Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ten Minute Trek: I Wonder if They Had Any Clue How Many Novels Would be Written?

So, Spock's dad reeeeeally needs surgery, but Spock won't provide said surgery, because Kirk got stabbed. Bromantic.

Spock, to be fair, is quoting regulation, but I think everyone would understand. A thought occurs - what if Jolene Blalock, who never had a hidden emotion in her life, was cast so that Spock, in these moments, could seem like a reaction against T'Pol? I know, that's extreme, and probably more thought than UPN let anyone put into casting, but I'm just throwing that out there. Spock stomps as only Spock can off to go interrogate the Andorian.

The Ambassador doesn't really know much about the guy who attacked Kirk. Spock suspects brainwashing or mental conditioning type stuff. The ambassador denies any involvement. Andorian ambassador. I should clarify at this point. The Andorian ambassador does suggest to Spock that he should forget about logic as a motive for murder. Wow, we're all over the map on this one.

Amanda comes to Spock and asks him to turn command over to someone else. Spock points out that these are not normal circumstances. They have a debate about the transfusion, Amanda admits she doesn't get his reason for refusing even if Sarek does, and reminds Spock that he is part human. She begs him to let that part of himself come through. The conversation delves into Vulcan philosophy and not sacrificing that for personal gain. I think there could be whole sermons about this scene, I could go on for ages. But until then, just imagine it's an episode of anything on ABC Family and you get the idea. In the end, she threatens to hate him for the rest of her life and slaps him across the face. That went well.

There was a time at a convention where Leonard Nimoy and Zach Quinto were onstage together. Someone asked Zach if there was anything that he did with Spock that was new to the character and he responded "No" without even hearing the entire question. And then Nimoy said, well, actually....

I think he was talking about this moment right here:

But that was always there, in Spock Prime, or Nimoy's Spock, or whatever you want to call him. Sometimes it came out, but he always kept it tightly under wraps. I think that as long as Zach succeeds in doing that - for the most part - that his Spock will be mostly successful.

When Amanda leaves Spock in his quarters, he rests his hand on the door for a moment. The best Spock moments show the depth of his emotion... but not for too long.

Kirk wakes up in Sickbay with a bandage on his chest. McCoy explains the situation. He hauls himself out of bed and to the bridge, relieves Spock, and then calls for Scotty to come cover things.

I'm actually going to leave it here, because it's a good breaking point. There's more than 10 minutes left, but not by much.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ten Minute Trek: TOS: We Know Drama

When we left off - an ambassador had been murdered, and Sarek was the prime suspect - and when he was confronted, he collapsed.

McCoy diagnoses "something to do with his cardiovascular system."

A heart attack. We call that a heart attack. "Can you help him?" "I don't know." Weeeellll, he couldn't diagnose a heart attack on this guy - who saw that coming?

Kirk tries to talk to Spock about this later, on the bridge, but Spock is busy taking sensor readings. I'm forcibly reminded of Spock in Abrams' Trek in 2009, clinging to work after the destruction of Vulcan and the death of his mother. He denies being worried about his father and continues working.

Spock makes a report on the mystery ship following them, and Kirk continues talking shop with him. Mostly, I find Shatner's acting mockable, but he really does, here, seem to believably empathize with Spock. Of course, Bill Shatner's father died during the filming of Devil in the Dark, and he had to carry on filming and then come right back to work immediately after the funeral, so I imagine maybe it's not so much acting as it is remembering. Still, it's a touching scene, and one that cements the relationship between Kirk and Spock in a lot of fans' minds.

Uhura picks up the last part of a transmission again. She is able to identify it as being transmitted somewhere on the Enterprise.

No problem. That's only, like, 500 suspects (including the diplomats.)

Kirk immediately starts blustering again, by which I mean Shatner starts Shatnering again. The moment is broken. Thanks, Uhura.

McCoy has diagnosed Sarek with... a Vulcan heart attack. Basically. Sarek has had three previous incidents and not told his wife. Are we sensing an issue with communication here?

Holy crap.

I'm sorry, just.... no, dude.

"It's a better way" my hind foot. OMG.

Anyway, he was busy doing that while the ambassador was being murdered, so that's... actually, that's still a crappy alibi. Never mind.

Anyway, surgery is super super dangerous, blah, blah, McCoy doesn't know how to do it and they need a lot of blood which they don't have. Spock could donate. But it's too much blood for a person to give. Spock offers to give odds on finding a way to produce enough blood. Amanda declines to hear them.

Spock, however, does come up with a solution. He finds a drug that can boost the blood output of a Rigelian, which is practically the same species, apparently, and McCoy has never operated on a Vulcan before. This drug would strain other organs, and might kill Sarek. But Spock, apparently, doesn't want to give Sarek the drug. He wants to give it to himself. McCoy and Amanda refuse to agree to the surgery.

Spock hands his data to McCoy and leaves the room with a giant guilt trip.

Kirk is having a fight with an Andorian. Cue the music! Cue the punching! Cue the knife! Cue the... kicking... the wall... NOT Kirk's finest moment. He gets stabbed in the back and manages to call for help before he collapes, with the assailant unconscious.

