The half-Vulcan, half-human Science Officer Spock (Ethan Peck) takes center stage in “Spock Amok.” The fifth episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is written by Henry Alonso Myers & Robin Wasserman and directed by Rachel Leiterman.
Spock is dreaming. The setting is the location of the battle that an older Spock (Leonard Nimoy) will have against Captain Kirk (William Shatner) in the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Amok Time.” However, in the dream, the current T’Pring (Gia Sandhu) points out the current Spock is human, choosing kal-if-fee. The music from the TOS episode plays as human Spock’s opponent is revealed: Vulcan Spock.
Human Spock says fighting himself is illogical, but the battle begins. Vulcan Spock gains the upper hand and asks what human Spock would know of logic. Spock (Ethan Peck) wakes from his nightmare and checks the mirror to ensure his Vulcan ears are intact.
We hear Spock’s Science Officer’s log (Stardate 2341.4). In the wake of the Gorn encounter, Enterprise returns to Starbase One. The space station has been newly repaired after the Klingon War. The Enterprise crew takes much-needed shore leave (which always goes well for this ship). Spock is spending his time with T’Pring, who joins him after their time together on Vulcan was cut short in the first episode.
T’Pring arrives and the couple immediately enters the Vulcan courtship’s formal verbiage before kissing. T’Pring implies the decorations in Spock’s quarters are pretty human.
We learn T’Pring is accompanied by an associate, and she has another reason for visiting the Starbase. Her work involves rehabilitating those who have committed crimes by showing them the path of logic. She is here to meet a Vulcan radical responsible for an uprising on Kepler 22b.
The couple part but arranges to share dinner that night.
In the Enterprise ready room, Admiral April (Adrian Holmes) briefs Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) and Spock. The R’Ongovian Protectorate controls a small but essential piece of space between Klingon and Romulan territory. As it enables travel to the Beta Quadrant, the Federation needs to secure safe passage.
Initial diplomatic discussions with the R’Ongovians were made by the Telurites. It didn’t go well. The R’Ongovians are initiating negotiations with the Klingons, with the Romulans to follow soon. The R’Ongovians arrive at Starbase One in an old solar sail ship, which they bring out for ceremonial occasions. They fly the flag of their new allies when an accord is reached.
The briefing is interrupted by a communication from Lt. La’an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong). The R’Ongovian delegation is on the Enterprise right now. They enter the ready room, and the Ambassador says he only speaks to Captain Pike.
With so many voices in the Federation, the Ambassador asks how do they choose a leader? Pike reveals they vote. The Ambassador says that listening is a hallmark of his people, but few understand that. The R’Ongovians sit to begin their discussion.
Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) and Lt. Erica Ortegas (Melissa Navia) arrive in the sick bay looking for Doctor M’Benga (Babs Olusanmokun). M’Benga will spend his time with another doctor on research. Ortegas chats with Chapel about Chapel’s planned date.
Ortegas asks if Chapel will need to be bailed out, but Chapel says her date is on the same “not-serious” page as she is. The pilot is skeptical and cites an instance where a misunderstanding with a lover led to being chased by phaser fire. Chapel says this will be different.
Chief Kyle (André Dae Kim), Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and La’an see Chapel, Ortegas, M’Benga and other crew members off in the transporter room. The leaving crew notes Una and La’an “shore stay,” and a nickname is mentioned. Everyone gets nervous, but Una presses. Ortegas admits the yeoman have nicknamed Una “Where Fun Goes to Die.”
Spock arrives in his quarters and apologizes to T’Pring, explaining the negotiations began early. T’Pring says she had work she chose not to do. She says she is concerned Starfleet’s human influence on Spock means the couple will find themselves incompatible. T’Pring leaves Spock with the uneaten meal she prepared.
At a dining establishment, Chapel meets her date at the bar. She suggests they skip the meal and get down to business. Despite what Chapel told Ortegas earlier, her date thinks they will get serious. Chapel spots Spock eating soup. She makes an excuse about checking on him to get out of the date.
La’an and Una discuss the nickname, and it becomes clear Una terrifies people (“It’s a compliment,” insists La’an). They respond to a security breach but only find a pair of Ensigns.
Chapel slaps Spock as he tries to rationalize his part in the dispute with T’Pring. Chapel says a relationship is a mutual sacrifice (hence why she avoids them). Spock is concerned his human half makes T’Pring perceive him as an inadequate mate. He shares his nightmare. They bond over childhood pets. Chapel advises Spock to ensure T’Pring sees he “gets her as a Vulcan.”
