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Headscratchers / Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

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    Romulan ships need not apply 
  • Sybok's whole reason for invading Paradise City and holding the population for ransom was to get his hands on a starship. The thing is, a new Romulan Ambassador showed up on the planet minutes before the attack. Why didn't Sybok and co. just nab that one? There was a good chance it was still orbiting the planet, since the Ambassador didn't seem to have time to tell her ship that she'd met up with her Federation and Klingon counterparts and all was well. Or, if it had left, shouldn't it logically have been the first ship to arrive at Nimbus III when the distress calls went out, since it couldn't have been all that far away, even at high Warp?
    • Nimbus III was not a great assignment; in fact, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country shows that the Romulan government actually has an ambassador on Earth, so Nimbus III representative was completely useless. It's unlikely that anybody who was given the position of ambassador to that world was particularly favored by the government that sent them there. Add that to the fact that the Neutral Zone is a DMZ, and it seems unlikely that the Romulans would assign a warship to drop her off. Sybok needed something fast and powerful like a cruiser to get where he needed to go, and to get anyone to send one, he needed a crisis. He's just lucky that Starfleet responded first, as the Romulans or the Klingons probably would have resolved the situation with much more violence.
    • Which makes the plan even more foolish since Sybok's only hope is to steal a Starfleet vessel, because if the Romulans or Klingons get there first then they'll all be killed.
      • The Klingon ambassador, Koord, has explicitly been given the Nimbus III assignment because he's out of favor. The Klingons were hardly likely to rustle up the cavalry for his sake.
      • They might have... it's Klingons, after all, they'd probably be pretty big on the principle of the thing. ("You dare threaten one of our people, even if it is that miserable pah'tok Koord?!") Sybok may have just planned to do or have one of his acolytes do some really fast talking if it was the Romulans or Klingons that showed up.

    The film that never happened 
  • This may be wonderment about fan reaction more than the film itself, so this may not qualify as a headscratcher (delete away if necessary!), but I have always been curious about the impulse to de-canonize this film. True it's terrible, but it's hardly alone in this among installments of Star Trek, and bad episodes do not usually get struck from canon just for being bad. Roddenberry himself apparently made remarks to the effect that this film and the next one have "apocryphal" elements but was vague about what this means. It would appear to me that, in spite of its awfulness, the film does little to actively "harm" canon, thanks in part to its small scale. True, Sybok's very existence is a bit dubious and neither the trip to the galactic core nor the timeline for Nimbus III's foundation make much sense, but compared to Star Trek: Nemesis (or even Star Trek 2009), the film does little to actively damage the universe of Star Trek; its iffy characterizations are best ignored and the film collects dust on a great many shelves, but is that the same thing as de-canonization?
    • Just in case someone is NEW to this film and all the speculation, I THINK Shatner himself has conceded that it "Was all just a dream" and the film lends itself to this, opening and closing with Row, Row, Row your boat. I think it's also stated somewhere on this wiki, and that explanation works best. The DCU Comic Book was a better story than the movie explaining away all the headscratchers. (I wish I still had my copy ) Including Kirk's brother. What movie goers fail to realize is that there was a writer's strike and cost overruns that ruined the movie before it began. Even Shatner knew it as he was filming, but by God, he gave 110%, as only superham Shatner can. This movie is a winner only because of sheer BALLS expended in order just to get it made with all the REAL WORLD problems happening. So stop thinking of it as a Star Trek movie and put it in the same box as the TNG holodeck stories where they went to Sherwood just to break the tension and have a little fun.
    • Heh. The Sherwood thing was a Q episode. I think the problem folks have with the movie is that it'd be one thing if it was an episode that contributed nothing to the canon (who wants to count how many episodes there were of that in every Trek series?), but a movie has to have higher stakes. And high stakes are certainly promised, with the question to locate God, but the sloppy execution and real-world problems left you with a huge mess. I think it's the same reason so many folks have trouble with the first movie and the last two TNG films. Adding to that the film being so critically panned that they almost pulled the plug on Star Trek movies forever and you can see why fans pretend this never happened.
      • Shatner at least wanted to deliver on the promise to find God (or rather, Satan) but was talked out of it by the studio.
    • I'll do you all better. In The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, it's stated that this movie is in fact a movie made on the planet of Space Romans from "Bread and Circuses." Kirk and his officers saw the movie when they returned to the planet and saw fans remarkably similar to modern-day Trekkies, complete with homemade Starfleet uniforms.
      • Roddenberry stating that he didn´t like the film dooesn´t decanonize it.
      • For the record, more than expressing dislike, Roddenberry apparently said that he "considered some of the events in Star Trek V to be apocryphal." That's a quote from the Star Trek Chronology. Just what he said and to whom is still a touch unclear. The bigger point is the Word of Roddenberry does not make something non-canon.
      • It's noteworthy that there has seemed to be a soft de-canonization of this film. Elements like Sybok, Nimbus III, the centre of the galaxy, etc., just quietly get ignored, and the next film's line "never been this close" ignores the joint party with the Klingons in this film.
      • I'd point out, though, that particular line is already something of an anomaly, in itself. Is he talking about never being that close to a Klingon warship? That can't be right, because he's been aboard two separate Birds-of-Prey—the one in this film, and the one he commandeered in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Is he talking about being that close to a Klingon battlecruiser? Maybe, but he infiltrated a nearly identical ship (albeit an older D-7 class) operated by the Romulans in "The Enterprise Incident." I think we have to take Kirk's line as an indication that he's a little overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation, rather than a blunt statement of fact.
      • It is probably the closest he's ever been to the flagship of the Klingon fleet and the head of the Klingon state.
      • You can rationalize it that way but it seems flimsy to me. Has he even been even remotely close to those specific things before? Why would it deserve remarking upon?
      • You don't think it would be noteworthy to be as close as he's ever been to the flagship and head of state of a government his government have been enemies with for nearly 40 years, and that he has personally fought against?
      • It's just a bizarre way of expressing it. Let's say I've never seen a tiger before. Suddenly I'm within ten feet of one. Would it make sense to say "I've never been this close a tiger"?
      • It's more like meeting the President. You know who the President is and what he looks like, but if you came around the corner and found the President visiting your local Starbucks, it's likely you would say "I've never been this close to the President before."

