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

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Old November 19 2013, 03:43 AM   #1
ZapBrannigan
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Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

In "Bread and Circuses" Kirk beams down to potentially hostile territory with Spock and McCoy. That's the captain and first officer separated from the ship with no security squad.

They are quickly captured and disarmed. Luckily, their captors are nice and let them go. Then they are promptly captured and disarmed again by police-state forces who are not so understanding.

Now the captain and first officer are locked up down on the planet with no way to contact the ship. It's a realistic scenario to say that they might never be found and freed, no matter how many men Scotty beams down to search for them. Cities are big. Do you search house to house?

If you figure out that they are in jail, the authorities might decline to hand them over. Do you use phasers to conquer the government?

Kirk gets out of this jam by certain strokes of luck, including Merrick handing over a communicator at the crucial moment. Who's to say that was going to happen? And without it, he's still stuck and about to be hunted down by 200 cops.

I think if this were a true story, Kirk would be in trouble with Star Fleet despite getting away from his captors. Is it too much to imagine that he would be relieved of command for such recklessness?

What should he have done differently, starting from before he ever beamed down?
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Old November 19 2013, 04:19 AM   #2
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
In "Bread and Circuses" Kirk beams down to potentially hostile territory with Spock and McCoy. That's the captain and first officer separated from the ship with no security squad.
Welcome to Star Trek.
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Old November 19 2013, 04:31 AM   #3
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

I've kinda wondered similar things about some episodes, such as why they don't look for human life signs among alien populations. Sometimes they do it, sometimes they don't. I know, I know: if you lock on to them and beam them up, no story! Maybe they did scan for human signs before going down: after all, they were in the right city. But still...something doesn't seem right.

My brother used to observe about landing party phasers: If they need them, they're de-activated by alien force. If they don't happen to need them, they work just fine!

Maybe it all does come down to "welcome to star Trek", after all!
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Old November 19 2013, 06:40 AM   #4
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
I think if this were a true story, Kirk would be in trouble with Star Fleet despite getting away from his captors. Is it too much to imagine that he would be relieved of command for such recklessness?
It's not just this one episode. Kirk, Spock and McCoy were always beaming down into the thick of things and finding themselves in deep doo-doo. That's because these people are the stars of the show. Star Trek was sold as an action-adventure series. Adventure usually means putting your hero or heroes in danger.

David Gerrold covered this subject in his book The World of Star Trek (which I can't seem to find my copy of).
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Old November 19 2013, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

Rightly or wrongly, this is why the whole "away team" concept immediately led me to peg Picard as a wuss.
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Old November 19 2013, 12:53 PM   #6
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
In "Bread and Circuses" Kirk beams down to potentially hostile territory with Spock and McCoy. That's the captain and first officer separated from the ship with no security squad.
They were supposed to be beamining down incognito on a PD planet. Kirk's not going to trust a squad of security goons to do the job.
He might be in trouble with Starfleet if he beamed down a heap of people.

And if security beam down - we all know they're going to die. Maybe Kirks just trying to save a few lives here.
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Old November 19 2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Welcome to Star Trek.
Fontana decided to crank this approach up to 11 for "The Enterprise Incident."
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Old November 19 2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
And if security beam down - we all know they're going to die. Maybe Kirk's just trying to save a few lives here.

I thought about that, too. ST would have just used guards dying "to show that the situation is serious." So why not save money and don't even cast them.

But in-universe, Kirk had no backup plan for when things went against him. No subcutaneous transponders, no hidden camera in his belt buckle, no prior reconn with drones or something. He just blunders in.
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Old November 19 2013, 05:39 PM   #9
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post

But in-universe, Kirk had no backup plan for when things went against him. No subcutaneous transponders, no hidden camera in his belt buckle, no prior reconn with drones or something. He just blunders in.
Just part of the fun.

Kirk is a man who always makes the most of his opportunities when a situation goes bad. So maybe he was more comfortable playing situations as they evolved instead of trying to plan for every eventuality?
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Old November 19 2013, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

BillJ wrote: View Post
maybe he was more comfortable playing situations as they evolved
Reckless or inspired, the same way Kirk plays chess. Or Corbomite poker. And Spock tags along without a worry because he's played enough chess with Kobayashi Kirk.*

(*That Kirk was able to save a non-existent ship decoyed by the Klingons must have thrown the academy instructors for a curve.)
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Old November 19 2013, 09:45 PM   #11
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

As mentioned. Welcome to Trek, and TV in general. One would reasonably expect, given the ship's mission in the opening monologue, that there would be a team trained for and tasked with going down to new planets and meeting the natives and in general securing the area for the scientists and other ships crew who might have cause to come down. Not as fun as seeing Kirk and Spock conquering the galaxy with a phaser and a smirk, though.
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Old November 19 2013, 09:45 PM   #12
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

Metryq wrote: View Post
The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Welcome to Star Trek.
Fontana decided to crank this approach up to 11 for "The Enterprise Incident."
The Enterprise Incident doesn't go with the other examples regarding landing party duty, because in that episode Kirk and Spock were on a secret spy mission. Plus, Kirk and Spock were invited aboard by name by the Romulan commander. Security escorts were out of the question, although arguably Kirk could have beamed over with one when he was in disguise later.
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Old November 19 2013, 11:32 PM   #13
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

At least ENTERPRISE INCIDENT is more original than most TOS Treks....and one of the rare standouts of Year Three. The Act One cliffhanger is, to quote Spock, ''not sane,'' but what's refreshingly different here is that Kirk and Spock are fully in control of events for the first two-thirds or so. They didn't even tell McCoy right away what they were up to.


Now it's getting me thinking: what would J.J. Abrams do to adapt or warp this episode's premise? It is the virtual polar opposite of STID's ending philosophy, but still a gripping episode all in all.
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Old November 21 2013, 03:18 AM   #14
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

The real explanation of why Kirk, Spock and McCoy are always beaming down together is that they are the stars of the show. And by Season 3 if the script had someone ese beaming down, they would change the script.

My fanboy explanation of why Kirk beams down on most landing parties is because thats his style. He likes to get the lay of the land. He's more like Captain Cook than a modern Navy Commander. And unlike say Picard he's young enough and fit enough to do it.
He takes the glory in new discoveries and the risk of it all going bad.

And over the years he's decided that the two guys he can always trust are McCoy and Spock. And even though Spock does not look like any of the 'aliens' - because they all look human Kirk is prepared to take the risk with Spock because Spock has other great assets. The neck pinch, great hearing, his telepathy, his loyalty, his ability to make things out of bearskins and stone knives.
Even Captain Tracey beamed down on landing parties.

Also in TOS the Enterprise is often out of contact with Starfleet. I don't think Starfleet is second guessing Kirk all the time. They're just satisfied he gets the job done. I don't think they micromanage landing party composition for Kirk unless he was sexist or racist or something.
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Old November 21 2013, 07:32 PM   #15
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Re: Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

I wish he had trusted Scotty equally, considering.
Quite true most Year 3 landing parties were monotously KS&M, with one or two exceptions. The lower the budgets got, the more it kept happening.
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