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

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Old February 18 2013, 03:07 PM   #16
SchwEnt
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

I like this eps but for the really poor portrayal of Kirk.

His entire crew about to drop dead in six hours (!) and yeah, Kirk takes time to waltz and play billiards and ponder the oddities in Flint's collection and woo a woman. Really?

Even Spock and McCoy seem none too hurried about the critical medical emergency. Sure everyone speaks the words and counts down the hours, but no one acts like it's a life or death situation.

The thing of it is, the script invention of the Rigellian fever crisis aboard the Enterprise could have easily been changed. Instead of the Enterprise crew dying in six hours without ryetalin, make it a looming crisis in three weeks or three months on a nearby Earth colony when their ryetalin runs out.

Then you still have the medical crisis and ryetalin mission, but now I can buy Kirk's time investigating the mystery of Flint, his time with Rayna, and so on.

Oh well.
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Old February 18 2013, 03:58 PM   #17
Timo
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Investigating the mystery of Flint is the only way for Kirk to access the medicine, though. And spending time with Rayna is the only way to investigate the mystery of Flint.

Direct action is out of the question, as Flint and his robots significantly outgun the landing party, and even the starship. Asking direct questions gets the heroes nowhere. But playing a waltz and dancing to it results in our heroes finally getting some results...

That's at the very heart of what's so endearing about TOS. Our heroes are frequently confronted by the utterly absurd, yet they tackle it as if it were the most natural thing in the universe, fighting absurdity with absurdity. And they do it while managing to pretend it's not camp!

Timo Saloniemi
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Old February 18 2013, 07:56 PM   #18
RPJOB
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Timo wrote: View Post
He's willing to kill Flint in order to take something that he has no right to take.
Hmh? The local points a gun at Kirk; Kirk tells him he's now fully within his rights to gun down the asshole and then throw the corpse in jail. Sounds like an everyday situation in any country where possessing a gun isn't illegal to begin with.

Kirk then adds that with Flint justly killed, Flint's possessions will also be free for taking, so it's a lose-lose situation for the stupid criminal. Flint backs off.

No "unnecessary killing". Merely a just threat of force for self-defense. By a de facto officer of the law, no less. Kirk really showed considerable restraint there.

Timo Saloniemi
Kirk and company were trespassing. Flint told them so. M-4 fired a warning shot yet Flint specifically said not to kill them. When Flint told them to leave his planet Kirk refused.

Captain's log, stardate 5843.7. The Enterprise is in the grip of a raging epidemic. Three crewmen have died and twenty three others have been struck down by Rigelian fever. In order to combat the illness, Doctor McCoy needs large quantities of ryetalyn, which is the only known antidote for the fever. Our sensors have picked up sufficient quantities of pure ryetalyn on a small planet in the Omega system. We are beaming down to secure this urgently needed material.
[Planet surface]

(Compared to the lurid red, purple and vivid blue of the planet from space, the ground is pretty normal)
KIRK: Report.
MCCOY: Jim, there's a large deposit bearing two seven three, four kilometres away. I've got four hours to process that stuff, otherwise the epidemic will be irreversible. Everybody on board the Enterprise will
SPOCK: Strange. Readings indicate a life form in the vicinity, apparently human. Yet ship's sensors indicated this planet was uninhabited.
KIRK: Let's get that ryetalyn.
(A strange device comes travelling through the air towards them. A bit like Nomad, but much smaller and with more round bits. It fires an energy beam at the landing party's feet. They try to fire their phasers.)
KIRK: Inoperative.
(The device fires again, and closes in.)
FLINT: Do not kill.
(The device backs away and a silver-haired man in sort of doublet and hose approaches)
KIRK: I'm Captain James Kirk
FLINT: I know who you are. I have monitored your ship since it entered this system.
KIRK: Then if you know who we are, you know why we're here, Mister?
FLINT: Flint. You will leave my planet.
SPOCK: Did you say your planet, sir?
FLINT: My retreat from the unpleasantness of life on Earth, and the company of people.
KIRK: Mister Flint, I have a sick crew up there. We can't possibly reach another planet in time. You can't refuse us the ryetalyn.
FLINT: You're trespassing, Captain.
KIRK: We're in need! We'll pay for it, work for it, trade for it.
FLINT: You have nothing I want.
KIRK: But you have the ryetalyn that we need! If necessary, we'll take it.
FLINT: If you do not leave voluntarily, I have the power to force you to leave or kill you where you stand.
KIRK: Kirk to Enterprise. Mister Scott, lock phasers onto our co-ordinates.
SCOTT [OC]: Aye, Captain, all phasers locked on.
KIRK: Mister Flint, if anything happens to us, four deaths and then my crew comes down and takes that ryetalyn.
"You can't refuse us the ryetalyn." Oh really? So Starfleet is entitled to whatever they feel they have a need for? The Federation talks a good game about respecting rights but when push comes to shove they rely upon their so called defensive weapons to force their will upon others.