Kirk almost died, and is now unconscious. Sarek is worse. But Spock is now refusing to help, because he is in command.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ten Minute Trek: Diplomacy Solves Everything

The Tellarites stalk off when an Andorian arrives on scene and interrupts. Apparently, Sarek and Gav the Tellarite debated before, and Gav lost. McCoy decides to use poor Spock's mother to get a dig or two in at Spock, and manages to get a story about Spock's pet sehlat from when he was a kid.

A couple of notes here. First of all, before answering, Amanda looks to Spock and he gives her a little nod. A lot of people who are new to Star Trek don't notice the inherent affection between Spock and McCoy, but it's there. The other thing is that the sehlat comes up again:
TAS: Yesteryear
Amanda describes it as a teddy bear. Not quite accurate, but close enough, I guess. But it's really the look on McCoy's face that's priceless here:

If there's one thing I hope for from Star Trek Beyond, it's that Karl Urban gets a few of these moments, because he is amazing as McCoy.

Back to the story. Sarek comes and collects Amanda and takes her to their quarters. Spock tries to disabuse McCoy of the whole cute teddy bear notion by describing the thing's size and the fangs (as pictured above). Kirk gets a call that there's some other ship pacing them, and calls a yellow alert (that won't bother the diplomats of doom at all). He helpfully orders (over shipwide intercom) his crew not to alarm the passengers. I just... brains.... ow....

On the bridge, they are barely tracking this unrecognizable ship. It isn't answering hails and is obviously following them.

Meanwhile, in their quarters, Sarek is on Amanda's case for embarassing Spock. Which, okay, yeah, probably, but Spock practically handed McCoy that ammo. Anyway, Sarek's saying that Spock needs respect to function in Starfleet, and Amanda's all like, wait a minute, you're proud of him! Big stinky liar. "It does not not require pride to ask that Spock be given the respect which he is due. Not as my son, but as Spock."

"I love you anyway," she tells him, and he literally rolls his eyes. "I know, it isn't logical." They have their cute little Vulcan embrace, and it looks like he smiles.

Of course, we've seen quite a bit of Sarek's emotions in later years:

My logic is... uncertain where my son is concerned.

Picard temporarily bears Sarek's emotions in TNG's "Sarek".
Spock, meanwhile, is continuing to track this ship. It flies past them at warp 10. Starfleet says there is no other Federation ship in their quadrant. They throw around that word, "quadrant", way too easily. Anyway, the ship goes back to paralleling them.

Sarek returns to the diplomat reception thingy. He takes a pill (mysterious!) and he and Gav get in an argument over his vote (Sarek, btw, intends to vote for admitting Coridan to the Federation). Gav demands to know why. They debate Coridan being admitted to the Federation and people stealing its dilithium and so forth. Kirk comes in and breaks it up when it starts to get physical and tells them that they have to keep it orderly. Gav threatens Sarek, Sarek snarks Gav, it's good times.

And then they find Gav dead.


A Lieutenant Joseph finds him in a Jeffries tube. The obligatory shot of Shatner without his shirt is used to cue the dramatic music. Credits.

Shatner stripping, circa 1967.

Someone broke Gav's neck. They used a technique called tal-shaya. It's a Vulcan technique. That Sarek knows. Kirk tells Spock about the argument with Gav and Sarek. Spock says that if Sarek had a reason, he could kill, logically and efficiently.

That had better be some reason.

Kirk comes to Sarek's quarters, but Amanda says he is meditating in private before resting. Uh oh, no alibi. Sarek enters and Kirk tells him about Gav. They ask him for an alibi. Sarek and Spock both agree that Sarek is a logical suspect. Sarek maintains that he has no alibi. And then he collapses in pain.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ten Minute Trek: Journey to Babel

McCoy and Kirk open the episode, with some lovely exposition about the mission they're in the middle of. (I actually really appreciate the lack of a Captain's Log here.)

This is a great episode, BTW.

They're in the middle of transporting a bunch of delegates somewhere (Babel? Perchance?) There's some political to-do about the admission of something called Coridan that is the hot button issue of the moment. They are joined by Spock, who is silent. Normally I'd say that's normal, but I've seen the next five minutes, and he's being stupidly illogical right now.

Anyway, there is a shuttlecraft coming and I suppose you could make the argument that Spock doesn't know until right now what's coming, but he just found out, because Chekov just blared it over the freaking loudspeaker that "Ambassador Sarek's" shuttle is on it's way. And okay, yes, Chekov has a bit of a thick accent, it is true, but this still might be a good idea, even if Spock couldn't quite hear what Chekov just said, to mention that there's a decent chance that... well...

You'll see.

