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Headscratchers: Star Trek: The Original Series
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     Would the coffee have turned evil? 
  • In "The Enemy Within" why couldn't they beam down a hot pot of coffee? Also as a last resort, why not beam the landing party and keep them suspended in transport until they find a solution. Even if they couldn't figure out what to do, wouldn't it be more humane to have them be in non existence instead of freezing to death?
    • I'm fairly certain that they hadn't come up with the keeping them in the pattern buffer technique yet - or at least hadn't perfected it to the point you would get any substantial benefit out of it. As far as I am aware Scotty is the first man to canonically succeed (after the Jenolan crashes into a Dyson Sphere) and that was a good twenty years later. Further backing this up is the fact that this process ends up killing a Red Shirt which would imply a) A fatality rate of 50% and b) Laforge wouldn't have been so amazed that Scotty was able to jury rig up such a device if it was a technique with precedent to it.
      • Yeah, that since the incident was —in-universe— anywhere between twenty to forty years before the Jenolan crashed. That is more than enough time for there to be equipment advances that would make it even slightly possible. There seems to have been a massive improvement in engineering and equipment in all aspects between TOS and TMP-refit era so chances are it was something that went from impossible to just about possible in theory but you'd have to be really desperate to try.
      • In an easily overlooked example, seven people beam up at once at the end of "The City on the Edge of Forever". Assuming only one transporter room, someone must have been held for at least a few minutes before being reconstructed on the other end.
      • "Day of the Dove", a third-season TOS episode, features transporter stasis. Granted, it's still a few years after "The Enemy Within", but the technology is basically the same. Then again, nobody thought to evacuate the away team via shuttlecraft either, despite the Enterprise having had a shuttlebay since "The Cage". (the "flight deck" as it was called then was in the original script)
    • The trouble with transporter problems as seen in TOS is that all malfunctions turn out to have dangerously unpredictable effects note  so they might try beaming down hot coffee but it might turn into a cloud of flesh stripping plasma on re-integration. Plus, IIRC, Scotty had the transporter offline as he was testing the hell out of it to try and find out what was wrong and how to fix it. It is very probable that the time taken to put it back online and then take it offline again to begin testing was time they felt the away team just didn't have. The TOS Enterprise only has one transporter remember. Limited resources with limited time mean they have to take a gamble on something. If they'd beamed down supplies and coffee then people would be on here asking "how come they wasted time by interrupting Scotty's testing to beam down supplies when the away team were coping by heating rocks". They weren't comfortable, but they were still surviving after all.

    Gary gets literally clocked 
  • In "Assignment: Earth", Gary is impervious to the Vulcan Neck pinch, yet Roberta can take him out by clocking him on the head? What?
    • One is a nerve attack, which Gary can be trained to withstand and/or genetically engineered to have protection against. The other is a concussion-inducing blunt force demonstration of Sir Issac Newton's 3rd Law of Motion (combined with Pascal's Law). There is a difference.

    Kirk's Dark Side Has Amnesia? 
  • At the end of the episode "The Enemy Within", Rand tells Kirk about something his negative half did and he seems surprised. Uh, his positive and negative sides have been joined back together, so shouldn't he have the combined memories of both?
    • Is it possible he was faking surprise?
    • His negative half seemed to have a primitive mind, like an animal or a very young child. Could be that Bad Kirk's capacity for consciousness and memory formation was also affected?
    • Also, Kirk didn't technically exist while his two good-evil clones were running around doing their thing. When the transporter mixed them back together, it had to smash their separate memories together into a single memory covering the same period of time. Since the two patterns would've been so different, they probably just cancelled each other out and left the mental equivalent of static.
      • Also, he may have preferred to block out memories the worst of his negative half's actions, for obvious reasons.
      • Or, he's trying to be a gentleman and spare Rand's feelings. Even if Kirk does remember what his negative half did, it doesn't do Rand any good to bring it up outside of a counseling context (and may in fact further intimidate her). She's got to be having second thoughts about serving aboard the Enterprise (if not Starfleet in general) at this point.
      • I'm ashamed of you all.
    Evil Kirk (early in the episode): I said gimme the BRANDY!!!

