James Frain talks about the Spock/Michael Burnham dynamic


In the latest episode of the Ready Room, actor James Frain discusses the relationship between Spock and his foster sister Michael Burnham.

Why have we never heard about Michael Burnham before?

This is the question Star Trek fans have been asking ever since Star Trek: Discovery first arrived on CBS All Access. How could Spock have a human foster sister and never mention her? How could Sarek not mention even once that yes, he had adopted a human female named Michael Burnham?

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It’s not like there weren’t ample opportunities for the subject to come up. Spock has been a constant presence in Star Trek from the very beginning, dating back to “The Cage” all the way up to the 2009 Star Trek reboot. He is the one constant in a franchise that has seen change in every form.

Yet not once did he bring up his sister Michael Burnham. Not to Kirk. Not to Picard. No to anyone. Why is that?

Fans started to get some answers in the seventh episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2. “Light and Shadows” saw Burnham return to Vulcan for one seriously messed up family reunion that left viewers with more questions than any kind of resolution.

You can be sure that Michael Burnham/Spock relationship will be explored more as the season goes on and may even play a part in the just-announced Season 3. And for his part, Sarek has some opinions about it too.

Actor James Frain, who plays Sarek, appeared on the Discovery after-show The Ready Room and talked about the family dynamic from his character’s perspective. He also discussed how he thinks Season 2 is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Spock and his foster sister.

"“I don’t think [Sarek] knows. I think that is something that she hid from them. She starts talking to Amanda about it, and she talks to Sarek about it later and it is like she wanted to protect them from the knowledge that Spock was difficult for her. And so, it was quite a lot hidden. And Sarek is that traditional father. When we first meet him he says “Spock, this is your new sister. I expect you to be friends.” And that’s it. Victorian dad has spoken. So, it is much later on in the story that he discovers that it was not plain sailing.“Now that the war is over we are getting really into character and really into some of these darker, difficult stories with the family. So, it is a different kind of war. It is a domestic war.”"

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At this point it’s not known for Ethan Peck, who plays Spock, will be returning for Discovery Season 3. But you can be sure the situation with Burnham will not be tied up in a nice neat bow by the time Season 2 wraps up.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 airs on Thursdays on CBS All Access.