[[folder: Come back home for your trial. You know, whenever...]]
* So Kirk and Co. have been hanging out on Vulcan since the conclusion of the last movie, fiddling with the Klingon ship and deciding what to do about, you know, the court marshal waiting for them back on Earth. But why did Starfleet Command let them kick back and come back in their own sweet time? Why not send a starship or two to pick up these fugitives and haul them back post haste?
** The Vulcans gave the crew asylum, meaning that Starfleet couldn't just come kicking down the door to arrest them. Also, with the sudden replacement of Morrow with Cartwright and the political drama going on in the Federation Council, it's possible that there was a lot of stuff happening back on Earth as fallout from the previous movie and getting back a group who were, for the time being, content to stay on an allied planet where they could be kept track of, was a lower priority.
*** So Vulcan, a member OF the Federation, can offer asylum FROM the Federation? Isn't that like the state of Georgia refusing to turn over an AWOL Army officer to the military police?
*** We simply don't have enough information on what the Vulcan and Federation legal codes permit and don't permit. The Federation is of course less like the US and more like the EU with a commonly funded defence force, so it would depend on the treaties invoked on joining and how much sovereignty they each possessed. The low priority on pushing the matter until the diplomatic row with the Klingons (and presumably other powers too) is sorted out seems more likely.
*** Vulcan does have an ambassador on Earth, despite both planets being members of the Federation.
*** I've always wondered if maybe the members of the Federation Council are called ambassadors. That would explain Vulcan's having an 'ambassador' on Earth, and why Sarek seems to be implied to have a seat on that body.
** Other source material suggests that Starfleet allowed Kirk and crew to stay on Vulcan while they learned as much as they could about their stolen bird-of-prey, hinting that it might help them get some measure of leniency.
[[folder: Of course he's a Russkie...]]
* It bugs this troper that ''nobody'' knew that it probably wasn't a good idea to send Chekov, a Russian, hunting for "nuclear wessels" in America 1986. I've seen the explanation that they wouldn't have that information on a Klingon ship, but don't they teach history in the future? Somebody should've known this.
** This movie runs on RuleOfFunny. If they didn't send Chekov, it wouldn't have worked.
*** Even if they were ignorant of 20th century politics, why didn't they sent their engineer to do an engineering task? RuleOfFunny.
*** Their engineer had a higher-priority engineering task to do. And they didn't have any redshirts to send.
** Unless you're a history buff, how much do you know about a conflict from 200 years in the past? Plus, these people [[FishOutOfTemporalWater are from a time]] where, on Planet Earth, ''all'' races and cultures are respected, and where a North American can pass a Russian in the street and not bat an eyelash when he asks where something is. The ''Enterprise'' crew had little to no preparation for time spent in the 20th Century, save for Kirk's quick debriefing speech.
*** Doesn't really hold water. One of the questions Spock was being asked in his testing/memory/logic courses back on Vulcan was "Identify the political and historical events that occurred on Earth in the year 1987: CORRECT!"
** Aside from the above response (did Spock really have that question?), they might have known the Cold War was mid-20th century and just got the end date messed up or been unfamiliar with the exact situations. I mean, if you traveled back to the American Revolutionary War era and had a crew member with a Dutch accent, would you know which side to keep them away from? Or how about a Mohawk crew member? [[note]]You'd keep them the Dutch away from the British (they were on America's side) and keep the Mohawk away from the Americans (they fought on the British side[[/note]].
** Well we can overlook some minor conflicts of the past, but something like a Cold War couldn't be forgotten completely. Even if they didn't know much about it, they should've known who were the main antagonists. And while they respect all cultures, they have rather exaggerated view of how "extremely primitive and paranoid culture" XX century is. If anything I'd expect them to overreact and don't even let Chekov to leave the ship.
** Given the lack of knowledge that many have concerning large-scale conflicts such as WorldWarI, which was less than 100 years ago, it's not entirely unbelievable that a conflict that produced very few comparative casualties would be overlooked in the history books, especially since it was more of a political pissing contest than a real war.
*** Except for the fact that Kirk explicitly explains in one TOS episode that his decision to aid one faction in a conflict on a primitive planet where the Klingons are aiding their rivals is to maintain the "balance of power" like in the "brushfire wars of the 20th century". Kirk at least knows about the Korean War, he should know about the Cold War.
