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Old September 11 2012, 01:19 AM   #14
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Re: The City on the Edge of Forever


Anyhow, Edith doesn't believe Kirk. And come to think of it, that's twice Spock has had his intellect insulted, and twice Kirk hasn't been able to talk his way out of a situation.

She catches them in the lie that it's not cold outside. And tells Kirk that lies are no way to start a friendship, and Kirk agrees and tells her they came in because they were being chased by a cop, because they stole the clothes.
Edith offers them a job, Spock questions how much is the pay. Kirk gives him a look, Spock says he wants money for radio tubes and stuff, his hobby.
There is just something about saying the money is for your hobby that sounds like “for my habit”.
She agrees to pay them 15 cents an hour.
She also introduces herself as the owner of this place, the twenty first street mission.

Later Spock and Kirk are sitting at a table in the dining hall with a bunch of hobos. One of the hobos says that it's time to pay for the food, referring to the fact you have to sit there and listen to Edith, the owner of this mission, give a speech about the future. She says things like “one day man will be able to harness incredible energies, maybe even the atom.” she talks about how in the future they will be able to fly around the galaxy, maybe in some kind of space ship. And man will be able to cure hunger and disease and so on, and that's why it is important that they break away from whatever drug addiction or habits they have, and to live, and to have hope.
Yeah, because “one day, man will harness great energies, and even the atom, and fly around space, and feed everyone, long after all of you are dead, and I know this because.. well I just do” sounds real nice to people who are sick, homeless, and battling drug and alcohol problems. So obviously she is seen as a kook by the homeless people she takes in.

Kirk seems impressed by this. But here's what I never understood, how does she know these things? Is she from the future? Is she psychic? Is she the next Marie Curie, did she date either Einstein or Tesla? How could anyone from the 1930's predict such things unless they were either crazy, and just spouting nonsense, or had a very over active imagination?
Well, it never actually gets explained. Well, it sort of does, Kirk asks how she knows the future will look like how she described, and she says “I just know”. But that's not really an explanation. It's really akin to saying “Well, that's just kinda how I picture it”.

Later Edith is very impressed with the hard work of Spock and Kirk, and decides to let them stay in a room.

In the next scene Kirk comes into the room they're living in, carrying groceries. Spock is working on his “hobby” of making a computer that can interact with his tricorder so they can look at the time line and figure out what Bones did to mess up the future.

Spock tells Kirk he needs some platinum, a small block will do, about 5 or 6 lbs.
Kirk explains that after buying a few groceries and a few vacuum tubes, there's no money left over for platinum, gold, or silver.
The scene is funny because Spock has no understanding of how outrageously expensive these simple metals are.

Edith comes in through the door and mentions that she is able to find them work for a nice salary (though obviously not enough to be buying 6 lbs of platinum within their lifetime). Then she sees the electronic contraption that Spock built, she inquires about it, and Spock says he is building a mnemonic circuit. She shrugs and leaves.

Later Kirk and Spock are sweeping the mission when Spock notices some clock makers repairing a clock with fine tools. Spock points it out. And later that day they break into the tool box and steel the tools. Edith comes into their room, she knows Spock took the tools (though it's never mentioned how she found out) and Spock explains he needed them for his hobby, and they would have been returned in the morning. Edith is about to kick him out when Kirk defends Spock by saying “if Spock says he will have them returned in the morning, you can bet your reputation on it.” for whatever reason, this works, and she lets them stay, on the condition that Kirk walks her home. Yup, Kirk strikes again.
And it's here I want to mention that for all the reputation Kirk has for being a ladies man, he's no womanizer. He seldom makes an effort to pursue women, they normally pursue him, as in this case.

They go on a walk and talk for a bit.

Next, Spock has finally gotten this tricorder interface thing to work. It's a TV that can communicate with the tricorder. Thank god it wasn't made by Microsoft or Spock would face prison for having to re-write a proprietary code to build a driver for this thing. On the TV/interface, it shows a recording of the time line that he had recorded earlier, only he's able to slow it down this time and look at things like newspapers and presumably other historical images of the year. Kirk comes in and catches a glimpse just before the contraption overloads. You can tell this contraption is primitive and not built to Star Fleet standards, because when it over loads it doesn't kill anyone.

Anyway Spock tells Kirk that in one instance of time Edith is married to the President, in another she is dead, from a traffic accident. Kirk mentions both can't be true. Kirk says it in a way that lets the audience know that secretly, he knows what this means. He knows it means that the historical event that Bones changed was Edith's death. Spock explains she is the focal point they have been looking for.