    Gone to Center of Galaxy, Be Back in a Sec 
  • In Star Trek V, the Final Frontier, the Enterprise travels to the center of the galaxy in just a few hours. For the sake of my argument, let's just say they did it in 3 hours. That's, more or less, 26,000 light years in 3 hours. Now, on Voyager, Janeway and the gang get displaced 70,000 light years. And it's going to take them 70 years or so to get home. If this is the case, why in the hell didn't Janeway travel at the same speed that Kirk did in Star Trek V? She could have gotten back to earth in less than 10 hours. Plus, she's even in a more advanced ship than Kirk's.
    • You thought Star Trek V was actually supposed to make sense?
    • God did it. Kirk killed him.
    • This is precisely why this editor does not view Star Trek V as canon. There has been a theory on this website, somewhere that there was a "warp highway" to the centre of the galaxy, a warp highway being a region of space where your warp engine power is enhanced so you go faster with less fuel. And the reason Janeway and co couldn't use it? They only exist for a finite amount of time.
      • Canon is not what yu choose or not it is what´s official.
    • Who said it was "The centre of the galaxy"? A crazy person with a messiah complex and people who had been mind controlled by said crazy person. Personally I wouldn't trust his directions to the head.
      • I know this isn't really what the movie had in mind, but maybe it can be ret-conned as saying that it wasn't the physical center of the galaxy, but what the Vulcans used to believe was the "spiritual" center, a region of space mysteriously blocked off by the Great Barrier. If there's a discrepancy in the Star Trek universe between the visible galaxy and the dark matter halo around it, maybe the Barrier surrounds the halo's center, which happens to be a whole, whole lot closer to Earth than the real galactic core
    • This is just one of the more egregious Star Trek speed errors. TNG had the Enterprise end up over 2 MILLION light years from Earth and Data says that it would take approximately 100 years to get home. By contrast, Voyager going 70,000 light years would taken 70 years. That means the Enterprise D could go 20 times faster than Voyager... it's fair to say that writers really need to try and leave distances out because they ALWAYS screw them up and end up traveling at the speed of plot.
      • Warp 10 = 1,000c; the Designated top Speed applies WITHIN the Galaxy. 2M ly is empty space BETWEEN galaxies. Maybe you can go faster if there ain't all these frackin stars in the way?
      • Four days from Earth to Qo'noS at Warp 5. 'nuff said.
    • Remember the TNG episode "The Nth Degree?" An alien species living near the center of the Galaxy, who just appeared as incorporeal giant floating heads, contacted a single, very special mind and gave his brain a boost, so he was able to bring the ship there in no time. Maybe "God" was an insane, criminal member of that species, imprisoned behind the Great Barrier by his fellows?
      • That, or they knew the location of a stable wormhole that would speed up the trip, such things being common in Star Trek; of course, the key difference being God was on the other side of this one as opposed to inside it...
    • Also a likely case of Critical Research Failure, since according to the other wiki, it had been known since 1974 (and perhaps postulated for some time prior) that there was a black hole with about 4.31 million solar masses at the centre of the galaxy, as well as a lot of stars densely packed together surrounding it, so travel there in real life would be suicide anyways.
    • Surely though, as Star Trek V came first, the mistake is with Voyager and not this film? And in regards to the black hole, just because it exists in the real world, doesn't mean it has to exist here. It may have started out as just the future, but even if you want to retcon the eugenics wars in 1996, 2024 will see the sanctuary districts of San Francisco and 2026 will see world war 3.
    • In the seventh season of ST:TNG, a scientist discovered that conventional warp drives were causing serious damage to the fabric of space, and all ships were put on a Warp 5 'speed limit' until the problem could be solved. Supposedly Voyager had a newer engine that didn't cause the damage (or, at least, not to the same extent). But as there was an alteration to the way that Warp Speed was calculated between TOS (where Warp 12 was a possibility) and TNG (where Warp 10 was supposed to be 'infinity', we can't conclude altogether that the same speeds by the same names apply. We have no real way to calculate how Voyager's speed relates to Enterprise's speed, though no doubt several Trekkies have attempted it.

