open/close all folders
Making the destruction of war virtual, but not the deaths
- In A taste of Armageddon, Kirk finds a civilization that wages war with computer simulations that spares their cities from harm, but agrees to have its population killed in response to "deaths" produced in the simulation. Why? Why did they create a system that makes the destruction of war virtual, but not the deaths? Why wouldn't they simply create a virtual population to kill off just like they created virtual destruction of their cities? If they've really reached an agreement with their enemies to avoid the physical destruction of war, wouldn't they eventually make an agreement to avoid the physical deaths of war as well? I can't see why they wouldn't reach this logical progression.
- I'm not sure that it's touched upon in the episode, but the only way that the arrangement that these two warring planets have could make any sort of sense is if these simulated attacks are depleting real strategic resources and materiel. For example, if a simulated attack hits a factory, that factory has to be deactivated and demolished. If a simulated weapon is fired at the other planet, a corresponding real weapon has to be decommissioned. There would really be no point to any of these simulated attacks unless they're actually limiting their opponent's capacity for making real war. In a way, this whole situation is a twisted, funhouse mirror version of deterrence theory, with conventional (unsimulated) warfare being a stand in for the threat nuclear war. The agreement between the two planets requires that real people be killed in these attacks because in any war, people are a strategic resource.
- Yes the threat real war does serve as a deterrence to make sure both sides follow the rules of the virtual aspects of their war. So I see no reason why they couldn't apply those rules to their population the same way they apply it to their cities: They create a virtual population and subtract from it based on "deaths". The resources they would be losing would be "real" in their virtually created war, just like their buildings and cities are. The lesson of the episode seemed to be that having a virtual war to replace real war is a bad idea because it would remove motivations for ending it. But to me it seems like a great idea if they had simply taken it to its logical conclusion and made all of the war virtual instead of just one aspect of it.
Dangerous button placement
- In the episode Court Martial, we see the "Jettison Pod" button is right next to the yellow and red alert buttons. Isn't that just a disaster waiting to happen? Why would you place a button that could kill someone right next to other buttons that you might routinely have to use? It's like putting a self-destruct button right next to your doorbell. Out of all much talked about design flaws of the various Enterprise ships, this seems like the worst one. Why would they do this without putting some safeguard in place to prevent the pod button from being pressed by mistake?
- The alert controls are always alert controls, but the other buttons are programmable function keys. Most of the time pressing them doesn't do anything. It may also be set up so that you have to hold the button down for a couple of seconds before the ejection sequence engages.
- I don't recall the episode showing him hold the button down for seconds. The premise behind the charges Kirk was facing is that he hit the jettison pod button by mistake while trying to hit the red alert button and accidentally killed Finney. Yet even if that was true, I would argue whoever designed the ship so that the Jettison pod button is right next to the routinely used other buttons would be the actual person responsible.
Questions about the episode "Miri"
- This was one of the best episodes in season 1, but a few things stand out. The second half the episode is all about the landing party trying to get their communicators back so they can contact the Enterprise. But wouldn't the crew back on the Enterprise suspect something was wrong after going such a long time with no contact from the away team and just beam down some more communicators? Also, was there ever any explanation for why the planet looked exactly like earth, and seemed to be set in the 1960s? It seemed like they just completely forgot about that issue right after bringing it up. Finally, how could the colony have been there for more than 300 years? The original series takes place in the 23rd century. 300 years before that, Earth didn't have the technology to be setting up colonies on other planets.
- I'll take a shot: 1) Beaming down more communicators wouldn't do any good, because the ship has only the landing party's original landing coordinates to beam to, and the party (most likely) isn't at that exact spot anymore; furthermore, not knowing why they've lost communication, there's every reason to believe that just beaming down spare comms would only result in the spares getting snatched by hostiles as well, leaving us right back at Square One. 2) They tried to handwave the Earth-like planet by waxing a theory about parallel development, but I always thought they were talking about societal development (therefore, 1960s); the geological/geographical resemblence to Earth remains unexplained. 3) Probably not a very satisfying answer, but Star Trek uses an Alternate History in which, as early as the 1990s (when Khan and his followers were exiled into space on a sleeper ship) Earth had at least rudimentary space travel.
- I thought the first warp engine was designed in the 1990s ST cannon. Seems like they were a long way from colonization.
- First warp drive was in the movie Star Trek: First Contact, I can't remember the year but it was long past The '90s, you're right. The ship Khan + Co used didn't have warp drive, it was a sleeper ship.
The Enterprise crew are galactic traffic cops?
- The episode Mudd's Women starts with the Enterprise pursuing a civilian ship for apparently no reason other then the ship is running from them. Umm, why? What grounds does the Enterprise have to go after civilian ships? Later on, the Captain of the ship, Harry Mudd, is charged with "Galaxy travel without a flight plan, without an identification beam, and failure to answer a starship signal." Okay this brings up a whole host of unanswered questions. First of all, why are any of those things crimes? Why would you need a flight plan for space travel? It's space! There's tons of it. It's not like you're going to run into someone. But if I want to take my private ship out for a cruise, why should I have to submit a flight plan to anyone? And who would get these plans anyway? Why would anyone need an "identification beam" on my privately owned ship? The last one is a real mystery. Why do I have to answer any hails from a starship? If I'm not doing anything illegal and I don't want to talk to anyone, why should I have to? Why should I be obligated to talk to any other ship? Does the right to remain silent not exist in the Federation? But even if those things are crimes, why is the Enterprise out enforcing them in open space on random private ships? According to this episode, the Enterprise is basically a space-faring traffic cop ship with galaxy-wide jurisdiction that has the authority to "pull over" any random civilian ship they encounter for any reason or not reason at all, with no evidence of unlawful activity. And if the ship doesn't respond, the Enterprise is then allowed to pursue them until their engines burn out. I was just totally baffled by this. No Star Trek ship in any other Star Trek series has ever been depicted in this manner. Anyone want to take a stab at answering any of these issues?
- Sure, I'll go for it.
- Flight plan: For private vessels, there is an issue of tracking them. As you said, space is vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly vast. If a ship drops of the map, they can end up being lost. Filing a flight plan offers a road map in attempting to locate any ship that hasn't arrived at its expected destination in a timely fashion - not just if they got lost, but to reveal the routes being used by pirates (like the Orions), and so if nothing else, any search ship that detects them a ways off from where they "should" be, they will at least enter the situation on their guard.
- Identification beam: About the same thing, ID codes ensure that the ships are able to be confirmed as to who and what they are. Other sci-fi utilizes the concept of a computer system Identify Friend/Foe program, TOS aired before such things were needed. ID codes can be reasonably inferred to be considered this same concept, just unrefined because of Technology Marches On.
- Small nitpick, but one that I think reinforces your point: Radar-based IFF systems were in experimental use as early as 1939, and by the end of World War II, the 4th generation of IFF systems was already in widespread use by the Allies, with the 5th well into its development process. As a former US Army Air Forces combat bomber pilot and aircraft accidnet investigator himself, Gene Roddenberry was no doubt very familiar with these systems. My guess would be that "identification beam" is a colloquialism for a simple transponder, or something akin to one of those early IFF systems, which worked by modifying and rebroadcasting a ship, ground, or aircraft-based radar signal. Any vessel that should be broadcasting one of those signals but isn't would be guaranteed to raise eyebrows.
- Answering hails: How does a starship know you're not doing anything illegal? By checking your flight plan and ID code and making sure you're who you say you are and where you should be. If those things aren't there, odds are reasonable that either your ship is in distress or you're doing something illegal. At that point, either you respond to the hail or you ignore it and run, creating probable cause to believe you're engaged in illegal activities. Kirk even says that these things are considered menaces to navigation.
- So Starfleet, the designated peacekeeping force within Federation space, discovers a vessel on their standard patrol that has no flight plan, had no ID, ran instead of answering a hail, giving the impression they were running some form of illegal cargo (which, as we learn, it was - the Venus drug is illegal). Sounds like the FBI finding a criminal in the course of unrelated activities and arresting someone, even if this would normally be a local issue.
- This is also an early TOS episode, where the universe hasn't been firmly established - maybe they settled on later that more local forces handle these things, but at the time of this episode, Starfleet's mission statement hadn't been settled on by the writers.
- Those are all good explanations. Very impressive. I just found it odd because I was under the impression that open space in Star Trek was a lot less regulated then real life airspace is on earth, at least within the federation. It's a shame the later episodes never really made a big deal about any of these issues again. I would have liked to see this examined a bit more closely: How open space can be regulated and rules are enforced.
- It might also be helpful to think of Starfleet more like the US Coast Guard, a military branch that routinely carries out law enforcement duties. Identifying, intercepting, and inspecting suspicious cargo vessels is a fairly common part of their national security, coustoms, immigration, and drug interdiction activities.
The Enterprise can't land on a planet and has no shuttles?
- In The Enemy Within, the plot is about the ship trying to repair their transporters so they can evacuate their away team stranded on a dangerous planet. But can't they just land the ship on the planet to pick them up? Is the Enterprise not capable of landing on planets? That's really odd if they aren't, seeing as how the original Enterprise in Star Trek: Enterprise has the ability to land on planets. Also does the Enterprise not have shuttles? The original Enterprise in Star Trek Enterprise in that series has shuttles too.
- The question of the shuttles is answered down below. As to Enterprise landing on a planet... no, it cannot. The ship from the earlier series is much smaller than TOS Enterprise and also doesn't have a weird center of gravity (i.e. the elevated, forward-jutting saucer section). Even Voyager, which could land, I think they made the point that this was a new feature. But TOS Enterprise was never intended to have the ability to land (it would have cost too much to show it week after week); that's why they have the transporters in the first place.
- That seems remarkably inefficient. To have no backup method to recover your away teams if the transporters ever malfunction or are damaged.
- The NX-01 cannot land on planets. Maybe you are confusing it with the NX ship on Star Trek Beyond, which CRASH landed. And the back-up for the transporters are the shuttles. Which as noted below do exist, they are forgotten about due to script reasons and real world budget.
