Star Trek by the Minute 047: Psychic Psycho

In the flow of battle, Nero's order to destroy the Enterprise was followed instantly by his bridge crew, with missiles hot in 5 seconds, impacting the target in 10. Sulu's useless "status report" and Pike's nonsensical order to "get Starfleet Command" takes another crucial 10 seconds, during which the next salvo from the Narada should have been on its way. Spock's report on the Romulans' "high energy pulse device" and Pike's ordering of "All power to forward shields, prepare to fire all weapons" yet again consumes what should the last available seconds for the crew to avoid certain death, yet they choose to use this time to chat about information that has nothing to do with keeping themselves alive, like getting the hell away from a ship against which it is obvious - glaringly obvious - they have no possible chance of success.

Entering a battlefield under red alert, shouldn't our weapons be ready to fire already? I can't understand why the writers chose to have the skipper micromanage when they don't have Pike's detailed instructions consistent with reasonable actions. Even if flying into the trap made sense, (it didn't) even if firing at the Narada might adversely affect the enemy (it can't), even if not trying to escape was reasonable, (it isn't), why would we delay a fire order by instead ordering "Prepare"? Someone should slap Pike and demand to know what in the hell is he waiting for? For Nero to miraculously and unreasonably save the Enterprise? Fortunately, Gods (the writers) are on the side of the Enterprise, and the Narada and her crew just sit idly by while the Starfleet crew waffle around and have their nonsensical discussions. On the upside, the setup of the scene does provide a reason to show artillery casings being shoved into launchers and the hatches being locked shut. Tick…tick…tick…away go our heroes' final seconds in a universe with any sort of believability. So one wonders: what's going on aboard the Narada?

We see the Enterprise on Nero's viewscreen, and hear a Romulan officer announce "weapons ready", and then there's a long pause with Nero just staring at the screen with apparently everyone aboard waiting – as if they expect Nero to stop the attack, which he eventually does by yelling "Wait!" Ridiculous. The Narada was already firing, we know weapons are not merely ready, they have already been firing and every second the Narada waits is a chance for their enemy to fire, reinforcements to arrive, or an infinite number of other possibilities - all bad.

As the Enterprise is turning its bow in what looks like an attack vector or prep for another ramming maneuver that previously tore the guts out of the Narada when the Kelvin tried it, Nero says: "The hull, magnify." Navigation & sensors must really have a great telepathic link, since they don't zoom in on the enemy's weapons systems or damage to assess anything relevent to the battle, rather they home in on the proud "U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701" on the saucer section. Why would we care about the name of some other Federation ship that has nothing (apparently) to do with Nero's plans? Is Nero psychic, and his precognition and clairvoyance tell him that Kirk and young Spock must survive for Abrams' next travesty, and that they are aboard this ship? It's a mystery as once again, our heroes are saved from their own suicidal stupidity by another nonsensical miracle, perfectly timed. In my opinion, this insults viewers' credulity.

Nero shows that he has some superhero "helpless gaping" powers of his own, before we cut to Uhura on the Enterprise bridge announcing : "Captain, we're being hailed." On the viewscreen, we again see that enemy commanders can just pop-up on the main viewscreen of starships like a bad browser ad, as a badly distorted version of Nero says "Hello." In reaction to the shock of the situation, Pike has a momentary lapse to reason and replies sensibly, "I'm Captain Christopher Pike, to whom am I speaking?" "Hi, Christopher. I'm Nero." Pike gains his irrational footing to assert: "You have declared war on the Federation." For some unknown reason Pike thinks that this ship, about which he knows almost nothing other than it has attacked every populated ship, base, and planet with which it has had contact, is equivalent to a sovereign or head of state for the Romulan Empire. Even if Nero was considered a non-state terrorist, declaring war is an actual declaration. For all Pike knows, the Narada could be acting under any of an infinite number of mistaken ideas that led them to a conclusion that they are fighting for their survival. Pike has no clue – and yet he blurts out a provocative judgment that is not merely completely devoid of any supporting evidence as far as he knows, but factually wrong in several ways. Again I will ask: does no one proofread these scripts?