Kirk wants Spock to fix the contraption and find out more. They're unsure of whether Bones kills her or saves her. Is she meant to live, or is she meant to die?
One might think “well obviously you just look back through your memories as to whether or not a US president marries a woman named Edith Keeler. However, tracing the years back over 300 years, who can remember the name of every president's wife? It would be like me asking you the name of the wife of the governor who reigned over California in 1972. sure the history books have it, but who really remembers things like that?

After Kirk mentions that Spock must fix this machine, so that they know whether to save Edith or not, Spock mentions the very real possibility that she is destined to die. Kirk is clearly not happy with that statement.

Next scene we have Bones appearing out of thin air across the street from a hobo who has just stolen some milk from the milkman. Milkmen, remember those? What the hell ever happened to milkmen? And while I'm in a nostalgic mood, what ever happened to doctors making house calls and coming to your house? Well, if there was ever one doctor you never wanted to come to your house, it would be Dr. McCoy at the moment. The moment he appears, he yells “Murderers! Assassins!”

He spots the hobo, points and shouts “You! What planet is this!?”

The hobo drops the bottle of milk. Which would probably be my reaction as well. I mean, not much is scarier than a hyper, nervous shaky man screaming about murder and assassination and then, the comment “what planet is this?” because you know there's not gonna be any reasoning with that man. Of all the things to imply that you're totally nuts and gone forever, I think “what planet is this” is the best implication out there.

When the hobo drops the milk, Bones starts walking towards him with his finger out in an accusatory manor, the hobo runs and Bones says “No! Don't run!” yeeeeah, cause I'm just gonna stand there while a maniac approaches.

Meanwhile Edith and Kirk are walking up the stairs, to her place, and Kirk asks about how she knows that the future will have star ships and peace and all that. She claims that she “just knows”. They look at each other all lovey dovey. And we cut back to Bones and the hobo.

Bones grabs the hobo and says... a lot of crazy disturbing shit, then mumbles and passes out. So the hobo robs him, taking a phaser.
The hobo walks away, around the corner, and then plays with the phaser, and blasts himself out of existence. Oddly, he just turns blue and fades, it is an unusual phaser effect. I hear in the modern remake, the digitally remastered, they changed that scene to make the phaser effect more believable because it was such an eye sore in the film.

Later Kirk comes into the flop, Spock is still working on the tricorder interface. Kirk wants him to hurry up. Spock reminds him of what an impossibly difficult and time consuming task this is. Kirk says he has to know whether Edith is meant to live or die. You can tell that the prospect of her dying is eating away at him.

Next scene Bones is walking the street in daylight looking like a zombie. He staggers in to the mission and mentions how lovely the coffee smells. Edith sees him and realizes immediately that he is horribly ill. He nearly passes out, but Edith grabs him, and holds him upright, and insists that he stay in a cot she has upstairs. He had mentioned that “they” might find him. She says they won't find him there. So Edith is aware that he is either on the run from the law, or some very rough and dangerous people, though possibly just delusional. I think it goes to show that she'll rescue anyone. She sees people in need, and turns no one down. All she asks is that while you stay there, you part with the booze or whatever else it is, that has made you broken, and desperate.
You have to admit, she has a heart of gold, and genuinely wants to help people. Her comment earlier when giving her speech to the crowd about you must part with your vice as long as you intend on staying there, show's that she's not just a weak minded little girl who wants to nurse every puppy in the world back to health; but that she actually wants to help people and that they must be willing to try to help themselves. It is this that gives Edith some depth as a character. It shows she's smart about her charitable actions. She won't feed and clothe and house you, just so you can save more money on booze and drugs, you have to be willing to pull yourself up by your boot straps and put the first foot forward, then she'll help you the best she can. Sometimes it's the smallest things like “I'll help you, but you got to meet me half way” that can turn a one dimensional character into a two dimensional character. Add some flaws and a consistent background and you have a three dimensional character (very rare among guest stars). But it's nice to see she is two dimensional.

After she escorts Bones out of there, Spock turns around to hand someone their food. If only he had turned around a moment ago, he would have seen Bones.