Wanton Cruelty to Tribbles
- Okay ... at the end of "The Trouble with Tribbles", Scotty deals with the tribbles "humanely" (i.e. instead of killing them) by beaming the tribbles into the Klingons' engine room. Klingons being Klingons, don't you think it'd be a bit more humane to just beam them into space?
- Classic: Klingons and Tribbles hate each other for about the same reason Tribbles like humans. Tribbles can induce humans to like them; clearly, Klingons don't take whatever method they use any better than Kirk does.
- Deep Space Nine: Worf states that Tribbles bring famine and plague. (Which isn't implausible, given their breeding and eating habits.) Speculation: the Tribble plague produced the evolutionary crisis which led to Klingons growing Mars-bar heads.
- They taste good too.
- The tribbles became far more dangerous after they were injected with the DNA of Human Augments. That's why they turned from harmless fuzzballs into the Klingon-killing Fuzzballs of the Apocalypse.
- More likely the Klingons blew up the Tribble home world's atmosphere.
- ...That was a result of the above problems, not the cause of anything.
- Another problem is that this could very easily interpreted by the Klingons as a deliberate, unprovoked attack on one of their vessels. Given the nature of the tribbles, beaming hundreds of them into a battlecruiser's engine room is tantamount to sabotage, at least in the eyes of the Klingons.
- Sabotage? Hell, they probably interpreted it as either a psychological weapon or a WMD.
- As a counterargument, the Federation could point out their earlier sabotage of the Quadrotriticale as provocation for an attack, and note that the Enterprise was kind in not actively shooting them down
Captain Leeroy Jenkins
- It often bugs people when Cap'n Kirk beams down to the planet to investigate weird stuff in person. True, he's the hero of the piece and he's supposed to be Odysseus IN SPACE!. However, in the real world, any naval captain who constantly took such insane risks wouldn't be in command of a ship for long. In real navies, going ashore to investigate weird happenings is what junior officers and Marines are for.
- Dramatic necessity, natch. This one Just Bugged the writers too, so starting with TNG, they compromised and had the first officer lead away teams. But because ENT pre-dates the original series, they got to put Archer in as much danger as they liked.
- Kirk was just that kind of cowboy. No one ever accused him of an excess of self-restraint, as a lot of pregnant Green Space Babes could tell you.
- Although the popular notion of Kirk as perpetual horndog is wrongheaded too, as this essay explains.
- Pretty much all Star Trek series are guilty of this. There's a particularly telling scene in Enterprise when Trip, the chief engineer, has to go fix an engineering problem in a conduit that can hold two persons, and he takes the Science Officer, T'Pol, rather than a member of his Engineering staff. Sure, she's smart - but they're ENGINEERS. In other scenes, an Ensign is left in charge of the flagship of Starfleet while the senior officers beam down to investigate something. I've had it put to me that the bridge crew go on away missions so often because they have the most experience but my response to that is that it's not a Roleplaying Game and they're not DnD adventurers!
- Then again, Trip would happily use any flimsy excuse to be stuck in a narrow Jeffries tube with T'Pol.
- In the modern navy, sure, he wouldn't. On the other hand, Captain James Cook did. On the griping hand, that's probably why he got killed in Hawaii...
- Star Trek is more like the navies of the 19th century. Read about what Captain Fitzroy and science attaché Darwin got up to during a 5-year mission aboard the Beagle. Yes, that Darwin.
- What made it really stupid is that he usually took his XO along.
- Well, said XO is pulling double duty as Chief Science Officer, whose presence would be necessary on most landing parties. Probably Spock is the one who's supposed to be going, but Kirk is a bit too much of an Adrenaline Junkie to stay back aboard.
- The above were all pointed out by David Gerrold in his 1973 book The World Of Star Trek. He became one of the advisors for TNG and his idea of the "Away Team" (he originally called it a "Contact Team") was one of many of his ideas they used.
- And then TNG goes on to violate common sense by putting civilians and kids aboard a ship that goes into insanely dangerous situations on what looks like a weekly basis. At least Kirk only had to worry about trained, qualified adults at risk.
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 landing party 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 Klingons in "Day of the Dove" are only held in suspension for about a minute. Even in the 24th century, it's considered unsafe to hold anyone in the buffer for more than a few minutes before pattern breakdown starts to occur. The landing party in "The Enemy Within" would have to be suspended in transport for several hours, which is definitely unsafe.
- 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 landing party 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 landing party were coping by heating rocks". They weren't comfortable, but they were still surviving after all.
- There's a scene in which Spock explicitly tells Kirk that they tried sending down some sort of heating equipment, which duplicated, and both duplicates were inoperable. Coffee probably wouldn't turn evil but would probably be just as useless. Yes, they tried beaming down helpful inanimate objects, and it didn't work — there was really no way to help Sulu and co. from orbit.
Gary gets 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?
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.
- Actually, quite a few of them are the first thing you said.
- 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 modern 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 many people Spock and Uhura is TOS canonnote 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.
- Including gay screenwriter David Gerrold, who loathes it with the burning passion of a thousand suns.
- Sure, but the fact that some gay people hate the pairing doesn't mean that there's no homophobia in the disproportionate amount of disgust it gets from some parts of fandom. I mean, you can disagree about whether or not that's a reasonable interpretation of their relationship in canon without finding the whole idea utterly disgusting...and if you do find it utterly disgusting, maybe do a little thinking about why that's the case, because from here it makes you look homophobic.
- Given Kirk's practically a notorious womanizer anyway, it wouldn't be all too out of character for him if not for her [Uhura] to engage in such a pairing. (Granted their one kiss was forced by aliens, but that hasn't stopped main characters from ending up together in at least one other show.) Uhura also seems pretty much a straight gal. But neither Kirk nor Spock are obviously bisexual to a casual audience, and most of the non-gay audience in the '60s would even have expected such.
- Regarding the "homophobia" accusation, there is also the easy-to-make assumption that since Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls, one can chalk up most Slash Fic to the Yaoi Fangirl brigade. It seems perfectly acceptable to get offended by the Girl-on-Girl Is Hot thing without being called a "homophobe", but not the other way round; yet such unlikely pairings appear essentially the gender-inversion for some of us. It's still bad stereotyping (not least ignoring the gay male fanfic authors who seem in part to have been responsible for the whole thing),note of course, but there you go. Furthermore, Kirk/Spock has pretty much been done to death.
- 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).
- Slash wasn't about representation of alternative sexuality, inclusion or visibility. It was by straight women who thought Guy-on-Guy Is Hot and had their Shipping Goggles set to maximum looking for the least indication of Ho Yay.
- So representations of homosexuality that turn on (these specific) straight women are innately illegitimate? Is that what you're saying?
- I didn't write the comment you are replying to, but I thought that I would give my two cents. One of the more controversial debates in certain quarters of the LGBT community over the years is whether it is right or wrong for heterosexuals to have any sort of fantasy or fetish for gays or lesbians - I believe that may be the sort of sentiment being got at here. I personally do not agree as I think that having fantasies and fetishes is all very well and good as long as no one is harmed by it, but I suppose some people think that the image of the LGBT community is being harmed by the portrayal of homosexual love purely for the enjoyment of the heterosexual viewer. On the flip side of course, the amount of heterosexuals (men in particular) who find the concept of the same sex finding them attractive disgusting, it seems that there must be similar discussions on both sides in different forms for different reasons.
- I think I did write the comment being replied to. I'm male and bi, and my view of slash itself is positive; it's a creative act, folklore, taking control of the narrative, culture jamming. What I object to is slashophiles' insistence that it's canon; that the Star Trek creative team inserted numerous subtexts which are "obvious" to viewers "in on the secret". To me, that's more like canon defilement. It reads like conspiracy theory, and, most important, it cancels out the aforementioned creative power of fan-controlled, folkloric narrative, by establishing it as part of the show's reality all along. It's a form of Jossing, if you want the truth. Also, D.C. Fontana when asked replied with a strongly worded negative. As far as slash writers consciously intending gay inclusion & visibility, no, although these may have evolved over time. As far as I can tell, slash began as kind of an erotic thought experiment. But I agree that these are very, very complex issues.
- 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 gotten 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 in 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 Retcon. He was initially looking for a way to bring audience attention back on Shatner, who was getting seriously pissed that Nimoy was getting ten times the fan mail/attention 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 Shatner, Where No Man, a 1979 bio 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.
- Which (both realistically and in context) need not imply that everyone does everything with everyone else, simply that they can (without becoming social pariahs or worse). For a Free-Love Future, the Trek franchise in practice is pretty conservative.
- David Gerrold did say (in Shat's 2015 documentary film Chaos on the Bridge), that in the TNG episode on Risa, Roddenberry asked if they could show gay and Lesbian couples kissing and making out along with the straight ones in that world.
- An important point as well is that slash fans didn't necessarily see something that sprang 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 bit 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.
- Sturgeon didn't write Amok Time alone, however. He based it on an original idea by Roddenberry and Coon, and his outline was passed around for many, many rewrites by Roddenberry, Coon, Fontana, Justman, Solow, NBC program director Stan Robertson and Kellam-Deforest Research team Peter Sloman and Joan Pierce — who threw out half of what Sturgeon wrote! We don't know who wrote what. What we do know is that Vulcan was originally conceived by Sturgeon as a B&D culture, with women "absolutely owned" and giving "absolute obedience"!
- 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.
- Just something to ponder here but in Star Trek Generations Kirk's most heartfelt dream made flesh wasn't to sit on the bridge of the Enterprise with Spock, it was to settle down back on Earth with his long lost female love. If there was this massive secret forbidden love between them then why would Kirk choose some woman he hasn't seen in years over Spock? Sorry but these two are Heterosexual Life-Partners and nothing more.
- Something else to think about; when the Trek novel Killing Time was published (in 1985), Pocket neglected to remove a heaping amount of K/S (or at least strong subtext) that Paramount had told them to edit out. A copy made its way into Roddenberry's hands and he was furious. It wasn't the idea of homosexuality that he was angry with. It was the suggestion that Kirk and Spock were gay for each other. He was so pissed a revised edition was required. Much more here about Killing Time and what happened with the revision. This was also what put the nail in the coffin when it came to whether or not the novels could be considered part of the canon. Not sure how that jibes with the idea that he initially wanted to make them in love but wasn't allowed to. Also, that footnote referred to above has Kirk saying that while he's not offended by the suggestion that he and Spock were lovers, he simply is not attracted to men in that fashion.
