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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old June 3 2010, 03:06 AM   #406
Brutal Strudel
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Even if I accept that (and I don't, I think it's childishly reductive--sure Gary has a dark side, who doesn't? Kirk's tried to rape his yeoman), how does it square with what I said about Pine's character vis-a-vis Uhura's roommate? Kirk manipulates her in order to achieve just what, exactly? A childish and pointless victory over a simulation? My point is that Pine's Kirk is easily as much of a user as Mitchell, only our society now sees that as a virtue. Greed is good and the other guy an afterthought, after all, even if it results in economic collapse, millions of gallons of crude in the Gulf or a broken-hearted (or, at the very least, humiliated) green chick--hey, forget her, right? She's just a green whore.

EDIT: The more I think on your argument, the less sense it makes. Gary almost died because of the dart he took for Kirk. Unless you're willing to argue that his latent esper ability told him that this would be a great way to manipulate Kirk when he finally became an amoral god, there's no way to dismiss it without being silly. The scene was set up to show us the manipulator Gary was becoming and contrast that with the harmless schemer and self-sacrificing hero he had been--a braver Ensign Pulver to Kirk's Lieutenant Roberts. What Gary did to Kirk with the lab technician pales in comparison to what Pine's Kirk did to "win" the Kobayashi Maru.

Happily, I just figure that the positively grim stack of books with legs that was Shatner's Kirk figured out a less emotionally exploitative way to reprogram the simulator and that the simulation he replaced it with was not so easily (read: moronically) defeated as the one in the film. Considering the completely different paths that put Captain Pike in a wheelchair in both realities, I figure I'm on pretty solid ground here.
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Old June 3 2010, 03:39 AM   #407
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Oh, I'd never suggest that Kirk - Pine or Shatner - isn't cunning and manipulative, particularly where women are concerned. He's not cold or particularly calculating, though. And I think the writers of ST took the Kobyashi Maru story in the only direction they could by making it such a clear cheat that it's hard to argue that Kirk didn't know that it would be recognized immediately as such. What he clearly didn't expect was to miss out on the big galactic crisis because of being suspended.

I think you're missing the point, a little, on the dart thing - I didn't say that Mitchell wasn't portrayed as brave or incapable of being loyal. But since he never actually was injured - in the sense that this is fiction where everything is either invented or not sheerly at the need of the author - what's most important in IMAO is why we get to hear this incident referred to. There are two answers, I think - one is to make Kirk suffer a little more for the benefit of the audience, and the other is to show Mitchell once again pulling someone's strings.

In terms of how action and history reveal the characters in stories, they have only those characteristics given to them by the writer of the story (behavioral nuance being the province of the actor and perhaps the director). They don't have light and dark sides on their own, they do nothing for the sake of anything other than the script itself.

Mitchell's not "becoming a manipulator" - the earliest description of his behavior (the lab assistant story) is of his being a manipulator. The only thing he's becoming, in the story, is unstoppable.
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Old June 3 2010, 03:49 AM   #408
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Re: Where did Spock go?

That's a little post-modern goal-post moving, isn't it? Of course, these aren't "real" people but, in order for drama to have any resonance, we have to play the game of make-believe that they are.

And I repeat: the Kirk of Trek '09 is shown to be just as calculating as Gary, with a nasty whiff of racism-by-proxy thrown in for good measure. The only times we've seen Kirk use women in TOS was either when he was spurred by deep-seated obsession ("Conscience of the King") or by an imminent threat to himself and his crew ("By Any Other Name" and "The Gamesters of Triskelion"). The stakes in Trek '09 are nothing like either of those.

You were right the first time, when you were agreeing with me.
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Old June 3 2010, 03:55 AM   #409
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
That's a little post-modern goal-post moving, isn't it? Of course, these aren't "real" people but, in order for drama to have any resonance, we have to play the game of make-believe that they are.
Actually, it's just the way I look at these things after I've seen them enough times and based on interest in how they work. I happen to be more impressed by Peeples based on what I think he deliberately did with Mitchell than I was even a few years ago before I really paid attention to the parts (I was asked to review the episode, which I hadn't watched in a long time). Of course it's to be hoped that the audience has a "naive aesthetic response" to the fiction initially, at least on some level.

As for the rest, we're just going to disagree. I'd describe Kirk as belligerent, but not with a nasty streak. I liked him in general.

Last edited by Admiral Buzzkill; June 3 2010 at 04:07 AM.
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Old June 3 2010, 04:05 AM   #410
Brutal Strudel
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Re: Where did Spock go?

And I liked Gary. That's kinda my point, and it seems pretty obvious to me that it was Peeples' point, too: Gary didn't ask for what happened to him. Just as the guy on the Valiant couldn't handle it and Dehner couldn't handle it until she experienced a last minute pang of residual humanity, Gary couldn't handle being unstoppable. Otherwise, why include the heartbreaking "Jim?" when Gary momentarily reverts to human after the forcefield drains him of divinity? It's not that I don't think Peeples had a reason for writing that scene as he did, it's that I see his reasons differently than you do. That's the point under consideration here.