Flint did not cause the plague nor did he prevent the ship from leaving. He asked them to leave and they refused. Is he not entitled to defend his home? Is be being an asshole? You could certainly make that case but there's no law against that, especially since he's not a Federation colony. And why didn't they check the computer for information on the planet before beaming down?

KIRK [OC]: Just a little while longer, Scotty. Report on the computer search.
UHURA: There is no report on Mister Flint. He doesn't seem to have any past.

[Living room]

UHURA [OC]: The planet was purchased thirty years ago by a Mister Brack, a wealthy financier and recluse.
They would have realized that the planet was privately owned before trespassing. Note that it's a computer search, not a message from Starfleet. They had the information available, they just couldn't be bothered to look it up when they first arrived.
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Old February 18 2013, 09:54 PM   #19
Gary7
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Well there are certainly some glaring problems with this episode.

"Buying" an entire planet? I'm sorry... but from WHO? So we have to imagine that there is some species heavily populating an entire solar system, enough to claim ownership of all the planets within it. And then a perfectly habitable planet that they haven't bothered colonizing yet could be sold to someone for the "right price"? It's laughable.

OK, maybe it was an inhospitable planet that Flint could have partially terraformed. But a planet is still a vast amount of real estate, insanely so for just one individual. And the fact that one person would own it and live on it would be something terribly difficult to hide from the media. "Man buys planet -- chooses to live there in solitude!" And yeah, you'd think that the Enterprise would have more knowledge about the planet, especially if it could be looked up in their computer databanks. Perhaps for the benefit of the doubt, the Enterprise transmitted a data request to Starfleet and by the time they got to the planet the data hadn't completely downloaded.


KIRK: I'm Captain James Kirk.
FLINT: I know who you are. I have monitored your ship since it entered this system.
KIRK: Then if you know who we are, you know why we're here... Mister?
FLINT: Flint. You will leave my planet.
SPOCK: Did you say your planet, sir?
FLINT: My retreat from the unpleasantness of life on Earth, and the company of people.

--> Here's my revision:
KIRK: Mister Flint, we sincerely apologize for our trespassing. It was not our intention to do so, as our database records were not updated on this planet. I have a very sick crew up there. We need ryetalyn for the remedy and we can't possibly reach another planet in time.
FLINT: You're trespassing, Captain.
KIRK: We're in need! We'll pay for it, work for it, trade for it.
FLINT: You have nothing I want.
KIRK: But you have the ryetalyn that we need! I implore you, as one civil human being to another. You have my word that once we've secured the ryetalyn we will depart promptly and leave you to your solitude.
FLINT: If you do not leave voluntarily, I have the power to force you to leave or kill you where you stand.
KIRK: Kirk to Enterprise. Mister Scott, lock phasers onto our co-ordinates.
SCOTT [OC]: Aye, Captain, all phasers locked on.
KIRK: Mister Flint, we take threats seriously. If anything happens to us, four deaths and then my crew comes down and takes that ryetalyn.
FLINT: An interesting test of power. Your enormous forces against mine. Who would win?
SPOCK: Mister Flint, unless you are certain, I would suggest you refrain from a most useless experiment.
KIRK: We need only a few hours, that's all.
MCCOY: Have you ever seen a victim of Rigelian fever, sir? They die in one day. The effects are like bubonic plague.
FLINT: Constantinople, summer 1334. It marched through the streets, the sewers. It left the city by ox cart, by sea, to kill half of Europe. The rats, rustling and squealing in the night as they, too, died. The rats.
SPOCK: Are you a student of history, sir?
FLINT: I am. The Enterprise, a plague ship. You have two hours, at the end of which time you will leave.
KIRK: With all due gratitude.