- The decree that the novels had to fit into the canon came much earlier, after Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath's Fate of the Phoenix (1979) in which an edict came down from Roddenberry and/or his assistant that a duplicate Kirk created in the Phoenix novels must die at the end because with Star Trek: The Motion Picture then in production, "there could not be a second, identical, real Kirk left in the Star Trek universe."
FWIW, according to David Gerrold (whom they relentlessly badgered at conventions), Marshak and Culbreath were notoriously aggressive promoters of the "Slash Premise" although they couldn't make it explicit in their published novelsnote and were finally barred from the Paramount lot and from any contact with the actors, producers or staff at around the time The Motion Picture was being made.
- I get what people are saying in defense of the pairing, but to me, it highlights a problem with our culture that Doctor Nerdlove pointed out; some people can't see emotional intimacy between two men without it being sexual. Why couldn't Kirk and Spock just be taken at face value? Actually, that highlights another problem — people twisting everything in a work around to find something that isn't really there.
- It's not just between two men though. If anything, I'd say a lot of people have an even harder time accepting a platonic friendship between a straight man and a straight woman. Non-canon shipping in general is a massive thing in fanfiction; Kirk/Spock happens to be one of the earliest well-known cases, but it's not like it isn't something that happens constantly and across multiple orientations.
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. (As had the hippie era, for that matter.)
- 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 Jerkass 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 grievance 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.
- Yes, all in all it may be a simple case of culture clash rather than Values Dissonance or hippie attitudes. The Gorn is after all, alien. Not only that, but everything that happened is maybe on the head of the overzealous Gorn captain himself. It's said in some supplementary materials that the Gorn government as a whole is actually very peaceful. And that after the Cestus III incident, the Gorn captain was severely reprimanded for his overzealous handling of the situation.
- Hmmm... originally written in 1944, hyper-aggressive enemy defeated by intelligence, perseverance, and bravery, but not destroyed as part of a moral plea that killing the defenseless is wrong. Couldn't be either in reference to or influenced by something that was going on at the time, could it?
- Unfortunately for that metaphor, the original story ended very differently. The human won the fight and showed his opponent no mercy, after which the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens kept their word and wiped out an alien fleet, and possibly the entire species. The "peace and mercy" Aesop was added by the Trek writers.
- 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 patronizing 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 crew members 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 involved me referring 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 'that's 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 organizations 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 'it's okay'. 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.
- So if McCoy met a human whose parents were, say, Moroccan and Maori, who was raised in New Zealand and identified with the Maori culture they grew up in, he'd use anti-Maori insults?
- Could be that McCoy has N-Word Privileges with Spock, and Spock has told Kirk that if it's McCoy then it's okay, 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.
- Watch M*A*S*H with these questions in mind, especially the later seasons. Count the number of times Klinger is referred to as a "Lebanese ___", or Winchester calling him "swarthy". Or the way the entire senior staff laughs at his ethnic room decorations ("Bottle Fatigue"). There are as many (or more) references to Klinger's nose as there are to Spock's ears.
- You should try watching Enterprise. Trip and Archer engage in a four-year-long game of "who hates Vulcans the most?"
- 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 Primitive!Spock eats meat in the past: "I have eaten animal flesh and Ive 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 and a hard roll for myself." It's pretty clear that Spock was conceived as a vegetarian almost from inception.
- He is a vegetarian according to The Making of Star Trek which had Gene Roddenberry's okay on every detailnote . In fact, it says he keeps his diet to the simplest of vegetable life forms.
- 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 sorcerer" 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 pejorative terms are only used as farce.
- This has always been my opinion too; it would explain why the women are happy to spend 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.
- Except that unless you're telepathic there is no way to tell whether someone "genuinely" believes it or not... which in the particular context of Spock and McCoy might explain it, but we see in DS9 that O'Brien at least has some racism towards Cardassians, iirc, and there was that quarter-Romulan crewman in TNG who was apparently considered inherently suspicious by virtue of that fact, so it's not like bigotry has magically disappeared in the Federation.
- O'Brien is a terrible example as he fought a war against the Cardassians and lost many friends. The effects of war don't automatically vacate your brain when someone else signs a treaty - no offense, but only people whose experience of war is limited to Hollywood and video games think that. If you have ever asked a grandfather what they think of the Germans or the Japanese after all of these years have passed, you will probably get a similar response. Note that I am not implying that all veterans cannot let go and become seething balls of unrestrained racism, I'm saying that it is foolish to think that watching a friend get blown to bits in front of you is something that won't leave a mental scar. As for Tarses in The Drumhead, it was less to do with being part Romulan, and more to do with the fact that he lied on his application form and the prosecuting judge turned out to be a paranoid and controlling nutter who saw conspiracies everywhere.
- 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.
- ... by calling him things like "pointy-eared hobgoblin". Yeah, really making the "emotional" philosophy look good there, doctor.
- It should be pointed out that Spock slings it right back fairly often. Note his vocal disgust every time he's compared to a human in any way, or his constant comments about how humans are irrational, illogical, and uncivilized. In fact, anti-human racism is implied to be a pretty ugly, widespread sentiment among Vulcans. Yesteryear, the only episode of the animated series that is almost universally considered canon, shows Spock being tormented by other Vulcan children for being half human—the 2009 film shows them being even more horribly cruel than they were in Yesteryear. It's taken to absurd extremes in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, when Spock's father expressed disappointment in his his minutes-old, newborn son for being too human; which, just... Jesus Christ!
- Spock and McCoy are Vitriolic Best Buds - we should note that Spock in the first place does not seem to be really offended by McCoy's jibes, while reacting to slurs (by other characters, e.g. Evil!Kirk in The Enemy Within) which are really meant as such. Also - McCoy scores quite a lot of Insult Backfires, as Spock is actually glad to hear that he's "utterly emotionless and governed by logic alone".
- Humans and Vulcans have been friends for at least a century, and with enlightened 23rd century humans, McCoy's insults probably are as quaint and purposefully outdated as calling someone a nasty woman a witch is these days i.e. it would be more surprising if someone was being genuine about it. Later series introduced new alien common alien races, and discrimination against them was shown as far less okay, presumably because the Federation hadn't been friends with them so long and a person who tosses around "big-eared parasite" or "crumpled-head psychopath" has a good chance of meaning it.
- It's also implied at least once that Spock does find McCoy's barbs hurtful on some level ("I don't like that! I don't think I ever did, and now I'm sure!"). McCoy may well be deliberately trying to coax an emotional reaction out of Spock, who claims he doesn't possess emotions (which is Blatant Lies, really) to validate McCoy's humanist beliefs. Most of the time, it seems that the crew have enough respect for Spock and enough camaraderie that the occasional good-natured barb is just another sign of affection, but McCoy is relentless enough about that he does actually get under Spock's skin. . . though Spock validates his own Vulcan beliefs by not letting it bother him except in very rare instances.
- Another point is that Bones and the crew only make digs at Spock when he takes (comparatively minor) digs at them for the most part. It's like if close friends take somewhat racially charged shots at each other when they get on each other's nerves (as an example, Rush Hour 3's bits)
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.
- Spock's emotionalism and the "modification" they're talking about have nothing to do with each other. The emotionalism is as described; the "modification" Mr. Atoz mentioned is a sort of biological process performed on each person who goes through the time portal, to prevent them from coming back to the present. That's the reason Spock, Kirk, and McCoy are able to return, and why Zarabeth cannot.
- As an aside, I find this concept of modification to actually be one of the more realistic examples of time travel in fiction, as in real life, people even a couple of hundred years ago would have completely different immunities, resistances and tolerances to period food and drink. They say that you shouldn't drink the water in a foreign country, imagine drinking the water in a different time. It may even be adding various antibodies to the body, as otherwise who would go back to a time before antibiotics?
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 Jerkass 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.
- Remember it was NOT Edith's death that changed anything - it was her actions in life had she been saved, which is a different thing. If she had simply vanished from the world that night rather than dying, would it plausibly have kept America out of World War II?! Also worth bearing in mind, a guy stole McCoy's phaser off him and then disintegrated himself with it. So no matter what Kirk and Spock did, or the Guardian for that matter, the future they returned to was different to the original one. If such small differences are allowable, why not the manner of her removal from history?
- Why are small changes allowed? because they are small. Small-scale collateral damage vs the end of the world as we know it is not a hard decision. A lot of people also seem to be forgetting the episode Tomorrow Is Yesterday and the character of Captain John Christopher. Kirk has already had to face the ramifications of removing someone from history and it is rather unbelievable that this experience isn't at least partially influencing him here.
- The truck driver might have felt remorse about killing her, and that would have an effect. If he doesn't accidentally kill her, he might do other things to alter history.
- 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.
- It could be that if Edith disappeared, her mysterious disappearance could have become a cause célèbre(particularly if she was last seen in the company of two unknown drifters who then disappeared...) and drawn more attention to her pacifist ideals. Thus accelerating the exact same process her survival would have caused.
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 logic that makes sense only to them. A few examples would include 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 given 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.
- Maybe Spock wore eyeshadow in an attempt to look "more Vulcan?"
- 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 off world. 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 (i.e., 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...
- Spock may be able to initiate telepathic contact without a meld. He refers to a "Vulcan mind probe" several times; maybe that is more about information. And given he connected with Nomad, a robot (and in the films, with a pregnant whale) the meld cannot be just a sexual-type intimacy.
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 actually 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.
- IIRC is was to lure Evil Lazarus into the corridor, the only reason he would enter there is because he knew his hated double was there.
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 yeomen 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".
- Then there are Yeomans Burke and Samno from The Undiscovered Country.
- The simple answer is that Gene Roddenberry just thought the idea of a female yeoman was A) good evidence for how far humanity had come in this future and B) good Fanservice. The female yeoman idea goes all the way back to his first pilot with Pike's yeoman Colt.
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, they 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).
- By the same token, Chekov is a lowly ensign but already has a prominent position in the line of command. I've always taken both of these to be yet another subtle clue at how humanity has improved itself in the show's vision of the future: education standards are such that child prodigies seem almost commonplace.
