Brutal Strudel wrote:
EDIT: Besides, all Gary did was get an uptight friend laid--sure, he had ulterior motives, but come on, this is a guy who took a poison dart on Dimorus for Kirk. Before the Barrier, Gary was easily as good a a guy as Pine's Kirk. Easily. that's why WNMHGB is a tragedy.
No, seriously. I think Peeples set Mitchell's character up more carefully than that, just as he did Dehner's. It's always seemed to me that what happened to Gary exacerbated aspects of his character that the writer establishes in the first act (more or less): that he tries to control other people, including friends, in his self-interest; that he's arrogant and that his vanity is easily bruised.
The backstory about him and Kirk could have been anything, after all, that enabled Peebles to tell us what Kirk
was like (let's assume that this was the more important task, for the sake of building the main character of the series)...but what it in fact was, was a deliberate story about Gary lying and using people - including his friend - and seeing nothing wrong with it. That's not an accident or coincidence, because none of this is a spontaneous recollection of real past events - it was made up to support the characterization for the story.
By the same token, while we're probably meant to accept that Mitchell actually is courageous and does consider Kirk his friend, the only reason we hear the "poison dart" story is to show that Mitchell is using it to get what he wants from Kirk now.
In contrast, and despite Mitchell's remark about a "freezer unit (his wounded vanity speaking) Dehner leads with her feelings. This is why she remains accessible to Kirk and Mitchell does not.