Strange New Worlds’ Hemmer Death Makes Spock Even More Important
The death of Lt. Hemmer (Bruce Horak) in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds makes Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck) more important, setting up the Vulcan’s status in Star Trek: The Original Series. Hemmer tragically sacrificed his life to save his crew from the USS Enterprise after he was infected by baby Gorn in Strange New Worlds episode 9, “All Those Who Wander.” Hemmer’s demise was a shocking turn of events that left his friends on the Enterprise, especially his protégé, Cadet Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), in mourning for the courageous Aenar.
Even though he was the Starship Enterprise’s Chief Engineer, Hemmer was always meant to die in Strange New Worlds season 1. The impetus behind Hemmer’s creation was Strange New Worlds‘ executive producers’ realization that the Enterprise was full of legacy characters like Spock, Uhura, and Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), who fans know will live on into Star Trek: The Original Series. Hemmer’s death conveys that there are life or death stakes in Strange New Worlds. But the popularity of Hemmer, thanks to intelligent writing and Bruce Horak’s gruff but lovable performances, took Strange New Worlds‘ creative team by surprise. The loss of Hemmer also creates an interesting result in terms of Spock’s position on the Enterprise.
Hemmer’s Death Makes Spock More Important To The Enterprise
Following Hemmer’s death, Spock is now the only alien left in Strange New Worlds’ Enterprise senior staff. There are 200 crew members on Captain Pike’s starship, so it’s quite possible there are other extraterrestrial Starfleet Officers serving in the Enterprise’s lower decks, but the blind Aenar and the Vulcan were the two aliens at senior-level positions. With Hemmer gone, Lt. Spock is now the lone alien of note on Pike’s Enterprise, just as Commander Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is destined to be on the Starship Enterprise when it’s commanded by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner).
In Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock endures his share of suspicion and, occasionally, even racism from other Enterprise crew members because he is a Vulcan who eschews emotion in favor of logic. This is apparent in TOS episodes like “Balance of Terror,” when it’s revealed that Romulans and Vulcans share a common ancestry, or “The Galileo Seven,” where Spock is in command of a downed shuttlecraft. Kirk’s Enterprise consists of a primarily human crew, and now Pike’s Enterprise on Strange New Worlds is set up to be the same in season 2, with Spock as the lone alien outlier.
Strange New Worlds Needs Another Alien Besides Spock
Lt. Hemmer’s replacement in Strange New Worlds season 2 is Lt. Pelia (Carol Kane), and the new Chief Engineer is apparently human, which adds to the majority homo sapien population of Pike’s Enterprise. If Spock is now the only alien on the Enterprise, it isolates him further, which also sets up the distance he feels from his crew mates that is compounded by his adherence to Vulcan logic. But Strange New Worlds could use other alien species among the Enterprise’s crew since it’s already been canonically established that Starfleet counts representatives of many races as officers.
When it was still set in the 23rd century prior to Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Discovery established Captain Saru (Doug Jones) and Lt. Linus (David Benjamin Tomlinson), a Saurian, among the USS Discovery’s crew. Captain Pike’s Enterprise, which is also the Federation flagship, looks curiously human-centric with Hemmer no longer aboard. This puts the weight of representing every other non-human in Starfleet on Spock’s shoulders as the only alien left on the Starship Enterprise, unless Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 introduces more alien characters.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2 premieres in 2023 on Paramount+.