This post contains spoilers for Subspace Rhapsody, the 9th episode of season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
In Star Trek: The Original Series, Nurse Chapel (played by Majel Roddenberry) told Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) she loved him, but Spock was unable to return the sentiment due to the suppression of his emotions. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds took a different avenue and gave Spock and Chapel the romance that the couple never had.
In Strange New Worlds, both Spock and Chapel made their feelings for each other clear with Spock telling her she couldn’t die when she was near death, and Chapel confronting aliens so they would restore Spock’s Vulcan half. No one could doubt they had a connection, and that’s what Strange New Worlds gave us…for three episodes. Well, it actually wasn’t that much of a connection at all. The couple shared one kiss, and that was the extent of their intimacy. Then along comes “Subspace Rhapsody.”
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds broke apart a couple that took a season and a half to bring together.
In the latest episode, Nurse Chapel is accepted to an internship with Dr. Roger Korby, who would go on to become her fiance in The Original Series. And suddenly, Chapel is excited about leaving not only the Enterprise but Spock. So excited that she is literally dancing with joy during her song, “I’m Ready.” What happened to her feelings for Spock? She was so emotionally invested in him just a few episodes back, and suddenly, she’s okay with leaving him and ending their relationship?
Yes, she told Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid from Lower Decks) that she knew their relationship wasn’t going to last, but “Subspace Rhapsody” has her willingly throwing it away without even giving it a chance or fighting for it. Leaving the ship didn’t mean she had to end the relationship as Captain Pike (Anson Mount) and Captain Batel (Melanie Scrofano) have a long-distance relationship that seems to work.
Chapel went from one extreme to another, and I don’t think it can all be blamed on Boimler accidentally letting her know too much about Spock’s future. She had no way of knowing when their relationship was meant to end, and ending it so abruptly with a song was less than Spock deserved. Surely the couple deserved better than this.
Three episodes of a barely-there relationship only for it to end in a song and dance number? What should have happened was a conversation between two adults. Chapel should have told him about their future so that he could realize she wasn’t just pushing him away. And there could have been a mutual resolution that saved their friendship and preserved their feelings for one another.
With only one more episode to go before the season ends, it’s doubtful we’ll see much fallout from this breakup, which is exactly what we should see. This couple has great chemistry, and instead of using that to show viewers an emotional, heart-wrenching ending to their union, Strange New Worlds just shows a shattered Spock and a happy Nurse Chapel.