Ethan Peck as Spock from Charades

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 – Episode 5 Review: “Charades”

Spock is transformed into a new version of himself at the worst possible time in “Charades.” He discovers who he truly cares for in a way only Spock can. Some humor, tense moments, and a surprising ending. This week’s episode of Strange New Worlds is certainly a fun ride.

Ethan Peck as Spock from Charades
Ethan Peck as Spock

Ethan Peck has portrayed Spock wonderfully throughout Strange New Worlds. He has embraced what the character means to fans and continues to deliver some great moments within the show. “Charades” allows Peck to play Spock as a human, and it’s pretty exciting. It is sometimes somewhat uncomfortable to watch Spock go overboard with fellow crew members, but that’s the point. Spock isn’t used to embracing and showing his emotional side. An accident occurs while Spock is out with Chapel, portrayed by Jess Bush, and they thankfully recover. However, Spock’s DNA was altered by an unknown alien lifeform that thought Spock needed “correcting,” as the species put it.

This is horrible for Spock until he starts experiencing food, laughter, and more for the first time. As I mentioned, he goes overboard with it, but it makes sense to do so initially. This is all happening at the same time as his fiancee’s disapproving family is coming to visit. They disapprove of Spock, even though he has tried his hardest to find common ground with them. Now he has to pretend to be a Vulcan still, as you guessed it. Things don’t go as planned at the end of the day. Spock’s mother has to train him to be a Vulcan again, and he snaps in anger at one point. He deems it impossible to fake this meeting with a specific ritual needing to be accomplished. I wondered if he could do it, and he succeeded, to my surprise.

Jess Bush as Christine Chapel from Charades
Jess Bush as Christine Chapel

While Spock has his issues, Bush’s Chapel tries her hardest to help Spock become himself again. With her being on the vessel with Spock, as they crashed, she feels responsible for finding a way to correct what the unknown alien species did to Spock. She first talks with one entity but with no success. It believes it did nothing wrong in “correcting” Spock when the crash occurred. After some time passed, she tried to find any way to help without the alien’s help. She realizes she has to speak with the entity differently than before.

This realization is the point of the episode. “Charades” isn’t about Spock necessarily pretending to be his usual self. It’s more about Spock & Chapel’s feelings that have begun to manifest over time. They had to fake out enemies by kissing each other last season, and in the Season 2 premiere, Chapel almost died. Spock started to cry in anger, believing she had indeed passed on. They have feelings for each other, and what transpires in the last few minutes changes these two moving forward. After Spock reveals he isn’t himself to his fiancee’s family, he talks seriously with his bride-to-be. The conversation ends with them needing time apart, something I wasn’t expecting.

Gia Sandhu & Ethan Peck as T'Pring & Spock from Charades
Gia Sandhu & Ethan Peck as T’Pring & Spock

This decision allows Spock to explore his emotions with Chapel, which doesn’t take long at all. Spock having a connection with someone else like this isn’t uncommon; however, it needs to be carefully handled. So far, the show has done a good balance of Spock being who we expect him to be and exploring more with him. I had a good time with this episode, and I hope fans of the series enjoy the ride as I did. I appreciate when this show tries to tackle something new and look forward to seeing what is next.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 5, “Charades,” is available now on Paramount+.