Friday, February 24, 2012

The Search for Meaning in a Strange New World

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
"Don't grieve, admiral, it is logical. The needs of the many outweigh..."

"The needs of the few"

"Or the one. I have been, and always shall be, your friend. Live long, and prosper."

These words don't just bind together a movie. They bind the universe.

Kirk once said that the words "let me help" were more powerful than "I love you". He is right, and he is wrong. "Let me help" is what you say to those you can't say "I love you" to. That or "I have been and always shall be your friend."

This is the story of lost chances, lost dreams, and picking up the pieces. This is the story of love.

Kirk gives Spock his eulogy. We knew this, but it is important to see it again. BTW, this movie and 4 are probably the best Shatner's ever acted. I think that needs to be looked into - look who the director is.

And, as before, Spock says the "Space, the final frontier" but we don't go to space. We go to Genesis, where the burial tube that by rights should have burned up in the atmosphere of Genesis is intact, which means his body is intact.

Credits. I love that the movie has a teaser.

Kirk is not doing well. I know something of loss and I can sympathize. His log reflects this. Everyone is hurting. These people are a family, and he just told Chekov to sit in Spock's chair and Starfeet won't answer their calls, and the ship will be fixed in two weeks and Kirk heads for his quarters when... "sir, are they planning a ceremony when we get in?" Asks a trainee.

"This time we've paid for the party with our dearest blood."

You said it kirk.

Valkris finds Kruge in his cloaked Klingon ship from what looks like a cargo ship. Now, Kruge is a scary dude. He is big and mean and he has a pet targ on the bridge and he kills Valkris and the entire crew of the ship she's on because she has seen the Genesis data even though she loves him but that's okay because "you will be remembered with honor".


And even the other Klingons fear that targ, kind of like when my cat bit the cop that time.

The enterprise gets home. They have to be towed in and there is this other ship,"the great experiment, the Excelsior". She has transwarp drive, which Scotty disapproves of. I can understand. Its like putting a quad core processor in a cell phone... which they can also do now.

But someone is in Spock's quarters and Kirk runs down there to have a peek inside. He goes in to see what looks like Spock at first in he shadows.. but its not. Its McCoy, speaking in Spock's voice. "You left me on Genesis, why did you do that? Help me." He tells Kirk to "climb the steps of Mount Seleya". Kirk points out that Mount Seleya is on Vulcan and they're at Earth. "Remember" says Spock's voice before McCoy passes out.

Admiral Morrow comes to inspect the ship. He tells Kirk they will be scrapping the Enterprise, no one can go to Genesis, and its a forbidden subject.

Kruge has a copy of Kirk's report on Genesis, the forbidden. He basically is paraphrasing Carol's proposal, which may be plagiarism. The Klingon see this thing as a weapon. Kruge feels that they need to get the secret of the weapon. This is a problem.

Enter the Grissom, in orbit of Genesis. They are there to study it. Saavik and David are on board. Saavik has been recast and I miss Kirstie Alley. This one has curly hair. They could have at last straightened it. They discover that the planet has a great variety of climates, and also Spock's tube is on the surface, and an animal lifeform. Everyone is confused because this shouldn't be there. Saavik and David want to beam down and have a lookyloo- it is right on top of the tube.

Kirk toasts to "absent friends". McCoy is tranquilized and Spock is dead.

Then Sarek arrives and he is pissed. He kicks everyone out and demands to know why Spock was not returned to Vulcan. "Spock trusted you, and you denied him his future!"


"With everything that is not of the body he asked you to bring him to us, and to bring that which he gave you, his katra, his living spirit."

Slightly less cryptic.

Kirk consents to a meld in which he relives Spock's death, and Sarek realizes Spock did not meld with Kirk... but Kirk realizes there is hope, that Spock would have found a way.

I'd like to interject that having lost friends and family before, I know how desperate, when the death is sudden, people can feel to believe it didn't happen, that it could be reversed.

Imagine that came true, that just once that wish was granted. Here, Kirk has that chance.

More than a century later,or 20 years in the past depending on your perspective, Spock will too.  J.J. drew heavily on 3 as a touchpoint, not 2 as would be obvious. This is my main argument against the use of Khan in the new movie - he is trying to move forward.