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"... never mind 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 the W sound, and Russians who don't bother with right pronunciation 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 also exists 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.
- But the sound does, so he should be able to pronounce it even though he writes it as в.
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 and 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 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. Remember, 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.
- In Real Life, most people tend to identify with the culture they grew up in, even if one of their parents comes from a different one. Since Vulcans are not sentimental, Spock was likely to view his human ancestry purely as a matter of biology, and not of culture. He may not have even been to Earth prior to joining Starfleet, as we never see any indication that he has a relationship with Amanda's family. Add in the fact that Vulcan genes appear to be very dominant, to the extent that Spock's human physiology matches Vulcan norms rather than human ones, and he has every reason to feel detached from humanity and Earth.
- In David Gerrold's The World Of Star Trek, he said that Spock not liking and playing down his human ancestry is the central pillar of his character. Spock is actively choosing his Vulcan side and loathes his Human side, and that's his main tragedy. It'd be better for his mental health if he just made peace with his mixed heritage (and people have argued that the reason he's so much less... rigid by the movie era is because he has) but he refuses to. It's paradoxical and emotional, but there you go, that's Human/Vulcan nature for you. A combination of his father's disapproval and childhood bullying, and being surrounded by humans in the workplace, probably make him more devoted to his Vulcan side.
- To connect this to another headscratcher, thinking this unhealthy might be another reason McCoy pushes so hard regarding Spock's humanity; as a doctor, it would be against his ethical standard to watch a crewman do something detrimental to his mental health without doing something about it.
- Or it could be that technically, Spock isn't half human. At least, not when it comes to physiology. After all, every time his physiology is mentioned, it is way closer (if not identical) to Vulcan norm than human. He also seems to be more skilled at telepathy than some of the full-blooded Vulcans (Tuvok, for example), and manages perfect Vulcan control in almost all circumstances (again, better than some full blooded Vulcans - looking at you, T'Pol). Maybe it's just that Vulcan genes are very dominant, and the human part of his genetic code is not expressed, or expressed only partly. So he has a human mother, but physiologically and psychologically, he is not half human. Which would explain a lot of his frustration with his human heritage - if he is physiologically, psychologically, and culturally Vulcan, how annoying would it be to have the human, unexpressed, part of his heritage repeatedly thrown in his face...
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.
- Deterrence, possibly. The Klingons and the Romulans wouldn't hesitate to exterminate the population of a planet if it served their agenda, so to prevent them for doing so, the Federation has to make it known that Starfleet is willing and able to respond in kind.
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 vacuum tube, or from that to computer chips. Essentially, Daystrom was the Steve Jobs of the 23rd Century, and even if his most 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 was absolutely needed to operate the ship in the event of an M-5 malfunction. Notice that other ships were close at 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.
- At one point during the test, the Enterprise DID have to assemble a landing party (general survey party) to investigate a planet (Alpha Carinae II). The landing party included an astrobiologist (Phillips) and a geologist. M-5 substitutes Kirk's choice of geologist (Chief Rawlins) with Ensign Carstairs. So it looks as though there was a complement of specialists onboard for these trials (unless it was only a simulated landing party, and no one was actually going to beam down and take rock samples).
- They thought they did have an off switch — they tried to use it after the incident with the torpedoed ore freighter, but it didn't work because M-5 outmaneuvered them.
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 traveling 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?
- The image of Khan lying in sickbay, annoyedly paging through back-issues of "Redbook" and "Seventeen," comes to mind.
- 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 destroy/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 sympathized 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.
- It was, nonetheless, extremely stupid. If you find yourself in a Pentagon waiting room, or a military hospital, they don't hand you schematics for the F-35 fighter and just assume you won't understand them!
- The tech manuals for such a big ship would probably be thousands of pages if printed out. Maybe Khan was only given the superficial, preliminary stuff on the less vital systems, which *seemed* harmless enough.
- Khan also specifically asked for technical manuals, to familiarize himself with the technology of the century he now found himself in, and Kirk agreed. It's unlikely they gave him specific plans to Enterprise herself, but more likely generic materials on technology in the 23rd century and some non-classified material on Enterprise, and Khan was just smart enough to actually put it all together in a way he could exploit.
Do the words "War Criminals" mean anything to you, Kirk?
- Khan and his crew may have been adrift in the Botany Bay for nearly 300 years, but they did so as Human Popsicles. Which means that from their perspective the Eugenics Wars were literally something that happened yesterday! By rights, shouldn't Kirk's immediate response have been to drag them back to Earth to face a war crimes tribunal? After all, it's not as if they had served any kind of prison sentence (that they were conscious for). One would expect that a spacefaring civilization possessed of cryogenics technology would be savvy enough to have modified their Statute of Limitations to cope with cases where criminals attempt to wait out the timeframe during which they can be prosecuted by going into stasis.
- Kirk didn't prosecute them for trying to murder him and commandeer the Enterprise, so why would he take them back to answer for crimes 300 years old? Obviously Kirk had broad latitude in determining what to do with Khan and company, and he exercises it by exiling them. It does come back to bite him later.
- When they find out who Khan is, Kirk, Scotty, and McCoy show a certain degree of respect for him, noting that there were no massacres under his rule and that he did not fight wars until he was attacked. Spock is dismayed by their attitude, but does not challenge the stated facts. This suggests that Khan, while a ruthless dictator, was not actually a war criminal.
- Presumably their exile was the result of some kind of tribunal to begin with. Since they haven't done anything else, it would be double jeopardy to try them again for the same offense. If anything, sending them to Ceti Alpha V is adhering to the spirit of the original punishment.
- Nobody knew what had happened to Khan and the other eugenic "supermen" until the Botany Bay was discovered. That is more consistent with a last-ditch escape than with a formal judgment and exile. Another objection to the idea is raised in the episode:
Spock: If you're suggesting this was a penal deportation vessel, you've arrived at a totally illogical conclusion.
Spock: Your Earth was on the verge of a dark ages. Whole populations were being bombed out of existence. A group of criminals could have been dealt with far more efficiently than wasting one of their most advanced spaceships.
- 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.
- 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: She was so badly mangled that, to restore her to symmetry, they would have had to perform grafts and the like - which technical knowledge had decayed in their decadent civilization.
- 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.
- That doesn't work. She has no way to know she's ugly because she has no other humans for reference. Presumably when the crew of Pike's ship landed for the first time is when they realized she wasn't a normal-looking human and change her (with a illusion) to match.
- I think you meant to write that THEY (the Talosians) had no way of knowing that she's ugly. But they presumably DID know that she should be at least symmetrical.
- 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 the Keeper 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 unconscious 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.
- Why bother with the death penalty for going there? A person can give the illusion that he has been captured and executed, and escape.
- "A person", if I'm reading the question right, can't create that illusion at all; that's an ability of the Talosians themselves (for whom the law in question doesn't apply). Some species might be able to, but none that are mentioned in TOS up to that point. That said, the Talosians could create the illusion on behalf of a visitor, but only if the Talosians are agreeable to it.
- Another thing about The Cage that bothers me. Pike contemplates settling down on Orion to start a business. The doctor scoffs at the idea and implies that trading in "animal women" and slaves is a major business on Orion. If this is meant to be a joke, Pike doesn't really dismiss it as one, and then one of the illusions his Keeper subjects him to is the famous Orion dancing girl scene. So... is Captain Pike actually fantasizing about/planning on going into sex slave trafficking after retirement? Our hero...
- The interesting thing about prequels is that they inadvertently retcon oh-so-much without ever intending to. In Enterprise it is revealed that the Orions are a matriarchal society that enslaves the males but makes out to the rest of the galaxy that it is the other way around in order to lower everyone's guard, which in a weird way actually kind of works as a strategy when you consider that the police are probably going to focus on the hulking master rather than his willowy slave. Now whilst that was a secret back in the 22nd century, how likely is it that it would still be to an experienced starship captain in the 23rd after Captain (later President) Archer no doubt made a log entry about it? It makes Pike sound more like he has an Amazon fantasy.
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? Surely 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 '80s. 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 HeelFace 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 every 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.
- An average is just that: a smoothing over of rough data. Spock is working from the information McCoy provided him and at the scale Spock is talking about the ship is still screwed regardless of minor deviations from the mean. As for getting into the storage bin, there was a Klingon spy on the station who could have gotten aboard the ship and planted a few tribbles there to sabotage the Enterprise's mission. Granted, tribbles don't like Klingons but Cyrano could have put a few in a box for him, or he could have used some form of anesthesia to sedate them long enough to get the job done.
- Spock's not offering a concrete scientific analysis; he's just applying his big Vulcan brain to have the best answer in an impromptu guessing game. Remember, they'd just watched tribbles pour out of the storage compartment, Baris says "There must be thousands," Kirk replies "Tens of thousands," then Spock pipes up with his ludicrously precise guess.
- It's right there in his line: "That's assuming." What he's saying is, "this is an educated guess based on what I believe to be plausible figures." If he had been in possession of the exact numbers, it's reasonable to assume he would have used those instead, and his explanation would instead be something like "given their observed birthrate of an average litter of 10.3, producing a new generation every 11.8 hours over a period of three days."
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.
- I presume, especially considering this episode was written in the 1960s, that he had to press a button or a switch to flash the light. Maybe even that was a strain, hence his sometimes long delays before flashing the light a second time. Morse code might simply be too taxing.
- The actual logical contradiction was demonstrated by the simple fact that Spock was taking him to the telepathic Talosians, who could access his otherwise intact mind just fine. The problem becomes that the Federation also has telepathic species, notably Vulcans (but not Betazoids yet). So at the very least Starfleet could have provided better care by getting him a Vulcan nurse, who would be able to at least assist him in communicating with those around him.
- Well, Vulcan telepathy really isn't all that. It's by touch only (barring extreme circumstances), and requires a lot of access and effort from both parties. A Vulcan caretaker for Pike couldn't just speak whatever he's currently thinking, they would need to mind-meld with him every time someone wanted something more complex out of him than "yes/no." Plus, what the Talosians can offer Pike is more than just the ability to get thoughts out of his head again, its the ability live under the illusion that there's nothing wrong with his body at all. On Talos IV, Pike can ski the alps, run through green fields, swim the deepest oceans, do anything and everything the Talosians can think of. It's true reprieve from his crippling injuries.