*** Kirk says "the brushfire wars of the 20th century", he doesn't say "the Korea and Vietnam conflicts, of which I am well aware of the numerous events, political nuances, and all their participants and exactly what dates their interactions occurred upon". One can have a general idea of something without going into detail. Even history buffs, aficionados, and experts tend to exaggerate or layer their own biases over actual historical events... it's no stretch to imagine Kirk thinking "Hm, we're sending a Russian to ask about nuclear items during... I ''guess'' the Cold War's going on right now, isn't it? Eh, probably won't be '''that''' big of a deal, people might give him funny looks but eventually someone will try to help."
** That seems to be the case: [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Picard]] later appears incredulous at the idea that a decades-long conflict could be caused by something as silly as rival economic systems, while [[Series/StarTrekVoyager Tom Paris]], allegedly an expert on the twentieth century, believes that the KGB was still around in the 1990s.
*** Paris was off by ''five years'' (remember, the KGB was disbanded in late 1991, the episode in question took place in 1996). Hardly comparable, especially considering that a century is still a long time to be a hobbyist expert of.
** Its also worth noting the Enterprise crew's perspective of 1986 is from the far side of a [[WorldWarIII catastrophic nuclear war]]. Assuming that significant records weren't just flat-out destroyed in the process, its entirely possible that "contemporary" understanding of the Cold War is muddled at best.
** As a point of interest, in the canon Star Trek universe, the USSR still existed in some form until at least the 23rd century. The starship Tsiolkovsky's dedication plaque, as seen in [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration TNG]] episode ''The Naked Now'', proudly proclaimed that the vessel was constructed at the "Baikonur Cosmodrome, USSR, Earth." The Baikonur Cosmodrome is a real facility located in Kazakhstan.
*** That, or the Soviet Union re-incorporated sometime between now and then. In fairness to the franchise, it looks like it begins a clear divergence from our time sometime around the 1960s. By the 1990s, of course, we have the Eugenics Wars, Khan, and sleeper ships.
*** The USSR pretty clearly exists at least in the 23rd century, given Chekov's and ''Star Trek IV'''s references to Leningrad, and Chekov attributing a well-known legend to Minsk (which is in modern-day Belarus).
*** Chekov could still attribute it to Minsk, and Leningrad still exists in Russia today (as the name of a province, ie "oblast").
** Honestly, isn't "they just didn't think of it" reason enough?
[[folder: Time-travel nightmare]]
* What is with that weird scene where Kirk/the whole crew? have delusions/nightmares/dreams during the time warp? What's it supposed to mean?
** [[ItWasAllJustADream It Was All Just A]] [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment BLAM]].
** It was this troper's belief that the scene is Kirk (or one of the other crew members) Dreaming of Things to Come.
** It's something from an episode of the series, I believe. The slingshot effect causes people to enter a sort of dream state for a time. It's even referenced in some of the novels and such that came later as a factor in just how far you can go back in time... you actually spend a certain amount of time in the dream state relative to how far back you're going, so it would be impossible to go back to, say, the Jurassic period without everyone dying of dehydration and starvation in the dream state.
[[folder:"Directed" at the oceans]]
* When they're watching the President's warning about the Probe, the President says that, along with all the other things occurring, the Probe is vaporizing the oceans. A few minutes later, during the discussion about who the Probe is trying to communicate with, Spock says "The President did say it was ''directed'' at Earth's oceans", which he didn't say and seems to require a bit of gymnastics to conclude considering the Probe's screwing up all of the planet.
** Further, why does the Probe's attempts to communicate with ocean-dwelling lifeforms vaporize said oceans?
*** I can speak to that. The Probe was going to Earth to determine why it had lost contact with the whales. When its suspicion about the whales' extinction was confirmed, it started ''deliberately'' vaporizing the oceans to end all life on Earth, and eventually help it start anew. (So says the novelization). Spock, in the movie proper, ''does'' surmise that the Probe has come to determine why it lost contact.
*** When one has to resort to consulting a novelization to clarify plot details, that does not speak well of the film. If that is indeed the Probe's motivation, one is forced to wonder: is the presence of two humpback whales so much better than none?
*** That's addressed in the novelization too. The probe ''does'' decide that George and Gracie are better than nothing, but takes some convincing.