    Kirk and Spock... They're Just Friends, Honest! 
  • Possibly a prime example of "One Troper's Squee is another troper's Squick, but what is up with all the K/S shipping. To me it seems like Canon Defilement of the worst kind.
    • That was my reaction for a long time, but now it either makes sense, or I'm desensitized to it. I think it's about their enduring, rock solid friendship. After all, I presume K/S fics aren't just one of them dropping trou and begging the other for penis. Quite a few of them are probably If It's You, It's Okay.
    • You do realize this sounds a little homophobic, don't you? If you were talking about, for example, Kirk/Uhura, you wouldn't call it Canon Defilement. It's just some fans seeing romance where others don't. It's natural for any fandom.
      • I think the fact that you even brought it up when there was no reason for you to do is telling of how well-known the pairing is. It created the whole slash fan fic subgenre and is one of the most popular pairings more than 40 years later. It's highly ambiguous and there does seem to be a reasonable amount of subtext which leaves this all open for interpretation. In any case, all works of fiction are open for interpretation. And even though you wouldn't be able to convince Spock and Uhura is TOS canon, I wouldn't call Abrams addition of it in his universe "canon defilement".
      • Besides, it's traditional by now. The need to describe the Kirk/Spock pairing is the Trope Namer for Slash Fic.
      • It's possible to be squicked out purely by the Canon Defilement aspect of that ship without any implication of homophobia; if it's any consolation there are definitely gay Trek fans out there who find this pairing unsettling for that reason
    • Blame Saturday Night Live, their geriatric Trek sketch helped start it.
      • The slashing actually started while the original series was still airing. While the first fanzine devoted to K/S was published in 1976, individual stories date all the way back to 1968. More here.
    • Two guys, one a Chivalrous Pervert playboy hero and the other an emotionally desensitized telepathic Woobie, who run around saving one another's lives, sharing charming banter, failing at all of their romantic relationships, pressing their hands together through transparent-but-insurmountable barriers, and spending the majority of their screen time with each other... whether or not you feel that it's Canon Defilement, it's not like you can't see where the slash fans would get their ideas from.
    • K/S has only a thin canonical basis (but it's not hard to see how people might get the idea, like when Edith Keeler tells Spock that he belongs "At [Kirk's] side, as if you've always been there and always will"), but it's quite understandable to me that fans starved for any representation of alternative sexuality in Star Trek gravitate towards this brand of textual poaching (to borrow Henry Jenkins' term).
    • Sorry to break it to you with your claim of Canon Defilement but Gene Roddenberry went on record as saying that he would have made Kirk and Spock gay if he could have got away with it. Back in the 1960's not even the man who screened the first inter-racial kiss in history could get around the homosexuality taboo. If you re-watch the series with this is mind the subtext suddenly makes infinitely more sense when you realize he was deliberately writing them this way.
      • This is probably another example of Roddenberry Ret Conning. He was initially looking for a way to bring audience attention back on Shatner, who was getting pissed that Nimoy was getting ten times the fan mail he was. It was Isaac Asimov who suggested that Roddenberry portray the two as friends so that Spock fans would pay attention to Kirk. It's a pretty safe bet that Roddenberry was talking out his ass in the book you're quoting from (which is the now-forgotten Where No Man, a 1979 bio of Shat written by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, a couple of Objectivist devotees who had some of the most bizarre ideas ever in ST fandom). Be that as it may, learning about slash gave Roddenberry himself the idea to include the "t'hy'la" business in his novel for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Fans who had never heard of slash discovered it through that infamous footnote. Also, Roddenberry himself was apparently accused of being gay as a child because he didn't fit the "real man" stereotype of his dad's culture. According to George Takei, he was very supportive of real gays.
    • Not to mention that Star Trek is a Free-Love Future according to Word of God.
    • An important point as well is that slash fans didn't necessarily see something that sprung out of thin air. Rather, they were seeing the ghost of something that was once meant to be explicitly canon — sexual tension between a first officer and the captain. Originally, the show would have centered around Captain Pike and his logical first (and female) officer, Number One, who had romantic feelings for him. When Pike was replaced with Kirk and Spock took Number One's place after the executives got involved, though, the remnants of that relationship still lingered. Additionally, some of the writers for Trek did write stories sympathetic to homosexuality, even in a time as prejudiced against gay people as the 60s was. The most prominent is Theodore Sturgeon who wrote "The World Well Lost" which depicts the love Grunty holds for Rootes — his Captain who is described as a "arrogant, loquacious womanizer." Sound familiar? Sturgeon wrote "Amok Time" as well as "Shore Leave" — both of which contain clear homosexual subtext, such as Kirk trying to get a backrub out of Spock. Given that "The World Well Lost" was published in 1953, it's likely that Gene Roddenberry was aware of Sturgeon's views. And, as has been pointed out on this very wiki, Roddenberry himself coined the term t'hy'la to describe Spock and Kirk's relationship — meaning "friend, brother, lover." And given that Vulcan is a fantasy language and constructed, there was no need for Roddenberry to include the word "lover" as part of the definition. That's not to say that people can't find it Squicky, but to say it is Canon Defilement is a but much, I would say because, in canon at least, there's little doubt that Kirk and Spock do love each other. They may not be in love, of course, but they are clearly among the most important people in each other's lives. And given that neither of them have shown an opposition to same-sex relations, it wouldn't be out of character necessarily for them to fall in love.
    • It also doesn't help that the two of them are basically Confirmed Bachelors. Kirk may become infatuated with the Girl of the Week, but he never seems to even think about them afterward unless (as with Dr. Carol Marcus) he happens to run into them again at a later date. Spock has also had some brief liaisons, but these never seem to go anywhere either. So their closest and most enduring relationship remains with each other (with a little McCoy on the side). Even though they often go off on separate career paths by the time of the movies, they still gravitate towards each other. Hence it is very easy to read Ho Yay into their relationship. Unless you are a firm believer in No Bisexuals, it is not hard to speculate that they are essentially a couple in an open relationship due to mutual aversion to commitment.

    The Gorn Had It Coming 
  • So in the TOS episode "Arena," are the writers seriously trying to make us believe there's any moral equivalency between Kirk and the Gorn? Do they actually think the wholesale slaughter of all colonists, including women and children, while they're trying to surrender and begging for their lives, is a perfectly reasonable and understandable response to people encroaching, knowingly or not, on your territory? Adding this to the fact that the Gorns then lured the Enterprise to the planet and ambushed them, Kirk was right in trying to destroy them.
    • You have to remember that this show was made in the hippie era with its mantra of "killing is wrong, man".
      • Actually, no. "Arena" was based, anti-killing principles and Incredibly Advanced Beings intact, on a short story written by Fredric Brown in 1944. The show's on-air debut in late '66 coincided with the beginnings of the hippie era, but it had been in development, writing and filming for almost three years before that.
    • Considering how the being who set up the scenario considered a Celebrity Deathmatch to be a valid way of judging which race is more worthy, it's abundantly clear it was a Jerk Ass whose judgement had no connection to morality.
      • But it wasn't the being who set up the battle between Kirk and the Gorn captain who suggested that the Gorn had a legitimate grievance—it was Kirk who suggested that maybe the Federation had accidentally encroached on Gorn territory.
      • For the most part, I think the implication is that the Gorn didn't understand humans well enough to know what was going on, and didn't realize they were trying to surrender. They saw an armed outpost of strange furry creatures in their territory, they attacked it, the creatures attacked them right back, so it must be a military incursion. The problem with this is that amazingly faked, fully interactive message the Gorn sent to the Enterprise, which the rest of the episode ignores. If I had to justify it, I'd say the Gorn have computers as advanced as the TNG-era Federation, capable of running complex simulations with just a vague instruction. The Gorn captain may have said something like "computer, lure that alien ship here" and the ship's computer did so by creating a fake message.
      • Kirk is only conceding that there may have been a legitimate greivance behind the conflict, not that the Gorn were justified in their actions on Cestus III. He is taking a diplomatic approach in trying to resolve the conflict at large - after all he's been told that the Gorn ship is seeing (and most likely recording) every word.
      • It could easily be seen as an attempt at Values Dissonance, with the Gorn trying to protect their space from armed invaders that are seemingly superior to them in many ways. The fake transmission could have easily been assembled from intercepted messages that the colony sent out, and it is possible that the Enterprise was lured to Cestus 3 in hopes of taking out a powerful enemy ship, or at least it's Captain, in a surprise attack in hopes of driving off the invaders.
    • Another possibility is that the Gorn did not understand that children could be considered off-limits to attack. Many reptile species do not have a concept of parental care; the young hatch as miniature adults already equipped to survive on their own. As for ignoring the surrender messages, they were probably just as incomprehensible to the Gorn as "grr hisssss grr grr hisssssss" would be to humans.

