Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - S1 E5 - "Spock Amok"

  
Via:  Dig  •  2 months ago  •  42 comments

By:   Samantha Coley

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - S1 E5 - "Spock Amok"
 

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From Collider

June 2, 2022

'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Body Swapping Leads to Radical Empathy

This week's episode is all about perspective.

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S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



After the action-packed emotional rollercoaster of last week's episode, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 1 Episode 5, "Spock Amok," provides a much lighter fare. From Enterprise bingo to a learning exercise gone wrong, this episode is full of laughs and the growth that can come from putting yourself in someone else's shoes for a little while. Each episode of Strange New Worlds so far has felt both fresh and reminiscent of classic Star Trek, and "Spock Amok" pays homage to some of the franchise's delightfully goofy roots while exploring the concept of empathy.

The episode opens with Spock (Ethan Peck) all set to marry his fiancé T'Pring (Gia Sandhu) when he suddenly appears to be fully human. His Vulcan half appears and pledges to fight him to the death. His dreams reveal a deep fear that she will never be fully happy with him because he's part human. Spock's science officer's log reveals that it's time for shore leave for the crew of the Enterprise as they engage in negotiations with a new alien species who've been offered a spot in the Federation. When the negotiations are moved up unexpectedly, Spock once again chooses his duties over T'Pring, standing her up for what was supposed to be shared time together after their engagement night was also cut short. Understandably, she's disappointed with coming second to Starfleet once again.

In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Season 2 premiere is titled "Amok Time," and it centers around Spock and T'Pring's planned wedding that ultimately does not occur. It's the first episode to use the Vulcan salute, and it introduces the concept of Pon Farr. In the episode, Spock is meant to fulfill his promise to T'Pring, but she has fallen for someone else while he's been away and calls for a deadly Vulcan ceremony to get out of their commitment to each other. While Strange New Worlds could easily choose to take these characters in new directions, the conflict between Spock and T'Pring in this episode could very well lay the groundwork for this endgame for their relationship. In The Original Series, we also learn that Nurse Chapel holds unrequited feelings for Spock — in "Spock Amok," she shares some relationship advice with him and incidentally finds herself charmed.

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In order to better understand T'Pring, Spock proposes a soul-sharing ceremony, which is meant to allow them to see themselves through the other's eyes. When the ritual malfunctions, they quickly find that they're stuck in each other's bodies. Comedy ensues as the pair must pretend to be each other in order to fulfill their duties. Having to actively spend time quite literally in the other's shoes gives both Spock and T'Pring a new perspective on each other and their relationship.

In the negotiations, Captain Pike (Anson Mount) realizes that he's put T'Pring in an impossible situation by asking her to do Spock's duties. He also recognizes that she doesn't entirely understand why Spock does what he does for Starfleet. He explains to her that Spock is exemplary of what's so wonderful about Starfleet. His choice to stand up for Spock impresses the aliens, and they extend another session of negotiations. By now Pike understands that sometimes the best way to get someone to understand you is to prove that you understand them.

After they switch back, Spock and T'Pring are inspired to be vulnerable with each other. He shares his fears that she won't accept the human part of him, and she expresses that she worried he only saw their relationship as another duty to attend to rather than a real connection. This experience allows them both to see that while they certainly have their differences, they do still care for each other very much.

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Elsewhere, M'Benga, Ortegas, and Chapel all head out for a fun and relaxing shore leave filled with hot dates and fly-fishing. Una and La'an are seeing their officers out when M'Benga accidentally reveals that the junior officers refer to the duo as "where fun goes to die." The overly serious pair of officers are contemplating feeling out of touch with the crew and the way that they simply have different interests from their co-workers when some junior officers are caught trying to sneak onto the hull of the ship. Una and La'an decide to go in with the good cop / bad cop approach and find out that the young officers were trying to get the last square in Enterprise Bingo. In an attempt to better understand their fellow crew, they decide to do each of the challenges themselves. "People are idiots, you're fun," La'an tells Una.

Watching these two very serious characters indulge in a little reckless behavior is absolutely delightful. Though they don't find the same thrill from rule-breaking as the junior officers, Una and La'an find a way to understand why the ensigns on the ship do things like Enterprise bingo. They walk onto the hull without EV suits, using a force field, to sign the scorch for good luck. While they're out there they see their new allies sail away flying the Federation flag, feeling a true sense of child-like wonder at the lives they get to lead.

