Will Spock Leave Starfleet? 'Star Trek Beyond' Raises A Big Question
It seems out of the question that any of the main USS Enterprise crew members of the Star Trek world would voluntarily leave the ship, as theirs is a community that works because of their friendship and loyalty. But as it turns out in Star Trek Beyond, not one, but two important members of the crew, Kirk and Spock, both consider taking leave. But while Kirk's reasons have more to do with his own feelings of monotony onboard the Enterprise, Spock's thoughts are of his own people: the Vulcans. And with the Vulcans facing a population crisis after the events of Star Trek '09, Spock has noble intentions to help his species survive, and. But will Spock leave Starfleet for good in order to help his species?
Spoilers ahead! As said, in Star Trek Beyond, both Captain Kirk and Commander Spock have a sort of existential crisis. Kirk has grown a little fed up with his life. He calls the in-and-out workings of the Enterprise "episodic," and he seems to have grown tired of the monotony of their mission. Spock is facing a different sort of crisis. As one of few remaining Vulcans alive after the planet was destroyed, Spock finds himself a member of an endangered species. At the end of Star Trek '09, he considered leaving Starfleet in order to help the Vulcans establish a new colony, but Spock Prime (Leonard Nimoy) convinced him to remain, saying that he could be in two places at once. But with Spock Prime's death in Star Trek Beyond , the Vulcans are down a member, and as a result, Spock faces a big decision.
Leaving is not so simple, though, because of one reason: Uhura. Spock and his significant other go through a rough patch in Star Trek Beyond. In Beyond, it's said that Spock expresses to her that perhaps he should be settling down and making little Vulcans with another Vulcan. That exchange isn't seen in the new film, but it leads to the sort of "break" the duo are on, which makes things a little tense in Beyond. It's no wonder Uhura is mad. Not only is Spock essentially saying that he needs to go off and get busy with another woman, and possibly multiple women, but he doesn't even want to be with a human, just another Vulcan. But is that actually a smart call?
On Earth, there are numerous tactics taken when a species is on the verge of extinction, but one of the methods used is to breed more of whatever is threatened. The loss of millions of lives is one of many reasons for the post-WWI and post-WWII baby booms, and should humanity suffer a catastrophic event causing the death of a good number of the population, one of the first things we'd do is try and replace those lost humans by making more humans. There's a great Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that addresses this very topic, "Up the Long Ladder," which has the Enterprise discovering that the surviving members of a single Earth colony has been split into two lost groups. One group reproduces the old fashioned way, but the other had long since stopped doing the deed and resorted to cloning — only their clones are beginning to have defects. The only solution to ensure their survival is to combine the two groups, and have women bear multiple children by multiple men in order to diversify the gene pool and save their society.
In Star Trek Beyond, there's no doubt Spock's intentions are noble; he just wants to help save his species. But it seems that, in his quest, he's forgetting one thing: he's also half human. His mother was human, which was seen as a disadvantage when Spock was a young boy, and while the human race isn't endangered in the Kelvin Universe of the Star Trek reboots, any children Spock has are going to be part human. So because the Vulcans view Spock's human DNA as a detriment, what makes Spock think the Vulcan High Counsel would even want him to go around breeding with other Vulcans anyway? In fact, it would probably be frowned upon. So if Spock's offspring are going to be part human/part Vulcan in the long run anyway, why doesn't he just go and make some babies with a human? And if he's going to end up making babies with a human, it would make sense to stay in his relationship with Lt. Uhura and thus not leave Starfleet.
At the end of Star Trek Beyond, Captain Kirk seems to have gotten through his crisis, and turns down a promotion to Vice Admiral in order to keep flying with the Enterprise. But Spock's existential troubles aren't explicitly solved by the end. Sure, their separation gave Uhura some chances to act outside of the confines of their relationship (something that I was longing to see), but the film doesn't see the couple reunited in a romantic way. However, Uhura is seen still wearing the necklace that Spock gave her in the final scene of the film, so perhaps there's a chance at future reconciliation. Spock may still leave Starfleet to help the Vulcans re-populate, but perhaps he'll also come to the realization that he's better off staying with Starfleet and with Uhura.