    Anti-Vulcan Discrimination? 
  • I know it was the 60's and all, but every time I watch TOS, I am stunned by the casual bigotry that the human members of the Enterprise crew display towards Spock. The backhanded comments about his Vulcan background and culture are not only constant (I'm looking at you McCoy), but completely unremarked upon by Kirk, not only the authority figure, but Spock's supposed BFF. I mean seriously WTF? And, if you want to chalk that up to Values Dissonance, fine, but how about the way the Enterprise crew behaves towards T'Pol? Yes, the Vulcan GOVERNMENT has been a bit patronising towards humanity (for good reason from what I can tell by watching the series), but T'Pol never did anything to them. Why is it okay for the crewmembers to have an open dislike towards her just because she's Vulcan? Isn't this the humanity of the 22nd century that's evolved past all that? That wouldn't be cool in our backwards 21st century culture.
    • When it comes to McCoy comments, that's just the way that the Spock-McCoy friendship expresses itself. In various episodes, McCoy shows that he truly DOES care about Spock, but to an outsider, their way of interaction implies that they don't like one another. As for T'Pol, the Enterprise crew was meant to be a more 'they're like us' crew than the crews we'd seen before. T'Pol is basically the designated target for the crew, being a Vulcan, who are the ones responsible for 'holding humanity back,' on a ship full of humans. The fact that it's not right is the whole point - it's human behavior that we DO engage in, even today, even when we know it's wrong to do so.
      • Yeah, but if I had an ongoing relationship with a co-worker which invovled me refering to them using racial abuse and slang all the time, I don't think I'd get very far with the HR dept by saying 'thats just how we express ourselves, we're friends really'.
      • Kirk was the captain, and he was close friends with both Spock and Bones. If the captain says it's okay, then it's okay. In order for it to become an issue, someone would have to care. There seem to be no other Vulcans on the Enterprise, so they're not around to object, and maybe the humans just don't care, or don't think it's their place to say anything.
      • Large organisations like the military or big companies just don't work like that, not even today never mind in our enlightened tolerant future. Try going to a modern warship and have the chief medical officer routinely call the single black officer on the ship, who happens to be the first officer, a 'Black skinned, inhuman freak, etc, etc' as a term of 'endearment' and see how long it lasts, irrespective of whether he's offended by it or the Captain says 'its ok'. Firstly no Captain would say that and if they did they would probably end up in an enquiry as well.
      • That's not really a fair comparison. For one thing, Spock is inhuman. For another, there's hundreds and hundreds of years of black-white relations to be considered in the real world, whereas Vulcans and humans have been living side by side peacefully for centuries (at least until Enterprise fucked it up, but that doesn't count). And Vulcans in general aren't even capable of being offended, or at least strive not to be.
      • Spock is, in fact, half human. Much of McCoy's disagreement with Spock stems from Spock's rejection of his own humanity. On the occasions when he meets full-blooded Vulcans, McCoy is properly respectful and polite. For that matter, Spock pulls no punches when it comes to criticizing his human crewmates for their humanity.
      • Could be that McCoy has N-Word Privileges with Spock, and Spock has told Kirk that if it's McCoy then it's ok, since the two have a "give as good as you get" rivalry going. That would explain why Kirk jumps on Stiles so quick despite letting McCoy get away with it for so long.
    • You should try watching Enterprise, Trip and Archer engage in a four year long game of "who hates Vulcans the most?" with occasional
    • As for your question about T'Pol, Archer and Tucker may have been dicks to her (no one else seemed to have that much of a problem with her being Vulcan) but she was pretty racist herself. Criticizing our omnivorous diet because it goes against Vulcan morality (suddenly they're all vegetarians, a fact which Spock and Tuvok and Saavik and all the others never mentioned) in the same scene where she chides Archer and Tucker to stop applying their morality to alien species. All that stuff about the smell. Pissing on Hoshi, who never did anything anti-Vulcan to her, unlike Archer and Tucker, and generally being obnoxious all around.
      • A minor nitpick here, but Vulcans have been vegetarians since at least the animated series. It is a plot point in "The Slaver Weapon".
      • Even earlier, in "All Our Yesterdays," it is a plot point that Spock eats meat in the past due: "I have eaten animal flesh and I’ve enjoyed it."
      • Why stop there? In "The City on the Edge of Forever," Kirk gets the groceries: "Mister Spock, I've brought you some assorted vegetables, baloney in a hard rolls for myself." It's pretty clear that Spock was conceived as a vegetarian almost from inception.
  • As Uhura nicely noted: "In our century, we've learned not to fear words."
    • This is a fairly likely (and succinct) explanation. Racism, sexism and so forth are still active in our time and our efforts to refute them are a bit over-loud due to the enthusiasm of the converted. In 2013 I can accuse somebody of being "a sorceror" and my fellow villagers will not immediately rush out with torch and pitchfork to burn the person I speak to as a suspected pawn of the Devil: Trek's future society is apparently so free of racism/misogyny/etc. that the old accusing terms are only used as farce.
      • This has always been my opinion too; it would explain why the women are happy to spent their day wearing miniskirts and thigh high boots, why by the start of the Next Generation men are also allowed to wear skirts if they feel like it and why Troi and Seven of Nine have no problem wearing those tight bodysuits on a mostly male starship. They simply have a different idea of what discrimination and harassment is in the future and as long as you don't genuinely believe blacks/women/aliens are inferior and are simply making a joke; no one really much cares. You will see this again later on in the comic relief episodes surrounding Worf and Quark.
  • Whether this justifies it or not is one thing, but I believe a major reason for the verbalized anti-Vulcan attitudes, especially in the original show, is that it's a quasi-natural way to keep bringing up that Spock is an alien (and an alien who is non-humanlike in personality). Sort of an Informed Ability thing (except that Spock already looks alien). Like if they always started sentences with "Here in the 23rd century..." And after the first few ant-Vulcan insults, it just became standard script-filler.
  • You've all utterly missed the point. McCoy is a humanitarian. This puts him at odds with Spock immediately, because Spock rejects his personal philosophy as "emotional." As a Vulcan, he has been raised in a world where displays of emotion are treated like someone in our world stumbling around town day and night with their shirt hanging open, hefting a liquor bottle in one hand and clutching their crotch with the other. McCoy is offended that his devotion to caring about those around him is treated this way by Spock, and so he, being proud of his heritage and philosophy, takes every chance he gets to defend them.

