Valentine’s Day took place over the weekend and to mark the occasion, the official Star Trek site listed the top romantic moments in the history of the franchise. They include the beginning of Michael Burnham and Cleveland Booker’s relationship in Star Trek: Discovery, Riker and Troi on The Next Generation and, my favorite, Odo and Kira on Deep Space Nine. But one romance that they’ve included may raise some eyebrows: Kirk and Spock on The Original Series.
Of course, the iconic pair weren’t officially a couple in the show or the movies, but nonetheless, the article lists the episode “Amok Time” as an all-time highlight. This sees Kirk and Spock torn apart, with Spock coming to believe that his friend Jim is dead. When he discovers Kirk’s alive, he temporarily breaks his cool Vulcan demeanor to beam with happiness, which the site describes as “one of the sweetest moments of the series.”
Naturally, the Kirk/Spock friendship has long been picked over for romantic clues given their closeness. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, they hold hands and discuss the importance of their emotions and then there’s that tear-jerker death scene in The Wrath of Khan. Viewers quickly picked up on this homoerotic subtext and even back in the early 1970s were pairing them up in erotic fan fiction that snowballed in popularity around the world (and is arguably the primordial ooze from which modern fandom emerged).
William Shatner has also recently commented on Kirk’s sexuality. After rightly pointing out that Star Trek would never have aired with a gay lead in the 1960s, he said he has no problem with Kirk being gay.
“If Kurtzman wants to create a Kirk that’s asexual, bisexual, etc… I have no problem. I also don’t have a problem if you want to believe my Kirk was any of those.”
Let’s face it, though Kirk certainly got through his fair share of sexy female-presenting partners, the most significant relationship in his life was undoubtedly Spock. Perhaps the upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds might finally acknowledge this romance among the stars…