This article contains Star Trek: Strange New Worlds spoilers.
Although Strange New Worlds doesn’t require a casual viewer to know anything about Star Trek, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Especially with the latest episode, the utterly hilarious episode, “Spock Amok.” Right away, even in the title, the episode is referencing the famous Original Series banger, “Amok Time.” You don’t need to have seen “Amok Time” to dig this episode, and frankly, the references to that classic episode are just the tip of the Vulcan Lirpa. (Which doesn’t have a tip anyway because it’s curved. You get it.)
Here are the biggest easter eggs and references in Strange New Worlds episode 5:
“Amok Time” Opening
The opening of the episode, in which Spock fights a “human” version of himself within a dream, references “Amok Time” in several ways. Overall, the scene foreshadows Spock’s actual wedding ceremony to T’Pring in “Amok Time,” in which she invokes the Kal-if-fee, forcing Spock to fight for her — to the death. In the classic episode, Spock fights Kirk.
Here are the specific visual cues taken straight from “Amok Time.”
- Spock banging the gong
- Spock flashing the Vulcan salute (which originated in “Amok Time”)
- Spock’s shirt is ripped almost exactly the way Kirk’s gets ripped in “Amok Time.”
Finally, there’s a wonderful musical easter egg here. Strange New Worlds composer Nami Melumad reuses Gerald Fried’s score for “Amok Time.” Specifically, we get a new version of Fried’s famous piece of TOS music, “The Ritual/The Ancient Battle/2nd Kroykah.”
Notably, this is the first time we’ve seen a fully human Spock on screen in any Star Trek, ever. However, the IDW comic series set in the Kelvin timeline did briefly introduce an alternate reality where Spock embraced his human side and became “Simon Grayson,” even going so far as to have his Vulcan ears surgically altered.
Counting “regular” Spock, we actually see four different Spocks in this episode. Spock as himself, human Spock (dream sequence), fully-Vulcan Spock (dream sequences), and T’Pring as Spock!
Spock’s Leather Outfit
Although this opening sequence has a lot of TOS easter eggs, Spock’s leather outfit does recall one of his costumes from Discovery season 2.
Speaking of Discovery, Spock mentions that Starbase 1 has been “repaired after the Klingon War.” This references the events of Discovery season 1, a time in which the Enterprise was far away from Federation space.
T’Pring says to Spock, “Parted from me and never parted.” This line and Spock’s response reference their reunion in “Amok Time.” However, in that episode, the exchange was done over the viewscreen, in full view of the crew.
“Between Klingon and Romulan Space”
We’re told the R’ongovian Protectorate is the “fastest route to the other side of the Beta Quadrant.” Klingon space has always been located partly in the Beta Quadrant. However, it should be noted that, at this point in Star Trek history, Starfleet has no clue what the Romulans look like.
Pike’s Green Tunic
Captain Pike rocks a wraparound green Captain’s tunic in this episode. This references a similar uniform variant Kirk wore throughout The Original Series, probably most famously in “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Pike’s is decidedly more leathery than Kirk’s and features a Starfleet insignia in two places instead of just one.
The R’ongovians are using a starship with a solar sail. This seems to reference the Deep Space Nine episode “Explorers,” in which Sisko builds an ancient Bajoran ship with a solar sail.
When Na’an and Una catch two junior officers trying to use the airlock, one of them is Ensign Christina (Jennifer Hui) who we’ve seen before. But, with her is a Bolian, Ensign Zier, played by Torri Webster. The most famous Bolian in Star Trek was Mr. Mott, the barber on the Enterprise-D in The Next Generation.
Door Beep From TOS
The sound effect for opening the door of the airlock is straight from The Original Series, continuing a tradition in Strange New Worlds of using old-school sound effects.
Spock mention,s “I was bonded to my pet sehlat; I-Chaya.” The first mention of Spock’s pet sehlat was in the TOS episode “Journey to Babel.” However, we actually saw I-Chaya in The Animated Series episode “Yesteryear.”
The notion of a Vulcan katra (or “soul”) being shared with another person originates with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock when we learn Spock put his katra in McCoy’s body. That said, because Spock actually did the mind-meld with Bones in The Wrath of Khan, we could consider that to be the origin of katras, too. Incidentally, The Wrath of Khan celebrated its 40th anniversary the same week “Spock Amok” aired.
There’s oddly not as much body switching in Star Trek as you might think. The Voyager episode “Body and Soul” finds the Doctor inside Seven’s body, while in TNG, Picard and Crusher’s minds are linked telepathically in the episode “Attached.” Bu the most infamous example of body-switching comes from The Original Series, in the episode “Turnabout Intruder,” which is nobody’s favorite Star Trek episode. However, like “Spock Amok,” that episode did feature a female actor “playing” a male Star Trek character. Gia Sandhu plays Spock in T’Pring’s body, just as Sandra Smith played Kirk in the body of Janice Lester.
Strange New Worlds introduces a kind of Lower Decks vibe with the revelation that “Enterprise Bingo” is “played exclusively by the ensign class and lower.”
Here’s what’s on the list that we see.
Complete 10 items from the list below, don’t get caught:
- Use Transporter to re-flavor Gum
- Phaser Stun Duel
- Turbolif two-floor shout challenge (yelling at the same time to tell the turbolift where to go)
- Set the universal translator to Andorian
- Medical tricorder challenge: Vulcan Marsupial
- Food replicator challenge: Curran fruit
The biggest easter egg here comes from Voyager, specifically the episode “Life Line,” in which Dr. Zimmerman resets a medical tricorder to scan for a “Vulcan Marsupial.”
Star Trek Theme Diegetic Music!
A short, modified version of the Star Trek theme plays when Una checks off an item of “Enterprise bingo.” This isn’t the first time Star Trek theme music has played as in-universe, or diegetic, music. In Lower Decks, Boimler hums both the TNG and Voyager themes. However, the very first time the TOS Star Trek theme appeared as “source music,” was in the classic episode “The Conscience of the King,” in which a jazzy arrangement is heard in a lounge where Kirk is hanging out. Basically, yes, the Star Trek music exists in the Star Trek canon.
Hit You With a Lirpa
Ortegas tells Chapel, “Never get in the middle of a Vulcan relationship, they will hit you with a lirpa.” This references the Vulcan weapon with the curved blade and the blunt end first seen in “Amok Time.” Ortegas says she still has scars from a lirpa. What Vulcan relationship did she get involved in?
M’Benga’s Vulcan Medical Background
M’Benga mentions he’s spent a lot of time studying Vulcan medicine. This references “A Private Little War,” in which TOS M’Benga knows exactly how to cure Spock.
“Call Me Christine”
Chapel’s crush on Spock is very evident in this episode, which references The Original Series in a big way. The idea that Spock would call her “Christine” and not Nurse Chapel (or “Ms. Chapel) references the episodes “The Naked Time,” and, of course, “Amok Time.” In “Amok Time,” Chapel makes Spock some Vulcan Plomeek soup, which he rejects. However, in that episode, just before reuniting with T’Pring, Spock asks Chapel to make it for him again.
In this way, “Spock Amok” brings things full circle with “Amok Time.” Spock may actually prefer to have a conventional human relationship with Chapel, but wants to make things work with T’Pring.
What will this all do to Trek fan fiction? Unclear!