*** So Spock kinda dropped the ball on that one. He sees no evidence that their intentions are hostile, yet vaporizing the oceans isn't going to be doing anything good for life on Earth and the novelization explicitly states its intentions are hostile.
*** The probe doesn't view humans as intelligent life, so it's not being hostile per se. From its perspective, its merely wiping out a species of dangerous predators that have killed off a group that was trying to live their lives peacefully.
*** Yeah but the whales are *already dead* and killing humans wouldn't bring them back. So what's the point of vaporizing the oceans? Revenge? Doesn't sound very rational or intelligent to me.
*** Then the Probe aliens are just deluded. Humans have starships and computers and Genesis Devices (in theory). While they may not consider humans intelligent life compared to them, there's absolutely no way they can reason that ''whales'' are intelligent beings but humans are not.
** Novelization aside, I always just assumed that it was automated and when it couldn't contact the whales it ramped up the power on the transmitter to full and kept looking, uncomprehending of the damage.
*** One more vote for that explanation. The movie works better if the probe is merely uncaring, not outright hostile. Especially since the hostile probe implies whales would commit genocide on humans if they could get away with it.
** There was a sequel novel, ''Probe'', dealing with the Probe's origins. The makers were a telekinetic race of super-dolphins that were big enough to made earthly Blue Whales look like mice. They once shared their world with "mites" - humanoids - but the humanoids were wiped out in a chance meteor collision, what they referred to as the Winnowing. They considered it their mission to track, encourage, and protect other forms of life like them, i.e., cetaceans. One day, however, the Borg came to visit their system. There was a tremendous fight, where they held off the Borg from their planet - but the Borg still won by snuffing out the system's sun. They had just enough time to construct lifeboats, then departed in all directions, never to be heard from again. At the same time, the Probe also encountered the Borg - it ''won'' that fight, but the result was badly damaged memory, and it was unable to return to help its creators. It's an artifact of an apparently extinct race, from a different time, carrying on the only programming still intact within it.
*** To sum all of this up, Spock makes a deduction based on a baseless "fact" to get the plot moving, and they either didn't realize it or just hoped viewers would miss it.
[[folder:Only whales are important to the Probe?]]
* So if the Whale Probe decides HumansAreEvil and is going to exterminate us (or at least the ones on Earth) for bringing about the extinction of humpback whales, why does it decide the best way to do that is to blot out the sun and thereby kill nearly everything else on the planet too? There are dolphins on the Enterprise-D so they surely existed in the 23rd century and they're roughly as intelligent as humpbacks. So what makes humpback whales so special that their extinction automatically forfeits the lives of every other creature at that intelligence level?
** Perhaps aliens, who made that probe, are whales themselves. And they are speciesists. So, naturally whales are special... to them.
*** See above. They were indeed Leviathan-sized dolphins, but exactly how specieist they were remains open to interpretation, since all land life on their planet was wiped out. The Probe, on the other hand, is pretty blatantly hostile, when the cetaceans it was assigned to shepherd actually call out to it for help...
*** There are indeed alien whales. And dolphins! Look up the TNG novel ''Dark Mirror'', they're called the Cetaceans, obviously enough.
[[folder:Unfamiliar with San Francisco? Didn't you go to the Academy?]]
* In the famous scene with Uhura and Chekov trying to find where Alameda is, one thing strikes me as especially odd. Starfleet Academy is in San Francisco, the cadets live on campus, it takes the same amount of time to graduate as a contemporary university, which means every single one of the crew has lived in San Francisco for around 4 years and ''none'' of them know where Alameda Island is.
** Good point; that is odd. It could be that the future sees Alameda renamed or landscaped out of existence.
** In their own time, getting from place to place in San Francisco probably involves advanced public-transportation systems that don't exist at the time they're visiting. Even if they know the approximate ''position'' of Alameda, they wouldn't necessarily have a clue how to ''get'' there via the archaic methods available to them.
*** Alternately, Alameda Island could have been flooded over, the waterway between it and land filled in, or something else catastrophic could have happened to render Alameda Island nonexistent at some point prior to when the Enterprise crew went to the Academy.
