Minor SPOILERS for this week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery. Please be warned.
This week’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Light and Shadows,” gave us the long awaited debut of Mr.Spock on the show, played by Ethan Peck. This is our first glimpse of what the galaxy’s most famous Vulcan/human hybrid was doing some ten years prior to the original series…and it’s perhaps not what anyone expected.
The running plot line of season two of Discovery thus far has been the mystery of several signals appearing throughout the galaxy, accompanied by a being witnesses refer to as “the Red Angel.” Spock’s own investigation into this Red Angel has left him mentally shattered, and the search for Spock, who escaped a mental facility and is accused of murder, has been a running story thread. But with this latest episode, Spock is physically part of the story now for the first time.
The teaser for next week’s episode shows another deep tie to Star Trek lore, and it’s got us wondering what other canonical-past moments might be in store for Spock this season. Given the time frame of the episode, approximately nine years before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series, and given what the classic show tells us about Spock’s younger days, here’s some things we hope Discovery finds a way to tackle this season in regards to everyone’s favorite Vulcan.
In the original series’ second season episode “This Side of Paradise,” we are introduced to a human woman named Leila Kalomi, who was once romantically entangled with Spock. The details of their relationship are kept to a minimum, but we know they knew one another about ten or so years prior to that episode — which fits to about where Discovery is now in the timeline. Spock is now suffering a mental breakdown over this “Red Angel” business…could we see that Leila Kalomi is the person to help him through it?
Spock and Michael’s Older Brother
When Discovery launched, fans were shocked to learn that Spock had an adopted human sister in Michael Burnham. But Spock and Michael also canonically have yet another sibling — Sarek’s son Sybok. He was introduced in the largely unloved Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, as the son of Sarek and a Vulcan princess, prior to his marriage to the human Amanda, both Spock and Michael’s mother.
Star Trek V says that Spock and Sybok were raised together, but we’ve seen no evidence of Sybok in any flashbacks to Michael and Spock’s childhood. Sybok was clearly older than Spock, so he might have been long gone by the time Michael joined the family, but he should at least be referenced. Love it or hate it, Star Trek V IS canon. And having an older brother who rejected the Vulcan way of life and embrace emotion as Sybok did could be interesting story fodder for both Spock and Michael.
In the original Star Trek series, it’s explained that Ambassador Sarek and Spock had not spoken in eighteen years. But in “Light and Shadows,” we see Sarek and Spock share a scene together. Technically, they did not speak to each other, because Spock was in the middle of a mental breakdown and was essentially talking to himself, oblivious of anyone else in the room. But the fact that these two stalwart Vulcans were basically not speaking at the time should not be glossed over. And if they do speak to each other, than that’s a pretty big, fat continuity error. Let’s hope it’s avoided.
In the alternate timeline of the JJ Abrams Star Trek films, Spock was an instructor at Starfleet Academy, before joining Captain Christopher Pike aboard the Enterprise. Now, that was in an alternate timeline, so it’s not necessarily canon that the version of Spock we meet in Discovery was doing the same thing before enlisting with this timeline’s version of Captain Pike. But he could have, and it would be interesting if they brought up his time as an Academy instructor, where he butted heads with one James T. Kirk, and found a way to work it into Spock’s arc on the show.
This one’s a bit of stretch, but it was said that Michael Burnham once helped find Spock when he ran away from home as a child. In the 1970s Star Trek: The Animated Series, the episode “Yesteryear” has the adult Spock travel back in time and meet his younger self, who ran away from home and undergoes the Vulcan Kahs-wan survival ritual. He does this at age seven, far earlier than he is supposed to, and almost gets killed in the process. While this event probably happened before Michael Burnham was adopted into Sarek and Amanda’s family, it would be a very cool story beat if this was in fact the same event we see in the animated show.