Nyota Uhura: Date Rapist?

Nyota Uhura: Date Rapist?

Spock needs an adult.

The following article is 100% spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, don’t click the “more” button below.  But that leaves me in a bit of a pickle.  I can’t have spoilers on the OverthinkingIt.com main page, but I also need to fill this space with some sort of introduction.  So I guess I’m just going to say that this article has to do with Uhura from Star Trek, and also here’s a picture of Sulu without a shirt on to fill space:

As promised.

As promised.

If you are ready for the spoilers hidden below, continue on, dear reader…

Okay.  Since you clicked on the “read more” link, I know that you’ve seen the new Star Trek movie.  First of all, how sweet was that movie?  I know.  It was totally sweet.  Man.

All right, I’ll grant you, it wasn’t perfect.  There was that part where Spock maroons Kirk on Delta Vega and he just HAPPENS to run into old Spock, who just HAPPENS to be there, on a planet that just HAPPENS to be close enough to Vulcan so he can see the destruction of his home planet but far enough away that he’s not affected by the humongous black hole that swallowed it, and then Kirk and old Spock just HAPPEN to run into Scotty who was sent there after getting into trouble with Enterprise’s Admiral Archer who must be like a billion years old by the time of the movie but OK, we’ll give J.J. Abrams that and chalk it up to “suspension of disbelief.”

No, that’s not what I’m going to talk about.  I’m going to talk about that part where young Spock watches his beloved mother die before his eyes, right before his entire planet is destroyed, along with basically his entire species, plus he keeps getting into fights with this brash young Jim Kirk who thinks he knows what he’s doing but really is the most illogical person in the Universe and also rides a dumb motorcycle.  If I were Spock, I’d be in a real bad mood right then.  “Emotionally compromised” to say the least.

So young woobie Spock is trying to maintain his composure before dissolving into a puddle of adorable half-Vulcan tears, and what happens next?  He steps into a nearby turbolift and GETS MOLESTED BY UHURA.

Spock doesn't know how to feel about this.

Spock doesn't know how to feel about this.

I know what you’re saying, readers.  “Uhura wasn’t molesting him!  She was trying to comfort him.  With her smooches and her hot, hot Uhura body.”

I will admit, it was a sexy scene.  But imagine we switched the genders.  A young woman is in an emotionally compromised state, having witnessed the murder of a parent and the genocide of her people.  She is on the verge of some kind of breakdown.  So she goes into a turbolift to head to her quarters, and who should appear but Male Crewmate?  Male Crewmate starts caressing her all hotly, kissing her face, saying, “Hey, baby.  What can I do for you?  You look sad.  You look like you need some comfort.  Luckily I have some comfort…in my pants.”tos-spockuhura

All right, that’s not exactly what Uhura said, but it’s clearly what she meant.  And when the genders are reversed, the scene gets kind of creepy.  Actually, hell with that.  It’s creepy when Uhura does it!  What kind of person tries to take advantage of another person like that?  I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Kirk tried something like that, but Uhura?  Just give Spock a hug and be done with it!  You don’t have to sexually assault him to make him feel better, Uhura!

I guess the level of creepiness in the turbolift scene depends on your assumptions about Uhura and Spock at that point in the film.  We know from earlier in the movie that the two have some sort of relationship.  Remember, Uhura complained to Spock that she wasn’t assigned to the Enterprise but the Farragut, and he said he did it to diffuse any rumors of favoritism.  Uhura then gives Spock an, “Oh no you didn’t” look, and he immediately caves and lets her follow him to the Enterprise.

From that scene, we know that Uhura and Spock are not just student and teacher.  Otherwise, why would there be rumors of favoritism at all?  And, otherwise, why would Spock give into Uhura’s demands so quickly?  No, they are at minimum good friends outside of the classroom, and, at maximum, full-time lovers.

