Re: Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof should not Return.
There was a payoff: It is part of Spock's journey. It is used to make Spock understand how Kirk saw him, how important Kirk thought he was.
Kirk: I wanted you to know why I couldn't let you die. Why I went back for you. (referencing opening scene of the movie, and later scene before the command meeting)
Spock: Because you are my friend. (Aha! Spock finally gets it!)
<hands press against glass>
That's the payoff.
I simply don't understand how one could miss this.
Now that I've seen it, and have also had time to mellow, to really think about it, I now find it absolutely, unbearably repulsive in every way except for some of the acting. - about The Wrath of Khan. Interstat, Issue 62: 1982