The Dead Mixer wrote:
But the beautiful thing about this episode is that it gives us something that enriches Vulcans, makes them more than a one-note alien species.
Indeed you may note that I said precisely this earlier. It's not that the basic idea of the episode, gesturing toward Vulcan's weird and primitive past, isn't sound. It's just that the duel-to-the-death business is a crude way of accomplishing it that even most human cultures superannuated long before space flight. Having them be to some degree "illogical about sex" is one thing... having them be illogical about it to that
degree is something else again.
Part of the problem it introduces is this:
that they really are violent savages underneath their logical fašade,
Because it's indeed the impression the episode gives, and it's never really been the greatest fit with the Vulcan mythos before or since. The Vulcans are supposed to have the potential to be violent savages
if they don't restrain their emotions; being actual practicing violent savages
who just kind of bullshit about being "logical" without employing rationality where it would really count is not at all the same thing. Do we ever hear about this particular ritual ever again in any form of canon Trek?
and possibly the reason that they don't find a more logical way of dealing with their mating cycle is because it is in such stark contrast to everything that they like to think they've become.
Possibly so. But if it's basically the indulgence of hypocrisy for reasons of sexual thrill, then that robs Vulcan culture of many sympathetic qualities.
Like I said, I don't know that there's a good solution to this. Losing pon farr and Vulcan mumbo-jumbo altogether isn't desirable, making the Vulcans more rational in dealing with this problem probably doesn't make for an entertaining episode, transferring the ritual and child-betrothal business to another culture in which it would make more sense does rob the Vulcans of some interesting depth.