Now, let’s review the turbolift scene under these two conditions.  In the first scenario, Uhura and Spock are just good friends, and the turbolift scene is super-creepy.  It suggests that Uhura has been crushing on Spock for a long time (which, by the way, seems to be part of The Original Series’ canon from the episodes I’ve been watching lately).  Being all Vulcany, Spock hasn’t put out.  So now creepy stalker!Uhura decides to use this “opportunity” of her would-be BF’s planet’s destruction to get some action.  As in, “Oh, man, Vulcan’s destroyed?!  Finally!  Now it’s time to HIT THAT.  Hit that HARD.”

In the second scenario, Uhura and Spock are dating and have been at least since before the Enterprise left Earth, if not for far longer.  In this scenario, Uhura is not creepy but is incredibly oblivious.  Because if Uhura is in a romantic relationship with Spock, she should definitely know that the very last thing he would want at this delicate moment would be to give into his debased human emotions and bone her.  She should also be aware that he would not really be in a position to bone her until his pon farr period, assuming pon farr exists in the J.J. Abrams alternate continuity.

Those are really the only two plausible readings of this scene I can come up with.  Either Uhura is a sick stalker with a crush, or Uhura is the Alpha Quadrant’s most oblivious (and dare I say ethnocentric) girlfriend.  I was happy to see, at least, that Spock had the wherewithal to say, “Dude, Uhura.  This is not the time.  Not the time.”  And although Uhura seemed upset and disappointed by his answer, at least she was respectful enough to realize that no means no, even in space.

SUPER SPECIAL BONUS FEATURE!!!  Original series Uhura sings a song about Spock…


…and Spock is not amused.

11 Comments on “Nyota Uhura: Date Rapist?”

  1. Oolt #

    What a nice, fun article, pitty i have to oppose it for its logical inconsistency and lack of proper emphasis.
    First of all, a defense of the movie and sublation of coincidences, which seemed against the odds…
    “All right, I’ll grant you, it wasn’t perfect. There was that part where Spock maroons Kirk on Delta Vega and he just HAPPENS to run into old Spock, who just HAPPENS to be there, on a planet that just HAPPENS to be close enough to Vulcan so he can see the destruction of his home planet but far enough away that he’s not affected by the humongous black hole that swallowed it, and then Kirk and old Spock just HAPPEN to run into Scotty who was sent there after getting into trouble with Enterprise’s Admiral Archer who must be like a billion years old by the time of the movie but OK, we’ll give J.J. Abrams that and chalk it up to “suspension of disbelief.””
    Spock was also marooned on that planet, exactly for the purpose of him watching the destruction of his home and surviving it, thus feeling kinda sad about it which was the objective of Nero, besides that Scotty was as random of a guy at that point of that timeline as anyone else, so theres nothing special about some random dude working at an outpost, where somebody had to be working… But Archer seems to play his share with molesting the space-time continuum, as he would be about 400 years old yea…
    And about the argument, of which only the second scenario is possible (based on my observations and studies of the homo sapiens sapiens mating rituals) Uhura is appealing to the human side of Spock, the side that needed comfort, for we all know that the vulcan would not need help as it would be capable of burying all the feelings and harvesting them for logical thinking, so its really not that big of a deal for a girlfriend to give some comfort-scmooching to a guy feeling down, not as a foreplay leading to copulation but only as providing human wormth in a language feelings not reason can understand (again based on my observations..).
    Live long and prosper (what Archer seemed to took literally…)


  2. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Oolt: Glad you liked the article. Now I must counter attack. En garde!

    Scotty was not just a random guy. He’s Scotty! The fact that Kirk and Old Spock ran into him proved that the universe/space-time continuum/fate was somehow conspiring to have the original Enterprise crew come together in this alternate continuity. Even Old Spock was like, “Scotty’s here? Well, that’s weird.”

    I like your arguments about Uhura but also have to disagree with them, if only because I thought her smooching much sexier than it needed to be for the occasion. Of course, that’s probably due to the screenwriters’ and J.J. Abrams’ desire to play up Uhura’s sexiness and thus get audiences all tingly in their netherparts.

    Thanks for the Overthinking!