    Spock's Got the Timey Wimey Ball 
  • In a late season 3 episode when Kirk, Bones and Spock get sent to a planet's past, we learn that everyone wasn't modified (or something) before they were sent through the time travel thing. So if that's the case why did Spock start acting like an emotional Vulcan?
    • There was some Hand Wave about temporal potential energy or something, wasn't there? I'm guessing the modifications were to prevent changes like that.
    • Each Vulcan has a faint telepathic connection to all other Vulcans, no matter how distant. When Spock was sent to the 'distant' past, he was connecting with the primitive Vulcans (before they learned to control their emotions) and in response started becoming more primitive himself.

    Edith Keeler Banned from the Future? 
  • City on the Edge of Forever: in the simplified manner in which time travel and its consequences via the Guardian was presented to the viewers, it should have at least entered Kirk's or Spock's mind some time in the weeks they were there that perhaps they could have taken her with them instead of letting her die. Maybe the Guardian would have been a Jerk Ass and disallowed it, or maybe it could have been a timeline-altering move, but what Bugs Me is that (unless I missed it) the possibility wasn’t addressed, even though Kirk would ostensibly have been trying to think of some way to avert the tragedy. A perfectly good Tear Jerker ruined by my ability to over-think. Hrmph.
    • Possibly even just her disappearance would cause changes to the future— who can know for sure? How bad would it be for Kirk to save her, then find out that it was necessary for her to actually die, and have to take her back to kill her.
    • We don't see the method by which they get back. One moment they're weeping on the street, the next they're just coming back to the Guardian's planet side of the Guardian. It probably only opened a portal when there was no possibility of the timeline being skewed again.
    • Likewise, the future had already been changed before they left, so, due to the way the Guardian's portal works, they probably couldn't return to their own future until after Edith had died. They had to restore the past to make the portal lead back to the Enterprise.
    • The impression I got was that they never had the chance to really plan. She's killed only seconds after they reunite with McCoy, before they have a chance to do anything.
    • It seems there would have been a lot of things they could have done. Be honest and explain the situation to her? It would be hard to believe but Spock does have that thing rigged up with video of the future of humanity on it, including the German victory. Conceal the truth but try to reason her out of her position? "I know war is bad, but the Nazis have been slaughtering millions of people like animals. Don't we have a moral responsibility to try to stop that?" Spock could show her the concentration camps with his TV thing. Failing that, kidnap her and use the Guardian to dump her in the middle of Outer Mongolia or Sub-Saharan Africa? Or maybe on an uninhabited South Sea island? They could provide her with a few years supply of food and water and fetch her once the war is over. She still might die, but at least she would have a fighting chance. In fact, they wouldn't even need an island. Just keep her locked in a basement for the duration of the war. They could stay in the past for a little while and make sure she was fed and relatively comfortable. She'd despise Kirk, but at least she'd be alive to hate him.
    • Odds are, though, that trying to adjust the timeline to allow her to live would've caused even bigger problems. That's the way such things seem to work.
  • Author Allan Asherman, in the book "The 'Star Trek' Compendium", figures that, if Edith Keeler were to learn that she was responsible for millions of deaths, she'd have probably jumped in front of that truck on her own initiative.

    Balok's Puppet... Brr... 
  • Why did they need to have that horrific still image of Balok's puppet in the end credits of the original series?
    • You have a show about fighting space aliens. Your end credits show exciting stills from previous episodes. Puppet!Balok is the most alien, most threatening-looking creature your show has put on air. That's why.
    • Producer Robert Justman was known for being a jokester; the credit accompanying the image of Balok is that of Desilu executive Herb Solow. It was probably funnier at the time.
    • It's actually the "Desilu" name (Lucille Ball's production company) that appears across the head of Balok's puppet in the closing credits (maybe in later episodes it was Solow's). I had always assumed it was an intentional visual joke, in that in other Desilu productions you would been shown Lucille Ball's glamorous cartoon head - the shape of the two heads being roughly similar.

