This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
back to Character Insight! This week, we continue Vulcan Month with Sarek, from TOS and TNG.
Sarek is an ambassador for Vulcan and also serves on the Federation Council. Sarek is the father of Spock, who was profiled last week and is a central persona in Star Trek lore. Before serving in the ambassador role he is seen in during most appearances on the series, Sarek was an astrophysicist.
Similar to his father Skon and later his son Spock, Sarek uses his role as ambassador to negotiate the entry of multiple species into the Federation. Sarek also builds early treaties with the Klingon Empire, which sets the foundation for the work that Spock would later do many decades later. Although Sarek appears in more movies than television episodes, we learn more about Spock and his history in these few appearances.
Sarek initially had a child with a Vulcan princess, and then he married Spock's human mother Amanda Grayson. This half-brother Sybok does not appear until Star Trek V, and some might say the wait was not worth it considering the story that was told with Sybok. However, Spock ends up understanding how to be a Vulcan better than even Sybok thanks to struggling with Sarek's inter-species marriage through his childhood.
Sarek has a strained relationship with Spock after Spock joins Starfleet Academy, but he mends that relationship and ends up being the driving force behind getting Spock resurrected in Star Trek III. Sarek then serves as the first major crossover character starring in episodes of The Next Generation, appearing in two episodes before Montgomery Scott made the other significant appearance by a TOS character.
Mark Lenard immediately made Sarek a fan favorite, although it took nearly 15 years for him to reprise the role in his first movie appearance. Ironically, he did not know that Sarek was killed in the TNG episode Unification I until after it aired since he only saw part of the script. However, Sarek leaves a part of himself with Captain Picard in a similar manner to how Spock left his impression on Dr. McCoy before his death.
Our notable quote
this week comes from the episode Journey to Babel:
Gav: There will be payment for your slander, Sarek.
Sarek: Threats are illogical. And payment is usually expensive.
Actor: As noted above, Mark Lenard played Sarek after first appearing as a Romulan Commander earlier in TOS. Ben Cross took over the role in the 2009 reboot.
Until next time, live long and prosper...