They go to view the remarkably well edited flight recorder of the engine room the day Spock died. They see Spock go into the compartment... and meld with McCoy before he does. "Remember".

Well, that puts a new spin on things.

Sarek tells Kirk to bring them both to Mount Seleya on Vulcan, "only there can both find peace." They have to go get Spock's body.

Saavik and David find evolved microbes on Genesis - the animal life. And one burial robe. And one empty casket. The ground shakes, and someone screams...

Morrow won't allow Kirk to return to Genesis. Typical short sighted literal bureaucrat. Kirk asks for the enterprise. Denied. So Kirk tells Chekov and Sulu he is going anyway.

Sulu says they can count on his help.

McCoy is also trying to go to Genesis. There is a meeting with a guy who he is trying to get a trip to Genesis from, and McCoy is sounding intermittently Vulcan throughout. Plus he tries to nerve pinch Federation Security when they overhear the conversation.

"You're going to get a nice long rest, Doctor," says the arresting officer.

Not good.

So meanwhile on Genesis, Saavik and David find footprints in the snow.

Kirk goes to visit McCoy and gives the ta'al. "How many fingers do I have up?" Lol. He shoots McCoy up with a drug called Lexorin, most likely provided by Sarek. And they make their escape wit the help of Sulu beating up a guy twice his size who called him tiny.

Scotty leaves work on the Excelsior. He looks pleased with himself.

Uhura is on duty at some transporter station. Her co-worker wishes for adventure. Kirk, McCoy, and Sulu arrive and the co-worker is flustered. Uhura pulls a phaser and forces him in the closet. She tells them she'll see them at the rendezvous.

Of course they get to the Enterprise. Kirk asks them to let him and McCoy go alone, and Sulu, Chekov, and Scotty refuse to do so.

They pull out of Starbase, chased by the Excelsior and its transwarp drive. This is a long, tense scene in which they hack the space doors and it is revealed that Scotty sabotaged the Excelsior.

So they get away.

Saavik and David find a child crying in the snow. Just a little boy. With pointed ears. He doesn't speak and they wrap him in Spock's shroud, since that's all they have.

"The Genesis wave," say David. "His cells could have been regenerated"

Saavik calls the Grissom and asks them to beam them up, but the Captain of the Grissom, J.T. Esteban, wants to check with Starfleet. They can't get a message out because of jamming... Kruge decloaks and fires on them.

The shot destroys the Grissom, which displeases Kruge so much he kills his gunner. He wanted prisoners. Luckily, there are people on the surface.

McCoy is now able to do Spock's job in Spock's voice. Creepy.

The Klingons are at the torpedo tube.

Saavik and David make it out of the snow. David confesses he used protomatter, an unethically unstable substance in the Genesis matrix. That's why when Kruge finds the slugs, they are almost big enough to kill him. Sadly,not quite big enough.

The sun sets.

The child Spock will soon go through pon farr and Saavik is understandably worried about this, being the only girl around. She tells David very little. Spock and the planet are aging together in surges, which means he will age until his former age at least. David goes to try to stop the Klingons.

The Grissom is not responding to Starfleet or to Kirk. McCoy is doing okay, but he's not happy.

Spock is a teen now. And pon farr is hitting early.

Saavik... erm... relieves the tension.

Okaaaaaay, now that that's over. The Enterprise arrives, and basically just misses the Klingons cloaking. Kirk tries to call the Grissom but of course that's gone. Saavik hears it before the Klingons grab her. They already got David. Kruge is pissed. Saavik tries to convince Kruge that Genesis failed but he doesn't buy that and to be fair, he is standing on the evidence, so threatens them with torture. Then he beams up to deal with Kirk... and Saavik and David look at each other.

So there's this big tension thing again, but basically the enterprise is crippled but has also damaged the Klingon ship. Communications are opened, threats exchanged, and Kruge decides to prove his intent by killing a hostage.

They're posed to kill Saavik but David attacks the guy with the knife and they kill him instead. "You Klingon bastard!" Yells kirk. "You killed my son!" Kirk may have stayed away at the request of David's mother. But he loved him, and after what happened in 2, I know he probably wanted to reconcile. And for once, William Shatner is not overacting - he is acting just enough.