So, without any understanding of his enemy, Pike continues "Withdraw, and I'll agree to arrange a conference with Romulan leadership at a neutral location." Nero decides to clarify a couple of Pike's unjustified assumptions with "I do not speak for the Empire. We stand apart, as does your Vulcan crewmember. Isn't that right Spock?" Our first question might be: how would the captain of a frigging Romulan mining ship even know about Spock's assignment to the Enterprise – is he psychic? Second: why would he possibly care about saving this particular ship? Third: How would he know about alternate such things in an alternate timeline? Fourth: Why would he care about this alternate timeline? Fifth: What could this possibly have to do with Nero's planned revenge on the prime timeline Spock? Sixth: Has no one on board the Narada yet realized that Nero's plan includes letting everyone on Romulus die a second time? Incredible...that the studio actually makes hundreds of millions by PRODUCING such toxic waste.

Of 5 speaking roles in this segment, the only female is Uhura, who utters a total of 4 words.


muser said…
Ambassador Spock's history is well known in Nero's time. It's not unbelievable that Nero would know a younger Spock is on the Enterprise. Just as if you or I found ourselves in the Pacific during World War II and we saw a boat numbered PT-109, we might know the name of her skipper. Nero doesn't seem to realize this is an alternate time line, I thought that he thought he had simply gone back in time. He doesn't seem to even realize that he has therefore changed time or that he can change time and therefore save Romulus. Perhaps his crew suffers from a belief that time is immutable, though this is never stated. Like in "Enterprise" (the prequel) when Vulcans keep telling Capt. Archer that "the Vulcan Science Academy has proven that time travel is impossible" during the Temporal Cold War arc.
BurntSynapse said…
I don't think I can go with your reasoning on this one:
- Nero is on the "opposing side", unlike your WWII analogy.
- Nero would have to know Spock's service record down to a ship assignment from 100 years ago. Can you name a WWI Italian Ship Captain? I can't even name the skipper of the Lusitania, and I even reviewed its sinking about a year ago.
- Nero cannot simultaneously believe he can and cannot change history, IMO.

I recall seeing the ENT episode you mention, at which I cringed. Science does not "prove" theories are impossible, it identifies flaws in inferior theories, and ranks the plausibility of various ideas. Like AbramsTrek, the writers were not "writing what they know," and it showed.
muser said…
I do think that in the universe established in TOS and TNG, Kirk and Spock are famous (or infamous) among the Romulans and Klingons. However I do see your point, I don't remember the names of the Captains of the Bismarck or the Hood or the Prince of Wales. However I do remember Kennedy and a contemporary citizen of Japan or Germany probably knows about PT-109 and Kennedy, so I still think that's possible (that Nero knows Kirk and Spock should be on the Enterprise, or would he be expecting Pike and Spock since Kirk should be assigned to, I think, the Farragut once he graduates to serve under Capt. Garrovick?) Hmm now that I think about it in accordance with TOS canon, it is starting to make less sense.

In regard to what you said about science, I hate to make a religious reference, but you are preaching to the choir. I hear so much misinformation and misunderstanding from people every day about what science is and how it works that I despair at the thought of trying to explain it to so many who seem so ignorant. And yet, without science to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere for fertilizer, or to create vaccines and medicine, we would all starve or die of plague quite rapidly. How little most of us understand the thing that is keeping most of humanity alive.


Not to mention the other little things I enjoy, such as metallurgy, electricity, cell phones, broadband internet, television...
laffman85 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flashman85 said…
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Flashman85 said…
Your criticism of the script's proofreaders would be more credible if "heroe's" and "Abrams next travesty" exercised regulation apostrophe placement. ;)

Jeez, you wouldn't believe the trouble I had posting this simple little comment! Actually, you probably would.

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