The Wild Wild West
In this week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Serene Squalli, while Spock and T’Pring continue to work through their relationship challenges (with T’Pring exploring human sexuality), the Enterprise is on a mission at the Federation’s frontier to help colonists whose ships stopped responding weeks before. The leader of the Colonists, Dr. Aspen is a beautiful woman, and Spock is clearly drawn to her. The Enterprise finds the colonists… or what is left of them. The ships are destroyed and the colonists are missing; possibly taken across the border. Concerned that they are about to be sold into slavery, Captain Pike takes the Enterprise into non-Federation space without authorization.
While exploring, the Enterprise is trapped in a “net,” likely set by the pirates that captured the colonists. Spock and Dr. Aspen are able to isolate the power source of the electric net and make an educated guess that destroying it will disable the net–and they succeed. Afterward, she visits Spock again in his quarters, and the two of them flirtatiously discuss Spock’s human ancestry.
As Enterprise continues to explore the territory, they find one of the colonial ships; scans show that about 200 colonists are in the hold–held prisoner. Pike and La’an join a boarding party and beam onto the ship on a surprise rescue mission. However, when they arrive there are no colonists. It was a trap and the pirates beam onto Enterprise. On the colonists’ ship, Pike and his team are taken prisoner by the Pirates, led by an Orion.
On the Serene Squall, the Pirates are torturing Pike to get the ship’s access codes, but he refuses. Pike continues to charm the Pirates and uses that to sow discontent between the crew and their Captain.
On Enterprise, most of the crew has been taken prisoner. Spock, Dr. Aspen, and Nurse Chapple are still free. Spock treats Aspen’s injuries, where she confides in him that she has had a run-in with these pirates before. They captured and murdered her (Vulcan) husband. When the three reunite in engineering, Spock unlocks the system so they can send a distress signal. Once he does, Aspen reveals her name is Captain Angel and that she has been impersonating Dr. Aspen. She’s one of the pirates and manipulated him to gain access. She reveals that while she took Aspen’s ship, the colonists were made up to lure the Enterprise; actually to specifically lure Spock. T’Pring is holding Angel’s husband, Zafarias, prisoner and she wants to exchange Spock for him.
T’Pring meets Angel for the exchange, ready to exchange prisoners. Spock tries to stop her, telling T’Pring to destroy the Enterprise. To stop the exchange, Spock lies to T’Pring and tells her that he and Chappel are having an affair and kisses her. T’Pring immediately ends her engagement with Spock and sends the ship on its way. Angel tries to capture T’Pring’s ship but suddenly, they are unable to control the Enterprise. Pike, having taken over the Serene Squall, has used his back-door codes to gain access to the Enterprise and disable it. Spock tries to encourage Angel to surrender, but she refuses. Before she beams to a get away vessel, she tells him that “Sevarius always talked about [him.]”
Make Them Walk the Plank
Starfleet arrests the crew of the Serene Squall (but Captain Angel gets away). Spock and T’Pring reunite and he apologizes to her. She tells him that she appreciated that his gambit paid off, protecting her reputation and safety.
After reconnecting with T’Pring, Spock meets with Nurse Chappel to thank her for helping him. He also offers to let her discuss her feelings if she needs. She explains that she understands that his feelings are for T’Pring and there are “no feelings” between them–only friendship. He also shares with Chappel that he believes he knows the identity of the prisoner Angel tried to free–his half-brother Sybok.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Serene Squall Episode Analysis
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The Serene Squall brought us some wonderful, classic Trek Tropes. Captain Pike joins the security team on a dangerous away mission, only to charm his way into taking over the enemy ship. Spock leans into his heavy logic side as a means to avoid his human emotions. And Nurse Chappel tries to hide her love for Commander Spock. At first, it felt a little contrived. However, I loved in the end how it continued to lean into Trek canon.
At the end of the episode, we learn that the prisoner Captain Angel was trying to free was Spock’s half-brother Sybok. Sybok was a full-blooded Vulcan child of Ambassador Sarek. We met Sybok only once before, in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Honestly, it was probably the worst of the films as the crew went on a search for God with Sybok. Sybok, in spite of his noble ancestry, forgoes logic and leads a revolutionary cause on Vulcan, embracing emotion (like their ancestors). After the film, Sybok was never mentioned again (likely with good reason, as we all wanted to purge our memories of the film).
Now it seems that as we delve more deeply into young Spock, we will also explore his family dynamics–including having a brother who is more noble and senior in birth, but a logical criminal back home. I for one cannot wait!