But it wasn't meant to be. Kirk was trying to reclaim something in the wake of Spock's death. He just learned Spock's body is alive... but he hasn't even had 60 seconds to think it through by the time David is dead. He has just lost his best friend... and all hope of getting to know his son.

It's no wonder he falls to the floor, crying, "You Klingon bastard! You've killed my son!" Kruge demands surrender, and Kirk says, "All right." and just for a second you believe it, until... "Give me a minute to inform my crew."

Kruge gives two minutes. Idiot.

So Kirk sets up autodestruct, and I think that he's really at the point where if you've lost everything, you may as well actually lose everything. So they set the ship to explode and then they beam out, and the transporter brings the Klingons over. They make it to the bridge and then there's maybe 10 seconds to spare and it's all over. Odds evened.

There is a piece of the saucer that looks like the number 6, then 9, then 6, then 9 as it spins through space. That's what I always remember. 969696969696.

The engineering section falls through space into the atmosphere, burning up the way Spock was supposed to.

They can't stop from losing something to this planet, I've decided. David would have died if they came there or not. They could either have Spock, or the ship.

Spock is screaming in pain. Kirk only has to follow the screams. Spock kills one Klingon who prepares to hurt him, presumably to get him to shut up. Kirk shoots the other on arrival. McCoy tends to Spock while Kirk goes to David's body and covers it with his jacket. Saavik tells Kirk David gave his life to save them. McCoy determines "that I've got all his marbles," as far a Spock's concerned. And the planet seems like it's gonna explode, did I mention that? So Kirk taunts Kruge into coming back down to the planet for a battle to the death. Kruge beams everyone but Kirk and Spock up as prisoners. He and Kirk then proceed to hash it out and Kruge ends up dropped in a pit of molten lava.

As Kirk climbs back to Spock, the sun rises.

Spock, meanwhile, has aged back to being himself again, if they could just put his mind back. So Kirk fakes some Klingon to get the Klingons to beam him up as well, and when he arrives on the Klingon ship he captures the last Klingon, Maltz. Then he sets course for Vulcan as the planet explodes behind them.

Now I want to go out for malts.


McCoy takes Spock to Sickbay and begs him to talk. Spock, of course, is silent. "It seems I've missed you," says McCoy. "I don't know if I could stand to loose you again."

They land on Vulcan. Uhura is there, with Sarek. I guess this is the rendezvous. Spock is brought out on a stretcher, and they take him to the temple on Mt. Seleya... everyone follows. There, Sarek is told that Spock's body lives, but his Katra is gone, in McCoy. Sarek requests "Fal tor Pan, the Refusion."

"What you seek," he is told, "Has not been done since ages past, and then only in legend. Your request is not logical."

"Forgive me, T'Lar. My logic is uncertain, where my son is concerned."

This is another way to say "I love you."

They then ask McCoy what he would choose, because the danger is as great to him as it is to Spock. "I choose the danger," says McCoy.

This is also how one says "I love you."

There is a montage and music as the mindmeld is completed. Someone strikes a gong.

When it is over, Spock is ambulatory, McCoy is okay, and no one knows how much Spock will recover. Sarek thanks Kirk - for where there is life, there is hope. He seems to feel regret for the sacrifices, the ship, David, and Kirk says "If I hadn't tried, the cost would have been my soul."

A procession leads Spock out, right past Kirk, and you know maybe he's not okay. And then he stops. And turns to the crew of the Enterprise. He stops before each face and looks them in the eyes. It's not the feeling that he knows them. It's the feeling that he knows he should know them. Saavik, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, Sulu, McCoy. And Kirk. "My father says that you have been my friend, you came back for me."

"You would have done the same for me." And a century later, or twenty years earlier, depending on your perspective, Spock will. Not in the same way, or the same universe. But he will set right a wrong, the same wrong that Kirk had once set right for him. He will do this not by coming back for Kirk, but by sending Kirk back to himself.

"Why would you do this?"

"Because the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many."

"I have been, and ever shall be, your friend."

"Yes, Spock, yes!"

"Ship? Out of danger?"

"You saved the ship, you saved us all! Don't you remember?"

There is a pause.

"Jim. Your name is Jim." And he looks to McCoy, and McCoy taps his head, and Spock raises his eyebrow, and you know that everything will be okay.

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