- It's also important to remember that while medical technology may be advanced, the extent of his injuries are not really known. It's possible that the damage may have made a computer interface impossible, or that his mind has enough damage that he would be incapable of answers more complex than yes and no. Remember that with fantastic technology, comes a whole new set of fantastic ways that it can fail and maim someone.
- As an aside, if this were true, it would be another case of Star Trek predicting the future. Modern medical science has become very good at keeping victims of traumatic brain injuries alive. It has not, however, evolved to the point where brain functionality can reliably be restored. With prompt treatment, people can survive injuries that would have meant certain death even a decade ago, but unfortunately, those survivors are often left with severe disabilities.
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?
- The Excalbian at the end of the episode says that it can't see any difference between good and evil, so to the Excalbian, the difference between savagery and civilization is as insubstantial as a curtain.
- He's also spoken of putting on a drama, enacted on a stage, and shown to everyone back on the ship so they can "enjoy and profit from the play". So the "curtain" metaphor makes sense in that way, too.
Does Janice Lester have Gender Dysphoria?
- Janice Lester from the episode Turnabout Intruder initially seems like your average insane villain of the week who wants to take control of the Enterprise. However almost immediately after she steals Kirk's body she starts to talk about suffering the indignity of being a woman as well as things like filing her nails or moving in an extremely feminine manner - she doesn't even try to playact. I'm proud to say that I have had a transgendered [what?] since school (and have known the members of several support groups) and trust me when I say that someone who is confused about their gender acts exactly like this - simultaneously hating and loving aspects of their body as well as (only sometimes I hasten to add) developing a jealous resentment toward the opposite sex. It would also explain why she claims that women cannot become starship captains despite the fact that the Federation is supposedly an utopia of equal rights, she is merely blaming her own lack of skills on her gender, which no doubt wasn't helped by being the girlfriend of the ultra-masculine Captain Kirk.
- Seems likely—though, in all probability, it was probably by accident. According to George Takei, Gene Roddenberry was accepting of LGBT people, but he wasn't involved in the third season. Even so, gender dysphoria was not something that was well understood in the 1960s (to put it mildly). I'd guess that she was just intended to be a run-of-the-mill mad woman.
- More likely the narrative was directed at gender stereotypes which is why you got a transgender feel from it (also please note the term is not transgendered - you wouldn't call someone straighted or heterosexualed).
- By the dialogue in the episode, and if the rumors about the sexism and harassment that many of the women endured backstage on both this show and TNG are true, this whole episode was meant to prove exactly why women shouldn't be in command. Even in the body of a strong and healthy man with a state of the art starship at his command, granted all of his friends, all of his privileges, all of his power; she couldn't even stop filing her nails and screaming long enough to achieve anything of any value to her cause whatsoever. I can guarantee that women are not allowed to be starship captains is as black and white as that sounds.
- In the context of this production era, yes, the episode definitely had those sexist undertones. On the other hand, if we're to look at the episode as if it were actually taking place in the enlightened far future, it makes a bit more sense that there were definite reasons that Janice Lester did not receive a command of her own, and that she's looking for any excuse other than she would not be a good fit for command- not because she's a woman, but because she's bonkers. Definitely a sexist episode, of course, (what do you expect? It's the 60's!) but this is how I, as a modern viewer, look at it in order to enjoy it without cringing.
- This may come as a shock to modern Trekkers who have spent most of their lives hearing how progressive Gene Roddenberry was, but yes, he wrote that episode's story himself, specifically to demonstrate why women should not be placed in charge of men. There's a lot of myth about Roddenberry the man, and what motivated him. While it's true that he was a progressive as far as race and sexuality (free love and all forms of it), he was not an advocate for gender equality at all. Much of what we've been told about him was an attempt by those close to him to protect his legacy after his death, such as his widow, Majel Barrett. Now that Barrett has passed on herself, a bit of truth is coming out. According to those who worked with him, Roddenberry didn't trust women, and believed men to be naturally superior in most, if not all, respects. He was also a raging womanizer, who apparently wasn't above making repeated unwanted advances upon women who'd made it clear they weren't interested (both while married to his first wife and later, after he'd married Barrett), and despite the story that he fought to have a woman be second-in-command of the Enterprise, what this really was was a case of nepotism. Barrett, who was his mistress at the time (he had yet to divorce his first wife, but his affair with Barrett was an open secret), demanded a role on the show, and he wrote her in to please her. NBC brass didn't like the idea of him giving his side piece a job, and told him to cast someone else. Instead, he eliminated the role and blamed it, years later, on studio heads telling him a woman in a command role isn't believable. In later life, especially after he was Kicked Upstairs, his sexism calmed itself somewhat, enough that he allowed men and women to be portrayed as equals in the film and 80's television era (something he notably did not do with the original series). In many ways, Roddenberry was indeed a product of his time. That being said, Arthur H. Singer, who wrote the screenplay based on Roddenberry's story for this episode, appears to have attempted to soften the impact of the intended message by making it clear that Janice Lester was as crazy as a shithouse rat, and that it was her temperament that had held her back, not her gender. Note that despite Janice repeatedly stating that women are not allowed to command starships, no character in the episode openly agrees with her, and in fact note other reasons for her lack of command. Not that they openly disagree, either, but they're probably smart enough not to tell a delusional person that she's delusional. That usually escalates the issue, rather than easing it.
- If it was the intention of that episode to show that women shouldn't be in command then I think it failed (or maybe executive meddeling for good muddled the message). Kirk seems obviously sympathetic to the whole women can't command predictment. He outright says it isn't fair and the final line of the episode seems as if its suggesting her madness was brought about by the unfair system.
Non-Earth objects in the Squire of Gothos' collection?
- If the Squire of Gothos collects old Earth objects, why does he have the alien from the Man Trap in his collection? Obviously a Doylesian explanation is that they needed something to fill a niche and were reusing props, but what in-universe explanation could there be? Everything else in his collection is clearly of Earth origin, and 19th-century Earth at that.
- Maybe Trelane stumbled upon a Salt Vampire during one of his earlier playtimes, and thought it was just too cool to get rid of even though it didn't really fit the new decor (an in-universe explanation that sort of echoes the real-world one, really).
- The Salt Vampire is compared to the buffalo in its episode (once covered the plains of its world, now nearly extinct). So it could be an in-joke stand-in for a buffalo.
Earth wasn't the first spacefaring species
- ...so why do the Enterprise crew feel like they have literally no option for repairs etc when they're trapped in the 1960s in "Tomorrow is Yesterday"? Surely even if Earth isn't there yet, they could travel to other planets for help?
- "The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that time travel is impossible."
- AND THEN SHE TIME TRAVELS. THE VULCAN SCIENCE DIRECTORATE BE DAMNED, THIS IS 100 YEARS AFTER SHE TIME TRAVELED.
- Because it would still be screwing around with the timeline. Any number of antagonist races getting wind of the fact that Earth will be warp-capable and a potential threat in the future, for example, might just make them feel like nipping the problem in the bud with a convenient genocide. Also, putting in for repairs might expose the engineers of those other planets to any number of uptime technologies they weren't familiar with, even if they understand some of the essentials- and perhaps reverse-engineer them for gain.
- Blish has "Space outside the local group of stars was wholly dominated by the Vegan Tyranny, and you'll recall what happened when we first hit them." Blish had made up the Vegan Tyranny for Cities In Flight and just put them into his novelization of this episode. Perhaps the writers had invented something similar and the line got cut.
Wouldn't beaming Christopher back kill him?
- (referring to Captain John Christopher, USAF pilot in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday") The whole reason they beamed him out of there was to save his life as his plane was breaking up. Surely beaming him back the moment after he left would be exposing him to the very same accident that they were saving him from. Why then does the Enterprise disappear with no damage caused by it?
- This episode throws the Timey-Wimey Ball hard against the pavement. The overall explanation is supposedly nothing ever happened. The Enterprise never held Christopher's plane in the tractor beam, so it was never in danger. Who or what are being beamed into the bodies of Christopher and guard is never explained. It seems more like a way to avoid there being alternate timeline versions of them.
Everything was "inwented" in Russia
- What is up with Chekov's (often quite ridiculous) claims about all kinds of stuff having been invented in Russia? In the context of the Cold War era in which the series was made, this was probably meant to make fun of Soviet propaganda and Cultural Posturing. But shouldn't the people of the 23rd century with their unified world government long have evolved beyond that?
- That was probably just Chekov's personal quirk.
- Even with the unified Earth government, regional rivalries or cultural posturing can still exist, perhaps taken (somewhat) less seriously than in the era of nation states. Think Everything Is Big in Texas - on a global level. And of course, Chekhov is the Enterprise's resident cloudcuckoolander, which can account for over-the-top nature of his claims.
- Chekov's claims were a parody of a specific type of Cultural Posturing that the Soviets were infamous for in real life: essentially giving themselves credit for every technological or cultural advancement mankind has ever made. Nicholas Meyer took the joke Up to Eleven in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, when the Klingons took credit for the works of William Shakespeare—even claiming that his plays could only truly be appreciated properly In the Original Klingon. In the same film, Spock borrows the joke from Chekov twice: First when he quoted the old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China," and later when he claims to be a descendant of Sherlock Holmes.
- That Holmes thing is a Shout-Out to long-time fans like Ruth Berman who as far back as '67 were writing scholarly articles comparing the two.
- That, and Nicholas Meyer being physically incapable making a film without working Sherlock Holmes into it.
- Why couldn't Spock be a descendant of Holmes? He's half human.
- It's implied in future series that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character in-universe, which would make it a bit difficult for Spock to claim any descent from him...
- If you want to, you could simply say that Amanda and thereby Spock are descended from Doyle.
- Some Fanon holds that Chekov is well aware his claims are erroneous, he's just having some fun with his crewmates. Notably, one EU novel has Chekov saying that rollercoasters were invented in Russia (which is true), but no one believes him, despite him insisting that this time he's telling the truth.
- Pretty sure that he does smirk after one of his "inwented in Russia" claims in "Friday's Child", suggesting that he really is just joking with his crewmates.
