Published Jun 14, 2022
Strange New Worlds 101: Romance
Love is one of the most powerful forces in the galaxy, after all
By StarTrek.com Staff
Spoilers for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode six to follow!
Welcome back to Strange New Worlds 101! We’re over halfway through the series now, and the show keeps getting better and better. This most recent episode, "Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach," followed the “Spock Amok” with a heartrending tale about sacrifice, focused on Pike as not only a captain but as a person beyond the uniform and rank — giving insight into Pike’s personal life a little better.
A Starfleet captain engaging in some romance isn’t unheard of. From Edith Keeler to Carol Marcus, even Captain James T. Kirk fell in love a few times throughout his Starfleet career. However, he never settled down with anyone except his loyal First Officer and crew. In The Next Generation, Picard tended to be more intellectual than romantic, but he still harbored feelings for Dr. Beverly Crusher. In his latest series, Star Trek: Picard, Jean-Luc’s personal feelings were the center of the second season, ultimately ending with him opening his heart to close friend Laris.
Deep Space Nine’s Benjamin Sisko mourned his wife for the first three seasons of Deep Space Nine and didn’t have time for romance (and with all the trouble Gul Dukat and Kai Winn were causing, who would?). But once being introduced to Kasidy Yates, Sisko opened his heart again and eventually wed Kasidy in the show’s final season. On the other hand, Janeway tended to keep her romances to her holonovels. Though she and Chakotay orbited each other throughout the early seasons of the show.
Jonathan Archer had a few romantic interests both prior to and during the show, but romance was never key to his journey as a captain on Star Trek: Enterprise. In the newer series, Star Trek: Discovery's Captain Michael Burnham has had two key romantic relationships: one with Ash Tyler and the other with Cleveland “Book” Booker. On the Cerritos, Lower Decks’ Captain Carol Freeman is happily married to an Admiral.
Needless to say, there’s room in the world for a captain to find love, even if only for an episode. Captain Pike is no exception. “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach” features Pike reuniting with an old flame, Alora. The pair had previously met on Pike’s first mission to her world, where he saved her life. This time, Alora invites him to stay on her homeworld, which will help him avoid his preordained fate. However, after Pike sees the cost of her society’s peace, he cannot stay with her. The relationship ends on a tragic note, as many of the one-off episodes featuring a character romancing a series regular tend to.
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But Alora is not Pike’s only chance at love. There’s also a character we saw in the pilot, “Strange New Worlds,” who seems to have a piece of Pike’s heart. Captain Batel encouraged Pike to return to Starfleet, saying she hoped he wouldn’t be here when she returned from her latest mission. In the one scene we saw of them, they had a sweet bond, and hopefully Batel will make more of an appearance throughout the show.
And then there’s Vina. Vina is perhaps the great love of Pike’s life, and we’ve known her since the original pilot of The Original Series. In “The Cage,” as well as the two part episode “The Menagerie” in TOS that featured footage from “The Cage,” Pike meets fellow prisoner Vina after he is captured by the Talosians. After they escape, Vina chooses to remain behind on Talos IV. In the Star Trek: Discovery episode “If Memory Serves,” Pike returns to Talos IV and is reunited with his love in a way. The Talosians project Vina’s image onto the Discovery to speak to Pike, ending with her disappearing again.
“The Menagerie Part 2” already reveals how Pike and Vina’s love story will end. After Spock steals the Enterprise during Kirk’s captaincy to deliver Pike to Talos IV, Pike is beamed to the surface where, through the mental powers of the Talosians, he is able to see Vina again and the pair are reunited.
Pike’s romances are just as star-crossed and dramatic as his predecessors. What’s your favorite romance featuring a captain? Let us know on social and in the meantime catch up on the latest episode recap here!