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.

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