Star Trek: Discovery took us back to Vulcan this week, showing us what the Federation’s second most important world is like in the 900 years forward world of the current show. Except it’s not Vulcan anymore and it is also no longer part of the Federation. Vulcan has been renamed Ni’Var and the Vulcan people now share their world with the Romulans. Spock’s mission of Unification was a complete success.
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation will remember the series had two-episode arc in which Leonard Nimoy appeared as Spock. Those two Next Gen episodes were titled, respectively, “Unification” and “Unification II”. In them Spock was working to reunite the Vulcan people with their Romulan cousins. That mission continued for the rest of Spock’s life. We saw glimpses of his reunification efforts in the 2009 Kelvinverse movie. And on Star Trek: Picard we saw Romulans become refugees inside the Federation after their homeworld was destroyed.
After hundreds of years and lots of work, it seems that eventually the Romulans settled on Vulcan. The Vulcan and Romulan people became one again, just as Spock hoped they would. As revealed in Star Trek: Discovery’s seventh episode of season three (titled “Unification III”), Spock is now a revered figure among both the Romulans and the Vulcans as they share a world and work together to build a shared culture.
It’s the culmination of Spock’s lifelong dream and the unification of the Romulan and Vulcan people is a tribute to everything the legendary characters stood for.
As presented on Discovery, the Vulcans have lost none of what we loved about them. They maintain their cold dedication to logic. But they’ve grown and changed too. It’s clear in this 50-minute episode that both peoples have benefited from their union. Vulcan is stronger as Ni’Var than it ever was or ever could have been simply as Vulcan.
Star Trek: Discovery leaned hard into honoring Spock with this episode. Not just in words, but with archived video of Leonard Nimoy as Spock explaining why the Romulans and Vulcans need each other and why he believed Unification was essential.
Star Trek: Discovery’s “Unification III” was a loving tribute to everything Spock stood for, not just by revealing the success of his plan, but also by focusing the episode on the things Spock valued most: Logic, truth, and inquiry. The episode introduced a new Vulcan ritual in which Michael Burnham must try to prove the validity of her logic against a quorum of Ni’Var representatives, invoking Spock’s name as a pathway to gaining their trust.
It’s clear that both Spock, and the man who played him, Leonard Nimoy, would have been proud of what the future of Vulcans and Romulans has become.