Each storyline in this episode follows the same narrative arc of radical empathy. Actively putting yourself in the shoes of someone different from yourself can give you a new understanding of their perspective. This episode encourages us to build connections and find solutions by taking the point of view of someone we don't entirely understand. By broadening our experiences, meeting new people, and learning to see the world through their eyes, we become more well-rounded humans. Empathy, understanding, and mutual sacrifice for good are the building blocks of that sci-fi future that Star Trek makes so darn appealing.

Rating: A



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Dig
Professor Guide
1  seeder  Dig    2 months ago

I really enjoyed the light-natured humor of this episode.

A few observations...

The fight scene in Spock's dream used music that was very reminiscent of fight scenes in TOS, if not an actual re-recording of it.

Pike's green uniform shirt with the sideways insignia on the lower portion was a direct call back to one of Kirk's shirts in TOS.

La'an says staying aboard ship during shore leave is like Christmas, a very rare mention of any Earth holiday.

M'Benga's "fly fishing" gear was pathetic. I mean, who set that scene up? The rod and bait casting reel they had him using were more suited to bass fishing, and only kids and amateurs use swivels, lol.

I thought the Enterprise Bingo stuff was fun.

Star Trek still hasn't learned that solar sails need to be absolutely HUGE compared to the ship they're propelling (same mistake they made in DS9), but oh well.

I don't think we saw Hemmer at all, did we?

Overall a good, fun episode. I liked it a lot.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Dig @1    2 months ago

I thought this was one of the better episodes simply because it was so different.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2  sandy-2021492    2 months ago

I wasn't a fan of this one.  I found the premise just a bit too silly.  I liked the idea of an homage to "Amok Time", but the execution just wasn't up to par for me.  Now, there were still moments I liked - the interactions between Spock and Nurse Chapel, for instance.  I love when logical Vulcans indulge in a bit of humor.

I liked Pike's green uniform shirt.  Anson Mount wore it much better than Shatner did.  In fact, I think from here on out, I'll watch just about anything Anson Mount acts in.  I'd never seen him before "Discovery".  

I don't fly fish, and even I knew that M'Benga wasn't fly fishing.  That was something they really could have done better.

The biodomes were pretty cool.

I didn't care for this one overall, but I also didn't dislike it enough to keep me from looking forward to the next episode.  

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Participates
2.1  Freefaller  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    2 months ago

Gotta agree with you about the overall impression this show left.  If this was the only episode I'd seen I would not watch anymore however the other episodes were all better so I'll continue to watch.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2  seeder  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2    2 months ago
I wasn't a fan of this one.  I found the premise just a bit too silly. 

Which part? The switching bodies thing?

I'm surprised you and Freefaller didn't like this one. I thought it was fun.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @2.2    2 months ago

Yes, the body switch.  Just not my thing.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.2  seeder  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.1    2 months ago

At least there was other stuff going on. I always liked the A,B and sometimes C storyline format that Trek has been doing since TNG.

We got a better look at certain parts of the ship in this one, like that corridor set. What I thought might have been windows are definitely not, and there are doors on the angled side, which makes the angle make even less sense. I thought that maybe the angle was because of the slope of the outer hull (which still would have been an inefficient place for a corridor), but no, not if there are compartments on the other side of it. There's also an airlock at the end of it, but I can't figure out where it's supposed to be located on the exterior.

I installed the Paramount Plus app on my computer so I can take screenshots. I think I'm going to do a what-we-know-so-far post about the layout of the ship one of these days, after I rewatch the episodes and take shots of the sets and exteriors. 

This episode made it cleat that what I think is the briefing room is adjacent to the bridge, exactly where it's supposed to be. When La'an brought the aliens in, and again when she left, the bridge could be seen through the doorway. So that's good. 

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.3  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @2.2.2    2 months ago

I guess the B storyline (Enterprise bingo) just didn't suit me, either.  I did like the C storyline - the diplomatic one.

I'm probably not as into starship architecture as you, but I'd be interested in your layout of the ship.  Briefing room adjacent to the bridge makes sense.  Even with turbolifts (hopefully) available and functional, easy access for the bridge crew would best be served with such a layout.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.4  seeder  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.3    2 months ago

I like it when the ship is a prominent feature of the show, almost like another cast member. Maybe I'm a geek this way, but I really need the interior sets to make sense and line up with the exteriors. It shows sincere effort on the part of the art department, and lends credence to the show.