    Spock's Fabulous Makeup 
  • I just wanna know why Spock cakes his eyeshadow on like that. Oh, honey, you'd better be grateful you've almost got the bone structure to work that. Seriously, is that supposed to be natural, or do Vulcans consider thick eyeshadow to be a unisex sort of thing? And if it's natural, why isn't it green?
    • Because Spock is half-human, duh, which probably screws up his pigmentation.
    • Seriously? Because they put make-up on him to try and indicate that he was brown-with-green-underneath rather than brown-with-pink-in-some-places. Troubles with the day-to-day make-up jobs were a large part of the reason why there weren't more alien-looking aliens on TOS. Unfortunately, it just came off like he was trying to be illogically Fabulous.
    • Not to mention that many if not most people were still watching the show on black and white televisions when it first came out. Lighting, contrast, etc. are all entirely different. Not only does the show have to look good on both types of televisions, there's the issue of makeup artists adjusting their techniques to compensate.
      • Plus the fact that even people watching on color TV at that time were not seeing what you are today with the "remastered" episodes on your HDTV.
      • Here's the problem with the Vulcans; despite all their protests to the contrary they operate on a brand of twisted own-brand logic that makes sense only to them. A few examples would include the the Pon Farr ceremony where the men are forced to fight with axes and the women are forced to stand around whilst they are dished out like property (and yes property is the term T'Pau uses in Amok Time) or the whole Katra ritual in Search For Spock that looks like some kind of garish Vegas stage production or T'Pol being issued a standard issue asset enhancing catsuit by her government. Personally I can absolutely believe there was a male eyeshadow fashion on Vulcan for a couple of years in the 23rd century that they justified to themselves as being logical somehow.
      • Hell, it was the style for both sexes in ancient Egypt, so why not?
      • That explanation is probably the most logical: it was the style in Egypt because it helped them deal with the glare from the sun, it being a desert country. And Vulcan is a desert planet. Since simple measures taken to deal with the environment (e.g. the reason clothes exist at all) become cultural, it makes perfect sense that Vulcans would wear eye makeup as a matter of course even offworld. Habit, tradition, and not feeling right without it.

    Thanks for the Memories, Uhura 
  • In "The Changeling" Uhura has her entire memory erased by the space probe Nomad. She is then simply re-educated and this event is never referenced again. What about her family? What about her life? She's just lost everything she ever was and they just re-instruct her on her abc's and send her back to work? Not even a letter home to her parents to let them know that their daughter is effectively dead?
    • Eh, she's a woman. As long as she keeps her baby-making equipment, nothing of value was lost.
    • She might have just been hit with aphasia rather than amnesia (which would kinda make sense: Nomad was probably lots more interested in deep-scanning her technical skills than her personal experiences). So Uhura might've had all her memories intact, but she had to be retaught how to speak, read, write and so on so that she could express them again. She seemed exactly like her old self in later episodes and the movies, so however they did it, they did completely restore her.
    • The earlier draft of the script, as well as the later novelization by James Blish, specifies this.
    • Notice how quickly she was reeducated. She was all better by the next episode, as I recall. Pretty good, considering she was starting from scratch (ie, kindergarten) and it presumably took about twenty years for her to acquire her education the first time.
      • At one point in reeducating her, Chapel becomes flustered because Uhura is speaking to her in Swahili rather than English. Given the illogic of teaching her a language that no one else on the ship speaks while in the middle of a crisis, odds are that the aphasia theory is dead on and Swahili was simply relearned before English was.
    • If Uhura kept any kind of diary that would help as well. Also, given that Spock has interacted with Uhura often (and heard all of her stories of family, home, etc.) and has a flawless memory, he could have assisted the process with a mind meld and either restored Uhura's memories directly or jumpstarted the process by which her mind would do so naturally. Restoring a highly-trained Starfleet specialist to her full mental faculties benefits the entire ship and, ultimately, the fleet (not to mention Uhura's loved ones). The personal violation a mind meld potentially represents is therefore a logical course of action. The needs of the many...

    This Universe Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us 
  • In the TOS episode, The Alternative Factor, why was it necessary to trap both Lazaruses in the corridor between universes? Wouldn't destroying the ship and keeping the insane one prisoner have been sufficient? What happens if someone else develops the technology? Even if it was necessary, why did Kirk actully tell Spock and 2 security guards to "stay back" while he struggled to toss insane Lazarus into the portal? Wouldn't four guys have made the whole thing easier? Better yet, why not just stun him and throw him in?
    • "The Alternative Factory"? I don't remember that episode.
    • Typo. It was called "The Alternative Factor", it did have two Lazaruses, this troper has no answers to the above troper's questions because she hated that episode.
      • I knew that. I was making a (fairly lame) joke.

    Why No Yeomen Men? 
  • Is there some reason all of Kirk's yeomen are female? He had quite a few over the course of the series, so you'd think at least one would be a guy, wouldn't you?
    • You are asking why Kirk would hire as many women as possible?
    • In Corbomite Maneuver, Kirk is visibly annoyed by Rand's constant hovering, griping about the "headquarters genius" who assigned him a female yeoman. McCoy asks him if it's because Kirk doesn't trust himself with female yeomans around, to which he replies he already has a female to worry about, and her name is the Enterprise.
      • Counterpoint: The Enterprise does not have a vagina.
      • It's called the shuttle bay. :-P
      • That's a womb.
      • Ships on Earth are referred to as female. Ask any sailor. It makes sense that this would carry over to starships.
    • The guys just didn't like the uniform.
    • There is a male yeoman in "The Cage".

    Youngest Doctorate Ever? 
  • In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Dr. Dehner's profile says that she's twenty-one. Are you kidding me? She has a doctorate at twenty-one? What is she, a child prodigy? And although Sally Kellerman was around twenty-eight at time, she looked like she was in her thirties.
    • Why shouldn't she have been a prodigy? Starfleet, especially in the TOS era, tried to staff the Enterprise with its best and brightest.
    • The current Guinness world record holder for 'youngest university professor' is one Dr. Alia Sabur, age 18. She apparently obtained her doctorate in Materials Science Engineering from Drexel University at age 16.
    • See the folder for Uhura's memory wipe. Using just the resources available aboard the Enterprise McCoy and whoever else Kirk delegated to handle the problem were able to educate Uhura from preschool to Starfleet Academy graduate status in just under a week; obviously education technology in the 23rd century is just a little bit more advanced than what we see today. Granted, Uhura's was a crash program put together as a result of an emergency (and doesn't address her OJT or experience in the position) but under regular conditions there's no reason why someone sufficiently talented couldn't earn a doctorate by twenty-one in the Trek universe (considering that it's also been done in 20th century Real Life).