     Do Not Use Toilet In Spacedock 
  • There is a toilet in the brig that warns: "DO NOT USE WHILE IN SPACEDOCK". So... why would there be a problem with this? Maybe it's just sadistic Schmuck Bait for the rule breakers in the brig? And nobody gives a crap when they need to take a crap, of course. I'm wondering if it's All There in the Manual.
    • However, this might be a joke. In the Netherlands you are prohibited to use the toilet in the train while it is parked at a station. Because of the fact that you are crapping down a tube down straight onto the tracks.
    • Possibly that's when they detach and clean the pipes which would otherwise connect the ship's toilets to a replicator/recycler.
    • Once you get to Spacedock, whoever is in the brig is taken to the Spacedock's brig. There shouldn't be anyone except maintenance in there anyway, so not flushing could mean the difference between sucking Ricky Redshirt out into space.
      • Presumably there must be some working lavatories onboard for those maintenance crews to use—hopefully something more comfortable and private than a fold-away prison toilet.
      • It might be that the toilet simply ejects waste matter out into space, and maintenance-guy-in-spacesuit doesn't want to be hit by random person's flying faeces in such a confined environment such as spacedock. Of course, this method of waste disposal would be highly inefficient for starships on long journeys when some sort of recycling might be in order.

     George? Who's George? 
  • After the death of Sybok, Kirk offers Spock comfort in what should be a Heartwarming Moment, saying "I lost a brother once. I was lucky to get him back." Kirk's obviously referencing Spock, and the events of Star Trek II and III, and when Kirk says that he lost a brother, both McCoy and Spock give a small look of surprise before they realize who Kirk is talking about. The thing is, Kirk did loose his actual brother, George Kirk, who died horribly in Operation Annihilate!. In fact, both Spock and Bones were with Kirk on the landing party that found George's corpse. Doesn't that kind of move Kirks statement to Spock from heartwarming to borderline sociopathy?
    • It's quite possible that Kirk was MUCH closer to Spock than he ever was to George. It's not sociopathy to be distant from your nuclear family.
    • The way the quote is delivered and phrase is also rather specific. It's not denying the fact that George existed or even forgetting about him, it's simply referencing Spock's death and rebirth.
      • Exactly. Kirk could hypothetically have said "I lost two brothers. I was lucky to get one of them back." But no doubt that would be confusing for audience members without long memories. But nothing about the wording as is excludes losing a second brother.
      • I thought that Kirk was referring to the loss of his biological brother and implying that Spock had replaced George in his life. However, this slights McCoy. Kirk should have said "I lost a brother once. i was lucky; I got him back. [Looks at Spock and then McCoy] I got him back twice."
  • Word of God says Kirk was talking about memorializing him, not actual resurrection.