** Not living in the area myself, I couldn't say how vital Alameda is to just the average person, but isn't it possible that none of them had any real reason to go there during their stay at the Academy? It is a four year course, but it's a very ''intense'' four year course, and apparently many cadets spend some of the last year off-planet either on working assignment on starships or on off-planet facilities like Utopia Planetia. Also one could assume that it's something like what occurs in other cities with famous landmarks... people who actually live there don't really think to go until someone they know visits and wants to go.
*** True. It's easy to spend a lifetime in Seattle and never really have cause to visit Mercer Island. For example.
[[folder: Where'd Saavik go?]]
* Where'd Saavik go? She was a big character in III so where did she go?
** She hadn't participated in the theft of the Enterprise, simply left stranded on Genesis after the destruction of the Grissom, so she wasn't going to be on trial, and thus, didn't need to return to Earth with Kirk and company. Why she doesn't go along anyway as a character witness or just for moral support is anyone's guess, but, building off of the fact that her status in Starfleet wasn't in question, she may have received new orders from Starfleet to be assigned somewhere and couldn't go with them.
** Out-of-universe, it's reported that the inclusion of Saavik added too many variables to the sequences in 1986 San Francisco - another pair of ears to hide, among other things. One of the ideas in the original screenplay was that she was pregnant with Spock's child after helping him with pon farr in the previous movie. This was removed given behind the scenes discomfort at the idea, but the scenes were filmed, so it could potentially be left to the viewer to decide.
[[folder:Morality of the probe]]
* Why does nobody in the film seem to feel like bringing up that the whale probe personifies that absolute worst traits of humanity and treat like it's above our morality?
** The morality of the probe isn't really at issue in the movie. This thing has, without even trying, completely overwhelmed Earth's defenses and is effortlessly destroying the planet's biosphere. The only thing the characters can do is to figure out what the probe wants, try to give it to the thing, and hope it goes away before everyone dies. Starfleet can debate ethics after all the water drains back in the ocean and they've buried their dead.
** What good would that have done? Ok, we've discussed it's morality, now let's go back to trying not to drown or starve or suffocate! Alternatively, bringing up the fact that the probe is doing to humans what 20th century humans did to the whales would have made the movie even MORE Anvilicious than it already was.
** It's a machine, or is at least assumed to be. Presumably it was simply assumed what the probe was doing was simply based on faulty programming (the whales are not answering, and the probe's own internal logic means it is going to keep on trying, overlooking the consequences it was never designed to take into account). Alternatively, as an alien artifact of unknown and barely-explainable origin, the probe's designers could work on a system of BlueAndOrangeMorality.
[[folder:Common frame of reference]]
* I brought this up on the fridge page, but its a question that probably goes better here. Bones asks Spock what it feels like to have died, and Spock replies that he can't explain the experience to someone who hasn't been through it[[note]] [=McCoy=] actually ''did'' die once in the series, but let's not get bogged down in details[[/note]]. Should Spock know how it feels to be dead, though? Forgive the flimsy computer analogy, but Spock uploaded his katra into [=McCoy=]'s brain before his sacrifice, so if he remembers anything between that and the point his katra was downloaded back into his body, it should be memories he shares with Bones. Spock's body went through a second infancy, so it seems like the body wouldn't have retained any memories of the event--though to be fair, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Vulcans can recall their infancy with perfect clarity--so, if anything, shouldn't Spock be able to describe his experience to [=McCoy=] because they have the exact same frame of reference for the event?
** It could be argued that, as the disembodied consciousness occupying [=McCoy=]'s body rather than being the one who was sharing his body with a disembodied consciousness but otherwise still present as 'him', Spock might have a slightly different perspective on events than [=McCoy=].
** I always assumed it was just Spock trying to politely give Bones the brush off and Bones just reacting as he normally did when he recognized he was about to be given the Vulcan runaround.
** A lot of people that have near-death experiences say that the experience was difficult to describe. Factor in that Spock himself was still trying to understand what had happened, odds are that he was trying to say "I don't want to talk about it." Bones, being his doctor and his friend, was both curious about the experience and wanting to ensure that Spock would be able to function properly on their trip back to Earth (remember, he had voiced concerns about having Spock back on the bridge).
[[folder:Transparent aluminum for whale tank]]
* Ummm...why did the aluminum have to be transparent?
