In Strange New Worlds episode 5, Spock punched another Vulcan. This is an act of aggression more reminiscent of Zachary Quinto than Leonard Nimoy.
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Episode 5 – “Spock Amok”
In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode 5, Spock (Ethan Peck) showed signs of being closer to Zachary Quinto’s Vulcan than Leonard Nimoy. Strange New Worlds episode 5, “Spock Amok,” is the Paramount + series’ first comedic episode harkening back to the Star Trek: The Original Series classic, “The Trouble With Tribbles.” The most amusing of “Spock Amok’s” myriad high jinks was a mind-meld gone awry that led to Spock switching bodies with his Vulcan fiancée, T’Pring (Gia Sandhu), and the Enterprise’s Science Officer unleashing some surprising aggression while in T ‘ Pring’s body.
Ethan Peck’s Spock is the younger version of Leonard Nimoy’s Vulcan. They are playing the same character and Peck’s Spock will gradually evolve into the stoic and experienced version Nimoy pioneered in TOS and the first six Star Trek movies, as well as JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s the latter film that shows one of the biggest deviations from Spock’s character. Zachary Quinto’s alternate Kelvin timeline version of Spock is younger, like Peck’s, and Abrams’ first two Star Trek movies happen roughly the same time as Strange New Worlds, circa 2259, albeit in different realities. Quinto’s version of Spock is more volatile than Nimoy’s (or Peck’s). This is understandable considering that in the Kelvin timeline, Spock lost his entire homeworld when Vulcan was destroyed by Nero (Eric Bana). In Star Trek Into Darkness, Spock went on a rampage against Khan Noonien Singh (Benedict Cumberbatch). In a startlingly violent slugfest between the Vulcan and the genetically-engineered madman, Spock beat Khan into submission by mercilessly punching the villain repeatedly.
In Strange New Worlds episode 5, Spock in T’Pring’s body also did something shockingly violent by punching out a Vulcan who had rejected logic. Called upon to pretend to be T’Pring and attempt to bring the rogue Vulcan back into the fold, Spock lost his cool when the Vulcan repeatedly insulted his companion, Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush). Spock had been wrestling with his innermost fears and he literally dreamed that he was “too human” for T’Pring, which manifested in Spock’s separate Vulcan and human sides fighting each other in Strange New Worlds‘spot-on tribute to the kal-if-fee ritual combat between Nimoy’s Spock and Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) in the TOS classic episode, “Amok Time.” But Spock lashing out and belting the Vulcan was something Quinto’s version would do, not Nimoy’s.
In Spock’s defense, he was under the inconceivable pressure of posing as T’Pring and inhabiting her body. Worse, Spock was completely out of his element in trying to negotiate with the rogue Vulcan as T’Pring. But what Spock punching the Vulcan really shows is that he still has quite a way to go before he achieves maturity and the higher level of devotion to Vulcan logic that Leonard Nimoy’s Spock embodied. Peck’s young Spock is still sorting through the duality of his Vulcan and human sides and it leads to surprising displays of emotion. In this way, Peck’s Spock is much more like Quinto’s in the alternate reality because his Spock’s emotions were constantly bubbling to the surface.
Still, it’s eyebrow-raising to see Spock blatantly throw a punch in Strange New Worlds, even if he is in T’Pring’s body. Many who watched Star Trek Into Darkness never reconciled the ruthless aggression Quinto’s Spock unleashed against Khan. In TOS, Nimoy’s Spock did not participate in fisticuffs, which was Kirk’s forte. In fact, the legendary actor invented the Vulcan nerve pinch on the set of TOS as a non-violent means to incapacitate an opponent because Leonard Nimoy did not think Spock should be throwing punches. Given the retcon and context of Star Trek: Strange New Worldsperhaps the memory of punching the Vulcan while he was occupying T’Pring’s body is one of the catalysts for Nimoy’s older Spock to eschew outward displays of violence altogether.
Next: Strange New Worlds’ Number One Twist Reframes Star Trek: TOS
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams Thursdays on Paramount +.
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