In Strange New Worlds episode 7, Spock says he looks forward to the Vulcan kolinahr ritual, which pays off in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Episode 7 – “The Serene Squall”
Episode 7 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds intriguingly sets up how Spock (Leonard Nimoy) will attempt to purge all of his emotions in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In Strange New Worlds episode 7, “The Serene Squall,” the younger Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck) encounters Captain Angel (Jesse James Keitel), a space pirate who poses as former Starfleet counselor and humanitarian Dr. Aspen. Angel hijacks the Starship Enterprise and tries to exchange Spock for their imprisoned husband on Vulcan, who turned out to be Sybok, Spock’s older half-brother. But before Angel reveals their true nature, they use their intimate knowledge of Vulcans to get close to Spock and learn that the Science Officer plans to undertake the Vulcan ritual of kolinahr.
In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Spock left Starfleet in order to undergo kolinahr, which is the purging of all emotions. Spock was at the final point of the kolinahr ritual when he sensed V’Ger, the artificial intelligence en route to Earth to find its creator. Spock later confessed to Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) that he felt a bond to V’Ger as a fellow sentient being who questioned his very existence. Spock even wept for V’Ger “like a brother.” It was because of the connection Spock felt to V’Ger that he failed kolinahr. Spock ultimately learned that ridding himself of all emotion would have been a mistake and he never attempted kolinahr again. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Spock attempted to convey the sum of his wisdom to his protege, Valeris (Kim Cattrall), that “logic is the beginning of wisdom… not the end.” The half-human Spock had come to reconcile his humanity and knew that devoting himself to a purely logical existence would have been a grave error.
In Strange New Worlds episode 7, Captain Angel was surprised to hear that Spock planned to undergo kolinahr. Spock told the person he believed was Dr. Aspen, “Kolinahr offers clarity. An ability to see one’s self without bias. I very much look forward to mine.” The fact that Spock intended to one day rid himself of his humanity and emotions surprised Angel, but this is precisely what Strange New Worlds is exploring about Spock at this point in his life. Spock fears his humanity is his greatest failing; indeed, he dreads that he’s “too human” for his fiancée, T’Pring (Gia Sandhu), and Spock literally dreamed of himself as torn into two people, with his Vulcan half fighting his human half to the death. After a lifetime of being ostracized by other Vulcans for being half-human, it’s no surprise that Spock is eager to one day undergo kolinahr and embrace pure Vulcan logic.
Strange New Worlds is the beginning of Spock’s journey, which continues in Star Trek: The Original Series. By the time Spock is the First Officer of Captain Kirk’s USS Enterprise, he is even more dedicated to Vulcan logic, which puts him at odds with Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley). Spock openly frowned on humanity (including his own) and espoused the superiority of Vulcan logic in TOS. This alienated his fellow crewmembers, such as when Spock’s shuttle was stranded on a planet with six other Enterprise shipmates in “The Galileo Seven.” By the time Kirk’s five-year mission was over, Spock resigned from Starfleet and devoted himself to kolinahr until V’Ger forced Spock to realize he had a different destiny.
The provocative way Captain Angel manipulated Spock’s emotions in Strange New Worlds episode 7 was, no doubt, thanks to their husband, Sybok, telling them all about his little brother, the half-human/half-Vulcan hybrid. Sybok is a Vulcan criminal because he rejected logic entirely and embraced his emotions. Spock’s experience with Captain Angel hijacking the Enterprise in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds must have laid a brick in the foundation of why Spock pursued kolinahr in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and sought to rid himself of the humanity he feels is his greatest weakness.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds streams Thursdays on Paramount+.
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