     Here's a Warship, Go Do Whatever 
  • What's going on with Klaa, the commander of the Klingon bird-of-prey? He's introduced to us when he destroys Pioneer 10, which SF Debris points out will only be barely outside our solar system (Starfleet headquarters and the capitol of the Federation) by the 23rd century. He takes on the mission to Nimbus III just because he's bored, and on his own initiative, he launches an unprovoked attack on Enterprise which was engaged in rescuing diplomats (including a Klingon official) from a hostage situation. Then, he follows Enterprise literally to the center of the galaxy just to launch another unprovoked attack. Does Klaa answer to the Klingon military? If he does, why would it allow Klaa to so casually risk war with the Federation and—considering the Romulan ambassador aboard Enterprise, and their eagerness to kill Klingons at the slightest provocation—the Romulan Empire?
    • Pioneer 10 being as far out as it was could be an example of Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale. Even Voyager 1 hasn't left our Solar System yet (as of 2013), but Star Trek: The Motion Picture had a fictional Voyager 6 far enough out of our solar system to be sucked into a black hole.
      • Well, if I remember correctly, Star Trek: The Motion Picture had a wormhole appearing smack-dab between Jupiter and Saturn all due to a warp imbalance.
      • Of course the use of warp drive in any sense could have led to any number of things happening to those old space probes that could have dragged them wildly off course and/or much further away than they were supposed to be. The probe could have accidentally been trapped inside some ship's warp bubble and dragged along for the ride, or such.
    • At the end, Klaa is seen apologizing to Kirk for his actions (with Koord looming over him intimidatingly) and emphasizing that his actions were taken without approval of the High Council. Basically, since he didn't actually manage to hurt anyone, and his following of the Enterprise led to the rescue of Kirk, he wasn't executed for his violating his orders (probably something along the lines of "here's a sector, stay here and patrol it"). If you look closely in the next film you can see that Klaa has been removed from starship command and put on translation duty, so it's obvious that he pissed someone off, but not enough to get executed for it.
    • To the Klingons, Kirk is a wanted criminal who basically got away scot-free for killing a Klingon lord and capturing a Bird-of-Prey. Maybe Klaa figured that delivering his head on a silver platter would get him a promotion.
    • Assuming Star Trek: Generations is anything to go by, Klingon houses seem to either have their own private fleets or ships which the Imperial[?] fleet has withdrawn from service.

     We need James Kirk 
  • Kirk protests the Enterprise being sent on the mission since its a mess. He says that there has to be other ships and the admiral says that they have working ships but no experienced captains. Why not just have Kirk take command of one of those ships for the duration of the mission?
    • Maybe Starfleet is a little over-sensitive about Kirk taking over command of a starship from its regular captain, since whenever he does it the former captain inevitably ends up dead? Sure Spock got better, but Decker has never been heard from again.
      • They don't die every time. Christopher Pike was only crippled and horribly disfigured, not killed.
      • As it stands, Kirk didn't take over command of the Enterprise from its regular captain; Pike was promoted to fleet captain, and Kirk transfered to the Enterprise as his replacement, as opposed to the other two instances where it was as Admiral Kirk, thus their superior officer. Also, Decker x Ilia x Voyager evolved into a non-corporeal life form, so I'd hardly call him dead. Still, the point is taken.
      • Honestly what I thought the obvious answer is simply this. Kirk was just demoted to Captain for committing a several breaches of conduct and disobeying orders, and while saving the Earth from the Probe and his general character and heroism caused them to just kick him back down to what he was best at, Starfleet was likely still a little sore at his flagrant disregard of the rules and/or not wanting him to get a big head about breaking rules and getting both away with it and everything he wanted from the situation as well. Thus it was basically hazing. Kick him off shoreleave in a crappy not fixed ship to go negotate with or get into a shootout with a bunch of poor farmers on a planet nobody cared about, for the sake of a bunch of politcians that also nobody cares about. A rather unpleasant but easily doable mission just to remind Kirk where he stands at the moment. The Vulcan having magic mindcontrol powers to brainwash everyone to serve him wasn't something they were counting on.

     Leaving the Caitian to drown 
  • When Kirk first enters the bar in Paradise City, he's attacked by a Caitian woman. Of course he's able to fend her off, and at the end of the fight she's left unconscious face down in a pool of water, her last breath bubbling out of her. It seems very uncharacteristic for Kirk to leave her to drown like that, and for Spock to not intervene either.
    • "Uncharacteristic" is certainly the word. The movie is full of uncharacteristic characterization, which is why the fans don't much like it. Maybe everybody knew that Caitians (if that's what she was) are actually fully amphibious, and she'll be fine once she wakes up.
     Why Redecorate the Bridge? 
  • The Bridge of the Enterprise-A in this movie looks totally different from the bridge of the Enterprise-A at the end of IV. Scotty implies that they left spacedock and were immediately in trouble. So with Scotty having more than enough to do to get the ship working, who decided to completely remodel the bridge? Incidentally, it looks totally different again in the next movie.
    • It probably wasn't a remodel, exactly. I don't know if there are any references to it in canon, but a lot of background material suggests that the bridges on most Starfleet ships are replaceable modules that can be swapped out relatively easily; which is what presumably happened between movies.
    • That would explain how they did it, but not really why they did it. Did Scotty think swapping the bridge module would solve the ship's problems? If so then he was wrong.
    • That would be my guess. Scotty was hoping that the new bridge module would interface with the ship's systems better—he just underestimated how much of a lemon the new Enterprise is at this point. As for the reason the bridge changed again between this movie and the next, the ship clearly goes through a pretty major overhaul in the interim (the warp core and engine room become visually identical to that of the Enterprise-D by The Undiscovered Country, for examplenote ), so swapping the Star Trek V module for the seemingly more advanced version from The Undiscovered Country may have just been a part of that general upgrade.

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