cliff where Spock sat, cross-legged and shirtless as the waves dashed below him.
“Spock.” Kirk sighed, “I feel so awful about your marriages. “I’m here for you. Spock. How can I. Help you?”
“I assure you, Captain, I am working my way through this. Indeed, I am contemplating a complete severance from my human side, to embrace my logic–“
“–No Spock, you mustn’t! Look, Marriage may not have agreed with you, but you can’t throw it –all away — because they — didn’t work!”
Spock’s eyebrow raised. “Sir. You are an excellent captain, but from what I’ve seen of your own relationships, I respectively doubt your expertise as a marriage counselor.”
Kirk’s eyes pleaded. “We all need someone, Spock. Relationships are our life’s blood”
“You slept with three of my wives.”
“Well…we humans can be illogical and sometimes irrational. Forgive me, but I … had my reasons!”
“I presumed it was your insatiable need for intimacy and to support comfort to them.”
“Spock! Can’t you SEE?? You’re… the Bert to my Ernie, the Cher to my Sonny – Dammit, Spock, I had them all because they.Had. YOU! I……LOVE YOU! Please! Give me a chance before you throw it. All. Away! And please call me Jim.”
Spock’s eyebrows almost crawled right off the top of his forehead. Not wanting to disappoint his captain and friend, Spock agreed to a ‘trial marriage’ and them were wed in a Starbase lounge.
A week later, Kirk was promoted to Admiral, and if there was one thing Kirk wanted more than Spock, it was a promotion. Besides, he didn’t want to be a stepfather to Tuvok. The marriage was annulled, and Spock went back to Vulcan yet again, this time to achieve Kolinahr.
Wedding # 6 THIS was the Picard one!
Years passed. Of course, Kirk and Spock came together on the new Enterprise to solve the mystery of V’Ger. Spock was devoted to his Enterprise family for the rest of their lives, and remained a devoted father to Tuvok and friend to all his exes.
Spock decided after all his adventures with his Enterprise family had come to end that he would devote the rest of his life to a cause he had longed hoped for; the reunification of Vulcans and Romulans. He started by holding lectures on Vulcan, and as word got out, it attracted many young Vulcans, and one night, afterwards, an unexpected guest.
When the hall was nearly empty, a figure in a deep grey cloak approached him.
“May I speak with you?”
The voice was somewhat familiar, like something out of the past.
The figure looked around to see if all the others were gone, and slowly pulled back the cowl. A familiar half-smile greeted him. A good thing he hadn’t been drinking his water, for he would have surely had a spit-take.
“Liviana!” he almost gasped.
The former Romulan Commander from whom he had helped his captain pilfer the cloaking device years earlier, now stood before him, her eyes crinkling as her smile fully bloomed.
Spock cleared his throat. “It is pleasing to see you.”
“The pleasure is mine.” Her eyes shone. “I believe in your endeavor to achieve Unification. May we discuss the logistics of bringing our worlds together?”
“I would be honored.”
Within months, not only had they worked out a long-term plan to bring Romulans and Vulcans together, but had rediscovered their own personal connection, which truly had become more permanent as Spock had implied with hope those many years ago.
They married in a holodeck of Roman style gardens, where they were congratulated by Jean-Luc Picard.
Sorry I’m a little late this week — for this week’s Fan Art, here’s three lovely representations of Nurse Chapel, Lt. Uhura, and Yeoman Rand by artist Jason Potratz. Nice to see Yeoman Rand, who isn’t often seen in Fan Art, and I also like Uhura’s expression; as if she’s really about to give someone what for!
Plato’s Stepchildren– The look on Philana’s face perfectly captures the their sliminess! But of course I always watched this one because Chapel finally got to kiss Spock! (Does that make me as repulsive as Philana? 😉 I always loved Michael Dunn’s performance here too, wonderful actor.
A bit late in the day, (been out visiting for most of it!) But I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day, and I wish you all the best for a Happy and Restful New Year! Thanks for following my silly little blog, and I’ll have more fun in store for you coming in 2015!
Love, Blessings, and Live Long and Prosper, Therese xo
And don’t forget the mistletoe! (Nurse Chapel didn’t! 😉 )
While watching old episodes of Trek, I’ve always thought that Majel Barrett (No. 1, Nurse Christine Chapel) could have been a twin, or at least a sister to the great comic actress Eve Arden. (Our Miss Brooks, Mildred Pierce,Grease). Both women had similar speech delivery and mannerisms. Check out any of Ms. Arden’s movies and you’ll see what I mean. With this in mind, I gathered up a bunch of other celebrity lookalikes in the Star Trek Universe. Let me know if you can think of any more!