Seriously, how is mapping out the blond lab tech's campaign for her so chilling, really? If anything, it's rather charming--verging on homoerotic--that Gary knew Jim well enough to be able to so ably seduce him.
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Old June 3 2010, 04:16 AM   #411
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Dehner didn't ask for what happened to her either, but her character was different than Mitchell's. That coda tells us a good deal more about Kirk than about Mitchell, IMAO.

The plot reason for Mitchell fading momentarily, of course, was to establish that he still had limits and could be made vulnerable (it also ratchets up the tension - in principle, this kind of near-miss drives the audience crazy, like when the search party just misses McCoy hiding behind a rock in "The City On The Edge Of Forever"). Arguably, demonstrating Kirk's compassion is the other reason for it - although that's a cliche so well-worn that the writer doesn't really earn points. No TV hero of the day would shoot a defenseless man. No-brainer.

And I've been misspelling Sam Peeples' name as "Peebles" again - d'oh! I've gone back and corrected that where I've noticed.
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Old June 3 2010, 04:26 AM   #412
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Re: Where did Spock go?

My final contribution of the evening is this link to an interview with Sally Kellerman, in which she talks about M*A*S*H and Star Trek:

http://movies.ign.com/articles/317/317371p1.html
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Old June 3 2010, 04:28 AM   #413
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Re: Where did Spock go?

I knew it was Peeples myself. Our bad.
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Old June 3 2010, 06:05 AM   #414
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Gary was a new life form struggling to survive and he knew that meant danger for Kirk and crew and possibly all Humanity. Other than that he was a nice guy.
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Old June 3 2010, 11:21 AM   #415
Brutal Strudel
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Dennis wrote: View Post
Dehner didn't ask for what happened to her either, but her character was different than Mitchell's. That coda tells us a good deal more about Kirk than about Mitchell, IMAO.

The plot reason for Mitchell fading momentarily, of course, was to establish that he still had limits and could be made vulnerable (it also ratchets up the tension - in principle, this kind of near-miss drives the audience crazy, like when the search party just misses McCoy hiding behind a rock in "The City On The Edge Of Forever"). Arguably, demonstrating Kirk's compassion is the other reason for it - although that's a cliche so well-worn that the writer doesn't really earn points. No TV hero of the day would shoot a defenseless man. No-brainer.

And I've been misspelling Sam Peeples' name as "Peebles" again - d'oh! I've gone back and corrected that where I've noticed.
Shoot a defenseless man? Pine's Kirk did and it almost got him and his newly minted ship sucked into a black hole. Just sayin'.

And I mentioned Dehner and her last minute change of heart. Even then, she had been seduced: "You can't know what it feels like to be a god," or words to that effect.

Anyway, you do make a valid point about how the "Jim?" moment serves the plot. I just think that it does a little more than that.
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Old June 3 2010, 11:57 AM   #416
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Dennis wrote: View Post
No, seriously. I think Peeples set Mitchell's character up more carefully than that, just as he did Dehner's. It's always seemed to me that what happened to Gary exacerbated aspects of his character that the writer establishes in the first act (more or less): that he tries to control other people, including friends, in his self-interest; that he's arrogant and that his vanity is easily bruised.

The backstory about him and Kirk could have been anything, after all, that enabled Peebles to tell us what Kirk was like (let's assume that this was the more important task, for the sake of building the main character of the series)...but what it in fact was, was a deliberate story about Gary lying and using people - including his friend - and seeing nothing wrong with it. That's not an accident or coincidence, because none of this is a spontaneous recollection of real past events - it was made up to support the characterization for the story.

By the same token, while we're probably meant to accept that Mitchell actually is courageous and does consider Kirk his friend, the only reason we hear the "poison dart" story is to show that Mitchell is using it to get what he wants from Kirk now.
This is odd... are you saying that Peeples was both deliberate and frivolous in his story telling? And you get to decide which elements are the deliberate ones and which can be dismissed?

It seems by what you are saying (and I might be misreading this) is that the dart story's only importance is to show Gary as being manipulative rather than also to further flesh out the back story of the character.

The anecdote ended by noting that he almost died in the incident. Peeples could have used a story where Gary rescued Kirk without risking his own life... but he didn't. And I don't think it was Peeples being careless in either his writing or character development.

So am I wrong, or are you trying to have it both ways in a single post here?
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Old June 3 2010, 08:12 PM   #417
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
Dennis wrote: View Post
... No TV hero of the day would shoot a defenseless man. No-brainer.
Shoot a defenseless man? Pine's Kirk did and it almost got him and his newly minted ship sucked into a black hole. Just sayin'..
1966, meet 2009.
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Old June 3 2010, 08:23 PM   #418
Brutal Strudel
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Re: Where did Spock go?

Orders signed by Admiral A. Soprano, Commander Starfleet.
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Old June 3 2010, 10:03 PM   #419
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Re: Where did Spock go?

In 2009, the bad guys always win.
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Old June 3 2010, 10:07 PM   #420
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Re: Where did Spock go?

In 2010, we all realize there are no good guys.
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