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Old September 3 2013, 12:50 AM   #40
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Re: Assignment: Earth - Is it Really a Star Trek Episode?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Thinking some more about this: In retrospect, I think part of the challenge here, which is reflected in some of the negative comments about the original episode, is that it's hard to throw Seven up against Starfleet without one side coming off as misguided, irrationally stubborn, unnecessary, or irrelevant.
Irrelevant, yes; all that Kirk and Spock really did at the climax was decide to get out of Gary's way. But I think the episode did a decent job of justifying why they were at odds. Kirk had no proof that Gary was who he said he was, and plenty of reason to mistrust someone employing such clandestine means to infiltrate Earth. Whereas Gary presumably felt it important to minimize potential disruptions to the timeline, so he would've wanted Kirk & crew to stay out of it as much as possible; thus he escaped rather than trying to convince Kirk to work with him. (Plus he didn't have time for that.) So there was good reason for them both to be working against each other with the best of intentions. Each was acting according to his responsibilities as he defined them, and thus their conflict was believable.

The problem is how the conflict was structured. The problem is that Roddenberry chose to structure the story in such a way that he could cut out the Trek portions and have a pure Gary/Roberta presentation film to sell his show to the network. And that means Kirk and crew only interact closely with Gary before he begins his mission and then remain on the periphery the rest of the way through. If Roddenberry and Wallace had chosen to, they could've structured the story so that the ongoing conflict between Kirk's responsibilities and Gary's was more prominent and central. Maybe have a climax with Kirk and Gary fighting on the rocket gantry, and Kirk almost falls and Gary saves him, and that convinces Kirk that he's on the level, and then they have to work together to finish the job. Or something like that.
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