STbtM 022: Leap Without Looking
Kirk, miraculously saved from being pummeled to death in the fight he started, lays across a table at his Starfleet benefactor who asks, "You all right son?" Kirk gurgles through the blood and alcohol, "Yoo c'n really wissel loud, y'know that?" Fortunately, he was wearing an instant-dry shirt, so all the dozens of drinks and bottles-worth of alcohol he was rolling in a second ago have disappeared without a drop of wetness remaining - cool!
We cut to a few minutes later and Kirk and Captain Pike are sharing a drink at a table. Shouldn't Pike be getting Kirk's open and bleeding wounds cleaned and closed somewhere? What about checking for concussion, the most common traumatic brain injury and one which kills thousands? Behind the two, the floor is getting more attention than this injured and bleeding lowlife. If Pike really has no care for this violent criminal's welfare, he might as well have left Kirk drooling blood on the floor. Apparently, this captain is not concerned with his own Starfleet cadets having committed battery or attempted murder either, nor those who exhibited dereliction of duty by failing to take any preventative action to end the violence, nor did any of them render aid, nor did anyone even notify security. I suppose Starfleet officers are really busy, and can't be expected to notice EVERY little thing, like making sure cadets change out of uniform before a night of abusing civilians. The uniforms do look great, btw.
When Pike says: "Y'know I couldn't believe it when the bartender told me who you are." Kirk asks: "Who am I Captain Pike?" "Your father's son."
Kirk slurs over his shoulder while waving an empty glass: "Can I get another one?"
"For my dissertation I was assigned the USS Kelvin. There's something I admired about your dad, he didn't believe in no-win scenarios." lf only Pike were referring to his current approach to Kirk, but alas, this is merely a non-sequitur, unworthy attempt at an homage to WOK. WOK is not a great classic merely because of the great battle scenes, it featured good writing with intelligent actions by smart characters despite many flaws.
Kirk opines sarcastically: "I sure learned his lesson."
"Well, that depends on how you define winning. Yur here, arncha? …You know that instinct to leap without looking that was his nature too, and in my opinion it is something Starfleet's lost." Actually, this might be OK as a feel-good line to build rapport in a counseling session under different circumstances, but here it seems more likely that Captain Pike is delusional, since skippers in the real world who "leap without looking" end up killing themselves long before their hubris gets a chance to slaughter crews and destroy ships. Ignorant and negligent individuals who do get to offices of authority typically are too cowardly to endanger themselves, preferring others to die for their gut "instincts" and leaps of "faith". They unwittingly betray and weaken those who trust them for protection squandering precious resources causing reckless harm, and thereby creating enemies. Such behavior causes legitimate fear, anger, resentment or even hatred as we have seen in very recent history – but the past has famous examples as well.
The bold, leap-ahead-in-the-fog skipper of the Titanic springs to mind, as does the Exxon Valdez. 133 years and 5 days ago, a leader followed Captain Pike's advice, leaping into action without "wasting" time on looking to where he was jumping. He was killed with his brothers, nephew, brother-in-law and hundreds of others under his command, ending George Armstrong Custer's hideous genocides against the indigenous peoples of North America. Despite the fact Pike's recommendation is without merit under the best circumstances and contrary to any institution's stability, (much less one involved in the kind of risks space exploration entails), even I would have to admit a catastrophic ending to a career of mass murder would represent a step up of sorts for Abrams' version of James T. Kirk.
Kirk asks "Why are you talkin' to me, man?" "Because I looked up your file while you were drooling on the floor. [Ha!] Your aptitude tests are off the charts, so what is it? You like being the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest?" Kirk: "Maybe I love it…" "So your dad dies, you can settle for less than ordinary life, or do you feel like you were meant for sump'm better?"
Isn't it miraculous that more than 20 years after the Kelvin incident, Riverside Iowa hosts two survivors from an impossible anomaly about as far away from earth as it is possible to get? It's even more amazing that 4 people in Riverside end up as bridge officers on the Federation's flagship! It's even more unbelievable that the survivor who shows up disregards every responsibility he has in order to obsess over the history and future of some unknown guy in a bar fight, who may not even survive the week without getting to a hospital? Wow; clever plot twists or insults to audience intelligence? You decide!
Next: Starfleet Wants Felons