    Chekov Hates the Letter V? 
  • Kind of a minor question: Why can't Chekov pronounce the letter V? There's three of them in his own name, and he pronounces them just fine when introducing himself. Then he suddenly loses the ability in every other word. Most egregious in the reboot.
    • Reaches wall banger status in a minor way when the computer is unable to understand Chekov giving his authorization code because of the "Wictors"... nevermind that he's using the phonetic alphabet, which is specifically designed so that each letter sounds different regardless of pronunciation or interference.
    • For whatever reason, Walter Koenig had a really odd idea what a Russian accent sounded like. The scene in the reboot is just a Lampshade Hanging / Mythology Gag.
      • He's on record as saying he was imitating his Russian/Lithuanian father's accent.
    • To an extent there is a bit of Truth in Television though. Russian does not contain W sound, and Russians who don't bother with right pronounciation would avoid it. But those Russians (this troper included) who did learn this sound tend to forget (at first at least), that the letter V is also exist in English, and they replace all Vs with Ws. This troper used to say "woice" instead of "voice" just because the latter didn't sound English enough for her. Still it is strange in the case of Chekov, who daily deals with native english speakers and most likely would correct his mistake once he heard the right version.
    • Maybe he has a speech impediment?
    • How hard would it be to program the Enterprise main computer simply to recognize Chekov's voice and accent/speech impediment/whatever? If voiceprint technology is a major part of Starfleet's security protocols, then the computer would recognize that Chekov is speaking and (provided Chekov also gives the proper authorizations) be done with it. Even if Chekov were just recently transferred to the ship (as appears to be the case in the reboot) it's just a matter of telling Computer A to send Computer B the appropriate files.
    • Concerning Chekov's name, being born and raised in Russia, his actual birth name should be "Павел Андреевич Чехов" (at least according to The Other Wiki), with "Pavel Andreievich Chekov" being just the English transliteration, serving kind of as a pronunciation guide for anyone who can't read Cyrillic letters. The "v" of the Latin alphabet thus doesn't actually exist in Chekov's name.

     Rejecting Your Heritage is Illogical 
  • In TOS Spock always acts as though he's not half human. Remarks like "Your Earth" and puzzlement over human nature are common occurrences. Clearly he favors his Vulcan heritage over his human side, and there's nothing wrong with that. I have to wonder, though, how absent a parent would his mother had to have been for him to be completely befuddled by humanity? I can't think of any "logical" explanation for this other than he doesn't particularly like his human ancestry and deliberately plays it down at every opportunity.
    • Given that many of the Star Trek movies, not just the reboot, have suggested he faced discrimination by other Vulcans, his own father spoke in disappointment at his birth saying “so Human” in Star Trek 5, he may have compensated and became a little self-loathing of his heritage. There are stories of African Americans who were able to hide their Black ancestry in the 19th 20th centuries joining White Supremacists groups and being some of the most hate filled members.
    • Consider also that Spock's mother was sufficiently different from most other human women in that she'd consider a Vulcan man as a desirable long-term partner. Clearly, Amanda Grayson did not conform to the mold, and probably wasn't the best exemplar of human behavior. That doesn't even get into the fact that the rest of the people Spock interacted with from birth up to his entrance into Starfleet Academy were all Vulcans. His social skills, nonverbal communication, and understanding of customs and traditions are all informed by Vulcan influences. While he can understand the human side of his ancestry, it's the Vulcan side he's had more exposure to and feels more comfortable with.
    • There's also the possibility that, given the volatile nature of Vulcan emotion, Spock was concerned that if he indulged his human emotions, he would not be able to restrain himself and he would cause trouble for not just his family, but for those around him. Remeber, the inability to control emotions is seen as a mental disorder on Vulcan, and in the past rampant emotionalism nearly destroyed their planet. That's a pretty strong stigma for a child to overcome.

     General Order 24 
  • In both "Whom Gods Destroy" and "A Taste of Armageddon", General Order 24 is referred to; it's an order for a starship to exterminate all life on a given planet. Kirk even gives this order. Doesn't the existence of General Order 24 seem extremely brutal for Starfleet?
    • Most militaries keep orders for every possible contingency on hand, even if they don't intend on actually using them. Case in point: the United States actually had an invasion plan for Canada in the 1930's which wasn't declassified until 1974 (although it hadn't been updated since 1939). And given the enemies Starfleet has run across just from what we've seen with the Enterprise (and there are twelve Constitution-class starships all running the same five-year mission) it makes sense. Honestly, if Kirk were to run across something like Z'Ha'Dum or LV-426 what else would you expect him to do? ("Operation: Annihilate!" actually sets up such a situation and Kirk does entertain GO 24 until an alternate solution is found). As the series itself demonstrates on numerous occasions, a simple quarantine isn't enough for some threats.

