Episode: Season 1, Episode 23
Title:"A Taste of Armageddon"
Previous: Space Seed
Next: This Side of Paradise
Recapper: Synjo Deonecros
Tropes used in the episode
- A Million Is a Statistic: Part of this episode's Aesop is that adopting this attitude towards war actually helps facilitate it.
- Aesoptinum: The computer game/disintegration chambers exist to set up a critique of the doctrine of "limited" war.
- Aggressive Negotiations: This comes with a side of Gunboat Diplomacy in this episode with Kirk's General Order 24. As Scotty notes, "A fully-armed phaser bank" is his favorite kind of diplomat, and as Spock says when Fox asks him what he thinks he's doing, he's exercising "a peculiar variety of diplomacy" by blasting the disintegration chambers. Blowing the war computers to kingdom come at the end also definitely qualifies as this kind of diplomacy.
- Ass in Ambassador: Robert Fox is pretty much this until a bit more than half way through the episode, when he picks up a disruptor and becomes something of an Ambadassador.
- Batman Gambit: Kirk pulls one off by destroying Anan's computer, suspecting that he would rather talk peace than continue a messier war.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Scotty demonstrates this when Anan 7 tries to trick the Enterprise crew into beaming down to the planet by faking Kirk's voice. Scotty, already suspicious of what's going on, immediately runs the message through a voice analyzer which proves (with 98% certainty) that it is not Captain Kirk. Spock also demonstrates his understanding of the need for "cowboy diplomacy" by picking up a disruptor and going around politely—but firmly—ordering people to step away from the disintegration chambers so he can destroy them.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum:
- Ambassador Fox, along with his assistant, beaming down to Eminiar 7 while the Enterprise's "screens" were up; in numerous other episodes, it's a plot point that beaming people on or off the ship through the energy shields is basically impossible. (The crew from Deep Space Nine were only able to exploit a vulnerability in the shields to slip through them in "Trials and Tribble-ations" because they had fast-working 24th century transporters.) Nothing more is ever said of these "screens" and whether they're the same as the shields or some modified version of them, however, nor do we ever hear of them again.
- Spock, who usually has to be touching the intended contact with his hands for any sort of telepathic event, mentally dominates a guard standing on the other side of a solid wall several inches thick. While other Vulcans in various Star Trek series were occasionally shown to be able to extend their telepathy beyond their physical grasp, this is the only time one of them was ever shown extending a mind-meld from his hands through a wall as if it were a form of magnetization.
- Go Look at the Distraction: Spock tells one of his victims "Sir, there is a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder." The guard tumbles to his ploy... literally.
- Humans Kill Wantonly: This trope Kirk has to avert at the end of the story by telling the humanoid Eminiars that as civilized beings, they surely have enough capacity for self-control to restrain their acknowledged natural heritage of savagery and cut a peace deal with their enemies.
- Kirk Summation: The way Kirk delivers this Aesop.
- Master Computer: A different example of this trope from the usual kind for the series. While the Eminiars (and presumably Vendikans) have set up the computers to give orders to their civilizations, the computers aren't artificially intelligent; they're just calculating casualties the way they were programed to do. Additionally, Kirk destroys the computers by just shooting them, rather than talking them into destroying themselves with a Logic Bomb.
- Nasty Party: Anon 7 tries to invite the entire crew to one, but Scotty sees right through his ploy. Fox, in contrast, tumbles to it with all the grace and intellect of a pile of bricks.
- Orbital Bombardment: General Order 24, which Kirk orders Scotty to carry out if the Eminian problem isn't solved within two hours. Fortunately, this proves unnecessary to execute in the end, and he calls it off.
- Red Shirt: Kirk and Spock have three with them for this mission, but they all manage to make themselves useful, survive the story, and return safe and sound to the ship; partially by beating up some Eminiar Mooks and acquiring their uniforms for themselves.
- Redundant Rescue: Spock bursts into the council chambers to save Kirk—to find The Captain holding the entire council at bay with a stolen disruptor. Kirk appreciates the effort nonetheless.Spock: I assumed you needed help. I can see that I am in error.
- Sadistic Choice: A rare example perpetrated by the hero. When Kirk destroys Anan's computer, he forces the warring planets either to find a way to get along or to start preparing for an old-fashioned war, hence destroying the precious order they were so desperate to preserve.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Scotty wisely refuses to follow Fox's tactically stupid orders, despite acknowledging that Fox outranks him.
- Too Dumb to Live: Fox. Had Scotty followed his orders to lower the screens, the Enterprise would have been destroyed. He then beamed down right into the enemy's hands and would surely have been executed if not for Team Spock's Big Damn Heroes moment.
- War Is Hell: Kirk's reason for despising the Eminiars' tidy theoretical war, and the moral of the episode, is that war is supposed to be hellish; that way, people will do their best to avoid it and work to end the conflict quickly (one way or another) whenever they can't.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: All right, maybe the planet's "sonic" disruptors are just some kind of low-frequency spectral weapon of some sort; even so, decibels are a logarithmic unit, so Scotty's assessment that they're firing in terms of "Decibels - 18 to the 12th power" refers to a level of kinetic energy immensely greater than the luminosity of our entire galaxy!