This Lifeboat-esque episode has always held some charm for me. However, after I showed it to a friend last night, although he enjoyed the show, he and I had totally opposite interpretations of the goings-on down on Taurus II…
It’s not the conclusion to the crisis (Spock igniting the remaining fuel as a distress flare was an impulsive and desperate action – eternally debatable if this decision was driven by logic or emotion), it was all the drama in-between that my friend and I disagreed on.
He saw this episode largely as an indictment of Spock’s logical philosophy. He cited Spock’s mini-meltdown during the assault by the Taurean yetis as evidence that the Vulcan approach can’t cope with the rigors of command (Spock, as boulders and spears pound the hull of the shuttle: “Strange. Step by step, I have made the correct and logical decisions. And yet two men have died… I do seem to have miscalculated… and inculcated resentment on your parts. The sum of the parts cannot be greater than the whole.”).
To my eye the rest of the stranded crew (excluding Scotty) seem overwrought and are hindering Spock’s methodical attempts to rescue them more than they’re helping. Most notable is, of course, Boma’s hostile rabble-rousing. Given the time-sensitive, life-threatening situation, it was not simply “illogical” for Boma to demand that Spock preside over Gaetano’s burial – it’s totally insane! Spock was trying to find solutions; Boma et al seemed to be more interested in brow-beating their acting commander than supporting his plans to give them a fighting chance at surviving.
I’m not sure Kirk himself could have done much better with such an insubordinate bunch. For my part, the only failure I see is on Spock’s part is that he didn’t order McCoy to anesthetize Boma, or nerve-pinch the problem in the bud.
So I’m curious what readings other people have of this episode. Did Spock fail? Was Boma righteous or mutinous?