The Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Episode That Likely Means More Than You Think

It has never been any secret that "Star Trek" carries a philosophy, and with that philosophy come countless moments viewers are meant to read into. "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" is no exception. Even in its first season, we've dealt with religious zealotry in "Children of the Comet," prejudice that leads to conflict in "Ghosts of Illyria," and the lasting effects of trauma in "Memento Mori." Heck, the entire arc of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) is an examination of fate and free will. In particular, it asks how one would react to knowing their own horrible destiny. However, with showrunner Henry Alonso Myers having shown himself willing to cleverly tweak with canon (via Inverse), it's anyone's guess how that question will shake out.

Of course, it wouldn't be "Star Trek" without the persistent search for meaning that's been baked into the show's DNA ever since its conception thanks to its iconic creator Gene Roddenberry. If "Strange New Worlds" can win over fans who have been more than happy to gripe about "Discovery," then it is safe to assume that it's partly because of the new show's willingness to take on big questions. However, there's one episode –- and a particularly funny one to boot -– that seems to have the most profound meaning yet seen on "Strange New Worlds."

Fans think Spock Amok carries a message of radical empathy

Writing at the r/StrangeNewWorlds subreddit, u/tiberius1965 posted, "Sure, I loved the humor in this episode as much as anyone but I was really intrigued by the concept of Empathy or 'Radical Empathy'." The episode they're referring to is Episode 5, "Spock Amok." In that episode, Spock (Ethan Peck) and his fiance T'Pring (Gia Sandhu) attempt a specific type of Vulcan mind meld to better understand each other. It backfires, and the two end up switching bodies.

As noted, the episode is pretty funny, particularly as Spock and T'Pring each try to attend to the other's urgent business. Lacy Baugher at Den of Geek argued that the episode shows "Strange New Worlds" is just as good at comedy as anything else. However, this isn't the only storyline in "Spock Amok" that deals with putting oneself in another's shoes. Elsewhere in the episode, Una (Rebecca Romijn) and La'an (Christina Chong) attempt to better understand the lower-ranking crew by playing what the ensigns call "Enterprise Bingo." Meanwhile, Pike and Admiral April (Adrian Holmes) negotiate for an alien race called the R'ongovians to join the Federation. They finally succeed by bluntly re-stating the R'ongovians' positions, realizing they are motivated by what Pike terms "radical empathy."

"I thought [that] was a very Trekkian subject to deal with," continued u/tiberius1965, "that it is supremely important to consider in these times of divisiveness, and that it was approached really well without being too blatant." Almost everyone on the thread agreed, with u/_andreas1701 calling the episode an "instant classic." As u/Beyond_Hatred said, "They rediscovered what actually good sci-fi is all about."