The latest episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds once again puts a new spin on some classic moments from Star Trek: The Original Series – and in this case, one of the most iconic moments in Star Trek! The classic duel between Captain Kirk and Spock (and the frenetic soundtrack it is set to) took place in Star Trek: TOS Season 2 episode 5 "Amok Time". The conflict (over love and loyalty) is given a fun new spin in Strange New Worlds Episode 5: "Spock Amok". As the episode title may already hint, this time around the duel was a bit more... one-sided.
(Star Trek: Strange New Worlds SPOILERS Follow!)
In "Spock Amok" Spock (Ethan Peck) has a nightmare regarding his relationship with his Vulcan betrothed, T'Pring (Gia Sandhu). That dream sequence takes on the form of the Vulcan ritual of kal-if-fee, in which T'Pring makes Spock fight for the right to be with her. According to the ritual, T'Pring gets to choose a champion to battle Spock for her favor; to his horror, Spock realizes that his Vulcan ears are gone and he is completely human. The dream gets even more horrifying when Spock realizes that T'Pring's chosen "champion" to fight is... fully Vulcan Spock. Thanks to some impressive technical wizardry (especially on TV), Ethan Peck's Spock gets to throw down against himself in a fight to the death, while the famous song of the original kal-if-fee duel between Kirk and Spock plays.
The deeper point of "Amok Time" was examining Spock as a dual-sided character, who is both Vulcan and human and therefore never fully comfortable in either culture. In that version, T'Pring comes off as more of a villainous character, who pits Kirk against Spock all to secure the lover she really wants, Stonn. "Spock Amok" takes the concept and develops it into more than just the obvious metaphor for the struggles of multi-ethnic people, and/or the line between logic and emotion. Strange New Worlds takes a much more nuanced look, examining relationship dynamics, and (thanks to some Freaky Friday body-swapping) understanding and empathizing with your partner on a deeper level. It was cute, thought-provoking, and emotionally fulfilling – not to mention fun in the way that Star Trek should be.
All in all, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is delivering on its promise of mixing classic Star Trek nostalgia with the modern sensibilities of the current Star Trek TV Universe. Watch Thursdays on Paramount+.