Star Trek: Let’s Talk About The Children Of Sarek
As Star Trek V reaches its 30th Year we take a look at the siblings of Mr Spock, first introduced with Sybok, and the potential reasons why they have never been mentioned before.
First things first. I think it needs to be said that I am a great fan of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Yes, it has some dodgy dialogue and clumpy set pieces. But I also happen to think its sheds some light on the history of our characters like never before and has some of the greatest interactions between Kirk, Spock and McCoy, as well as some very memorable quotes.
I think its fair to say that one of the more controversial aspects that Star Trek V had to overcome, more so than the initial premise that God was to play a part in the story, was the introduction of a character called Sybok, a rogue Vulcan who later in the narrative is revealed to be the half brother of Spock.
Star Trek fandom was rocked by the revelation and its still the cause of much debate today, many arguments centered around why Spock never spoke of his brother, why it was never revealed in any episodes even as a throwaway remark or in any novels or offshoot of the TV series. We all know the technical answer, it was a plot point created for a feature film and the writers probably never thought it would cause so much controversy. I would expect they were hoping for a more “Spock has a brother, that’s cool” type of reaction, which I think it still received in some quarters. But again, like all things Trek, it came down to cannon. How does this suddenly fit into what has come before it.
With the passage of time and with the introduction of other Trek shows, we finally managed to get some kind of explanation relating to Sybok’s absence. In Star Trek V Sybok is described as exceptionally gifted but has rejected his logical upbringing and chose to embrace emotion like his ancestors. In Star Trek: Enterprise we learn this practice to be called ‘V’tosh Ka’Tur’; Vulcan’s without logic. It is also considered dangerous that has often resulted in failure. It safe to assume from this that it is something that Vulcan’s would look down upon as it goes against ancient teachings and although Vulcan’s do not feel shame, they know how to make life uncomfortable for those that do not conform with their society. Sybok left Vulcan following a vision he believed to be from God and that has driven his emotion and life leading up to when we meet him in Star Trek V.
How would this affect Spock? And why would he not tell his closest friends of this?
Fast forward 28 years and a new show is announced! Hurrah from the majority with grumblings from some quarters, a typical Star Trek reaction to a new show set in our favorite universe. Those not looking forward to the newly announced Star Trek: Discovery cited the Kelvin Timeline trilogy of films given to us by JJ Abrams and Alex Kurtzman, with the latter working on the new show; as they were not happy with how fast and loose they played with established Trek in the new films. However, something else was announced that really got their backs up and it has to be said, a lot of fans that had no problems with the Kelvin films sat up, ready to question. The main female lead, Michael Burnham, was to be Spock’s adopted sister.
As with Sybok the same questions came up. How? Why was she never mentioned? What are they thinking? etc etc. I must admit, from my own point of view I did question the need for it, why do they feel that one of the characters in the show needed to be linked with an established character, especially one such as Spock. They must have known the reaction it would have gathered and
what have come before it thanks to Star Trek V. Season one of Discovery didn’t go into too much detail into Spock and Burnham’s past, that was saved until season two when the USS Enterprise turned up under the stewardship of Captain Pike, asking for help.
Season two deals with the relationship between Spock and Burnham in such a way that it can help explain why Sybok, along with his sister are never mentioned again until Syboks reappearance in Star Trek V.
Now I will have to state that from this point on everything is pure speculation on my part, until something is officially announced, but I happen to think that this all fits. I will also call SPOILERS for anyone who still has some episodes of Discovery to watch.
Throughout season two Burnham states that her relationship with Spock is a strained one, having not spoken to him for a number of years and they had a big falling out. Through flashbacks we see them as youngsters enjoying each others company. Its clear that Spock has affection for his adopted sister. That is, until she decides to leave. Her reasons are noble, to protect the family she has come to love and the little brother she has grown close to, but this devastates the half human Spock who has yet to fully control his emotions. When we meet the grown up Spock its clear that he has always struggled with his human side and his emotions which some lapses happening during Discoveries second season, something that has also happened in the Original Series.
At some point during his youth, he lost both a half brother who felt that he had to flee Vulcan in order to be what he wanted to be and an adopted sister whom he was growing close. We don’t see Sybok in any of the flashbacks in Discovery and this could be because he has been sent to a special place on Vulcan to help overcome the V’tosh Ka’Tur or it could be that he has already started his self-imposed exile. For a young Spock this could be a lot to process, as well as having to fight back his emotions.
Come the end of Discovery we get a better understanding of why Spock never mentions his sister, the Discovery is apparently destroyed and his sister killed, when in reality they have jumped 950 years into the future and are all set for season three. Spock suggests that everything is kept classified and so the existence of Discovery and Burnham can fit nicely back into cannon, never mentioned again because of this act of confidentiality. But look at it from a character point of view. Spock lost his sister for a second time, a sister he has reconciled with following years of silence. Another emotionally strained episode for the commander of the USS Enterprise to bare. Could it be, that he never speaks of Sybok or Burnham because of the hurt it would cause? Because the painful memories it would bring back and disrupt the constant battle he has against his emotions? Not even speaking of it to his closest friends. I think so.
I have to stress this is just my own interpretation of the characters and events that have played out on screen but it would be great to see what other people think? Why not leave a comment below or visit us on Twitter or Facebook