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Recap / Star Trek S1 E16 "The Galileo Seven"

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Don't be fooled, the ones wearing red shirts aren't going to die.

Original air date: January 5, 1967

The Enterprise is en route to Makus III with medical supplies when they come across Murasaki 312, a quasar-like formation. Much to the objection of Galactic High Commissioner Ferris, Kirk sends a party to investigate.

The electrical interference started getting rough. The shuttle, it was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, Galileo would be lost. (Galileo would be lost.) The ship set ground on the shore of this lone planet Taurus II. With Mr. Spock! The Doctor too! The Engineer! And Boma! The Yeoman! And the rest! Are here on Taurus II!

Now, how are they gonna get off?

The Galileo Tropes:

  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Giant alien cavemen threatening a shuttlecraft.
  • Artistic License – Space:
    • They state that the shuttlecraft is in orbit, but it rapidly decays. Once an object is in orbit, it will stay there unless there is significant air resistance. Though it might be supposed that they were being loose with terms and they had only cleared the atmosphere while being short of orbital velocity, in which case falling down again makes sense.
      • This is not exactly correct. Most orbits will eventually decay. This is especially the case with objects below geosynchronous orbit. A combination of pressure from the solar wind and atmospheric drag (the atmosphere doesn't just stop at a particular altitude, but thins out) will gradually reduce orbital velocity. Satellites and space stations at lower orbits have required periodic burns to boost their velocity back up and reverse orbital decay. The shuttle has simply achieved a low and/or unstable orbit, might make it around the planet a few times, but isn't going fast enough to achieve a stable orbit at sufficient altitude.
    • The "quasar-like formation" is nothing like what we now know quasars to be, a super-massive black hole at the center of a very young galaxy, spewing enormous amounts of energy as material falls into it.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Galactic High Commissioner Ferris is fond of nagging Kirk, reminding him that they may have to abandon search for the Galileo. In fairness, he was worried about people dying of a plague on Makus III, but that still didn't stop him from being a total Jerkass and even seeming to relish news of the shuttle and all hands being lost.
  • Blunt "Yes": Kirk tells Spock he is a stubborn man. Spock replies "Yes, sir."
  • Bothering by the Book: When Ferris orders Kirk to leave orbit and set course for Makus III, he does... at "space-normal speed" rather than warp, while continuing to scan the planet as the ship slowly pulls away from it.
  • Boulder Bludgeon: While the crew of the shuttle craft is trapped on a primitive planet, they are attacked by giant cavemen-like humanoids.
    • One of the cavemen uses a boulder to pound on the shuttlecraft.
    • During a funeral ceremony, one of the cavemen throws a boulder at Spock, pinning him to the ground.
  • Broken Aesop: See Straw Vulcan. Spock's method for getting the Enterprise's attention is mocked for being an emotional response, despite being completely logical as the only ghost of a chance they had.
  • Captain Obvious: Mears' only purpose seems to be pointing out the obvious.
    • For some unfathomable reason, she flops onto the floor and shouts "We're moving!" when the shuttle—get this!—starts moving.
    • She says "It's getting hot in here!" when the shuttle starts burning up on re-entry and its interior starts smoking.
  • Cold Equation: When the shuttlecraft Galileo crash lands on a planet, it loses so much fuel that it can't even reach stable orbit unless they lighten their load by 500 lbs. It's immediately pointed out that 500 lbs. is the weight of three men. Two of the crew die while on the planet, and they eventually take off and achieve orbit. Unfortunately they had to use the boosters to do so, so they're guaranteed to burn up on re-entry.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The writing of this episode was influenced by Spock having proved popular. Leonard Nimoy noted that, as a result of the character's success, "somebody said, 'Let's do a show where Spock takes command of a vessel.'"
  • The Dissenter Is Always Right: A shuttlecraft commanded by Mr. Spock crashes on an alien planet. Spock finds many of his subsequent decisions are contested by his companions. The most evident is his decision to burn off the remaining fuel to create a flare to attract the Enterprise's attention so they can be rescued. Despite objections, his plan works.
  • Due to the Dead: Spock sees no logic in this. He concerns himself more with repairing the Galileo than attending the service for Latimer and orders that no more than 8 minutes be spent on burying Gaetano. That's barely enough time to hold hands and sing "One Sweet Day"!
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: A major theme of this episode.
    Bones: Mister Spock, life and death are seldom logical.
    Spock: But attaining a desired goal always is, doctor.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: They carry it on fairly long, seeming to wind down and then start up again after a point, as if they only just realized it was taking longer than normal.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bones and Scotty eventually call out Boma for insubordination, even if Bones and his temper definitely enabled the guy.
  • The Great Repair: An Enterprise shuttlecraft is pulled off course and crashes on an unknown planet. The crew is repeatedly attacked by primitive humanoids and there's dissent over Commander Spock's decisions while Scotty attempts to repair the shuttle.
