On Thursday, CBS All Access released the seventh episode of Star Trek: Discovery's third season, and it revealed an exciting new status quo for both the Romulans and the Vulcans in the 32nd century. The episode's title is "Unification III," making it a sequel to the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter, "Unification I" and "Unification II." That two-part episode was special for a few reasons. First, it celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise. Second, to pay special tribute to that anniversary, Star Trek: The Original Series star Leonard Nimoy reprise his role as Spock to guest star opposite Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and Brent Spiner as Data. Fittingly, "Unification III" reveals that everything Spock had been working towards in that two-part episode has come to fruition by the 32nd century. SPOILERS for "Unification III" follow.
In "Unification I" and "Unification II," Spock had gone AWOL to work with an underground movement on Romulus that sought to reunify the Vulcan and Romulan peoples, which both once belonged to the same society. Spock believed he might have been making progress, but it turned out to be a ploy by the villain Sela. Working together, Picard, Spock, Data, and the Enterprise crew were able to foil Sela's attempt to launch a sneak attack on the Federation. By the time that Spock crossed over into the Kelvin Timeline in 2009's Star Trek movie, he was still attempting to reunify the Vulcans and the Romulans, and with Romulus destroyed, the Romulans were entering a new era for their society.
In "Unification III," Starfleet sends Michael Burnham on a mission to Vulcan, the planet where she spent much of her childhood as the adopted child of Sarek and Amanda Grayson, and surrogate sister to Spock. But Vulcan isn't the same planet she left behind when she jumped forward in time. Vulcan isn't even Vulcan anymore. The planet is now known as Ni'var, and it is now home to both Vulcan and Romulans. Spock's dream of reunifying these two alien societies came true sometime after his death and after the events of Star Trek: Picard.
Burnham researches the work Spock did to bring the Vulcans and Romulans together. As part of that research, she uncovers a clip of Spock speaking about the reunification process, which is the first she'd seen of the man Spock became after she left with Discovery to travel into the future.
This episode fulfills the tease that showrunner Alex Kurtzman offered ahead of the season premiere, hinting that Burnham would look into what happened to Spock after she disappeared. "I'm trying to answer your question without spoiling too much," Kurtzman told SFX Magazine. "I'll give you an example. It's safe to say that in the spirit of what I just said, I would look to the past and I would try to understand what happened to the people I love. So Burnham is absolutely going to look to the past and try and understand what happened to Spock.
"We all know what happened to Spock, but everything that we now take for granted, she has no understanding of. So, she will dive into that and she will get to see what became of her brother. And that will actually impact the story for her in a significant way. I've just told you more than I told anybody about that!"
What do you think about the reunification of Vulcans and Romulans on Ni'var? Let us know in the comments section. New Star Trek: Discovery episodes premiere Thursdays on CBS All Access.