** Scotty was just trading the formula for transparent aluminum for material made of polymers. Not sure why they felt they needed to go with a transparent material at all, though. They weren't building an aquarium, they were building a holding tank that they were only going to use as long as it took to get back to the 23[[superscript:rd]] century. Any strong, light, waterproof, mostly non-toxic material would have worked just fine--and probably could have been scavenged from construction sites if need be.
** You don't put living specimens in a tank with no light, and they must be observable to monitor their health and safety. Putting them in a simple aluminum tank would have been cruel, and dangerous.
*** It wouldn't be ideal, but it was going to be a very short trip. You'll notice that even after most of the ship was under water, the emergency lighting was still working, suggesting that they were were water-resistant. Presumably this was also true in the cargo hold, so it should be bright enough to accommodate them temporarily. I'd also assume that the internal sensors would be able to monitor George and Gracie's vital signs enough to assure their well-being.
*** George and Gracie weren't merely cargo, they were the two creatures that they needed to happily tell the Probe to get lost. Shove in a sealed box for a scary time travel trip and you've just drastically increased the chance of them either telling the Probe to frag the humans or just gibber at it in terror (and then it frags the humans on its own). Not a smart move there.
** The weight. Polymers are lighter than metals, and they were pushing their luck as it was having 100 tons of whale and water in the cargo bay.
[[folder:Responding in gibberish]]
* Supposedly, they could transmit humpback whale-esque sounds to the probe, but it would just be gibberish, not real communication. For one thing, it's still worth a try. For another, they must have some recording of actual humpback songs to compare the probe noise to, otherwise they wouldn't be able to positively say "yes, the probe is making humpback sounds", so why not transmit those recordings? And for a third, why not transmit the probe's own songs back to it?
** To answer the last part of that: The Probe would then proceed to reply, much like a miffed six-year-old, "Stop ''copying'' me!!"
** As far as playing taped recordings, while it might a partial solution, there'd be other problems: The difference between a live voice and a copy, and that a recording would not be able to interact with whatever the probe is saying. Anyone who's had to deal with a lengthy recording on the phone knows the futility of that.
** Was it ever established why universal translators didn't work with the probe? Kirk & Company quickly worked out that the probe was broadcasting a language, and Uhura was even able to filter the recording through the computer so that they could hear what the transmission would sound like underwater. We've seen the UT work with less, and it's even been able to translate the languages of all manner of computers and robots, so it seems the issue should have been at least HandWaved away.
*** The universal translators work by finding commonalities between languages... it listens to someone speaking, does its best to figure out syntax and structure from other, similarly structured languages, and then translates it. If the whale-song language was sufficiently different from the majority/all other languages in its databanks, and the probe wasn't giving them enough to work with or was referring to concepts in ways that were sufficiently different from the programmers' understanding, it wouldn't work. Simple as that.
* Did he just leave it on the nuclear wessel? Wouldn't that change the past? It seems like the sort of thing that would have shown up again much later.
** Yeah, that was a major concern in ''[[Recap/StarTrekS2E17APieceOfTheAction A Piece of the Action]]'', and it seems like something that should have been a major concern, here. Scotty's already created one weird StableTimeLoop this movie, so who knows what sort of crazy new technologies could spring from a misplaced phaser in, say, thirty years or s-- ''[[http://www.voanews.com/content/us-navy-successfully-tests-new-laser-weapon-in-persian-gulf/2555025.html Wait a minute...]]''
* At the beginning of the movie, the Klingon Ambassador is showing footage of the Enterprise being destroyed from the last movie. How did anyone get it? The Enterprise blew up and there weren't any cameras above Genesis.
** There was a Klingon Bird-of-Prey watching the whole thing from right next to the ''Enterprise''. The internal shots of the Klingons on the bridge may have come from a final log buoy/flight recorder launched from the ''Enterprise'' or from the Klingon's own recording gear transmitting back to their ship before they all blew up.
*** That Klingon Bird of Prey was commandeered by Kirk and company, who subsequently went into exile. So did they send the footage, even though it would incriminate them against the Klingons or did the Federation take the footage without taking the people wanted for crimes to stand trial? On a similar note, whatever happened to the Klingon, Maltz, that they took captive?
*** Yes, they presumably did send it along to the Federation, no doubt along with other details proving they had acquired the Bird-of-Prey, which Kirk is clearly planning to turn over to Starfleet. The footage incriminates the Klingons as much as it does Kirk.
