"As it was in the dawn of our days, as it is today, as it will be for all tomorrows, I make my choice. This one."
Series:Star Trek: The Original Series
Episode: Season 2, Episode 1
Previous: Operation Annihilate
Next: Who Mourns For Adonais
Recapper: Synjo Deonecros
We start off with McCoy catching Kirk on his rounds to talk about how un-Vulcanlike Spock's been, for the past couple of days. Kirk at first dismisses McCoy's worries as being nothing...until another ill-fated attempt by Nurse Chapel to gain his eye causes Spock to throw a temper tantrum, catching everyone by surprise. Unfortunately, the green-blooded primadonna refuses to let in on what's causing him to PMS, only firmly
requesting leave on his home planet.
Nothing doing, though; the Enterprise
is on its way to represent the Federation at the crowning ceremony for the new ruler of Altair VI, which has been bumped up by a few days - nowhere near enough time for a detour to Vulcan. Spock, however, won't take "no" for an answer, and defies orders to head to Vulcan, anyway, forcing Kirk to order him to McCoy's for a checkup to see just what the hell is wrong with him. And what's wrong, is that his PMS is killing him!
No, I'm not kidding; it turns out that Spock has hit that time of the decade where Vulcans need to mate, lest their suddenly raging hormones kill them. Yeah, I don't get it, either. Kirk, sympathetic, tries to talk to Starfleet about a quick detour to Vulcan, but his refusal to go into Vulcan reproductive habits (why no one in the Federation didn't know about them until now, what with Vulcans being one of the founding members
of the organization and all, I have no idea) doesn't convince them. So, like a good, dutiful little captain, Kirk... disobeys orders and heads to Vulcan anyway
So, par for the course
, I guess.
Once at Vulcan, Spock introduces the crew to T'Pring, his wife-to-be, and offers an invitation to both Kirk and McCoy(?) to the wedding ceremony. However, after arriving at Spock's ancestral home, they learn just how in over their heads they are; not only can the bride decide not to marry her intended husband, resulting in a battle to the death
with whomever the bride chooses (which Spock conveniently
forgets to inform Kirk or McCoy, before the ceremony), but T'Pau, the
face of Vulcan, and the only person ever to decline a seat on the Federation council, is overseeing the proceedings. This wouldn't be that much of a problem...had T'Pring not rejected the marriage offer and chosen Kirk as her champion. Naturally, this results in the infamous fight scene between the two friends, ending with Spock seemingly killing Kirk after McCoy gives him something to help fight in the more hostile environment of the planet.
With the shock of killing his best friend acting like a bucket of cold water on the horny Vulcan, Spock orders Kirk's body and McCoy back to the ship while he confronts T'Pring on her choice; turns out, T'Pring hated the idea of marrying for money and fame, and fell in love with a more obscurely-known Vulcan male named Stonn, and arranged everything so that, regardless of the outcome, she'd be able to stay with Stonn
(even though, logically, her plan could've been derailed if Kirk refused the challenge
, as he's informed he could by T'Pau, before he learned of the "battle to the death" thing). Satisfied, Spock leaves the crafty bitch with her lover, and returns to the Enterprise
to turn himself in for murder.
But wait! Turns out, Kirk isn't dead! Yes, the substance McCoy gave him during the battle was actually some Applied Phlebotinum
which allowed Kirk to simulate death. The episode ends with Spock barely catching himself from having a joygasm over Kirk's survival, and Kirk and McCoy having a good tease over it. Meanwhile, T'Pau covers for Kirk's shenanigans, saving him from another court martial.
- Accidental Near-Hug: Overjoyed that Kirk wasn't Killed Off for Real, Spock grabs him by the arms... and quickly attempts to pretend he didn't when he notices that Chapel and McCoy are watching.
- Act Of True Love: Kirk sacrifices his career to save Spock. He gets it back, of course, but he didn't know that that would happen.
- A Friend in Need: Kirk is patient with Spock's antics while under the ponn farr. Later, he sacrifices his command to save him (and almost sacrifices his life). His reason why? "He's my friend."
- Arranged Marriage: Spock and T'Pring.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: T'Pring. Granted, being married to a guy who you haven't seen in years would be potentially trying, but Vulcans have come to expect it. She is willing to force a fight between two best friends, one of whom is completely ignorant of what she is asking and the other of whom possibly has no more control over the Arranged Marriage than she does. She does this over a guy who she only chose because of his docility, according to the James Blish novelization.
- Blatant Lies: Spock's reaction at the end of the episode. He was not "on the verge of...an emotional display"; he was simply pleased that Starfleet had not lost one of its finest officers. McCoy lampshades how poorly the Vulcan's lies stand up.
- Bowdlerize: The German dub infamously completely changed the plot to remove all sexual references, as over there, they think Star Trek is a kids' show. As a result, the entire episode plays out as if the whole thing was just a dream, which is kind of a screw to the audience if you've ever seen the episode as it was in America. In the 90s, a correct dub of the episode was finally released.
- Continuity Nod: Chapel's attraction to Spock from "The Naked Time" is brought up again. Apparently she's been constantly trying to raise his interest ever since, much to Bones' amusement.
- Death World: Vulcan is quite inhospitable to humans, to the point that "hot as Vulcan" has become a common saying.
- Did Not See That Coming: McCoy. T'Pring never mentioned him when explaining her plan to Spock, and Spock invited him as a friend, not as backup. Nonetheless, he's single-handedly responsible for the episode's Happy Ending.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: Not directed at Kirk himself, but on the verge of losing his sanity Spock practically begs T'Pau not to let him go through with the fight, as he does not want to kill his best friend.