- I've just completed a complete TOS rewatch earlier today, and it turns out that Chekov actually smirks/winks/nudges after doing this on several occasions. Not all of them, but enough that it is clearly a running joke on the part of the character. For example, in "The Trouble With Tribbles" Chekov only claims that scotch was invented by "a little old lady in Leningrad" after Scotty insults vodka and calls it a weak drink. He is returning a (friendly) insult that somebody else started. So, instead of really claiming credit for many inventions, Chekov is deliberately playing up an old cultural stereotype, sometimes only after somebody else does their own Cultural Posturing, and it has been flanderized by the fandom as something he does constantly and seriously.
Mirror Universe costume change
- In 'Mirror, Mirror', when the crew switches places with their alternate selves, why do they end up in their counterparts' clothes?
- It's possible it was just a mental transfer.
- Because only their bodies switched dimensions, while their clothes stayed in place.
- Good thing then that the body dimensions between the alternates were so similar then. Otherwise that opening would have become pretty comedic while attempting to not show nudity.
- How did Kirk not know that his best friend Spock's father was a famous ambassador? Even if Spock never told him due to their estrangement, surely that info would be in Spock's Starfleet record, which Kirk should have seen as Spock's commanding officer.
- Maybe Kirk didn't realize it was that Sarek. Maybe Sarek is actually a fairly common name among Vulcans.
- Kirk had so much on his mind, it didn't occur to him until the very instant he said it.
- I think at this point, we have to assume that Spock was just ridiculously secretive about his family—and given what we've seen of the family dynamic, it's kind of understandable. Kirk, being a good friend, respected that, and didn't want to pry...until this episode, at least. Lord knows Kirk was blindsided by Spock's half-brother when he shows up, and I'd be interested to know if Kirk ever knew about Spock's foster sister. Kirk certainly had plenty of his own family baggage, so you could sort of understand how he might consider a deep-dive into Spock's personnel file to be too big an invasion of his best friend's privacy. note
- For that matter, why were they not present when their own son returned to his home planet to get married? [in 'Amok Time']
- Sarek and Spock's relationship was very rocky and estranged, it's entirely conceivable Sarek came up with some perfectly logical reason not to be there. Alternatively, as a high-profile ambassador, maybe he was legitimately busy on the other side of the Federation. Or maybe close family don't come to Vulcan weddings (we don't see T'Pring's parents, either).
Going Back to the Future
- After Edith Keeler's death, how did Kirk, Spock and McCoy get back to the 23nd Century? Did the Guardian of Forever transport them back after the last 30s scene? And if the Guardian could just pull people back, since there's no way they could have made it to the planet it was on in the 1930s, why didn't the Guardian just bring McCoy back before he changed anything?
- I'm going into WMG territory here, but maybe the Guardian either marked them somehow or gave them some kind of tracking device (that we were not told about) before they entered the gate. So the Guardian knew where they were, and could pull them back any time, but needed them to find McCoy, who got lost.
- It seems likely that the Guardian can only pull back someone who is willing and ready to come back, and knows that the Guardian is waiting to bring them back. McCoy wasn't coherent enough to even understand what the Guardian was before he went through, and so he couldn't be willing to go back until Kirk and Spock met him in the past and told him what was up.
Just use a shuttlecraft!
- In the episode "The Enemy Within", the transporter is malfunctioning. And as a result, they can't risk beaming the crew members that are on the planet's surface back up to the Enterprise. Instead of waiting for the transporter to work again, why doesn't Kirk just send a shuttle down to pick them up? Surely, the transporter can't be the only way on or off the ship!
- Because the writers hadn't thought them up yet. The Enemy Within was episode 4, the first shuttlecraft appeared in episode 13 The Galileo Seven. To explain it in-universe is tricky, but to not have a single member of the crew suggest using one greatly implies that they hadn't taken delivery of any yet and/or the few that they did have were broken - which when you factor in the devastation wrought in Where No Man Has Gone Before thanks to the galactic barrier and the strain the ship was under in The Corbomite Maneuver, Scotty probably had to relegate the shuttle repairs far down the list.
- The model of the Enterprise had shuttle bay doors on the back from the first pilot, but the shuttle itself hadn't been designed or the props or models built at the time of "The Enemy Within."
- And just to be clear, those doors were always intended to be for the shuttlebay, as evidenced by the fact that they are clearly labeled "doors to flight deck" in Matt Jefferies' early design sketches for the Enterprise.
- They'd been in a recent battle with Klingons or somebody and the only damage was to the shuttles and shuttle bay doors.
- The shuttlecraft won't arrive until Tuesday.
And the Children Shall Not Be Phasered?
- In "And the Children Shall Lead", once it became blatantly obvious that the Triacus children were the (in)direct cause of everything happening on Triacus and aboard the Enterprise, why did it never occur to Kirk to simply grab a hand phaser and stun the lot of them? They would not have suffered any permanent harm, it would have given Kirk and his crew back control of the ship, and Bones could've kept them sedated until they could be properly dealt with. Ignoring the fact that you probably couldn't show violence toward children on TV in the 60s, a simple hand phaser set to stun would've avoided everything.
- Where is your proof that a phaser set to stun is harmless against children? So-called non-lethal weaponry IS frequently lethal as the taser has proved on multiple occasions. There are a whole mass of factors including body mass and development that need to be considered. What if one of those kids had a heart attack? And its not just the censors that are the problem (the laws really have not changed much when it comes to adult on child violence) its the whole image of Kirk as a hero - and heroes do not shoot children.
- It may not have been heroic, but it would have absolutely been justified. Using lethal force to prevent a heavily-armed warship with the confirmed potential to devastate an entire planet from falling into unknown hands isn't something that any government is going to have a problem with; so stunning children into unconsciousness is, despite the risks, an entirely acceptable option. In fact, not attempting to do so at some point would probably be considered negligence on a commanding officer's part. We know that Starfleet agrees, by the way, because it equips its ships—even its ships with children aboard—with auto-destruct systems. To prevent the Enterprise-D from falling into enemy hands, for example, Starfleet expressly, canonically gives Picard and Riker the authority to kill every member of its crew—including the children. It wouldn't have been pleasant or heroic, and Kirk might not have felt particularly good about it, but stunning the children, even with the risk of causing them long-term harm or death, warranted serious consideration under the circumstances.
- This seems like a clear case of Forgot About His Powers, but Starfleet and Kirk aren't the type to just start blasting even with non-lethal weapons when they have no little information about the situation. For all they know, whatever supernatural force is controlling the children will simply change hosts to someone more powerful if its current body is comprimised. It might even kill the children itself on its way out just out of spite, which would hardly be out of character for many of the other supernatural beings the Enterprise has encountered.
- The kids were controlling or controlled by an outright Reality Warper. No guarantee a phaser on overload would do anything, much less a stun setting.
- Okay, but there's almost never any guarantee anything will work. Ever. Not just when dealing with a Reality Warper, but in almost any everyday situation you can imagine. If Kirk refused to do everything that might not work against a reality warper, he would have ended up doing nothing.
- Perhaps a sense of violence begetting violence? If Kirk used a weapon, then the entity could possibly decide to simply nuke the crew
Suddenly Security Conscious
- Starfleet's lax security is so legendary throughout the franchise that when good ideas come along they stick out like a sore thumb. Notably why, with all the dangers involved, is there exactly one episode where they use a passcode prior to beaming someone up?
- On a related note why is something as useful as the subcutaneous transponder only used once when you consider how many times communicators were confiscated or destroyed?
- Perhaps because the majorities of the good ideas are not stuff that is standard procedure but only done when necessary and the Enterprise is usually caught off guard by the problem of the week.
- Here's a minor thing I always wonder about. In "The Immunity Syndrome," we learn of a destroyed Starfleet ship called the U.S.S. Intrepid, which has an all Vulcan crew. An all Vulcan crew, and yet it shares the name of several U.S. navy ships. I suppose it's better than giving it an egregiously Earth-centric named like Yorktown, but why doesn't it have a Vulcan name like the 24th century Vulcan-crewed Starfleet vessel T'Kumbra (or, implicitly ShiKahr)? Perhaps it wasn't commissioned for that explicit purpose and no one thought it necessary (or logical) to rename it, but it broadly speaks to a humanocentric bias inherent in Starfleet.
- Yeah, the idea that the Intrepid is just some random ship that happens to have an all-Vulcan crew is far more likely than a ship implicitly designed for the purpose. In my opinion, the Alternate Character Interpretation of the Federation being a communist humans-only dystopia is still the best answer for the obvious human bias.
- How is the "communist" part salient to this point?
- If whoever wrote this thinks that the Federation is like North Korea, Mao's China or Soviet Russia than it is salient.
- That's not an answer. That's an evasion.
- If one finds rigid racial hierarchies in the Federation, that would seem to point towards fascism and not communism. In communism, racial difference is hypothetically treated as working to keep the working class competing with itself instead of recognizing their real enemy.
- When you watch the episode in some of the many dubs, you see that the name was change (i.e. to Intrépido in the Spanish dub) which hasn't the same connotation for other cultures unaware of U.S. navy ships naming which we are mostly oblivious unless youre into military history. Thus, is possible that "Intrepid" was the translation of whatever was the Vulcan word. The real headscratcher considering Vulcan culture is why a Vulcan ship is going to be call "Intrepid" and not "Cautious".
- Perhaps because only Vulcans who are intrepid by nature, and not cautious, are onboard? In the same way that we have historically considered prudence or frugality virtues but not named ships after them, perhaps Vulcan names its ships after the slightly more proactive virtues like curiosity and bravery.
- What actually are those plates of colored cubes that they eat? They look like melon but I doubt that is what they are meant to be.
- After an exhaustive search of the Star Trek wiki, it can be revealed that those colored cubes are known as. . ."colored blocks." Apparently, the closest we get to a description of what they actually are appears as a stage direction in the script for Journey to Babel: "A table in the f.g. holds exotic drinks, des hers d'oeuvre fineberg. [sic]" note But the kind of food the cubes were actually intended to be seems to be a secret known only to the Desilu props department. If I had to guess, though, I'd say they're probably a salad made of some kind of exotic fruit.
