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

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Old July 7 2013, 01:17 AM   #1
Komack
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The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

This afternoon Mom was running errands, so the kids and I watched the Tholian Web. The kids were very upset by "how mean" McCoy was being the Spock. I was trying to come up with a logical explanation for McCoy's behavior, but I couldn't. Was this simply bad script writing?
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Old July 7 2013, 01:30 AM   #2
trevanian
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Komack wrote: View Post
This afternoon Mom was running errands, so the kids and I watched the Tholian Web. The kids were very upset by "how mean" McCoy was being the Spock. I was trying to come up with a logical explanation for McCoy's behavior, but I couldn't. Was this simply bad script writing?
It was very honest scriptwriting, just like the McCoy/Spock contretemps in the prison cell during BREAD & CIRCUSES, which is even rougher and better. Why would McCoy NOT be angry, given the apparent loss of best friend Kirk and the deteriorating situation?

About the only time I think they pushed it a little too far was in TRIBBLES when McCoy says he likes the tribbles better than he likes Spock, and that is more a matter of the way Kelley is directed to play the line than the line itself. That exchange, like the one in B&C, was a scene written by Gene Coon, who for me is the REAL genius who made Trek work, who pretty much developed the Spock/McCoy relationship with his many rewrites once he came on early to mid 1st season.
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Old July 7 2013, 02:02 AM   #3
Dream
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Frankly, McCoy has always been a jerk when it comes to Spock. Nothing bad writing about it.
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Old July 7 2013, 02:17 AM   #4
Kinokima
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Dream wrote: View Post
Frankly, McCoy has always been a jerk when it comes to Spock.
Absolutely not true. McCoy banters with Spock a lot but usually it is just banter, sometimes it is not (as someone mentioned Bread & Circuses indicates). But they did respect and care about each other.

Anyways Tholian Web is one of my favorites for the Spock/McCoy relationship.

Yes McCoy was being overly hard on Spock and he was wrong but he just thought he lost one of his closest friends and he had the health of the entire crew on the line. His reaction was one of strong emotions (this is McCoy we are talking about) and stress.

It's just that in McCoy's stress he seemed to forget that Spock had also lost one of his closet friends and also had the safety of the entire crew on his mind.

Obviously Kirk's words showed McCoy what a fool he was. But the fact that he could see the error in his ways, could apologize, and later on even called Spock "captain" as a gesture of good will shows that it was not out of malice. And of course Spock would forgive him because after all he knows McCoy can't help it, he's just an emotional human.
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Old July 8 2013, 02:40 PM   #5
Mario de Monti
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

@ Kinokima

I see it that way too. Well observed and put into words
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Old July 8 2013, 09:21 PM   #6
sariel2005
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Whilst McCoys frustration is does indeed come down hard on Spock it is worth remembering that the area of space they are in causes heightened agression and emotion
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Old July 8 2013, 09:32 PM   #7
MikeH92467
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Yeah, it was a "perfect storm" of stress and emotions that got McCoy to pop his cork like that. It's well to remember that McCoy was on the record as calling Spock "the best First Officer in the fleet" so it's not like there wasn't respect. Besides in "Amok Time" Spock chose McCoy as one of his friends to stand with him in a life/death situation.

ETA: I'm sure you and your wife do your best not to argue in front of the kids but maybe there's a life lesson you can pass along by noting that people who like or even love each other don't always speak gently to each other, for reasons that may be good or bad.
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Old July 8 2013, 10:05 PM   #8
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Not that Scotty needs it, but it would've been nice if Kirk had anything to say, advice or otherwise, to his third-in-command during his parting speech. But since his ''name'' is during the end credits....
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Old July 8 2013, 11:00 PM   #9
Kinokima
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

sariel2005 wrote: View Post
Whilst McCoys frustration is does indeed come down hard on Spock it is worth remembering that the area of space they are in causes heightened aggression and emotion
I just watched the episode again today and surprised I never noticed it before (considering this is an episode I watch a lot) but McCoy almost faints at one point in the episode.

It's during the scene right before they all see Kirk. McCoy again starts coming down on Spock but then realizes what he is doing and apologizes and Spock forgives him, even calling him Bones. Right after this McCoy faints and Spock has to hold him upwards to keep him from falling.

So whether it was the space or the fact that McCoy was just under physical and emotional stress from looking for the antidote, he was obviously feeling some ill effects.