So, Kirk didn't have to say outright "if necessary, we'll take it." There's a more obvious imbalance of position, with Kirk trying to appeal to Flint's humanity, and Flint displaying an uncaring disregard for human life. It's Flint's recollection of the horrible suffering of disease that manages to surface it, so that he acquiesces.
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Old February 18 2013, 09:58 PM   #20
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Since Flint used an alias to buy the planet, do we even know that he legally owns it? And, how do we know that Federation law doesn't back up Kirk's claim to the ryetalyn, given the emergency?
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Old February 18 2013, 09:58 PM   #21
RAMA
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Timo wrote: View Post
...And as I've also noted in an earlier thread: It's easy to read this as Kirk not falling in love with anybody at all, but merely executing a clever campaign to defeat his foe. Just like he always does with the men and women he meets.

Spock and McCoy really accomplish nothing here. Their lines of inquiry into the mystery of why Flint isn't helping them, as well as their attempts to overcome Flint's obstructionism, are seemingly logical but miss the mark completely. Kirk in turn cuts right to the chase, understanding what makes Flint tick and hitting him in the soft (Flint, unlike M-4, is quite defeatable in fisticuffs, and Rayna can be swept off her feet with basic techniques Kirk is well versed in) and sensitives (Rayna is a major weakness in Flint's armor).

In the end, Kirk weeps. But not for Rayna, at least not by his own words. He's weeping for Flint, for whom he apparently didn't feel erotic love, but whose fate is a sorry one, and in many ways a painfully close match of Kirk's own lot in life.

Timo Saloniemi
No, you can't read that at all based on anything in the episode.

KIRK: Stay out of this. We're fighting over a woman.
SPOCK: No, you're not, for she is not.
(Flint thumps Kirk, then repeatedly throws him across the room)
RAYNA: I cannot be the cause of this. I will not be the cause of this. Please stop. Stop! I choose where I want to go.
(The men stop fighting in astonishment)
RAYNA: what I want to do. I choose. I choose.
FLINT: Rayna!
RAYNA: No. Do not order me. No one can order me!
KIRK: She's human. Down to the last blood cell, she's human. Down to the last thought, hope, aspiration, emotion, she’s human. The human spirit is free. You have no power of ownership. She's free to do as she wishes.
SPOCK: Gentlemen, I urge you to stop. There is a danger.
FLINT: No man beats me.
KIRK: I don't want to beat you. This is no test of power. Rayna belongs to herself and she claims the human right of choice to be as she wills, to do as she wills, to think as she wills.
FLINT: That's what I've worked for.
KIRK: Rayna, come with me.
FLINT: Stay.
RAYNA: I was not human. Now I love. I love.
(She collapses. McCoy checks for a pulse)
FLINT: You can't die.
KIRK: What happened?
SPOCK: She loved you, Captain. And you, too, Mister Flint, as a mentor, even as a father.....

.....MCCOY: Well, I guess that's all. I can tell Jim later or you can. Considering his opponent's longevity, truly an eternal triangle. You wouldn't understand that, would you, Spock? You see, I feel sorrier for you than I do for him because you'll never know the things that love can drive a man to. The ecstasies, the miseries, the broken rules, the desperate chances, the glorious failures, the glorious victories. All of these things you'll never know simply because the word love isn't written into your book. Goodnight, Spock.
SPOCK: Goodnight, Doctor.
MCCOY: I do wish he could forget her.
(McCoy leaves. Spock goes over to Kirk and initiates a mind meld)
SPOCK: Forget.
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Last edited by RAMA; February 18 2013 at 10:15 PM.
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Old February 18 2013, 10:03 PM   #22
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Buying a planet is indeed a peculiar concept. One might well assume it comes with certain "small print" clauses, much like buying a cross-country vehicle hereabouts until recently carried the obligation to hand it over to the government in certain types of crisis, for no recompense or promise of return.

Flint's case is a rather flimsy one anyway. What possible claim does he have to the legal property of this Mr. Brack?

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Old February 18 2013, 11:19 PM   #23
gottacook
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Timo wrote: View Post
Our heroes are frequently confronted by the utterly absurd...
Yes, but it's equally utterly absurd that Spock should recognize the handwritten piano score as the work of Brahms. Doesn't matter, I love the episode anyway and always have. (To me the Brahmsiest part of the waltz is the aforementioned "bridge that's dialed way down," the contrasting material in a new key region.)