- That's certainly what they were when I ate them at the Standard Club in Chicago back in the '80s. I don't know why they had them, as this was an apartment hotel for independent seniors at the time, but there they were. Mostly I detected melon, pineapple, kiwi and papaya.
We Can't Save a Valuable Ambassador!
- In "Journey to Babel", Ambassador Sarek (aka Spock's father) is on his way to the Babel conference when he has a severe heart attack, and the operation to save his life requires a transfusion from Spock. However, when Kirk is injured in an attack, Spock refuses to relinquish command for the surgery, saying that he can't ignore his Starfleet responsibilities for a personal matter. Whether he's right or not is debatable, but here's the thing: whatever his personal connection to Spock, Sarek is an important ambassador for The Federation, as his presence is needed at the conference. If Spock won't save his father simply for his own sake, can't he still do so on behalf of the Federation?
- Enterprise was being harassed by an unknown hostile vessel, they had a assassin aboard, and Captain Kirk was wounded: this was a bona fide emergency. Spock made the right decision; his place really was on the bridge. You've got to remember that a ship is exponentially more handicapped with each link that is removed from its chain of command. With Kirk out of commission, Spock had to take his place, which meant that Enterprise was deprived of not only it's most experienced and talented officer in the command chair, but also of her best science/intelligence officer manning the sensors. If Scotty had to take Spock's place, Enterprise would then no longer have Starfleet's best engineer keeping the ship together if they found themselves in a firefight. Spock needs to focus on keeping the ship, its crew, and the entire diplomatic party alive. Also remember that if there's a battle, then there are going to be wounded, and then the entire medical situation changes. Treating Sarek is not going to be the top priority in a triage situation. Sarak was stable, so medical teams would focus on people who couldn't wait. If that unknown ship attacked in earnest, then there was a good chance the surgery wouldn't happen regardless of Spock's decision.
Starfields on the bridge
- On the bridge above the workstations around the walls there are squares displaying starfields. I always assumed they were computer screens/monitors but recently while rewatching the series it got me wondering if they were supposed to be windows and the reason they never changed was a budget one and/or because it was too difficult a special effect to pull off. Simarly, in some early episodes in the transporter room on the wall opposite the door next to the console is a large painting of a Star field and it got me wondering if that was supposed to be a painting or if it was actually meant to be a window.
- I'm certain that they're meant to be monitors, the images are just too diverse to be anything else.
- Yes, they were supposed to be monitors. When the bridge set was built, they had planned to have the images displayed on them periodically change the background. What they didn't realize at the time was that union rulesas well as the limitations of the special effects of that erawould have required them to hire a team of specialized projectionists to make it happen. That would've eaten up a big chunk of the budget for a minor background detail, so we ended up with just those static images.
Spectre of the Gun
- It's clear from the outset that the gang are not really in Tombstone and that this is all the Melkotians' put-up job. So why does Spock say "History CANNOT BE CHANGED" as if he thought they were really back in time?
- Spock more than likely meant that the Melkotians were intentionally driving things along the lines of the historical record, so even though the town and its people are quite patently fake, they're manipulating events to make sure they get shot at the Corral.
Punch Him to Death
- In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Dehner manages to temporarily cancel out Mitchell's powers. She warns Kirk it won't last for long, so he...starts punching Mitchell. Granted, if you punch someone hard enough in the right places, you can kill them, but Kirk clearly isn't doing that. He just goes for the nose-bloodying slugfest before finally grabbing the rifle that was lying there the whole time, and it's almost too late. Why not go for the rifle immediately?
- Watsonian: Kirk was still hoping that maybe he could subdue and save his friend's life. Doyalist: the network insisted this second pilot episode end with a good old bareknuckle fistfight.
What about the night shift?
- Who pilots the Enterprise when Kirk is asleep? No one can pull continuous 24-hour shifts, so somebody else must be in the captain's chair for at least a few hours. If a computer could do it, then why have a captain and bridge crew at all? Someone needs to write a fanfic about this.
- In Voyager, I remember Harry mentioning he got the Night Shift at one point to a bunch of ensigns under his command, so I presume there is rotation at various points. It's just being handled by offscreen NPCs. In an emergency, they probably rouse the proper command staff.
- Kirk is sometimes seen relieving another officer (usually Spock—who sleeps on a different schedule than humans anyway—or Sulu, sometimes a random unnamed goldshirt officer) when he enters the bridge.
- There's presumably a night crew—on TNG, Data usually ran the bridge at "night" (since he was an android and didn't need to sleep) with a different set of officers than the usual cast of the show. We explicitly see him end one shift and then later begin another as the bookends to a Spotlight episode. When he takes over at the end of the episode he relieves Worf. So it appears most of the senior staff are in command at some point while Picard & Riker are off doing something else. Crusher also mentions taking the "night" command shift on occasion because she liked running the ship and wanted to keep the command skills she picked up at the Academy and throughout her career sharp.
- There are also a few scenes of Sisko or Kira relieving "night" shift personnel from Ops on DS9, so it was probably the same on TOS.
- Allow Robot Chicken to explain what happens during TNG's night shift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4ApQrbhQp8
24 hour Sick Bay
- On the same note, who runs Sick Bay during the "night" shift? Do they have another doctor, or is Bones on call all the time? Maybe that's why he's grumpy so often...
- Well, what do naval ship/submarine crews do? Enterprise should have a full night-shift complement.
- There's a reason the title is Chief Medical Officer: McCoy and Crusher, too) have staff. On TOS, we see Dr. M'Benga a couple of times and on TNG, we see Dr. Selar a couple of times.
Dagger of the Mind
- With regard to "Dagger of the Mind": why would a penal colony have a shield that prevents Starfleet from beaming someone down? Granted, the shield would be useful to keep ships from beaming prisoners out, but it seems like the Enterprise should have some sort of override (in case the prisoners took over the colony and were holding the administrators hostage, for example).
- Which actually happened in "Whom Gods Destroy," making the lack of override an even more glaring problem.
- How do we know such an override system is possible, and it's not just all-or-nothing?
- Because Kirk was able to override the Reliant's shields to attack Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. That could have been a subsequent technological advance, however, made in response to the previous two incidents.
Time zones in space
- Pretty much all the series make mention of a "night shift", which is always crewed by the junior officers because it's not seen as important...??? How can you have a "night shift" in space? Even if they just call it that because of tradition, why would it be considered less important? What does the WHOLE galaxy sleep on the same schedule reducing the danger 'at night...in space'?
- When Muslim astronauts first went to the International Space Station, it was decided that their five prayers a day would correspond to a 24-hour day based on where they launched from.note Most likely, Starfleet follows a similar example, so all ships are synced to a 24-hour time period based on the time in San Francisco (Starfleet HQ). When night falls at HQ, all SF ships go to night watch. Each respective fleet in the universe (Klingon, Vulcan, Romulan, etc) probably has their own "day" system based on their own planet. If something important happens on the "night" shift, senior officers get called to the bridge.
- It is canon that other species/planets use their own schedules—Deep Space Nine runs on the 26-hour Bajoran clock, not the 24-hour Earth one. And while night shift may not be crewed by the highest-ranking bridge officers (like Kirk and Spock), it's not being crewed by a bunch of cadets who don't know what they're doing or anything. To once again use one of the later series as proof, the Enterprise-D is run on night shift by senior officers like Data and Beverly Crusher (though of course Data is a special case since he can work literally all the time as an android).
- And of course, the captain could be woken up in case of emergency, which is possibly what we see happen in some cases.
Tomorrow is Yesterday
- The first time-travel episode, "Tomorrow Is Yesterday"note , is perhaps one giant case of Fridge Logic thanks to its Timey-Wimey Ball. When the ship is accidentally trapped in The '60s and an Air Force pilot films them, they're forced to beam him up and then steal the footage from his base. Once they succeed, it's time to return the pilot, not by simply letting him go, but by going back in time a few hours and using the transporter to re-insert him into his own past body. It would be Mental Time Travel for him except that his memory is apparently reset to that time, an effect that Spock and Kirk assume will occur even though they have little precedent for either time travel or for beam-overriding a person. It's never explained why the Enterprise doesn't overwrite (or even encounter) its own past self, why the footage had to be stolen if the whole timeline was rewritten to prevent everything, why nobody's memory is changed unless they are beamed, and what philosophical difference is made by beam-merging/over-writing the pilot with a version of himself that has identical memories, apart from conveniently and non-violently eliminating the character from any complications. Oh, and how does the ship's "chronometer" work anyway? Its existence could imply a non-relativistic universe with "absolute" time (and that the Enterprise's designers somehow foresaw the possibility of time travel). But then, the warp drive also flouts relativity, so that's actually self-consistent.
- Time travel has never been internally consistent in Star Trek. In this episode it seems, there is just one of anything, no matter where in time you are. You have one body, one brain, one copy. It makes no sense but there you go. As for the chronometer, with Star Trek Enterprise and the temporal cold war hindsight, it actually wouldn't suprise me if someone did in fact foresee that this may be a handy tool to have some day.
- In "The Deadly Years," with Kirk, Spock, and Scotty incapacitated by the radiation aging, Commodore Stocker assumes command—despite, as Spock points out, the fact that Stocker has never commanded a starship. So how the hell did he get promoted to commodore? And on that same note, he claims that he'd be better than "a junior officer with far less experience." How can he say that if he has no experience? And isn't Sulu experienced enough? After all, he's taken command previously. Someone should've brought this up—or thrown Stocker's own words back at him after the battle where he froze up and couldn't do anything useful.
- Stocker was promoted to commodore of a starbase, implying a career of rising through rear-echelon administrative positions. His claims were just a haughty way of saying "I have seniority and I outrank you, so I'm in command here". Of course, given that Stocker is not just inexperienced but jaw-droppingly incompetent (a first-year cadet would've known that taking a shortcut through the Romulan Neutral Zone was a dumb idea), Starfleet clearly has some personnel policies to review...
- Okay, but once it became clear that Stocker had no friggin' idea what he was doing, why didn't Sulu or Uhura throw him off the bridge and take charge?