*** As for what happened to Maltz, the ''Klingon Dictionary'' credits him as being instrumental in creating the book and assisting the Federation in translation work. Alternately, the novelization of ''Star Trek III'' says he committed suicide. He also apparently appears in the ''Genesis Wave'' book series in the ''Next Generation'' time frame, where he regains his honor with a HeroicSacrifice.
*** Concerning Maltz showing up later, how did he leave? If someone from the Federation picked him up to return him to the Klingons as a peace offering, shouldn't they also have escorted Kirk and co. to face trial.
[[folder: Scotty's uniform]]
* Most of the crew is wearing the same clothes as they were in the last movie, which makes sense since they weren't able to bring extra clothes. But in the last movie, Scotty was wearing a suede jacket over a gold turtleneck, this being a casual dress uniform for captains and above. But in the beginning of this movie, he's wearing the suede jacket, which he mostly discards except for meeting the aluminum guy, over a white turtleneck and black engineering vest. These are shown to be Starfleet uniforms since he wears them in the following movies, so had did he get the other uniforms? Not to mention that in Star Trek III, the jacket had captain's rank insignia, since he was just promoted, but here the jacket has commander's rank insignia, as does his standard uniform seen at the end. The standard uniform can be explained because in the last movie, he was never seen wearing it after being told of his promotion, so he probably didn't have it changed, but why did the insignia change on the casual uniform?
** Scotty probably wasn't comfortable about the promotion to Captain of Engineering, since it was on the ''Excelsior'' and he only stayed on long enough to sabotage that ship. So when he re-programmed a Vulcan replicator to give him a current, more comfortable working uniform while he worked on the ''Bounty'' he also chose to give himself Commander's insignia.
[[folder: Where's Carol Marcus?]]
* While the obvious answer is that they couldn't get the actress to come back, what in-universe reason is there for Carol Marcus not to have shown up at the Klingon ambassador's presentation? Even if she was still mourning David's death, wouldn't she want to see that Kirk not be persecuted by the Klingons for his part in the death of the people who killed their son? Plus, you think she would have something to say about the device that she and her son created to solve problems like overcrowding and hunger being accused of being a weapon to destroy the Klingon's, especially considering David's staunchly anti-military view.
** Carol may well blame Kirk for David's death, not the Klingons. Despite his anti-military views, David ran off with Starfleet as soon as he found out who his father was, and that's essentially what killed him.
*** Technically, Kirk was only marginally connected to David's death. First off, David was performing a scientific evaluation of Genesis. The events of the Wrath of Khan didn't necessarily change his anti-militaristic views as much as it made him realize that there was more to Starfleet than he thought. Then the Klingons showed up and destroyed the Grissom for reasons completely unrelated to Kirk. David and company had already been captured by the Klingons by the time Kirk had arrived at Genesis for completely unrelated reasons. You could argue that David being killed was done to get Kirk to surrender, but even then Kirk doesn't have much fault for it, because one, the Klingons didn't know David's relationship to Kirk, and two, they didn't even choose him to be the one to be killed. It was implied that they were going for Saavik and then David interfered and got himself killed. Carol may initially irrational blame Kirk in her grief, but when you look back at the situation, which Carol would have had three months to do, the blame can't be solely laid at Kirk's feet, and in any case, the Klingons were the ones who did the deed.
*** Still, one might think she would have something to say about the Klingon's claims of the Genesis planet being a secret base to annihilate the Klingons.
*** That was just bluster by the Klingon ambassador. It didn't need a rebuttal because everyone knew it was just bluster.
[[folder: Timeline issues]]
* According to sources, Star Trek II and III both take place in 2285, while the present-day sections of Star Trek IV, for the crew, take place in 2286. The Wrath of Khan takes place around Kirk's birthday, which is March 22. The Search for Spock takes place at most a few weeks later and the Voyage Home is set three months after the Search for Spock. How could it be 2286 already when Wrath of Khan which was in March, possibly to April 2285, only took place a little over three months earlier?
** Nothing in the movies themselves pin down the dates that accurately, so the external "sources" must be simply wrong.
*** Memory Alpha gave those dates, but where they got those dates isn't clear, so it could be a mistake.