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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old January 10 2014, 11:55 PM   #1
Agenda
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Obvious plot hole at the beginning

I don't know if this has been discussed much, but I think the movie got one thing wrong right off the bat. Whether or not this is a true plot hole, it's not very consistent with Trek canon.

Spock didn't like that they broke the Prime Directive when they saved him from the volcano.

But the truth is, the crew broke the Prime Directive the moment they decided to screw around with the volcano at all.

It's like in that TNG episode Pen Pals. Picard was firm that helping the planet would break the PD. He only allowed it when it became clear that Data's pal was asking for help. But in this movie, the natives weren't asking for anybody's help.

To be consistent with the Prime Directive, Spock should've been pissed (not literally) that they were helping at all. He should've insisted that the Enterprise just sit in orbit and watch the volcano go kablooey.
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Old January 11 2014, 12:32 AM   #2
Timelord Victorious
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Not really, the whole point of the prime directive is to not contaminate an alien culture with knowledge and/or technology that influence them in their natural development.
So the plan was to help them without them ever knowing they were in any danger.
Picard's (in)action in similar situations was more or less based on that he didn't believe saving those 2 cultures could be done with cultural contamination.
He was proven right, there was a hefty price paid in the end.

The question really is, if it is moral to not intervene when the harm done to the culture is complete annihilation.
I'd say it is not, but where do you draw the line?at what point does it become acceptable to let things play out on there own?
A volcano that kills a continent of natives? A single region? Just one tribe? A village? One person?
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Old January 11 2014, 12:34 AM   #3
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Agenda wrote: View Post
I don't know if this has been discussed much, but ...
It's been discussed in a few threads. A quick search turned up these, among others:

Prime Directive violation? [Spoilers?]
Kirk And The Prime Directive In STID ???
Nagging Questions thread
Oh come on Spock, it sucks! Big Deal. (SPOILERS)
"You should have heard him defend you.." - really??
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Old January 11 2014, 12:37 AM   #4
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

My understanding of the Prime Directive is that it applies to directly interacting with developing civilizations. If Starfleet can act to save a world or civilization with a reasonably high level of confidence that they can do so without making their presence known to that civilization, then they will. The goal is to avoid contaminating the natural development of cultures (and probably also to avoid providing potentially destructive technologies to species that have not had the time to develop socially far enough to handle them without getting a lot of people killed), not to be selfish dillweeds.

I think the reason Picard initially refused Data's request was Drema IV was not advanced enough to be beyond PD concerns, but was sufficiently advanced to have a reasonable chance of realizing that an outside influence had done something if they acted.
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Old January 11 2014, 12:45 AM   #5
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
The question really is, if it is moral to not intervene when the harm done to the culture is complete annihilation.
I believe that given the opportunity, the Federation Council can and would vote an exception for such cases. The problem is that such cases frequently come in locations and circumstances where it isn't practical to let the decision be made that way with the delay involved. So Starfleet - at least the Starfleet of TOS (TNG and beyond seemed to vary depending on the writer) - has what seems to me to be a very reasonable way of handling things: if a man or woman of intelligence and good character, (hopefully) such as those that would be placed in command of a starship, decides that the situation is worth their career to take the chance to save people, then the unwritten rule is that they can do that, and then Starfleet and the Council can decide whether or not they were right, after the fact.
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Old January 11 2014, 01:36 AM   #6
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

In TOS the Enterprise tried to divert an asteroid that was headed towards Mirimanee's planet. So the PD isn't against stopping natural disasters. (at least in the 23rd Century)
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Old January 11 2014, 01:51 AM   #7
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
In TOS the Enterprise tried to divert an asteroid that was headed towards Mirimanee's planet. So the PD isn't against stopping natural disasters. (at least in the 23rd Century)
Good point. And that was before knowing what the Preservers had done.
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Old January 11 2014, 02:02 AM   #8
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Agenda wrote: View Post
I don't know if this has been discussed much, but I think the movie got one thing wrong right off the bat. Whether or not this is a true plot hole, it's not very consistent with Trek canon.
Reboot. The only canon that's applicable here is the previous movie, which said nothing about the prime directive. TNG no longer counts.

Even if it did, the prime directive is made to be broken. Literally. That's the only reason it exists, and it's been broken in virtually every episode and movie in which it's mentioned.
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Old January 11 2014, 02:10 AM   #9
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

-Brett- wrote: View Post
Reboot. The only canon that's applicable here is the previous movie, which said nothing about the prime directive.
Not a reboot, an alternate timeline. Everything that came before ST09 is still canon, for whatever that's worth.
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Old January 11 2014, 03:16 AM   #10
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Agenda wrote: View Post
But the truth is, the crew broke the Prime Directive the moment they decided to screw around with the volcano at all.
And Kirk got chewed out and demoted because of it. Seems pretty consistent with canon to me.

As for Spock's attitude, in TOS Spock didn't follow a strict and rigid definition of the Prime Directive, and showed a willingness to bend it on occasion, or at least go along with Kirk when he chose to interpret the Directive his way. Obviously saving the tribe from a volcano is deemed an acceptable bending to Spock, provided it can be done without the natives being aware of it.
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Old January 11 2014, 03:43 AM   #11
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

In fact, the demotion was a solid earned consequence of deceiving the brass, and if Abramsverse-Kirk had owned up right off the bat, he might have managed to avert the demotion.
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Old January 11 2014, 05:42 PM   #12
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

I didn't think it was a plot hole in the beginning at all until Pike said doing that business with the volcano was a violation of the PD, which means that Spock was violating the prime directive even though he kept spouting "we can't break it". It's an odd inconsistency, but it's the least of the film's problems.
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Old January 11 2014, 08:19 PM   #13
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

It felt....to me like in the act of saving the people on that planet they were bending the PD a little bit but it was for a good cause and I think there are a lot of examples of that in Trek.

Obviously Kirk outright snapped it in half when he exposed the ship in order to save Spock.
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Old January 11 2014, 08:25 PM   #14
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Short answer: the moral dilemma in "Pen Pals" is garbage and inconsistent with its portrayal in the original series; Star Trek Into Darkness was wise to ignore it.
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Old January 11 2014, 08:37 PM   #15
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Re: Obvious plot hole at the beginning

The Feds intervening re the Prime Directive is much like "God's" take on being God in Futurama - "When you do things right, people won't be sure you did anything at all."
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