Previous: STbtM 006
As this segment opens, commandos in skin-tight black with black ropes are rappelling down an area that looks possibly like engineering, as pyrotechnics are going off with sparks, flames, and lots of people running around for the evacuation. I'm guessing the assault of the spandex ninjas was thrown in because it looked cool, but one would think that some of the running to shuttles would have been done 4 minutes ago when Robau had ordered the crew to prep for evacuation. That order means: immediately get your emergency gear and report to your boat station. Shouldn't young, fully-qualified Starfleet personnel in the 23rd century be able to perform as well as drunken retirees in the 20th on a Carnival cruise? That said, the craziness looks good, even if insultingly nonsensical.
There's lots of yelling about and wild running through sets that really look primitive, like the inside a refinery, i.e.: gritty. Fortunately, the stunt men running the catwalks are evenly spaced, presumably so that if one falls or has a problem during the shot, the next guy can avoid injuring him. This is why whenever it is possible, we don't allow running in emergency situations where there are lots of people, questionable footing, etc. One might think young, healthy, fully-qualified Starfleet personnel in the 23rd century should be able to perform as well as stoned high-school life guards at a Des Moines pool 30 years ago? Um…based on what I hear ;)
The pregnant woman flips open a communicator and says "George". This has to be the best voice-activated dialing ever, since the skipper is answering before she even is done speaking his name, although perhaps he called her. In an earlier segment, I mentioned that Kirk was at least a shade better than Robau because although they both froze during moments requiring leadership, at least Kirk didn't start talking about God. Kirk says, "You're all right – Thank God!" First, the only thing he possibly knows is that she is capable of speaking one syllable. Is she trapped? Is she dying? She could be struggling to say: "George - I'm crushed in an pressure hatch...I love you." He has no clue - and just starts telling her what her situation is. Is his comment an attempt to reassure her? One ordinarily expects to have a cornflake of information before dictating to other about their situations – but it seems such considerations were not a priority for these characters/writers. Perhaps Kirk thought she might have died already, and was comforting himself aloud. Second, "Thank God?" If everyone aboard dies in the emergency shall we thank an invisible friend because more ships weren't lost? Perhaps the creators of the film felt that thanking occult spirits is always a good idea. Some people in our century believe when someone dies horribly, parts of brain activity are magically reassembled in an invisible universe where neurons are not required & conscious cognitive processes operate without energy or matter. Its like a candle that goes out, but saying the burning is reproduced forever in an invisible dimension without candles, flame, oxygen, etc., and is completely invisible, i.e: without heat, light, etc. Socially powerful delusions are risky for our species' long-term survival and as such, we might hope future cultures will do better. In fact doing better now may be needed for those future generations to exist at all.
Kirk directs the woman to shuttle 37, and tells her: "I'm on my way." At this point, he decides to actually follow an order and use the autopilot – intending to ram the enemy ship, but the autopilot is not working. We infer ramming was Robau's intent in his final orders to Kirk, although the tactic is questionable not only for reasons discussed earlier, but also because there's little expectation of success. Without any provision to detonate the ship's antimatter, why would the Romulan vessel incur any damage at all? It could warp away. It could creep away at impulse and vastly outpace its wrecked opponent. It could entirely destroy the Kelvin – or merely hold it in place with a tractor beam and phaser it into a big bust of Chairman Koval if Captain Nero was so inclined. Any of these options would still allow Nero to pick off all the shuttles if he so chose, so the plan makes little sense. It also violates one of the things learned during a Gemini mission in which Neil Armstrong was in command. The principle learned is: In space, don't abandon any potentially usable resources if you can help it. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea on the ground either.
The Gemini 8 mission objectives were to dock with a target vehicle, the "Agena", and perform a spacewalk. While docked, a thruster malfunctioned aboard the command crew's capsule and the spacecraft started rolling. Hoping it might correct the problem, they detached from the target vehicle only to discover their rate of spin continued to increase - meaning the defect was on their capsule. Without the mass of the Agena, the rate of roll increased more rapidly and they they had just abandoned the increased stability and fuel resources on the Agena. While the specific thruster that malfunctioned was identified and the crew returned safely, there was a real danger they could have been lost after the uncoupling. Preserving options in the face of uncertainty is an important principle of crisis management. From this narrow escape which could have easily cost the lives of 2, (including Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon), NASA people learned to avoid making guesses which might worsen the situation.
Meanwhile, Kirk's still-unnamed partner is whisked via wheelchair through a series of safely-timed explosions toward her shuttle. As a mere woman, perhaps it is felt her character needs no name. She yells periodically during the evacuation to dramatize her contractions, following the "screaming labor" delivery that seems a staple in the film industry. I don't understand why film makers choose to add a bit of biased drama at the expense of terrorizing younger audience members by this type of portrayal – perhaps they feel that a natural human feeling of profound awe and wonder at a birth lacks something. Unfortunately what seems more likely is that they lack or at least are insensitive such feelings, or they may feel their audience is insensitive to them. Neither option feels particularly uplifting...
Next: STbtM 008