Star Trek: Discovery‘s second season finale saw Spock and his adoptive sister Michael Burnham permanently separated after the latter elects to hop far into the future with the rest of the Discovery crew. The past episodes had explored how their once-strained familiar relationship had been repaired and, upon leaving, Burnham gave Spock a final piece of advice: find someone to replace her.
“There is a whole galaxy out there, full of people who will reach for you,” she tells her half-Vulcan brother. “You have to let them. Find that person who seems farthest from you and reach for them. Reach for them. Let them guide you.”
Many interpreted this to be an allusion to James Tiberius Kirk, who Spock has yet to meet at this point in the timeline but is destined to become arguably the closest person in his life. Some have theorized, though, that Burnham might have been referencing Christopher Pike. After all, Pike is actually on the show and he’s got several years left of captaining the Enterprise before Kirk takes over.
This seems unlikely though given comments Ethan Peck made to ComicBook.com on the topic of the depth of Kirk and Spock’s relationship. The actor even went so far as to say how the pair are effectively brothers. In contrast, he believes Spock sees Pike as more of a mentor or role model.
“I think between Spock and Kirk they’re almost like brother’s, right? It was such a magical trio between Kirk, McCoy, and Spock. They all brought these different sorts of archetypes of humanity, in my opinion. And between Spock and Pike, I think it’s less defined. There’s less of an exchange. I think that Captain Pike is an incredible leader, and Spock views him as that. And also, maybe secretly sees him as a mentor, as a human mentor. And that’s sort of what I imagine. That’s what I spoke with Anson [Mount] about when we talked about our relationship. So maybe Pike isn’t quite aware that Spock looks up to him in such a way.”
For final confirmation of which character Burnham was talking about, co-showrunner Michelle Paradise has stated outright to Entertainment Tonight that this definitely a bit of foreshadowing to the TOS protagonist. “Absolutely,” the writer/producer revealed. “That is definitely Kirk.”
This nod to the iconic captain was a great way of bringing Spock’s story over 50 years of Trek full circle, as it seems likely we won’t see him again on Star Trek: Discovery now that it’s hopping to 1,000 years in the future. Fingers crossed CBS All Access listen to those fans campaigning for a Pike spinoff, though, so that Ethan Peck’s portrayal of the Vulcan gets to live long and prosper.