- Dutch Angle: This appears soon after the Power Trio arrive for the wedding, focusing on the Vulcans.
- Easily Forgiven: In spite of Spock's attempt to murder him, Kirk is back to their regular relationship by the end of the episode.
- Engagement Challenge: Well, sort of.
- Exact Words / Loophole Abuse: Spock attempts to use this on McCoy, saying that the Captain told him to "report to Sick Bay", and now that he has done so, he intends to leave. McCoy doesn't buy it, countering that he (obviously) has orders to give Spock a medical checkup.
- First Name Basis: Chapel encourages it with Spock, who actually goes with it. Spock then calls Kirk by his first name upon seeing that he's Not Quite Dead.
- Forgets to Eat: According to Kirk, one of Spock's habits when in "one of his contemplative phases."
- Going in Circles: After all the course changes between going to Vulcan or going to Altair, Chekov remarks that if it keeps up he's going to get spacesick.
- Grande Dame: T'Pau.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: Of the verbal variety. When Spock begs T'Pau to keep Kirk out of the combat, she responds, " It is said thy Vulcan blood is thin. Art thee Vulcan, or art thee human?"
- Heroic BSOD: Spock suffers one of these after the koon-ut-kalifee.
- I Owe You My Life: Kirk says that Spock has saved his life a dozen times over when deciding to disobey orders.
- Indy Ploy: McCoy improvises a way to keep Kirk and Spock from killing each other pretty much on the spot and with no opportunity to discuss it with anyone else. As an Unspoken Plan, it naturally succeeds.
- Leave Me Alone:
- Spock snarls this when Uhura calls his quarters with a message, smashing the computer terminal while doing so.
- Before that, he chases Nurse Chapel out of his quarters, hurling the soup she made for him against the wall.
- Living Legend: Spock, according to T'Pring during her explanation of why she didn't want him.
- Karma Houdini: The sting is lessened by the heartwarming ending, but neither T'Pring nor any of the other Vulcans ever get punished.
- Manipulative Bitch: T'Pring.
- Mate or Die
- My God, What Have I Done?: Spock, believing that he has murdered Kirk, loses his will to live.
- Not Quite Dead
- Oh Crap:
- Kirk, when he is in Spock's quarters and realizes that Spock has been holding a knife in his trembling hand for their entire conversation.
- When Kirk realizes his fight with Spock is one to the death.
- Spock's reaction when he realizes he's just been emotional in front of Kirk, Christine Chapel, and McCoy. Unlike the others, it's Played for Laughs.
- OOC Is Serious Business: As in, "life-and-death" serious. Spock loses his temper on a number of occasions and completely forgets about having changed course, despite having immense self-control and an encyclopedic memory.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Not at all. Neither Spock nor T'Pring is too happy about the match, especially not after the events of the episode.
- Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Spock begs T'Pau to block Kirk from the Kal-i-fee. She throws it back in his face with a few insults about his humanness.
T'Pau...thee has the power. I plead with thee. I beg...
- Poor Communication Kills:
- Spock would literally rather die than have the problem explained to Starfleet Command. This is apparently true of all Vulcans at this point in history.
- Poor communication also almost killed Kirk in this episode. Would it have hurt T'Pau to tell him that the fight was a death match before he signed up?
- It's also possible that Kirk could've explained things to Komack in a way that would've gotten him permission to go to Vulcan without letting too much slip.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Dear old DeForest Kelley as Dr McCoy in this second season opener. At last, the whole Power Trio is in the opening credits.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: Vulcan's sky is scarlet when the Power Trio arrive for the wedding, almost as though foreshadowing what's going to happen.
- Remember the New Guy: Chekov is introduced as already an established crew member, though there's some odd close-up camerawork to make sure we know he's not just another one-off co-pilot for Sulu.
- Runaway Bride: T'Pring, in a way.
- Slipping a Mickey: McCoy gives Kirk a shot, saying that it would help Kirk breathe the thinner Vulcan air. He really gave Kirk a neural paralyzer that made it look like he was dead.
- The Talk: Spock is forced to explain Vulcan mating habits to Kirk partway through the episode.
- Through His Stomach: Christine Chapel shows her concern for Spock by bringing him some Vulcan food.
- Unwanted Spouse: Spock and T'Pring for each other.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: Spock warns Stonn that he may find that "having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
- Wedding Day: Well, kind of.
- When He Smiles: Spock's grin when he realizes Kirk isn't dead is widely regarded as one of his most adorable moments.
- Xanatos Gambit: Even if Kirk had refused the challenge, or Spock had won but still been willing to go through with marrying her, her husband's Starfleet position would mean that he'd be gone most of the time, leaving her free to have an affair with Stonn in his absence; at a minimum, she's no worse off than she was to start with. Spock himself acknowledges the logic of her plan, even while personally repelled by it.
- You Are in Command Now: A somewhat unusual example. Blood-fever affected Spock apparently kills the captain. After coming to his senses, Spock finds himself in command, as noted by Dr. McCoy.
McCoy: As strange as it may seem, Mister Spock, you're in command now. Any orders?
Spock: Yes. I'll follow you up in a few minutes. You will instruct Mister Chekov to plot a course for the nearest Starbase where I must surrender myself to the authorities.
- You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Probably the most famous time Spock has ever foregone Kirk's title for his first name. It would be hard to think of a situation that warranted it more.
Spock: Captain... Jim!