Remember how on Voyager the Captain's ready room was on one side of the bridge, the briefing room was on the other, and the Captain's quarters were on a different deck? I have a feeling this new version of the Enterprise will be the same, but after only a few episodes I'm not sure.

Spock's quarters had those windows that curve up onto the ceiling, so we know his quarters are on the outer edge of the saucer section, because they're plainly visible in the exterior shots. I'll have to check again, but I think Pike's quarters might have had them too. The mess hall (or lounge/bar?) also has them, but they're a little bigger and center-set, right on the bow. 

From what I've noticed so far most things make sense, except for that weird, angled corridor wall. I just can't figure out the purpose of that.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.5  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @2.2.4    2 months ago

Yeah, the angled wall makes sense for an exterior corridor, to accommodate the shape of the hull, but not for an interior one.

I felt like Voyager was probably the ship that was most like a part of the cast.  Maybe because it had some idiosyncrasies, like the bioneural gel packs, that actually figured into the plots.  "Get the cheese to sickbay!"

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.6  seeder  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.5    2 months ago

Voyager is probably my favorite ship design, and I think it was the last one with what you might call 'soft' interiors – carpeting and soft-looking wall panels here and there. Maybe the Enterprise-E did as well, but I can't remember off the top of my head (I know the Enterprise-D did). I always liked that because it made the ships feel warm, comfortable and 'homey.'  Ever since J.J. Abrams got involved the interiors are all hard, glassy, and cold-looking. This new Enterprise is like that, and I kind of wish it wasn't.

The only thing I'd change about Voyager is the landing capability. I'd get rid of that.

Voyager even had brakes, lol. Something all starships need, but are never really shown.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.7  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @2.2.6    2 months ago

I actually liked the landing capability.  It seems fitting for a ship that's primarily for scientific exploration, and when much of the crew might well be needed on an away team.  It might be more practical to just set the whole ship down, rather than depend on transporters or shuttles, especially since Chakotay and Tuvok crashed so many of them.  Leave the landings to Paris.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.8  seeder  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.7    2 months ago

It's just that it was so large. It seems to me that the full-sized starships need to be built in space, and stay in space, lol. 

I hated how Abrams had the Enterprise being built on the ground in his version of Star Trek, and then had it flying around in the atmosphere, and even going into the ocean and back out again. UGH!! Made me want to destroy things.

But they did crash a lot of shuttles on Voyager, haha. That was a running complaint among the fan base – where were all those replacement shuttles coming from? jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.9  Ender  replied to  Dig @2.2.8    2 months ago

That was my thinking. The ships were too big to land on planets. Thus the shuttles and beaming down.

I did like the idea that on the Enterprise, the saucer could disconnect from the rest of the ship.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.10  Ender  replied to  Dig @2.2.8    2 months ago
full-sized starships need to be built in space, and stay in space, lol.

Reminded me of Galaxy Quest. Ship built in space.

Just leaving the docking area can be a little tricky....

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.11  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @2.2.8    2 months ago
I hated how Abrams had the Enterprise being built on the ground in his version of Star Trek

Like he'd never even heard of Utopia Planitia.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.12  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @2.2.10    2 months ago
Ship built in space.

Star Trek uses orbital shipyards for starship construction and repair.

The first one is Voyager, followed by the Enterprise from the original cast movies, and the last one is the Enterprise from this new show.

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They're always built in space, except for in the stupid Abramsverse, where the Enterprise was built on the ground. Good grief.

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I'm so glad that's supposed to be an alternate timeline, and not proper Trek.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.13  Ender  replied to  Dig @2.2.12    2 months ago

I just had a thought. On the Enterprise, when the saucer disconnects from the body, they would need two propulsion systems.

(sorry, I just blurt out whatever is in my head)

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.14  seeder  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @2.2.11    2 months ago
Like he'd never even heard of Utopia Planitia.

Right? What was he thinking? I enjoyed the actors in his movies, but I didn't like how he messed with canon, especially by destroying Vulcan.

Good thing his movies aren't in the prime timeline.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.15  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @2.2.13    2 months ago
I just had a thought. On the Enterprise, when the saucer disconnects from the body, they would need two propulsion systems.

They have them, but only the lower engineering section has the warp engines, so the saucer can't go to warp (as far as I know).

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.2.16  Ender  replied to  Dig @2.2.15    2 months ago

One thing I liked about Galaxy Quest, I know it has nothing to do with Trek, yet they had a complete, how do you say, diagram of the ship. Kinda like blueprints of the ship.