  • Ironic Name: In both the original and remastered versions, Murasaki 312 is portrayed as bright green. "Murasaki" happens to be Japanese for "purple".*
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Spock tries to deny his rescue for this reason.
  • MacGyvering: Scotty gets a shuttle to run on the energy from phaser weapons because he's that awesome.
  • Mildly Military: It's been noted that the shuttlecraft characters were being grossly insubordinate to Spock, and that one of the few moves done that was in the spirit of a proper military mindset is his fuel igniting stunt at the end, considering it was a worthwhile option given the situation.
    • In a follow-up novel (non-canon though), Boma was court-martialed for his insubordination. The charges were brought by McCoy and Scotty, not Spock. A different (non-canon) follow-up novel merely had Boma transferred to another ship because of the clash of personalities and ultimately working well with Spock when they meet up again.
    • Charges may not have been necessary if McCoy had reprimanded Lt. Boma after his derisive comment about Spock's brain (no not that one), instead of condoning and/or supporting it. Even Kirk publicly teases Spock about the incident at the end, prompting Boma to join the others in an "Everybody Laughs" Ending, which makes the court-martial idea seem like something of an invokedAss Pull.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Kirk! A shuttlecraft carrying seven crewmen including your first officer, chief medical officer and head engineer has just disappeared into a quasar-like formation! Whaddya do? Why, have a cup of coffee, of course! Even offer a cuppa to the Galactic High Commissioner!
  • The Needs of the Many: Spock and Ferris both take this philosophy seriously.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: During an attack by aliens Spock is pinned by a boulder. He orders the other Enterprise crewmen to go back to the shuttlecraft and lift off. They refuse and manage to free him, getting everyone to the shuttle safely. While the delay means they have to use the shuttlecraft's boosters to escape, apparently dooming it to be destroyed in re-entry, Spock is the one who comes up with the lifesaving bright idea that enables them to be rescued.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never get a good look at who or what is hunting the Galileo crew, only a few brief shots. We do see their shields and spears, revealing they are huge, and we hear a rasping sound whenever they’re in the vicinity.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Ferris.
  • Ominous Fog: In the mountains that Lt. Latimer and Lt. Gaetano explore, just before Latimer takes a giant spear to the back. Doubles as discretion fog later when Latimer is lying on the ground, presumably looking like a guy who took a giant spear to the back.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The stress of his first command is really getting to Spock. Why, he has to raise his voice!
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Eighteen foot tall Neanderthals.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: How Spock carries Gaetano.
  • Pacifism Backfire: Spock tries to scare away the natives with a barrage of phaser fire near but not directly at them. Instead of intimidating them, this angers them into directly attacking the shuttle.
  • Rebuilt Set: The observation deck model was designed to match up with the set seen in "The Conscience of the King".
  • Red Shirt: Gaetano and Latimer wear yellow, but they’re still treated the same way as they perish at the hands of the creature.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The Murasaki 312 object is a glowing green cloud, in both the original and the new special effects.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Spock and Bones as they attempt to leave the planet. "Mister Spock, remind me to tell you that I'm sick and tired of your logic." says Bones. "That is a most illogical attitude." replies Spock. When Spock admits to making a mistake, Bones snipes with "Well, at least I lived long enough to hear that." Boma gets in on the act by telling Spock that he admires his decision making abilities. Stressful situations like these bring out the snark in everyone. (Except for Mears, who's just there to be eye candy.)
  • Straw Vulcan: Mr. Spock, of course. Spock determines that a display of superior force will logically frighten away these aliens while the crew make repairs to the shuttle. Instead, as Bones points out, the aliens have an emotional reaction and become angry and attack, something Spock did not anticipate. In the end, Spock's desperate act of igniting the fuel from the shuttle to create a beacon proves to be the correct action since it gets the attention of the Enterprise and allows for a rescue. Plus, if it was indeed futile, it would have shortened their inevitable suffering. When called on this "emotional" act, Spock replies that the only logical course of action in that instance was one of desperation.
  • Streaming Stars: Rushing past the Enterprise when it's in orbit around a planet. And by the Galileo while it is in a decaying orbit around a planet.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Yeoman Mears fills the role meant for Yeoman Rand.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Writer Oliver Crawford conceived this episode as a science fiction retelling of Five Came Back, a film which involved an airliner making a forced landing in the South American jungle and the survivors being attacked by territorial natives. (The film was also an inspiration to Gilligan's Island, hence its similarities to this episode.)