Spock and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. That should be a book, don’t you think? Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debuts one of its best episodes yet with “Charades.” Season 2 Episode 5 boasts an incredibly versatile performance from Ethan Peck, who really gets to test the limits of his pitch-perfect comedic timing. He’s hilarious. Jess Bush also churns in vulnerable, sweet work. They have some of the most expressive eyes I’ve seen onscreen. The wonderful Gia Sandhu returns as T’Pring, and she delivers a layered, compelling performance even as a Vulcan suppressing their emotions.
“Charades” finally gives us what we’ve been waiting for: Chock. Spapel? Is there an official ship name for Spock and Chapel? Regardless, Peck and Bush’s electrifying chemistry culminates in a romantic (and steamy) kiss between Spock and Chapel. Admittedly, I squealed when it happened. Strange New Worlds deftly built their bond from the ground up, making this pairing feel quite organic.
In honor of today’s Spock-tacular episode, here are my favorite quotes from “Charades.” Energize!
AMANDA GRAYSON: “Why are you wearing that silly hat?”
SPOCK: “It’s not silly. It’s regulation.”
PIKE: “I have one just like it.”
“Charades” treats us to myriad versions of Spock — Teen Spock, Emo Spock, Angry Spock, Sad Spock, Horny Spock. In the above moment, Teen Spock comes out to play to hilarious results. Peck, Mia Kirshner and Anson Mount‘s collective comedic timing is a thing of beauty. What if beanies do become regulation in Starfleet? Imagine Pike having to conceal that glorious hair…
SEVET: “These quarters seem quite comfortable. They will suit our needs for the Vishal ritual.”
T’PRIL: “They’re merely adequate. They carry an unfortunate odor.”
SEVET: “I am afraid she’s right. I did not notice it before.”
There’s nothing funnier than a blunt wife and her subservient husband, mainly when the latter quickly pivots after his lady expresses a different opinion than him. Sevet (Michael Benyaer) is a glass-half-full kinda guy, while T’Pril (Ellora Patnaik) is ready to eviscerate with her glass-half-empty approach. Benyaer and Patnaik get to flex their strong comedic muscles, and the latter’s deadpan Vulcan delivery is the cherry on top.
CHAPEL: “Spock is — he’s my friend. And maybe sometimes, I wish that we had more connection. But when you healed him, you changed him. You made him easier to talk to. Someone who probably understands my feelings a little better. But that’s not him. At least it’s not all of him. Because you took away the other part, a part that I was connected to. And I miss him as he was.”
Nurse Chapel finally acknowledges her feelings for Spock, even though it takes a high-stakes situation for her to do so. Better late than never, right? Bush’s performance during this monologue is so tender and raw, yet you can see Chapel still resisting her feelings. It’s beautifully subtle, nuanced work from them. They have such a natural onscreen presence.
SPOCK: “You refer to my human side as a handicap, yet my mother is the most resilient, compassionate, tolerant person I have known, one who has been judged by Vulcans her entire life. And yet she stands by for love, for family, for me. That is no handicap. That is true strength.”
I love that both Spock and Chapel got gorgeous monologues that pack a punch in “Charades.” His love for his mother is touching, especially considering how much he’s struggled to embrace his human side. And, of course, the discrimination he’s faced from T’Pring’s family and his observation of what Amanda endured on Vulcan. He’s learning to express his emotions healthily so he doesn’t have to suppress them entirely. He’s finding that balance between his Vulcan and human sides.
CHAPEL: “I would consider applying again, but, you know, the truth is, I don’t think your fellowship is ready for me.”
Get it, Chapel! I love that she put Durik (Ryan Taerk) in his place. It’s so empowering watching her stand up for herself along with her immense talents. She’s a badass, and she knows it. We could all stand to take a page out of her book and defend ourselves whenever someone calls our abilities into question.
PIKE: “Spock, can I offer you one more human ritual that I find helps at moments like these?”
SPOCK: “What is it called?”
Spock has a lot to learn regarding human rituals. At least Pike teaches him the most important one there is: commiseration. There’s nothing like commiserating over alcohol with your buddies. Bottoms up, Mr. Spock.
What are your favorite quotes from “Charades”? Sound off in the comments below!
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams new episodes every Thursday on Paramount+.