Thursday, May 14, 2009

Star Trek--"The Galileo Seven"

Spock gets his first moment to shine in the series here, but unfortunately, it is a dud. As first officer of the Federation’s flagship, you would expect Spock to have more experience and command ability thn he demonstrates here when his shuttle is stranded on a planet with hostile natives. Yet he implies this is his fist command. It shows. He is completely unsure of himself, makes some completely illogical decisions which lead to the deaths--comically, really--of onered shirt right after another, and generally appears incapable of taking a leadership position without Kirk’s guidance.

Knowing Gene Roddenberry, that is probably intentional. It is not just that Kirk is supposed ly an ubermensch, but humanity itself is far superior to any alien. The concept that the Federation is a human dominated utopia whose sole purpose is to teach degenerate aliens how to act properly is more obnoxious in TNG many years later, but TOS had a case of it, too. Aliens are the troublesome folks just by their nature. With the remarkable exception of Kodos in the previous episode, any humans featured as villains are insane, under alien influence, or doppelgangers.

So I guess you cannot help but expect Spock, even though he is the hero of the story, to win in spite of himself by making the illogical decision of igniting their remaining fuel to attract the Enterprise’s attention. Taking such a risk was a human thing to do. Spock was certainly nagged enough by McCoy in particular to drop his logical ways and make such a move. As if the point was not nailed home yet, Kirk specifically needles Spock about the action of sending up the “flare” was motivated by his human side. Beat us over the head with it, how about?

On a sad note, Rand was supposed to be one of the Galileo Seven, but Grace Lee Whitney had already left the show. It is too bad, both because of how her life tragically turned out, and for the character of Rand, who had much potential. I suppose Whitney’s departure did allow for Nichelle Nichols to move to the forefront as the leading female character, but she never got much chance to shine, either, truth be told.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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