Later, Spock and Kirk are in their flop, and they're looking at the tricorder images, and realize that Edith must die. You see, she became an anti-war protester, and she encouraged peace, and it kept America out of the war with Germany a little too long. This allowed Germany to complete their heavy water experiments leading to the development of the atomic bomb first. Thus Germany won the war, fascism prevailed, and therefore there never was a USS Enterprise. Perhaps there was a space agency that built star ships and went on peaceful missions to explore the galaxy, after all, Hitler was a progressive person who encouraged technological break through and a higher standard of living (whether we agree with his interpretation of improvement or not), and even if Hitler somehow held back space exploration, I doubt that would have been more than a half century delay. So for all we know, in their newly changed time line, there still is space exploration, but there is no USS Enterprise, and that's all that matters to Kirk and Spock. I could accuse Kirk and Spock of being greedy. After all, they haven't cared to look into their formally present day to see if things turn out better, worse, or the same but different, they only care about restoring their time line and getting back the world they knew. But of course, even so, it's understandable. They enjoy their time, and their life. And there is the rest of the crew who is stranded on that planet with no Enterprise to contact. It's only human nature to want to hold on to the world you know, when the world you know is something beautiful.
So while it could be argued that making sure the future changes back the way it was, the way they like it, is an act of greed, I am willing to say it is a justified greed. It's the sort of greed that we have evolved with to survive. That greed that says “I will take the life of this animal and eat it's flesh, because I am hungry, and I want to live, and I will continue to slaughter animals so that my family will live. It is better this family of fish or deer die, than for my family to die.”
So again, it might be greed that makes them take a human life to make the future go back to the way they like it, but it is an understandable, justifiable greed that does not lessen their noble intentions or heroic status.
It's also interesting that Edith's life would cause America to lose a war, resulting in disaster, but her intentions were proper. Wanting to put an end to war and fighting, is not evil, but as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
And it is an example of the famous Hitler argument I mentioned in Time And Again. In fact, it's not just metaphor, this really is the Hitler argument. Edith doesn't go on to be the next Hitler, but her good intentions allow him to win a war. It is a classic sci fi example of how doing the right thing when you've time traveled, could turn out to be the worst mistake you ever made. This Star Trek episode exemplifies that perfectly. For Kirk, there is the greed of wanting to restore the future, and the greed of wanting to save this woman.

Anyhow, Spock says that she is destined to die in a street accident, and somehow Bones saves her, and they must stop Bones from succeeding, Edith Keeler must die.

Kirk Stands up, with his back turned to Spock, he tells him he believes he may be in love with Edith.
Many people may think this is no big deal, but I do believe this is the first and only time he claimed to love a woman (except in that episode where he was under some pseudo scientific love spell, and thus doesn't count). Edith Keeler may actually be the only woman Kirk was ever actually in love with. Not just romancing, flirting, but actually loving. And why wouldn't he love this woman? She is as beautiful as women get. She has a heart of gold and takes pity on the weak and helpless. She is trusting, even to a fault. She is intelligent. Hard working. She looks to the future with optimism of a better world, a better race of humans. She believes that technology will save us, and we must look to the stars, for the stars are our destiny. She is a completely selfless individual. I believe that goes beyond the description for the perfect wife; I believe those are traits you ascribe to the perfect person. Kirks love for her is no surprise. And the thought that he might have to let such a perfect, well intentioned person, die, is tearing at his heart.
Also, I would like to reference the greed factor again. While it's true that wanting the future to turn out the way you remember it, the way you like it, is on some level greedy, having to kill the woman you love to make it so, is an act of sacrifice. Thus Kirk must believe that the future “must” go back to the way it was, out of some sort of principal. And of course, as I mentioned earlier, he still has crewmen on that planet that want to get back to the Enterprise, and Scotty is probably still standing there wanting a chair.

When Spock reminds him “Edith Keeler must die” the shock, and pain, can be seen on his face. Can he really go threw with it? You can see him wrestling with that. To me, a great actor can spout a great line of dialogue, with a single facial expression at just the right time. Shatner nailed this one.
And I think it's interesting to see how this man, Kirk, is wrestling with his emotions, not completely sure of his decision. It let's us know he is real. Compare that to captain Janeway's insistence that Tom Paris is not to warn the people of that planet that they're all going to die tomorrow. Not a drop of doubt or hesitation. She is like some religious fundamentalist that could blow up an abortion clinic without batting an eye, because they're so sure it's what god commands. That argument between Janeway and Paris, that argument is happening inside of Kirk right now. The debate that took 2 characters in Time And Again is taking place internally with just one character here. And all that dialogue about right or wrong that took place in Time And Again, has just been summed up with a brief expression on Kirks face. A testament to good writing, good directing, and good acting.

To be Continued...
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