Spock suggests he and T’Pring participate in a Vulcan “soul sharing,” giving them mutual understanding. The couple takes part in the ritual (which involves the two fingers pressed together from “Journey to Babel”). But something goes wrong, and the pair switch bodies.
April informs Pike the R’Ongovians are angry because “a connection wasn’t made.” April says they will only speak with Spock.
Unfortunately, Spock and T’Pring haven’t switched back. They agree that hijinks are the most logical course of action. They must pretend to be one another. But after a few minutes of hijinks, the pair come clean with Pike. T’Pring agrees to take Spock’s place in the negotiations with R’Ongovians.
On the Enterprise, La’an calls “bad cop” before they interrogate the Ensigns. They discover the Ensigns were taking part in “Enterprise BINGO.” They were attempting to “sign the scotch,” the final square.
As punishment, both Ensigns are assigned to a work shift under Chief Kyle, eliciting protests. But what’s “Enterprise BINGO”?
T’Pring’s partner contacts Spock and says the criminal has agreed to immediate surrender, but only to T’Pring.
La’an has discovered the list of tasks comprising Enterprise BINGO, played by the Ensign class. La’an and T’Pring agree to participate in the game to “better understand” the Lower Deckers. An incredible montage ensues.
In one of the biodomes, Ortegas and Chapel discuss the latter’s relationship woes. They see T’Pring, and Chapel admits she gave Spock relationship advice. Ortegas says never to do that lest they hit you with a lirpa. Spock quickly comes clean to Chapel. She advises him to do T’Pring’s job since she is doing his. Spock says this is coming dangerously close to hijinks.
La’an tries to opt out of Enterprise BINGO, and Una insists they figure out a satisfactory way to break the rules.
The meeting with the R’Ongovians is underway. Pike observes the R’Ongovians adopted a Vulcan demeanor. T’Pring is still having a difficult time seeing Spock’s perspective. Pike can’t resist interjecting. The R’Ongovians allow Pike to intervene not on behalf of the Federation but on behalf of “Spock.”
Pike voices Spock’s perspective on Starfleet to both T’Pring and the R’Ongovians. The latter are impressed by Pike’s actions, allowing him to make a summation before they leave.
M’Benga enjoys fly fishing alone. Spock brings Chapel along to confront the rogue Vulcan. Soon, he’s insulting Spock’s half-human heritage. He further insults humans, but Spock punches him out. Detained.
Signing the Scorch
M’Benga and Chapel perform the rare Katric transfer ritual in the sick bay. M’Benga speculates emotion may have caused the couple’s ceremony to go awry. The transfer is painful but effective—afterward, Spock thanks Chapel (who insists he calls her “Christine”) for her assistance. Chapel tells him to be honest with himself.
T’Pring and Spock have a heart-to-heart about Spock’s fears that she sees him as “too human.” He tells her he had to prove his Vulcaness on Vulcan constantly. In Starfleet, he is accepted as half-human and half-Vulcan. He is, “quite simply, Spock.” T’Pring admits she fears Spock only views their relationship as another duty. They reaffirm their desire to be with one another and kiss.
The R’Ongovians ask Pike why they should join the Federation at the diplomatic table. Pike replies with all of the reasons they shouldn’t. Pike concludes the R’Ongovians have good reason to suspect that their price to join the Federation is too high to pay. The R’Ongovians leave.
Pike says he was playing a hunch. The R’Ongovians mirror the demeanors of each species they encounter. Pike believes this is a diplomatic technique: radical empathy. Pike was demonstrating to the R’Ongovians that he could see things their way. Outside the Starbase, the R’Ongovians fly the Federation flag on the ship, showing their decision to join.
Meanwhile, La’an and Una are walking on the hull of the Enterprise to sign the scorch. Instead of spacesuits, they’re accomplishing this using a force field, making it extra risky and a “first-time” method for achieving the BINGO task.
The scorch is the oldest unreplaced part of the Enterprise’s hull (eat your heart out, Theseus). They both sign. Their timing is perfect for witnessing the R’Ongovian ship pass by as it’s flying the Federation flag.
In bed, Spock admits he punched out T’Pring’s charge, which T’Pring concedes is logical. Chapel and Ortegas further discuss Chapel’s love life, but she stops short of opening up to her crewmate.
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