Listening to you all talk about the rooms and all, I am surprised they never really did this.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
2.2.17  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @2.2.16    2 months ago

I can't remember who, but someone involved with the original Star Trek produced a bunch of deck plans years ago. I found them online once.

Star Trek also sold technical manuals in book form for the older shows, showing how the fictional technology was supposed to work. I think there are a few ship layouts in those.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
2.2.18  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @2.2.12    2 months ago
I'm so glad that's supposed to be an alternate timeline, and not proper Trek.

And can therefore be ignored whenever we feel like it.

Like you, I enjoyed the cast, but I felt like he messed with something sacred.  Well, I enjoyed the cast except for Zoe Saldana.  Her Uhura was nothing like the original.  But Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban were great.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3  Ender    2 months ago

I don't watch this but just reading it makes my head spin. If this T'ping or whatever is Vulcan, than why are they giving her all these emotions...

I can understand Spock as he is half human.

And a body swap? This is sounding like, well, I should just shut up.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.1  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @3    2 months ago

I think all Vulcans have emotions, they just train their whole lives to suppress them.

The body swap thing was kind of like when Spock died in the movies and McCoy had his 'katra' swapped into him so they could save him later on. This time the katras were swapped entirely between two characters, so each had the other person's body for a while.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Ender  replied to  Dig @3.1    2 months ago

I thought Spock came back to life because his body landed on a planet that renewed him or something.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.1.2  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @3.1.1    2 months ago

Yeah, but his adult katra was in McCoy, and they had to transfer it to the new body from the Genesis planet.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1.3  Ender  replied to  Dig @3.1.2    2 months ago

That could get tricky. In theory it could be used to live forever. When old just swap into another body.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @3    2 months ago

Vulcans have emotions, but they are taught from an early age to suppress them in favor of logic.  However, they do recognize the existence of emotion, even in their traditions, like ritual combat to retain a mate.  Sarek admits to having married a human woman because he loved her.  Vulcans frequently engage in humor.  And we all know they're like teenagers with 'roid rage when they're in pon farr.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.2.1  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.2    2 months ago
And we all know they're like teenagers with 'roid rage when they're in pon farr.

And here I was thinking that was the Klingons....Haha

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.2.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  Ender @3.2.1    2 months ago

Them, too, although I don't know that serious injury is an expected part of Vulcan mating as it is with Klingons.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.2.3  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @3.2.1    2 months ago

Klingons are rough, too, lol...

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Ender
Professor Principal
3.2.4  Ender  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.2.2    2 months ago

I admit I am a little behind on all this. The only ones I watched were the original and TNG.

I did see most of the movies though.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.2.5  Ender  replied to  Dig @3.2.3    2 months ago

I thought I remembered that the Vulcans and Klingons were somehow related.

Maybe I just made that up but I swear I thought I heard that somewhere.

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.2.6  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @3.2.5    2 months ago

Vulcan and Romulans are closely related, being basically the same species that became separated, but they aren't related to Klingons.

Unless you go back to that one TNG episode where an ancient alien species seeded the galaxy with the DNA that all the Star Trek species descended from. Everyone is related that way, but wayyyyyyyyy in the past.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.2.7  Ender  replied to  Dig @3.2.6    2 months ago

Ah thanks. I knew someone was related...Haha

I don't remember that episode.

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Participates
3.2.8  Freefaller  replied to  Ender @3.2.5    2 months ago

Lol it's the Romulans that Vulcans are related to not the Klingons.

Unless of course you're referring to the TNG movie(?) where one elder species seeded all the humanoid planets making us all distantly related.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.2.9  Ender  replied to  Freefaller @3.2.8    2 months ago

It just seemed they have some similarities, the Vulcans and Klingons.

 
 
 
Freefaller
Professor Participates
3.2.10  Freefaller  replied to  Ender @3.2.9    2 months ago

Ender to be fair there are a lot of similarities between a lot of Trek species, bipedalism, mammalian evolution, fingers, arms, eyes, technological developement comfortableness with the English language, etc:)

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
3.2.11  sandy-2021492  replied to  Dig @3.2.3    2 months ago

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.2.12  Ender  replied to  Freefaller @3.2.10    2 months ago

There was Tribbles in the original...Haha

 
 
 
Dig
Professor Guide
3.2.13  seeder  Dig  replied to  sandy-2021492 @3.2.11    2 months ago

Lol, "He ducks a lot."

 
 

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