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Recap: Star Trek S 2 E 10 Journey To Babel
Everyone's getting all primped up to greet the ambassadors whom the Enterprise is delivering to the planet code named Babel for an important Federation conference. The arrival of Vulcan Ambassador Sarek and his Terran (i.e., human) wife Amanda is particularly looked forward to. The awaited arrival comes with a shocking surprise. Sarek is Spock's father!

Spock has been estranged from his parents for awhile. Spock and Sarek haven't spoken in 18 years due to Sarek not approving of Spock going into Starfleet rather than the Vulcan science academy. And Amanda just wants him to smile, dammit! But, Spock has no time or desire for lovey-dovey family reunions. Things are tense with all the delegates on board, many with personal grudges against each other. And just to make matters worse, an unidentified vessel is stalking the Enterprise. And just to put the cherry on the crap sundae, Sarek is not only accused of murder, but he has a heart attack just as soon as the charges are made against him!

Then Kirk gets stabbed in the back by Thelev of the Andorian party. Spock is told that only his blood could save his ailing father, but with Kirk indisposed, the Enterprise needs a commanding officer, particularly with that alien vessel closing in.

What's a Vulcan to do?
Tropes for this episode include:
  • AB Negative: Sarek and Spock both have T- blood, a type rare even among Vulcans.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Amanda gives one to Spock for refusing to help Sarek.
  • Ass in Ambassador: A whole shipload. And two end up dead.
  • Big "Shut Up!": McCoy to Spock at the end of the episode.
    McCoy: "Well, what do you know; I finally got the last word!"
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Vulcan anatomy is very different from humans and not studied by most Terran physicians. Seems the heart is somewhere where a human's liver would be.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Gav and presumably all Tellarites have completely black eyes. While Gav doesn't come off as completely evil, he is considerably belligerent.
  • Clear My Name: Sarek is accused of murdering Gav due to his cause of death being similar to Tel-Shaya- a merciful Vulcan method of execution. Sarek could have logical motive as well as means and has no alibi beyond he was meditating. Actually, he was recovering from another heart attack. Didn't want Amanda to worry. He has another heart attack as he asserts his innocence.
  • Continuity Porn: One of the few plot threads to actually be seen to completion in the series, given that Spock's half-human heritage had been alluded to all the way since the beginning of the series.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Thelev breaks an antenna, revealing he's not an Andorian at all!
  • Driven to Suicide: Thelev takes a poison rather than risk further interrogation. The Orion ship also self destructs.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Spock's dilemma.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Sarek really wanted Spock to go to the science academy just as he and his father before him did.
  • Forced into Their Sunday Best: Bones expresses dislike of having to wear a dress uniform for the delegates.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Spock's mom is also the mom of James Jr., Betty and Kathy.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Inverted! Spock and Kirk discuss what should be done for the ailing Sarek, with input from Sarek himself. When Kirk gets around to asking Bones what they should do, he says "I'm glad someone is asking me!"
  • Last Words: "I seem to have miscalculated." - Thelev, after declaring that the poison he took would give him only 10 minutes to live.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After telling Spock and Kirk to shut up, Bones smiles into the camera and says "Whaddya know? I finally got the last word!" Cue end credits. Falls short of outright Breaking the Fourth Wall since Word of God is that Bones was addressing Nurse Chapel, but it's certainly the nearest the franchise has ever come to breaking it.
  • Meaningful Name: A rather ironic meaning in this case. In the Bible Babel was where what was left of humanity dispersed because they couldn't understand each other. Here, Babel is where people from different planets go in attempt to understand each other.
  • Parting From Consciousness Words: "The passengers are more important." - Spock, just before the anesthetic kicks in.
  • Playing Sick: Inversion. Kirk fakes being healthy enough to take over his captain duties so Spock is free to donate the blood his father needs.
    • And then played straight when Kirk has the ship play wounded in order to trick the attacking Orion vessel to swing back into phaser range.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: A smallish example since the storyline isn't just about the conflict between Spock and Sarek, but the whole thing will be very familiar to anyone who's seen The Jazz Singer. Even Leonard Nimoy supposedly commented on the similarities during filming.
  • Red Shirt: Their usual dramatic role is averted in the scene where they are ordered to search Thelev. When he resists, one red shirt simply stuns him with his phaser, discovers a small transmitter that was on the prisoner and immediately reports it to the bridge.
  • Shirtless Scene: Kirk is topless for no reason (maybe changing out of his dress clothes into a more everyday uniform?) when he is informed of the murder of Ambassador Gav. Justified when he's in the sickbay swathed in bandages from Thelev's attack.
  • Strange Salute: The famous Vulcan salute. Bones can't do it and settles for a quick wave. Also, the finger tip touching between Amanda and Sarek.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Spock, no matter how much he pretends not to care.
    • Sarek does ask that his wife not say any more embarrassing stories about Spock's childhood in order to keep Spock's respect among his Starfleet peers, which Amanda takes as a sign that Sarek finally approves of the career path Spock took. Of course, Sarek does this in private where Spock can't overhear...
  • What The Hell, Son?: Amanda gives one to Spock when he chooses his duty to the Enterprise over saving his father. One wonders at Spock's decision, coldly logical as it sounds. Scotty has shown himself numerous times as being capable of command.
    • Possible Fridge Brilliance: Perhaps Spock was trying to prove himself to his father by doing what could be better for more people—a Vulcan thing if there ever was one.
  • You Look Familiar: Mark Lenard also played the Romulan Commander from "Balance of Terror".
    • So much so that the Fanon name for said commander is "Keras".
Star Trek S 2 E 9 MetamorphosisRecap/Star Trek: The Original SeriesStar Trek S 2 E 11 Fridays Child

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