Star Trek Short Treks: Q&A

"Fascinating."

By nature I love brevity: A fun little piece with some good, solid character bits. Just makes me want to see a series with Mount, Peck, and Romijn more.

'Q&A' sets out to show us a pivotal moment in Trek history I didn't know I wanted to see: the first moment Spock (Ethan Peck) set foot on the U.S.S. Enterprise. The moment is treated with appropriate fanfare and the requisite musical callback as the newly minted Ensign is greeted by Number One (Rebecca Romijn), who has finally been given the canonical name Una. What follows is a magical interaction between the two, enhanced by good writing but sold almost entirely by the performances of Peck and Romijn.

The two have remarkable chemistry, absolutely nailing the early versions of these two characters. Romijn, in particular, has finally settled into her role, delivering a performance that serves as a useful bridge between Majel Barrett-Roddenberry's flat, emotionless portrayal from ‘The Cage' and her own empathetic version from Discovery Season Two. Peck, whose Spock in Discovery was one of the highlights of Season Two, alters his performance in subtle ways here so that he comes across as a younger version of himself.

One of the things that stuck out to me on my first watch of 'Q&A' was the appearance of a romance angle between Spock and Number One. On my second viewing, however, I realized I was wrong for a few reasons. The first is that the episode makes it pretty clear that Number One is interested in Captain Pike. That dissuaded me of my notions immediately, which brings me to my second realization. The two reasons, I think, that I began to think I was seeing that angle of their relationship were the chemistry between the actors, and the close proximity in which they are filmed. The close proximity stems, as far as I can tell, from the small, enclosed space of the turbolift, and not from any sense of romance that they wanted to convey.

The character bits we get are quite nice and serve to fill out Spock, Pike, and especially Number One as people. We learn that Spock had ambitions all the way to Captain from way back when he was an Ensign. We learn that Spock's tendency to keep to himself comes in part from Number One's advice, not only from his Vulcan heritage. And we learn that Number One, like Spock, projects the cold exterior intentionally, and for a very specific reason.

The last thing I want to highlight is the personal view of Pike that we get from Number One. As Spock notes, she has made a most careful study of the Captain, and she hints very heavily that she's romantically interested in him. This gives her a somewhat unique perspective on who he is, and it gives her three most salient facts about him more weight. First, she says, he will always take into account other perspectives, and he'll always be willing to change his mind when he does. Second, he views force as an absolute last resort, and considers it a failure of his when he needs to use it. We know both of these things, from observing them in Discovery Season Two. The last one, though it seems like a throwaway joke, is also very important. We learn that, to Number One, Pike seems like an utterly unsentimental person. This contrasts very strongly with the Pike we met in DIS Season Two, and it doesn’t make sense until you consider ‘The Cage.' That is the defining event in Pike's life, without a doubt, and it is apparently the moment that changed him from an unsentimental person to a sentimental one.

In the grand scheme of things, 'Q&A' may not be particularly monumental or important. It is, however, a fun snapshot that will be interesting to a longtime Trek fan. And, if CBS does move on a new series featuring Mount, Peck, and Romijn, this may wind up being very important.

Pensees:

-Don't ever bring up the topic of horses with Captain Pike. Got it.

-The engineer used a Scottish accent, which I appreciated.

-There was a rumor that a new character from the novel The Enterprise War, which features Pike, Spock, and Number One, would appear in one of the Short Treks this season. This would've been a good one to do it in, if it was going to happen, but it didn't.

-Some great musical callbacks to both the TOS theme and the Kelvin Timeline theme. This might be because Michael Giacchino was a supervising composer on this episode.

-Spock asks Number One if she's ever considered that the Prime Directive might be unethical. I have long thought the same thing.

Quotes:

Number One: "If you want a command, you're going to have to learn to keep your freaky to yourself."

Number One: "You will forget this. I want there to be a hole in your memory where this once was. That is an order."

Pike: "At ease, Ensign."
Spock: "Not my strong suit, sir."

5 out 6 very models of a modern Major General.


CoramDeo does not keep his freaky to himself. This often unnerves the uninitiated.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Thank you so much for reviewing this, CoramDeo! I can't wait to see it. (I'm being cheap, though, and waiting until we're closer to Disco's third season premiere.) :)

Phil said...

Good stuff. Thanks for a fun read. Keep it up, please.