     Here's to Captain Dunsel 
  • If the M-5 computer in "The Ultimate Computer" could be installed aboard the Enterprise and eliminate the need for the rest of the crew to even be there (Chekov was bemusedly sitting at his console and simply confirming what the M-5's navigation was doing), why did they have 20 people onboard? Why not go ahead and completely give the ship over to the M-5? And who the hell designed this thing without an "off" switch? Daystrom had already had four previous failures!
    • The episode itself answers that question: it was a demonstration, and Daystrom's prototypes already have a bad track record (which begs the question of why Starfleet still continues to do business with him). As a precaution, a bare minimum crew is left on board to document the M-5's performance, disable it in case there's a problem, and keep the Enterprise operational until the full ship's complement can be restored. Unfortunately the prototype worked a little too well...
    • Starfleet kept working with Daystrom because of his breakthrough in duotronic circuits, which was as big a deal as us going from the punchcard computer to the vaccuum tube, or from that to computer chips. Essentially, Daystrom was the Steve Jobs of the 23rd Century, and even if his mose recent products had been a bust, he still had his reputation for the advancements he had made, so he was given the benefit of the doubt.
    • One question this troper has is "Why only 20"? Granted, I can see a number of button-pusher positions being eliminated by the computer (helm, captain, navigation, weapons operators, etc and the secretarial jobs performed by Rand) but what about the entire engineering complement? What about the medical crew? Laboratory staff? Then there's the support personnel for those positions, redundancy. Was it simply a matter of "only 20 needed for the duration of this experiment"?
      • A crew of 20 was all that absolutely needed to operate the ship in the event of an M-5 malfunction. Notice that other ships were close on hand, including 4 other Constitution-class starships. The 20 were needed to monitor M-5 to make sure that it was working and, in the event that all Hell broke loose, were there to shut the computer down and keep the Enterprise from spontaneously combusting until she could be dragged back to spacedock and refitted to normal operations. Scotty was onboard, as well as a couple other engineers, and McCoy was there for medical (with such a small crew and other ships nearby, you only need the one doctor). No laboratory staff was needed, since there was no research to be done other than on the M-5. Basically, it was a one time deal with the understanding that, if shit hit the fan, help was nearby anyway, so redundancy was less important that the M-5 trial run.

     Ambassadors Can Violate the Prime Directive? 
  • In "A Taste of Armageddon", Eminar VII sent the Enterprise a strict coded warning to stay the hell away. Why isn't this the end of the discussion? By ordering Kirk to proceed there anyway, the ambassador is causing him to violate the Prime Directive.
    • Starfleet appears to be ultimately subject to civilian authority, so the ambassador (presumably operating on higher orders himself) is within his authority. Kirk does have the right and the responsibility to question the order under these circumstances, however.
    • The ambassador likely had orders to open negotiations at all costs, or similar phrasing to that effect. Thus, he was willing to ignore anything that got in the way of that goal. Just one of the reasons that Fox was the definition of Ass in Ambassador.
    • In TOS the Prime Directive appears to fully apply only with pre-Warp civilizations who have not had interstellar interference or contact — while it is not indicated that Eminiar has warp, it is made clear that they already know that there are other civilizations travelling around space to the point of knowing which Starfleet code indicates quarantine regardless of the circumstances, so as the Prime Directive is presented in TOS, this is not a Prime Directive violation.

     Feel free to read our tech manuals! Please don't kill us! 
  • Khan is known to be a genetic superman, with strength, memory and intelligence all enhanced from regular human beings. And God knows he's ambitious. Hospitality aside, why in the world would Kirk give him an Enterprise technical manual?
    • Perhaps he figured progress had left Khan so far behind he wouldn't be able to catch up just by reading a manual. Still, this is the sort of thing that's classified in a real military/security organization, and Kirk should be in real hot water over it. It's hard to believe that the Enterprise didn't have some magazines or novels on board for Khan to read if he was that bored. Maybe even some newspaper archives, so Khan could get caught up?
    • Consider the type of man Kirk is, and the society that he lives in: each person strives to do their level best to improve themselves, with little if any thought towards bringing another low. He was probably hoping that Khan, realizing how much had changed, would use his advanced mind to better the world around him rather than attempt to destory/conquer it.
    • Kirk had no idea who Khan was at this point. Khan was refusing to answer all questions, and claimed to be a ship engineer of the Botany Bay. He was given the tech manuals, presumably, because Kirk sympathised with his Fish Out of Temporal Water situation and like above, didn't believe he would be able to catch up with 200+ years of technological progress.

     Commandeering Commodore 
  • Commodore Decker was quite obviously out of his mind. Why did Spock and McCoy back down so easily and let him take command of the Enterprise? McCoy should have insisted on having those psychological evaluations beforehand, at the very least.
    • While Spock would have backed up McCoy had the doctor pushed the issue (he did so with regard to Kirk in a similar situation), the case can be made that time was of the essence and that Decker did have critical intelligence on the Doomsday Machine that would ensure the survival of the Enterprise and its crew. Declaring him incompetent would have ended any further cooperation from him, resulting in a risk neither Spock nor McCoy is willing to take.
    • The lack of psychological evaluations is easy to explain. The ship went to red alert right after Decker and McCoy beamed aboard, and Decker rushed to the bridge before the doctor could get him to sickbay. However, psychological evaluations shouldn't have been necessary to relieve Decker; it was clear enough from the way he was acting that he was unfit for command and McCoy should have noted that.

