Uhura receives a well-earned compliment from Spock (“Who Mourns for Adonais?”)
Yes—yet a third Spock-Uhura moment makes my list. If Star Trek: Strange New Worlds doesn’t pick up on these two characters’ chemistry and make a triangle with Jess Bush’s Nurse Chapel out of it, the creative team just won’t be doing its job.
This scene (which begins at 3:57 in the video above) shows us Uhura in an unusual position. She is beneath the communications console, rather than seated at it. She’s rigging a bypass circuit so the Enterprise can contact the landing party being held hostage by Apollo on Pollux V. When Spock pulls a classic jerk supervisor move on her—telling her to work faster when she’s already working as fast as she can—she’s not having it.
Does Spock repeat his demand with voice raised? Or does he ignore Uhura’s complaint altogether? Not a chance. When Uhura tells him the work is delicate, Spock replies, “I can think of no one better equipped to handle it.”
The fact that the moment doesn’t come off as patronizing is testament, in part, to Leonard Nimoy’s delivery. But it’s an even greater testament to how subtly but thoroughly Nichelle Nichols has convinced viewers Uhura is a skilled professional, someone who does so much more than push buttons to open and close hailing frequencies.
To paraphrase Admiral Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Uhura knows why things work on a starship, and, no less than Scotty, she won’t have anyone try telling her otherwise.