Star Trek: Discovery has revealed an important new element to the relationship between Spock and Burnham that would explain why the half-Vulcan never mentioned his adopted sister previously. Since Star Trek: Discovery first began in 2017, many Trekkies (or Trekkers) have been quick to point out the various areas where the franchise's latest TV series contradicts or clashes with established continuity.
However, one of the main points of contention came before Discovery actually started airing when it was announced that the lead protagonist, Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham, would be the adopted sister of Spock, the iconic Star Trek character most memorably portrayed by Leonard Nimoy. Burnham's introduction created somewhat of a canonical conundrum, as surely Spock would've mentioned his adopted sister at some point during Star Trek's 53 year history.
The working assumption so far has been that Spock's intensely logical personality and Vulcan upbringing prevented him from making any, as the man himself might say, "unnecessary or nostalgic mention of familial relations" while serving on the U.S.S. Enterprise or later as an ambassador. However, Star Trek: Discovery's most recent episode, "Point of Light," finally provides a more concrete reason to account for this plot hole.
In Discovery's first season, references to Spock were largely superficial, with the show spending more time focused on Burnham's relationship with Sarek, Spock's father and Burnham's paternal guardian. The dynamic between Spock and Sarek, first seen back in the 1960s, was also developed, delving more into why Sarek was so disappointed in his son for joining Starfleet and subsequently turning Sarek into a far more sympathetic figure than previous iterations. However, when the Enterprise appeared in Star Trek: Discovery's season 1 finale, it became clear that viewers would soon be learning a lot more about their favorite pointy-eared science officer.
So far in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, it has been established that Burnham holds a great deal of love and admiration for Spock, but flashbacks have also highlighted a clear disconnect between the two that can be traced back to their childhood. Back in the present, Burnham also insinuated that even if she were to make contact with her adopted brother, he would have no interest in speaking to her. This caused some speculation of a potential unrequited love on Spock's part that caused him to consciously detach from Burnham to spare himself any painful emotions.
While this may still prove be the case, "Point of Light" provided the most significant development yet in explaining Spock and Burnham's relationship. During a conversation with Amanda Grayson, Spock's mother, Burnham explains that shortly following her adoption, she was concerned that the Vulcan Logic Extremists, whose terrorism caused her to become an orphan in the first place, would target her new surrogate family. Burnham decided that the best way to prevent this would be to ensure a level of separation between herself and Spock - something she achieved by apparently hurting her adopted brother irreparably.
Star Trek: Discovery is yet to reveal exactly how Burnham upset her brother, but she does confirm that all of her subsequent attempts at communication have been rebuffed, and Spock is clearly still deeply pained by whatever happened. While it's currently unclear how the storyline will ultimately play out, this revelation does finally provide a solid - some might say logical - explanation for why Spock didn't mention Burnham previously. If there's one thing Spock hates more than letting emotions cloud his judgement, it's openly admitting to feeling difficult human emotions himself and it's only natural that he wouldn't want to discuss his Burnham issues with Kirk, McCoy and the gang.
There are bound to be even more twists and turns as Spock's relationship with Burnham unravels over the course of Star Trek: Discovery's second run and perhaps an even more conclusive reason will emerge to explain this continuity problem. For now, at least Star Trek fans can now consider one of the show's biggest inconsistencies adequately explained.
Star Trek: Discovery season 2 continues with "An Obol For Charon" February 7 on CBS All Access and February 8 on Netflix internationally.