     The Cage 
  • Why was Vina's true form so far from symmetrical? I get that the aliens couldn't rebuild her properly, but since they're symmetrical, and most complex species on Earth and in Star Trek are symmetrical, you'd think they'd at least try to make her look even. Even if she looked like a different species, she might still look sort of okay and would probably be much more comfortable than with problems like a twisted neck and face and a shoulder higher than one ear. It seems like they could have done it, given their medical abilities and what they did successfully do for her, but not knowing what her species looks like doesn't mean doing a slipshod job.
    • Simple: The uglier she is the more likely she is to submit to their demands. Don't know about you but I sure as hell would be more suggestible if it meant I could be young and sexy instead of hideously deformed.
    • I've always imagined there was one initial emergency surgery to save her life, and then several frantic surgeries to try to correct the damage they inflicted because they didn't know what the hell they were doing. They might have tried to reconstruct her with some semblance of symmetry, but with all the damaged and excised muscle, fused joints, scar tissue, nerve damage, and tendons reattached by duct tape and prayer, her body simply lacks the capacity for symmetry.
    • When Pike asks "You'll give her back her illusion of beauty?" and the Keeper says "And more," he shows her with an illusion of Pike staying with her. This was rearranged for "The Menagerie" so that we don't see Pike going with her until he actually gets back to the planet, leaving the Keeper's "And more" unexplained. I like to think it means now that they've seen other humans, including females, they can fix her up a bit.
  • Why aren't there more "laser" burns from all the other times people tried to fire their weapons? For that matter, if the illusions could cover up a laser blast and a hole burned through the wall, what was the point of one of the aliens trying to sneak in through the wall panel when they thought Pike wasn't looking (aside from stupidity to forward the plot)?
    • The Talosians can cover up the blast damage, but are clearly unable to prevent it. Securing the weapons is prudent because it removes danger of their prisoners devastating the Talosian facility and its staff and not even realizing it. Of course, with the power to alter their prisoners' perceptions, one has to wonder why the hell he could have let himself get caught.
    • He got caught because, due to Pike's violent thoughts, he couldn't read his mind and was unaware that the seemingly unconcious man was actually poised to strike. As for the question about why the Talosian was trying to grab the phasers, Pike answers that a few seconds later, when he offers to test if the illusions will prevent them from seeing the uppermost 18 inches of alien disintegrate from a point-blank shot. Just because Pike can't see the damage he is causing doesn't mean he isn't tearing the place to shreds, and given the physical weakness that the Talosians demonstrate, it'll be hard enough to clean up the mess he'd already made.

     Kodos and witnesses 
So supposedly when Kodos the Executioner killed 4000 people, there were only 9 known witnesses who ever saw him. Then how in the hell do they have his picture on file? Why would they need any witness to identify him when his picture was in federation records and his crimes were public record? Even then how did the other 3991 survivors never see him? Sorely a colony's senator declaring martial law is not only going to make himself public, but would've been seen long before he took power anyway. Furthermore, he could not be 100% identified from a charred body- sorry, but it's the 23rd century, do they not have DNA testing yet? No ability to check dental records? That's just ignoring the fact that cosmetic surgery is easy and common- if a Klingon can look human, why can't one man change his appearance just slightly to avoid such identification? he didn't alter his appearance in the least(this might make sense if only a few witnesses could ID him, but his photo is in the records!). Plus how would his daughter have ever found out unless his photo was in the records? Come the (BEEP) on here!
  • Science Marches On definitely applies here. It's not a stretch to assume that everyone in the 23rd century has perfect teeth, so dental records probably wouldn't still exist. Aside from that, there was no conclusive means of identifying a body from charred remains in the 1960's, and even today it's difficult. And DNA analysis has only been a thing since The Eighties. The only thing that would work is if Kodos had an identical twin brother upon whom he could pin the blame. Which means that either his brother was complicit in Kodos' crimes (and Kodos killed him to muddy his tracks) or yet another innocent man was killed.
  • Or Kodos anticipated this and killed everyone else who had seen his face prior to his attempted Heel-Face Turn.
     Spock's Estimate of Tribble Populations 
Spock: One million seven hundred seventy one thousand five hundred sixty one. That's assuming one tribble, multiplying with an average litter of ten, producing a new generation every twelve hours over a period of three days.
  • How is any of this reasonable? Dr. McCoy will soon come in and tell them that he hasn't completed his analysis of the medical characteristics of tribbles yet. And even if Bones told Spock earlier "an average litter of ten ever twelve hours", who says the average litter isn't really 10.3 and the average length of a tribble generation is really 11.8 hours? And the tribble population didn't start with one tribble; Cyrano Jones was talking like he had a considerable stock (dozens, lets say) on hand that he was going to sell to the bartender. Furthermore, the tribbles had to work their way into that storage bin, and who knows how long they've been breeding in there. At best Spock could maybe create an estimate to the nearest thousand, but even that is questionable.
     One For Yes, Two For No: Poor, Poor Chris Pike 
  • Really? Hundreds of years of medical progress, and this is the best they can do for poor Christopher Pike? Even with only the tech we've got today, we could have taught him Morse code and allowed him to express complex thoughts, and we're well on our way to allowing paralyzed persons to control computers with their minds without even needing invasive implants.
    • Let's be fair here because this tends to come up a lot: Computer technology today would seem borderline miraculous to someone living back in the sixties and as such to chew out the writers for not giving Pike a Stephen Hawking type chair is just wrong. It is also fair to say that TOS had a budget so small that stretching to a small flashing light genuinely was approaching the best they could do so even if they could envisage something more realistic they probably couldn't have done much better. Of course that does not excuse the genuine fact that the script writer apparently forgot about the concept of Morse code.
    • How is it "just wrong"? They'd already imagined a talking ship's computer. It's not exactly much of a stretch from that to imagining an interface by which a severely crippled man could input language into the computer to have it read out for him, even if that interface was slow and painstaking (to preserve Rule of Drama and keep his crippling suitably horrifying for the audience).
    • I was also confused on the lack of morse code too, or even a shot of someone trying to spell out words with him when USS Enterprise crew come in and a remark of just going with yes and no questions on screen to save time.
    • Of course it could just be that whatever the injury to him was, it was so debilitating that it is just too much of a strain for him to do anything more complicated than one light for yes and two for no. It does seem to take quite a while for him to even flicker those lights. That might very well be all he is capable of doing. We don't have enough information to rule it out. Out of universe, yeah it probably was just a 1960s mindset that it didn't even occur to the staff. We tend to forget just how far we've come sometimes.
      • It's been a while since I've seen the episode, but wasn't there a line to the effect that there was no brain damage and he was just as intelligent as ever?
      • Yep there is, and there is no indication in the episode that he suffers any mental impairments, from his reactions he's just as sharp as ever.
     What is a savage curtain? 
  • What's the significance of the episode title "The Savage Curtain?" Is it just a metaphor for the line between good and evil?

    Headscratchers/Star TrekStar Trek: The Animated Series

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