- Because it's really hard to (legally) take command from a superior officer who doesn't want to give it to you, especially one of flag rank (above Captain). Starfleet officers are expected to be sensible enough to know when they're unfit for command and remove themselves—see, for example, the scene where Spock resigns command after Kirk proves that he's emotionally compromised in the 2009 film. No one has to charge him with anything; he shows himself off the bridge. Stocker, arrogant bastard that he is, isn't that sensible.
- In "Spock's Brain," Bones uses The Teacher to get the smarts necessary to reinstall Spock's brain. Unfortunately, it wears off before he's finished, and using it again will kill him. So why didn't they bring down Nurse Chapel or Doctor M'Benga to take over, and have either one already standing by with The Teacher as soon as Bones started faltering?
- For that matter, they could have just had Scotty use the Teacher — granted, he's not a doctor, but neither is Kara and that didn't prevent her from using the Teacher to learn how to remove an intact brain and install it into the Controller interface.
- They could have used the transporter beam, but that wouldn't be as dramatic.
- Here's an even bigger one: The episode specifies this episode takes place in the Sigma Draconis star system, which is 18.8 lightyears away. Why didn't Archer's crew visit and report on the energy readings from the ice age planet, why didn't the space-faring civilisation visit the ice age planet, why didn't the Federation have relations with the space-faring planet, etc.?
- Sigma Draconis very likely was visited in the past, all the info the Enterprise had on the planets was taken from the library. Planet VI may not have been significantly emitting energy previously, and Planet IV was explicitly described as being at the equivalent of Earth in 2030, i.e. pre-warp (and subject the Prime Directive protections) and just on the cusp of intra-system travel.
Just get rid of the chairs
- In "The Galileo Seven" Spock's logical approach to the Cold Equation (the shuttle's load must be lightened by "the weight of three grown men") is a major source of conflict, but why not just throw out the chairs? It's not like they're required for safety - when the shuttle crashed, the first thing everyone did was fall off them.
- Lack of tools and facilities, and the chairs are quite light.
Kirk Has Space Syphillis?
- In an episode of TOS, citizens of a beyond-Malthusian overpopulated planet kidnap Kirk and get him to pass some dangerous STI along to one of their women to thin out their population. Now how many Green Skinned Space Babes has the good captain mentioned this to? None!
- Possibly he got cured of the disease aboard the Enterprise after the events of the episode? Star Trek medical technology can cure nearly anything that doesn't leave you dead or crippled.
- It was implied the disease got transmitted through the wound on Kirk's arm which he didn't remember how he got (he was probably injured by his kidnappers). He was previously treated and was only a carrier; Odona received the same treatment at the end of the episode, so they could have their fatal disease and she could live.
- It also wasn't an STI. It was a type of meningitis. He needn't tell any space babes, green or otherwise.
Brainwashing Fixes Everything
- The plot of the TOS episode "Dagger of the Mind" makes no sense at all. Why was Dr. Adams established as someone who had revolutionized mental health care only to be revealed as a Mad Scientist? What was his motivation for Brainwashing everyone in the penal colony? And why in heaven's name did he think he could get away with doing it to a starship captain? What was his plan? That the Enterprise crew would get bored waiting for Kirk and just go away? That sounds like a really dumb plan.
- At one point, Adams was a well-regarded and benevolent researcher. He just got too enamored of his new invention's potential, started using it far beyond ethical limits, became just as mad as his charges, and jumped off the slippery slope. He likely originally intended to brainwash Kirk into reporting nothing unusual, and when it didn't work, just monomaniacally kept trying.
- My memory is hazy, but are we conflating two characters? I thought the inventor was the one who went mad because his assistant used the mind erasure machine to get him out of the way.
- Here's how I understood the events surrounding that ep. Dr. Adams and his assistant both developed the tech together. They started testing it on patients, and it seemed to work. As they used it, Adams became more and more... unhinged at the power he had over the patients. The assistant, Dr. Van Gelder, wanted to report this to Starfleet, but Adams found out and had him brainwashed to stop people from finding it out, using the excuse of an accident. Then, enter Enterprise, who beams up the records, and Van Gelder. The ep plays out as we see and that's that. Why he became unhinged, I don't know. Could be the ol' absolute power stuff.
- How do the turbolifts work? We regularly see Kirk enter one and tell it to take him to "Deck Six" (or whatever.) But Deck Six extends the full width of the saucer section, which would mean Kirk having to walk a long way to get to the lift station - unless there are many stations in various places around the deck. Non-canon blueprints show that this is indeed the case. But if there are many stations, how does the lift know which one to take him to so that he's near the place he wants to go?
- For this era, at least, the handles may include some degree of lateral control of the lift.
- This seems to be exactly what the handle does as if you look at the flashing lights through the window they are clearly going both horizontally and vertically at various times. It could also in theory be some kind of safety mechanism whereby if you remove your hand for long enough then it comes to a halt. Turbo implies that its faster than any contemporary lift would be going after all, maybe the 1960s special effects were not adequately giving us a sense of speed and every show after this just rolled with it being slower than intended. Speaking of turbolifts, its actually rather interesting that they didn't call it a turboelevator given how American-English now seems to have overtaken all over languages in the Federation.
The original hole in the lower forward hull of the Klingon D 7
- It was most probably designed to be some sort of weapons' port but we never see it used in TOS. The only time we see the Klingon battlecruiser firing onscreen (aside from Errand of Mercy's remastering) is in Elaan of Troyius which establishes the iconic green colored disruptor bolts firing from the wing nacelles. Why would they have the disruptor bolt effects coming from the warp nacelles (which didn't look like they had room for a weapons fixture) instead of the forward hull opening as it seems like the ship was designed with just that in mind. Keeping in mind that this was years before the movie era established these as photon torpedo tubes and that the Klingons also had photon torpedoes.
- It might have also been intended to be a counterpart to Enterprise's deflector dish. It takes up a similar central, forward position on the hull. And considering the lack of any obvious weapon emplacements on the Enterprise model until the movie-era, it doesn't seem that the production staff felt any need to show us those details when it came to ship designs.
The strange choices made in All Our Yesterday's
- Putting aside all of the inevitable paradoxes with sending your whole civilization back through time, it is clear that everyone besides criminals like Zarabeth got a choice as to where they went. OK... so why would anyone choose to go back to the days of witch burnings? One could even say that staying on your doomed planet in the present would be preferable to living back then. Look at the fear in the eyes of that guy who helps Kirk escape back to the library; he knows that he is in store for an horrific death if caught and yet he chose to live there anyway. Did these people just not do any research on how dangerous, violent, dirty and unequal most of history actually was before they committed to their one-way journey? And then that leads into other questions for me: where did the women choose to go? From what we see this is another TOS world where history is basically a copy of our own, so did modern women in a civilization so advanced that they can command time itself willingly choose to go back to the days of corsets and being chained barefoot and pregnant to the house? Again, death seems preferable.
- Ever seen the more romantic Jane Austen fangroups? Some people just will not be dissuaded from their vision of the past, no matter how short, brutish, and nasty lives were in those days even when they are given a three hour lecture on it. One need look no further than the amount of people who romanticize the times of the Pilgrims and colonial-revolutionary days even in modern America. Some people will just not be told, and need to make their mistakes. And there will always be people who do understand the hypothetical risks, but are still more than motivated by fear of death to roll the dice no matter what.
The Ultimate Assumption
- In episode "The Ultimate Computer" once the computer goes crackpot and starts shooting for real at the other ships, killing crewmembers of those ships, the Admiral assumes Kirk went rough and is doing it himself, not the computer. Why would and Admiral assume that a condecorated captain with decades of service and not the experimental computer in his ship was doing that? Even more, even if he jumps to the conclusion that is Kirk doing it, he also has to assume that the entire bridge from Spock to the ensigns is in it with him (considering that it has been shown that a captain considered mentally unstable can be disobeyed and taken out of command by his subordinates). What is more plausible, that an entire crew of trustworthy officers with many years of service went mad or that the computer they are actually testing is malfunctioning?
- He probably took the same angle the episode was trying to hammer in -how Kirk was feeling threatened by a machine doing his job. The M-5 was supposed to be pretty much infallible, it had proved itself just a while back with its flawless execution on the first war games drill, and the Admiral was probably well aware of the existence of the shut-down button on the captain's chair. Therefore, even if the M-5 did malfunction and used full-power ammunition, Kirk was supposed to be ultimately in charge of the ship, taking over if necessary. No one could have suspected the lengths the M-5 would go to protect itself, taking control of the Enterprise and outsmarting its crew. Therefore, the Admiral must have thought that either Kirk was negligent of his supervision of a faulty AI at best, or had gone rogue and actively attacking the Federation for daring to supplant him with a computer at worst.
- Further evidence to support this: in "The Menagerie Pt. 1" Spock hijacks the Enterprise and sends it to Talos IV without Kirk's involvement or knowledge, but still the Commodore on board would have Kirk (and Spock) sentenced to death as per General Order 7 because "a captain is responsible for everything that occurs in his ship".
- In "The Ultimate Computer", Kirk asks the M-5 what's the punishment for murder, and it answers "death". However, it was previously established that the only death penalty warranting offence in the Federation is going to Talos IV, something a computer as advanced as the M-5 must have known. Does that mean there are two different sets of laws, one for people and one for AI?
I shall do neither
- Spock's words to T'Pau at the end of "Amok Time" are very concerning. After regaining control of himself and realizing he just had killed Kirk, Spock states that he'll turn himself in at the nearest Starbase. However, it is not clear the authorities will even consider the captain's death a crime, since the whole affair was part of a ritual Kirk agreed to participate in (even if with limited information), and Spock was not in control of himself all along except for the moment he begged T'Pau to forbid Kirk from participating. Furthermore, even if it was a crime, the penalty would probably be imprisonment, not death, going by the well-established Talos IV tourism disincentive uniqueness. So when T'Pau says "Live long and prosper" and Spock answers "I shall do neither", as in he won't prosper and won't live very long, does that mean he plans on killing himself?
- Well, Spock can surrender to authorities even if they don't end up convicting him of anything. Surely a first officer killing his captain calls for at least an investigation! Possibly Spock isn't saying he'll be executed or kill himself so much as that he expects to eventually melodramatically die from the grief of his act.