Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Star Trek by the Minute 106: Your Species is Weak

The Jellyfish magically evades the advanced Romulan torpedos, which have been previously shown as more than a match for everything fleets of Federation and Klingon warships could throw at them.  How could a single, one man science shuttle stand a snowball's chance of surviving a Narada encounter, much less defeating it?  One proposal that has been offered to justify successive impossibly favorable outcomes for situations of certain defeat or death has been "Because its Kirk/Spock!" which is about the level of reasoning we would expect for an old Saturday morning kids cartoon, so the Coyote can never eat the Road Runner, and Gilligan and his friends never get off the island.

The Milllenium Falcon jumps to hyperspace escaping the gigantic Star Destroyer, where a bridge officer reports "They've gone to hyperspace."  Oops...that last sentence should read: the Jellyfish jumps to warp escaping the gigantic planet destroyer, where a bridge officer reports "He went to warp, sir!"

"Go after him!" shouts Nero.  Its ironic that Nero suffers from acute ADOCF (Attention Deficit...Oooh! Chance to Fail).  He never finishes anything, except when it serves no real purpose.  The one guy who was willing to wait 30 years for revenge and yet he managed not warn his home planet, his younger self, nor his beloved wife that their star was going to explode and all of them were going to die.  Not only this, but his plan to save his wife from the disaster of resulting from the Federation NOT intervening is to make certain that next time the star goes nova, there will be no Federation around to even try.  One really has to wonder about the sobriety of Abrams, Orci, and Kurtzman - is getting drunk at the right parties and making violence look noble and heroic on screen really able to overcome profound defects in common sense and good morals?  In a powerful corporate state capitalist system strongly supported by a war economy, I'm forced to confess this seems a rational,  plausible outcome, as distasteful as that conclusion is...

Aside from the inconsistent, senseless characterization of Nero, this scene continues to present impossible, or at least an inconsistent tactical narrative.  Previously, Spock prime was helpless when attacked by the Narada, and he was apparently unable even to scuttle the Jellyfish prior to capture.  A ship (or individual) must have overwhelming superiority to capture an enemy without either  of them suffering any damage, but in this case, Nero would have had to prevent the older, more experienced Spock from the future (who knew how to pilot the Jellyfish) not only from escaping, but following a basic rule of retreat not to provide supplies to the enemy.  In this case, Spock prime was unable even to ignite the red matter himself and  thus, he delivered this ultimate weapon of mass destruction into the hands of a crazed madman obsessed with mass genocide.  Why would he do this?  It makes no sense, especially if the Narada is completely incapable of touching the Jellyfish with something that might actually damage it.  Piloted by an egg-head newbie whose real job is programming educational software from 100 years ago, (by Narada & Jellyfish standards) the little scout ship effortlessly evades everything thrown at it.

Prime Spock's WMD delivery act reminds me of procedures from the days when "crystal sets" were high-tech military hardware. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_radio)  The booklet contained emergency evacuation procedures designed to prevent enemy forces from obtaining anything of value, and had details on efficiently rendering supplies and equipment useless when necessary to abandon them in a hurry.  Components which might survive simple burning were to be removed, and physically damaged or destroyed.  When "an enemy" engages something like this, it is considered aggression, a crime, and called "a scorched earth policy" whereas when "our side" does it, it is considered merely a "prudent defensive precaution". 

Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of the Narada, Ayel get HIS chance to save Kirk several times, and he doesn't let us down!  First, he does the evil henchman gloat: where the hero is trapped and rather than kill the prisoner, the henchman keeps them alive to rant about how pathetic and unworthy the hero is, and that all the noble intentions of his side are at best, badly misguided.  Ayel fills this role by carefully avoiding harming Kirk in any way as Kirk struggles to recover his breath, coughing and panting after Nero's strangulation.  Ayel provides breathing space and time for Kirk to regain his strength.  Kirk rolls to his stomach, regains his bearings, and looks up a Ayel, who simply stands there with his rifle, and does nothing.  Kirk looks around for an escape route (Ayel does nothing), gets to his feet (Ayel does nothing), turns and jumps (and guess what Ayel does?)

Look at the flight image above.  Kirk falls at least 20 meters to land on his ribcage halfway on/off a metal platform.  This would kill any normal person, but even if they were able to survive, it would be impossible for them to catch and hold themselves after colliding with a ledge when their center of gravity is so far over the lip of the deck, even if it were not as smooth as we are shown here.

In addition, as far as we know, Kirk hasn't had a real rest or food since the night before the Kobayashi Maru, but has been drugged, nearly killed multiple times by beatings, strangulation, freezing, falling, beaming into the middle of armed enemies, stunned, clubbed, etc., and had "a severe allergic reaction".
   
Nevertheless (just like in Iowa), he is miraculously able to claw successfully at a flat, slippery surface, stopping a certainly lethal fall.  Ayel jumps after him and in yet another foolish, inexplicable, suicidal cliche, he SAVES Kirk by picking him up from the precarious perch at which Kirk's desperately clawing in order to start a monologue, apparently in order to insult Kirk.  Since when does someone who wants to kill another decide that having a conversation with this future dead person is more important than actually offing them?  Never - this never happens.

Holding up Kirk by the neck with one hand and strangling him, Ayel says: "This species is even weaker than I expected.
You can't even speak."  Kirk pants something.  Look at (or click on) the picture above.  What are the odds Kirk can reach a holster on Ayel's right side with his left hand undetected in this position?

Ayel asks "What?"  

Kirk: "I got your gun..." and as Ayel does nothing, Kirk is  magically able to withdraw Ayel's sidearm and shoots Ayel in the chest.  Just on technical grounds this scene is silly. What are the odds a disruptor would not have ANY kind of security?  Wouldn't something that dangerous be locked so it doesn't accidentally incinerate its carrier? Neither of the character actions make sense either.  Kirk, for example shoots the only support he has from certain death.  This is a smart or heroic move?  Ayel's reaction to learning he is in danger is to gape stupidly.  Might anyone tend rather to push the shooter away or to go for the weapon? Whatever is chosen, after being mortally shot the phalanges of his fingers would flex, gripping more tightly onto whatever they currently grasp.  Instead, Ayel holds on to Kirk just long enough to lower him to relative safety on the platform again, before conveniently somersaulting to his death in the abyss below.  Kirk is not merely saved by another miracle again, he's also armed!

No women appear or speak in this segment.

The Enterprise again shows its incredible abilities in our next episode of Star Trek by the Minute 107: Alphabet of Torpedoes.

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