  3. mkd #

    First: Loved new Trek. Unless someone can prove otherwise, it is now the 2nd best Star Trek movie of all time.

    That said, from the minute Uhura showed up in the bar I knew we were in for trouble on the whole just HAPPENING to run into people front.


  4. Tomomi #

    I love brooding men in a world with a strict social hierarchy :) (Darcy in space. mmmm…)

    I am in no way a Trekkie and have no real background on Star Trek at all except for this movie, but I gotta disagree with your molestation comment here.

    I’m not sure if I’d classify her smooches as sexy. It felt more compassionate to me. If they had been more sexy, wouldn’t they have zoomed in on the kissing? Wouldn’t they have lingered on the kiss instead of cutting away quickly to focus on Spock’s face and his emotional reaction (as he buries his face into her neck)?

    Now that gesture right there tells me that there had to have been some hanky panky going on prior to this encounter. If there had been nothing between them prior to this incidence, wouldn’t the logical Spock – her teacher!! – stopped her advances? Also, the other scene between them (right before they beam to Nero’s ship) is far more affectionate and tender. The fact that they interact this way more than once, and also Spock’s wanting to tell Kirk to tell Uhura his feelings if Spock doesn’t make it, seems to suggest there’s more than a flirtation.

    Also, from a character development standpoint, this scene was totally crucial. Without slowly building on Spock’s emotional capacity, I wonder to what degree his meltdown scene would have been as convincing.

    But man, I’m happy they put Uhura with Spock. Brooding men always need that more aggressive and spunky lady to match them. I heart the new Spock! :)


  5. lizzy #

    Oh boy, were you UNDER-thinking it.

    Dry kisses and a hug WITH TEARS are not inappropriate for two people in a relationship. Especially when one has lost his mother and planet.

    It’s your mind going in the gutter with this scene or you’ve never been in a real relationship. Because that was very normal for one.

    I swear people act like she offered him a blow-job or something.

    Her significant other was hurt. She would’ve been a mighty cold person to not offer some kind of emotional support. And dry kisses, a hug, and some tears are not out of line.

    Strange that there are so many sources criticizing Uhura for molestation, acting like a “whore” etc.

    And I have yet to fin any about Kirk (who sleeps with anything with a pulse) or Spock, who was in the position of authority here.

    Your sexism is showing.


  6. cornflakes #

    @ lizzy
    I’m not sure mlawksi accused Uhura of acting like a whore. >.< The observation was that if Uhura had been male and Spock female, many people would have been up in arms faster than you can say ‘sexual harrassment’.

    The fact that this scene has passed largely without comment is, imo, indicative that a double standard exists.


  7. Gab #

    I agree that there is a double-standard, but I disagree that she was taking advantage or being intentionally sexual. I lean with a couple other commenters, that she was just trying to comfort the part of him she knew needed comforting by using something humans (often) need: physical, intimate contact. Her status as his lover (or at least girlfriend) made the kind she was capable of giving different than, say, a sister or friend (without benefits), but that doesn’t mean she was doing it because she wanted to do *him*.


  8. jeflee #

    uhm. didn’t the kiss scene elaborate on the earlier spock/uhura interaction where spock says he assigned her to a different ship to avoid the appearance of favortism? <—-that scene originally gave me pause because it was highly illogical for spock to care about stupid fleet gossip. but the kiss scene shows us that they were having a relationship, hence why spock would go out of his way to avoid appearing affectionate toward uhura. so no, no sexual harassment in that kissing scene at all. just a lot of emotion and character.


  9. jeflee #

    which you said all above, yes. i’m sleepy.


  10. mlawski #

    Having rewatched the film last night, I should offer some concessions. The scene was significantly less date-rapey than I had recalled, but less because of Uhura’s actions (which were still SLIGHTLY too sexy for the occasion) and more because of Spock’s reaction. Upon rewatch, he clearly wanted some Uhura comfort in the turbolift. And who are we to blame him?

    So I’m crying uncle. You win. I give up my Overthinking card from now on. Until Monday’s article.


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