Wed
Jul 27 2016 4:30pm

The (Many?) Lovers of Mr. Spock—It’s Not the Size of Your Starship That Counts

 

Spock & Uhura, Star Trek, 2009

Mr. Spock was my first crush. As a six year old watching a sci-fi program for probably the first time in her life, I totally fell in love with the enigmatic alien. That crush has stuck through the years and I still harbor a special place in my heart for this wonderful, cool, logical, intelligent character. I want the best for him. I want love for him.  I’m not alone. Fandom has long shipped Spock with the women who walk in and out of his life and in the 2009 J.J. Abrams reboot of the series many finally got their wish when Abram’s alternate reality universe had Spock and Uhura as lovers.

Naturally, there are nay-sayers who prefer to see this beloved character as a romantic loner, a man whose only close relationships are the platonic ones he has with Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy. However, that idea of a Lone Ranger style Spock is in many ways a myth. A close look at the original Trek TV series shows that he did, in fact, have several romantic (or almost romantic) relationships over the course of that original five year mission. Here are just a few of the loves (and near loves) of First Officer Spock:

One of the best known near relationships is the one Spock has with Christine Chapel. A nurse aboard the Enterprise, we often see Christine at the side of Dr. McCoy helping to patch up the crew during and after their latest adventure.  The first encounter between them comes in The Naked Time when under the influence of a virus she tells Spock she loves him. Spock responds by stating that he is in control of his emotions and essentially running away. Both are later cured of the virus, although we never see if they talk over the incident. We do know Christine continues to care for him since she makes him plomeek soup when Spock feels out of sorts in Amok Time. Because he is in the middle of Pon farr , Spock responds violently by throwing the soup at her.  He later apologizes for the behavior and requests she make it again, although we never know if she does. In another episode, Return to Tomorrow, when alien entities take over Spock’s body, he and Christine “share one consciousness” in order to save themselves and the rest of the crew. Then in Plato's Stepchildren the Enterprise responds to an urgent request for medical help and Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Nurse Chapel and Uhura find themselves held captive by a group of aliens with telekinetic powers. Christine and Spock are forced to kiss, which embarrasses her greatly. She admits she has wanted to be close to Spock for a long time but after this humiliating encounter she wants to “crawl away and die”. This is the last real moment the two have together as a possible couple, although fan fiction has often paired them.

Spock & Christine Chapel, Star Trek: The Original Series

In This Side of Paradise we meet Leila Kalomi, a young woman who has a past with Spock.  Leila, also a scientist, first met him on Earth six years before his current mission.  She fell madly in love with him but he responded with his usual cool reserve.  On Omicron Ceti III, where they meet again, the planet's native spores free their hosts of inhibitions and provide a sense of peace and belonging. Responding to the induced euphoria of being hit by the spores Spock kisses her, climbs trees with her and even cloud watches but when he is cured, that all ends. When Spock leaves he sadly tells her “for once in my life, I was happy”, a moment that is heartbreaking for both Leila and Spock fans as he chooses duty over love.

Of course, as the series goes on we discover that Spock has good reason to be wary of love. As is the custom on his planet, he has actually been telepathically engaged since the age of seven. His fiancé, a young woman named T'Pring, hasn’t seen him in years but when he enters his  first Pon farr in Amok Time, Spock comes home to marry her. T’Pring’s cold manipulation of Spock throughout the episode has viewers on the edge of their seat as they hope he can manage to escape, which of course he does.   

SEE ALSO: Out of this World: Sci-Fi Romance Novels Set in Space

Like many a romance hero, Spock is not immune to the ingénue character. In the episode The Cloud Minders, we meet Droxine. Beautiful, elegant and well educated, the nevertheless naïve young woman falls for Spock from the moment he beams down. Spock meets her flirtations with unexpected warmth, clearly entranced by her. This could be, in part, because the pesky little issue of his would be wife is behind him and also because he has spent a long enough time among humans now to have become familiar and comfortable with them. In the end of course, Spock returns to the Enterprise and she stays behind on Stratos having learned a lot about the universe from her time spent with the Vulcan first officer.

Spock & Droxine, Star Trek: The Original Series

The strongest romantic relationship Spock forms on the TV show is with Zarabeth from the episode All Our Yesterdays. When the Enterprise goes to the planet Sarpeidon to warn them of eminent danger Spock, McCoy and Kirk manage to stumble through time portals into the planets past. Spock and McCoy, who wind up together in the planet’s ice age, find themselves rescued by a fur clad monstrosity who transforms (after the removal of a few garments) into a beautiful young woman. The movement through the time portal has affected Spock’s ability to maintain his discipline and he rapidly finds himself in love with the beautiful adventuress. She loves him back and all would be bliss except for the fact that Spock and McCoy need to find Kirk and get back to the future. This is probably one of the most popular Spock-ships and was expanded on in the books Yesterday’s Son and Time for Yesterday by A.C. Crispin. Like many a romance, these novels revolve around a secret baby, Zar, the son Spock never knew he had.