 So Kirk and Company meet a whole crowd of redshirts that will, delightfully, survive the end of the episode, and greet the Vulcan ambassador. Spock tries to teach McCoy to do the Vulcan salute, which McCoy, predictably, complains about. The Vulcan ambassador - who bears a striking resemblance to the Romulan commander in "Balance of Terror" - meets Kirk, who introduces him to Spock, who comes back with some lame formal greeting, and hey, still could have avoided the awkward. Kirk introduces McCoy, Sarek introduces his aides and his wife. Kirk offers to have Spock show them around. Sarek asks for another guide. Slightly awkward.

And then Kirk offers to let Spock visit his parents.

Okay, I'm gonna interject here. How many humans are married to Vulcans? I mean, it must be common enough that Kirk is looking right at Amanda and it's not going *ding ding ding* in his head that hey, maybe that's Spock's mom? Of course, I've always hailed from the side of "Kirk's not that bright" but still...

"Ambassador Sarek.... and his wife.... are my parents."

Oh, there's the awkward. Yep. In fact, AWKward. Capital AWK. Dramatic music.


Journey to Babel
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Joseph Pevney

Now the log. They're going to a neutral planet called Babel so a bunch of politicians can have a huge debate.

Amanda approaches Spock in Engineering as Kirk shows Sarek around and chats with him a bit. Apparently, Spock hasn't seen his parents in 4 years because of some unknown (to those who don't know) debacle between Spock and his father. 

You know, I know they didn't have any clue what they were doing at the time, but DC Fontana's a freaking genius. Do you realize how many people have latched onto this plot point? Clearly the daddy issues speak to the masses.

And then Sarek literally calls "my wife, attend" and holds out his hand. THE HECK? I thought this was supposed to be the future. There's "no right way to hit a woman," Sarek. Remember that. We're watching.

Kirk asks Spock to explain the computers, but Sarek, it turns out, was the one who taught Spock to computer. Sarek further informs Kirk that Spock "chose to devote his knowledge to Starfleet rather than the Vulcan Science Academy." I'm pretty sure I've seen this show. It's called Gilmore Girls. Sarek leaves Amanda to continue the tour with Kirk. Kirk confides in Amanda that he doesn't get it. Amanda assures Kirk that the Vulcan way is weird, but better. I wonder how the Vulcan Kool-Aid tastes.

Anyhoo, Spock and Sarek, she says, have not spoken "as father and son" for 18 years. Which makes me wonder what happened 4 years ago... we never get an answer to that. It's one of those things that never made it into the fan mythos during the era of novelization in the 70s, and I've always been kind of sad about that. I'm sure there's fanfic, somewhere, but somehow if there's a binding on it, it seems more official. Kirk assures Amanda that Spock is his best officer and his friend. She seems to have a pretty good handle on what's going on in Spock's head, and it makes me wonder how much communication there's been between them. The novel Sarek in the 90s implies that there was no contact since Spock was in the Academy, but of course we know that's not true because they said so, like, two minutes ago.

Kirk gets Amanda to spill about the cause of the rift, at least. Sarek disagreed with Starfleet as a career for his son because Starfleet vessels carry weapons. It's an extreme opinion that, quite frankly, didn't mesh at all with the first seasons of Enterprise. Of course, Manny Coto fixed that (too late), but I've already done that rant and will again. Anyway, Kirk tries to defend Starfleet to Amanda, because clearly a woman is only an extension of her husband... or... something.... I don't know. I guess I did just accuse her of drinking the Vulcan Kool Aid, but look at that outfit! Just look: 

Does that look like something that would be worn by someone with a sense of practicality?


It looks like a vampire costume.

So there Kirk is, reinforcing my opinion of his intelligence, trying to convince Amanda (who is neither Spock nor Sarek, in case he didn't notice) that Starfleet is a great career, thank you very much, and that Spock is perfectly happy being socially and culturally isolated on a ship full of beings, who, if we are to believe Enterprise, stink to high heaven.

Yeah. I rest my case.

Anyway, Sarek wanted Spock to do what he said because he did what his father told him to do... and married... a human... I guess career and love aren't the same thing... or something... I give up.

This is insanely illogical.

Kirk calls them both stubborn. Which is, as Amanda points out, a human trait. Uhura summons Kirk about a signal she picked up that was only a few symbols and so short that she couldn't track the source. This is a great thing to talk about in front of delegates. BLIMEY.

The scene changes, and another log begins. This shows the delegates arguing and talking and generally delegating. Basically, some of the races on the ship have claimed Coridan and don't want it to join the Federation. There is concern about the delegates not behaving themselves en route to the confrence.

Meanwhile, McCoy, Kirk, Amanda, and for some reason known only to DC Fontana, Spock, are hovering around some brightly colored (plastic) food, chatting. Apparently, Sarek had retired before the confrence was called, and McCoy is curious about why, since Sarek is only 102. See how they slipped that tidbit about Vulcan lifespans in there? SO CLEVER. Sarek claims to have retired because he had "other concerns". Anyway, Kirk takes Sarek to meet some of what we all know are the Tellarite delegation, who ask how he will vote on the Coridan issue. Sarek declines to answer, and Kirk steps in to smooth things over. He must have gone to diplomat school, in addition to Punching Harder and More Accurately school.

To be continued.