In a new interview with TVLine, James Frain spoke about the relationships between Sarek and Burnham, and Sarek and Amanda.
The Sarek-Burnham relationship is a bit of a “push-pull” relationship. “I think that’s how she experiences him, for sure, and I think that’s probably how he’s experiencing himself,” said Frain. “He has a very dynamic range, and he’s very, very bold with the way he’s chosen to live his life. He’s married a human being. That has made him a target. There are people who want to kill him for that. He adopted a human child, and there were people who wanted to kill her. So he’s put a lot of stuff on the line, and at the same time, he’s a Vulcan.
“He recognizes in this episode how different Vulcan and human cultures are, and how difficult a situation she was in. He never really understood that, I don’t think. And I think it’s kind of beautiful that he acknowledges that now. But there is a huge internal conflict that, in the original series, we saw in Spock, and now here we are, seeing it in Sarek. It’s kind of like Spock is his father’s son, you know?”
As a result of Vulcan racism, Sarek was forced to choose between his son and his adopted daughter, and “he failed her,” said Frain. “He put her in an impossible situation, and then he places her in a much better situation (Starfleet) where she can be with her own kind and learn who she is as a human being. He can’t do that for her.”
Sarek’s relationship with Burnham is “very, very rich and complex,” said Frain.
Also seen in last week’s episode was Sarek’s human wife, Amanda. Frain was asked if fans would see more of the relationship in future episodes. “It’s one of the starting points, when you’re looking at Sarek as a younger man,” said Frain. “We just accepted, in the original series: ‘Oh, he married a human, and that was the backstory for Spock.’ But it’s like, ‘Wait a minute…he married a human? How did that happen?’ It’s less extraordinary that he adopted Michael than that he married Amanda, and has this child [with her]. That precedes Michael. So yeah, I think there’s so much there to explore, dramatically, and I’m looking forward to it.”