SEE ALSO: Comedic Sci-Fi Romance: Sex, Jokes, and Science in Space

Moving beyond the original TV series we find one more love in Spock’s life. In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Sarek” we learn that Jean Luc Piccard had met the ambassador, Sarek, once before at the wedding of his son. The general theory was that that son was Spock and while no official word has ever been given as to who the bride was, fandom has generally believed that it was his young protégé, Saavik. Here’s why: In Star Trek III, The Search for Spock, the rejuvenated young Spock goes into Pon farr. This violent, biological mating urge requires either combat or consummation. While Spock shudders and suffers his way through the early stages, we see Saavik gently reach out with her hands to perform the Vulcan finger touch, which begins with a simple touch involving the index and middle fingers and then the tracing of the hand. This is generally considered the equivalent of a human kiss and many have seen it as the beginning of a consummation since combat clearly didn’t take place. The camera cuts away at that point and later shows a healthier, happier Spock and a rather embarrassed looking Saavik. Harv Bennett, producer of Star Trek III and Star Trek IV, as well as actress Robin Curtis, who played the role of Saavik, have stated that the original intention was to have Saavik pregnant from that event but the story line was dropped by director Leonard Nimoy.  The concept was resurrected in the novel Vulcan's Heart by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz in which an older Saavik marries Spock. In the Star Trek: Titan novel Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin  and Andy Mangels  it is clearly stated that Spock and Saavik are married. Finally, In the “Mirror Universe Saga” novels, Spectre and Dark Victory by William Shatner, it is revealed that the Mirror Universe's Intendant Spock had a daughter named T'Val with Mirror Saavik. While Star Trek novels are not considered canon, they are more official than fanfic and often contain story lines that the TV shows and movies toyed with but didn’t have time to implement.

Spock & Saavik, Star  Trek III: The Search for Spock

Finally, while Ishmael by Barbara Hambly does not show Spock married it shows several poignant moments where he contemplates being stranded in 19th Century Earth without a wife and how he wishes that he could change that situation. Ishmael combines the Star Trek universe with that of another popular 1960s television show, Here Come the Brides and is among my personal favorite of the Star Trek novels which center on Spock. While Star Trek novels are not considered canon, they are more official than fanfic and often contain story lines that the TV shows and movies toyed with but didn’t have time to implement.

This brings us to 2009, when the Star Trek reboot introduced us to Spock and Uhura as an official couple. From the first on-screen kiss to the fight in Star Trek Into Darkness we see them stay strong through death, mayhem, adventure and extreme danger. There’s a lot to love in this ship: Spock’s calm, intense logic makes a good foil for Uhura’s more turbulent, emotional nature. Conversely, her warmth humanizes his cold demeanor. Both are highly intelligent as well as ambitious and they complement each other’s desire for achievement and strong work ethic. Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto, who play Uhura and Spock, have great chemistry and act out the nuances of this coupling very well. Mr. Quinto’s Spock conveys a longing and desire that is leashed yet highly apparent when he is with his lady love. There’s a strong sense that he would emote more if he just knew how. Saldana’s Uhura has a passionate yet respectful response to Spock, bridging the emotional gap between them with ease but being careful to never cross barriers. Unfortunately, teasers for Star Trek Beyond show that these two may be headed into turbulent waters. Here’s dialogue from the clip:

Uhura: I think you should have this back. After all, it belonged to your mother.

Spock: It is not in the Vulcan custom to receive again that which was given as a gift. (Uhura gives Spock a kiss on the cheek, then leaves. McCoy approaches.)

McCoy: You guys break up? What’d you do?

Spock: A typically reductive inquiry doctor.

McCoy: You know, Spock, if an Earth girl says it’s me, not you, it’s definitely you.

So, have you ever had a crush on the enigmatic, intellectual Spock? Which Spock-ship is your favorite?

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Learn more about or order a copy of Yesterday's Son (A Star Trek Novel) by  A.C. Crispin, available now:

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Learn more about or order a copy of Time for Yesterday by A.C. Crispin, available now:

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Maggie Boyd, blogger, reviewer, avid reader

 

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6 comments
Lee Brewer
1. LeeB.
What a fun blog! I admit to seeing many of the Star Trek movies but actually was more entertained by Spock and McCoy's banter than Spock's love life.
Scarlettleigh
2. Scarlettleigh
I agree with LeeB. Fun blog. Although I have to admit I never got into Star Trek. I think I seen about five episodes and zero movies.
Teddy Pierson
3. TeddyP
Next I want to see an article about Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is the Spock equivalent for that series. He is also fully functional and programed in multiple techniques.
Maggie Boyd
4. maggieboyd66
@Lee B I love Spock and McCoy's banter as well. I thought DeForest Kelly and Leonard Nimoy had some fantastic chemistry, as do Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban.

@ Scarlettleigh Trek is not for everyone but those of us who love it tend to be obsessive ;-)

@ TeddyP Hmm, I only remember two Data epidsodes with romance. In Theory where he had a girlfriend named Jenna and one where he got with the blonde chick who was their security chief (or something like that). Clearly, someone else will need to write that blog :-P
Kareni
5. Kareni
A.C. Crispin's Yesterday’s Son and Time for Yesterday as well as Barbara Hambly's Ishmael are long time favorites of mine. Another Star Trek book worth reading is Janet Kagan's Uhura's Song which shows Spock's fascination with the character Doctor Evan Wilson.

Thanks for a very enjoyable post, Maggie.
Archimedics
6. Archimedics
I have a crush on Spock of all the series (TOS and the Reboot)
I really haven't liket the relationship between Spock and Uhura, specially because Uhura does nothing else than kiss spock and battle with Jim to have a talk with the Really-Atractive-Vulcan-Guy-Spock..
In the fist time I watched Star Trek, I looked up at Spock because he had something that made me different.. The first time he was like a hero and someone to be inspired by, but with the time, I confess I have a crush on Mr.Spock
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