Much to my surprise as it was dropped online without warning, the new season of Short Treks kicked off today with “Q&A” which finds a newly assigned Ensign Spock on his first day on the USS Enterprise getting stuck in a turbolift with Number One.
On the surface, this is pretty much the only thing that this short episode is about. Spock and Number One have a lot of similarities and, through Number One’s order that he ask questions until he annoys her, the two get to know each other and understand one another.
Down deep, it’s a very nice character study of both Spock and Number One with this Short Trek being, sadly, the most that we’ve seen Number One do anything since her initial debut in 1966. While I’m sure that a lot of people will probably take issue with Spock’s characterization as a man who smiles and laughs given that, through Leonard Nimoy’s brilliant portrayal of the character over decades and Zachary Quinto’s very worthy follow up, we’ve only really seen Spock as his iconic and emotionless self. On his first outing, however, he was a smiler and a laugher and so, “Q&A” manages to take smiling and laughing Spock from the original pilot and merge that personality into the Spock we all know and love.
This is done through some clever writing with Number One asserting that his strength will be to contain his emotions even if it is painful, even sharing her own secret freakishness in the form of a musical number which is strange, yes… but also a great moment, especially when Spock unexpectedly joins in.
So, yes… it’s a character study, it’s a historical merging of Spock from “The Cage” with iconic Spock, and it’s a fun little look into characters from a more personal and intimate perspective.
What’s more, I have to gush endlessly about how beautiful that the reimagined sets of the USS Enterprise look. Seriously, kids, they could make a short Trek that just had the camera walking through these sets and I would be happy. From the corridors to the turbolifts and that absolutely gorgeous bridge…. the sets take everything that we loved from the old series and updates it to 21st century aesthetics. Honestly, if CBS does not greenlight a Captain Pike series, it will be a horrendous crime that people should be executed for.
Ethan Peck, the latest man to wear the ears, is a great Spock. He was great in the last season of Star Trek Discovery and he was great now. He really has a reverence for the character, but isn’t afraid to add his own touch to him while, at the same time, honoring everything that came before. It’s a tightrope and he’s walking it brilliantly.
I want to see more. You hear me, CBS?
“Q&A” isn’t groundbreaking and doesn’t really set any high bars, but what it does is take a beloved character and study what makes him who he is. It’s wonderfully silly at times which will probably put off a large number of trekkies who apparently hate fun and joy now, but personally, I was very happy with what I saw and I want more.
You hear that, CBS? More. Greenlight the darn Captain Pike TV series already!