It would have been nice if the epidemic were days and not hours away from crisis point, but this was one of the final episodes and story editing was not on anyone's mind; people were looking for the exits and lining up other work.
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Old February 19 2013, 12:07 AM   #24
Just a Bill
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

I think Kirk's aggressiveness on the ryetalin falls under what we today call "eminent domain." Starfleet will situationally exert ownership over private property when there is an exigent public need, and may not always do so in a fair or explanatory manner. Crisis tends to give people a sense of entitlement to force others to "do the right thing."

As for buying an entire planet, I can imagine this wouldn't be all that difficult if you found a king/prince/sultan who owned several small, unused worlds and your offering price was an irresistible fembot, programmed to the seller's specifications.
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Old February 19 2013, 01:27 AM   #25
RPJOB
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Quark's cousin Gaila owned his own moon and nobody seemed to think that was odd or unusual. Planets may be a dime a dozen in the future. Old Spcok appears to have spent no more than a week finding a new planet for the surviving Vulcans in ST09.

It doesn't matter as it's stated as fact that the planet was sold to Mr. Brack. No matter how it looks Kirk still had no right to take so much as a pebble off the planet. It can be assumed that there was no case to be made under "eminent domain" since they didn't bring that up after discovering that the planet was privately owned.
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Old February 19 2013, 01:31 AM   #26
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Quark's cousin Gaila owned his own moon and nobody seemed to think that was odd or unusual. Planets may be a dime a dozen in the future. Old Spcok appears to have spent no more than a week finding a new planet for the surviving Vulcans in ST09.

It doesn't matter as it's stated as fact that the planet was sold to Mr. Brack. No matter how it looks Kirk still had no right to take so much as a pebble off the planet. It can be assumed that there was no case to be made under "eminent domain" since they didn't bring that up after discovering that the planet was privately owned.
Sez you. I have no problem with it. Ultimately, neither did Flint.
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Old February 19 2013, 01:52 AM   #27
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

RPJOB wrote: View Post
"You can't refuse us the ryetalyn." Oh really? So Starfleet is entitled to whatever they feel they have a need for? The Federation talks a good game about respecting rights but when push comes to shove they rely upon their so called defensive weapons to force their will upon others.
The eminent domain type of justification is a pretty good one.

Anyway, from a meta standpoint we know the teaser had to be harsh and dramatic to get people interested and make them stick around past the commercials.

If it weren't for that show biz need, Kirk could have handled the teaser a lot better. He could have said, "Mr Flint, don't send us away until you know all the facts." And then played to Flint's compassion and ego: "You can save every life aboard..."
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Old February 19 2013, 01:57 AM   #28
Pavonis
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

What does ownership of a planet entail? Merely the right to inhabit it, or ownership of everything from core to crust? Perhaps there are degrees of "planet ownership"?

And why is the thread title marked with spoilers? The episode aired over 44 years ago. If someone hasn't seen it by now, they don't have any reasonable expectation that others will help them avoid "spoilers".
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Old February 19 2013, 02:11 AM   #29
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Gary7 wrote: View Post
Well there are certainly some glaring problems with this episode.

"Buying" an entire planet? I'm sorry... but from WHO? So we have to imagine that there is some species heavily populating an entire solar system, enough to claim ownership of all the planets within it. And then a perfectly habitable planet that they haven't bothered colonizing yet could be sold to someone for the "right price"? It's laughable .
I'd say the Federation via Star Fleet took physical control of a vast swath of solar systems that were totally uninhabited. The government says "This is ours because we got here first. And now we'll sell the acreage to our citizens so the new lands will be developed and put to productive use, and incidentally increase the chances that we can hold the solar systems we've claimed and someday levy taxes on them."

In STAR TREK's founding proposals, Roddenberry knew that planets with life would be the exception.
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Old February 19 2013, 02:15 AM   #30
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Pavonis wrote: View Post
And why is the thread title marked with spoilers? The episode aired over 44 years ago. If someone hasn't seen it by now, they don't have any reasonable expectation that others will help them avoid "spoilers".
We should aways hope that new fans are finding STAR TREK, and they haven't seen every episode yet. Some of them might drop in here to check us out.
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