Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 071: Marooned

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Spock reminds Kirk: "These are the orders issued by Captain Pike when he left the ship."

"He also ordered us to go back and get him" Kirk insists, but this is exactly what Spock is recommending, only Spock's plan is more practical and has much better chances overall. Kirk still has nothing to say about how successfully "getting" Pike will occur when everything they've seen indicates that his recommendation would have no possibility of succeeding. Without specific, achievable goals and the means to accomplish them, they are like a ship without a rudder: it may be possible to survive the storm and arrive somewhere intact, but the fact remains that for every tiny inlet to a safe harbor, there are thousands of kilometers of rocky shores, littered with the bones and wreckage left by the unfortunate and foolhardy.

"Spock, you are Captain now," Kirk rants, "You have to make..." As is typical for Kirk's dialogue, this seems to be throwaway noisemaking with nothing of value to say. It has been suggested that this is another instance where the rush to produce a script quickly resulted in nonsensical dialogue.

"I am aware of my responsibilities Mr. Kirk, which is..."
Kirk shouts down his skipper, interrupting with irrelevant and unhelpful: "Every second we waste, Nero's getting closer to his next target."

"That is correct, and why I am instructing you to accept the fact that I alone am in command..." continues Spock, showing a great deal of patience, given the irrational content in Kirk's stream of opposition. The "be unpredictable" suggestion was Kirk's last line that had some semblance of contribution to the ship's situation, and that was thoroughly refuted by Spock.

Displaying what seems like adoration for the "shrieking fallacy", Kirk starts yelling at his skipper again, interrupting with "I will not allow us to go backwards, and run from the problem, instead of hunting Nero down!" In the middle of Kirk's now hysterical ranting, McCoy gestures for Kirk to listen to Spock, but thoroughly enraged, Kirk doesn't even notice.

Spock stands, looks directly at Kirk, and orders: "Security, escort him out." From the background, McCoy looks on with concern, but mostly at Spock rather than the out of control, violent young criminal who appears to be having a breakdown on the bridge of their starship during a crisis, which would normally be the focus of anyone in such a situation.

As Spock sits down, two red shirts appear from nowhere and grab Kirk ineffectually, jostling him around with unnecessary physicality, violating standard rules governing use of force tactics as he has not indicated any refusal to comply with Spock's lawful order for him to clear the bridge. Manual escort is an inappropriate escalation of physicality in any such confrontation. However, even if this were the case, and physical contact was necessary to remove Kirk from the bridge, neither of the security personnel appear to have any idea of how to conduct either a manual escort or any "pain compliance" techniques to overcome resistance and maintain their own safety.

With unrealistic incompetence by security compounding unwarranted provocation, Kirk unsurprisingly starts another silly fistfight that has no obvious purpose, and he fights the two of them to a standstill as a third red shirt looks on, doing nothing. Spock approaches from behind, brings out the famous Vulcan neck pinch, and Kirk crumples to the deck. Spock turns to the security guard still standing and orders "Get him off this ship." Spock really falls off the logic wagon with this overreaction…and he was making so much sense during the past 70 seconds. Ever since the death of his mother from a series of miraculous mishaps, and destruction of his planet, he's been intelligent, rational and decisive – until now. Disorderly crewmen are not that uncommon aboard ship, as anyone who has spent time on one knows, for example: Gene Roddenberry. Until this point in the scene, Spock almost seemed a believable character, but again, at this point I was jarred out of the movie and thought that perhaps Abrams and company were unable to find any naval personnel in the Los Angeles area to explain "the cooler" concept, or perhaps a believable story with some depth of realism was not a priority. Perhaps they needed a fast plot device to get Kirk alone with future Spock, and couldn't waste the time to develop a reasonable option.

Regardless of how it came about, we are to believe that the only federation starship to survive the destruction of Vulcan has diverted from its emergency rendezvous with Starfleet in order to make sure that Kirk is marooned on a class M Federation planet, rather than sitting in an onboard brig. Risking the survival of untold billions because a disgraced cadet lost his temper seems pretty outlandish to this reviewer. Add to this the idea that this unbelievable diversion goes to the same sector, exactly the same star system, exactly the same planet, and exactly the same glacier as where Nero marooned future Spock, and you have more disbelief than I believe any normal viewer ought to be asked to suspend.

We cut to a typically beautiful external shot of the Enterprise zooming by, and see a pod launched from the dorsal section which then descends into the atmosphere of a conveniently located planet with a nice, if brief and unexceptional, fireball effect on the atmospheric entry that is almost identical to the escape pod from the original Star Wars film. An undisclosed period of time passes and we see Kirk gain consciousness with some disorientation.

No women speak in this segment.

In our next segment, Kirk goes ice climbing with no equipment in Star Trek by the Minute 072: Glacier Trek

3 comments:

muser said...

"Disorderly crewmen are not that uncommon aboard ship, as anyone who has spent time on one knows, for example: Gene Roddenberry."

Aren't they? As I haven't been aboard a military vessel, I'll have to take your word for it. However, Gene Roddenberry was a bomber pilot. According to Wikipedia:
"He flew combat missions in the Pacific Theatre with the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bombardment Wing of the Thirteenth Air Force."

Later, he was a commercial pilot and a Los Angeles police officer, reaching the rank of police sergeant. Unless we assume that he traveled by naval ship to his base in the Pacific (he may well have flown there) there is no reason that I know of to think he was ever on a ship. If he did travel on one, to his base, from it, or both, there is still no reason to assume he had any significant knowledge of life aboard ship other than that of an occasional passenger. Military experience, certainly. But not shipboard experience. Of course, you may have information about Mr. Roddenberry that I am lacking...

BurntSynapse said...

It is my understanding that he was actually a hero to much of the military, due to his fantastic portrayal of the best virtues to which military discipline and doctrine aspire, and the resulting popularity put him on many ships.

At the time Trek started however, he (or some writers) seems to have been clear that a brig was standard issue for vessels - if only from living and working so close to them for many years and interacting with naval personnel.

muser said...

"he... seems to have been clear that a brig was standard issue for vessels..."

Now that point I certainly can't contest (and wouldn't want to). Moreover, even anyone who had ever watched some Trek would know that every Enterprise from NX-01 forward has had a brig. Archer on several occasions put prisoners in the brig, including Rajiin during the Xindi arc, and Malcolm Reed at one point, when Reed was working for "Section 31", to name two off the top of my head. Geordi visited "Hugh the Borg" in the brig of the Enterprise-D, and Kirk was himself locked in the brig during Star Trek V IIRC... and when Janice Lester took over his body in TOS. Of course it's clear that putting Kirk in the brig would not have allowed him to meet Spock Prime, who, by the same token, should have been in the brig/sewer of the Narada next to Captain Pike. Again, "The needs of the writers outweigh the needs of the fans" (to have a script that makes sense).

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