Of course I don't think this excuses his behavior in the episode. I think McCoy was wrong. But characters are allowed to make mistakes. The fact that he made a mistake and came to that realization (even with a little help) is what makes McCoy a character I can relate to. What can I say I don't need characters to be perfect.

Last edited by Kinokima; July 8 2013 at 11:14 PM.
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Old July 8 2013, 11:07 PM   #10
Dale Sams
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

No you're dead on. That is my 'go-to' ep in showing how McCoy could be a jerk. One second he's berating Spock for not staying to save the Captain, and the next he's yelling at Spock for trying to save the Captain and endangering the crew.

I like the fan-story 'Mind-Sifter' where Spock dismisses McCoy from the bridge and McCoy never comes back unless required.
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Old July 8 2013, 11:28 PM   #11
Kinokima
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
No you're dead on. That is my 'go-to' ep in showing how McCoy could be a jerk. One second he's berating Spock for not staying to save the Captain, and the next he's yelling at Spock for trying to save the Captain and endangering the crew.
Just watched the episode again today. McCoy never berated Spock for not staying to save Kirk. In fact when Spock first tells McCoy why he is staying, McCoy doesn't berate him at all. McCoy just warns him that they have to get away from the space because that is what is causing the crew to go crazy.

Only after the plan fails the first time and the Tholians start attacking and trapping them in the space (and Spock tells McCoy to lock himself in the lab) does McCoy start to get angry. It's pretty clear that McCoy doesn't deal well with stress and he is unfairly taking it out on Spock.
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Old July 8 2013, 11:52 PM   #12
Dale Sams
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Yeah I misremembered this scene:

SPOCK: I need not explain my rationale to you or any other member of this crew. There is a margin of variation in any experiment. While there was a chance, I was bound legally and morally to ascertain the Captain's status.
MCCOY: You mean to be sure if he was dead. Well, you made certain of that.
SPOCK: That is enough, Doctor. We both have other things to do.
MCCOY: Yes, I have something to do. If this crew is to survive, I have to find an antidote to this space you've locked us into.

Thanks McCoy, so in less than 30 seconds you tell Spock he effed up and not only killed the Captain, but trapped in Crazy Space.
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Old July 8 2013, 11:56 PM   #13
MarsWeeps
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Kinokima wrote: View Post
It's pretty clear that McCoy doesn't deal well with stress and he is unfairly taking it out on Spock.
No, it's pretty clear that the same thing that caused the Defiant's crew to kill each other is starting to happen on the Enterprise.
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Old July 9 2013, 12:07 AM   #14
Kinokima
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
Thanks McCoy, so in less than 30 seconds you tell Spock he effed up and not only killed the Captain, but trapped in Crazy Space.
McCoy was upset and angry at the situation so he was unfairly taking it out on Spock. He was emotionally upset over Kirk, worried about the crew and finding the antidote, and there is evidence that he was physically unwell too (he almost faints at one point).

And I am not saying Spock wasn't upset over Kirk or worried about the situation. But lets face it Spock handles stress a bit better than most humans.

Maybe you have never taken your emotions out on the wrong person but it is actually a pretty common human thing to do. Isn't the whole point that McCoy can make a mistake and admit he was wrong?


Mars Weeps wrote: View Post
No, it's pretty clear that the same thing that caused the Defiant's crew to kill each other is starting to happen on the Enterprise.
Don't get me wrong I think that could explain part of McCoy's behavior but I don't think we should completely exonerate him either. Like I said he made a mistake and apologized. That is a great character moment. Certainly better to me than a character always being perfect.
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Old July 9 2013, 12:58 AM   #15
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Re: The Tholian Web - more questions from the kids

foxhot wrote: View Post
Not that Scotty needs it, but it would've been nice if Kirk had anything to say, advice or otherwise, to his third-in-command during his parting speech. But since his ''name'' is during the end credits....
Perhaps Kirk made a series of tapes, to cover different circumstances. For example, if Spock was dead or incapacitated, there may have been a "Scotty/McCoy" version, if Bones were dead, a "Spock/Scotty" version, and so on. I think after a certain point there would just be a generic "To whomever is currently in command" version, in the event that a junior officer like Sulu, Chekov, Desalle, Kyle or Uhura were left in command.
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