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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old February 17 2013, 08:32 PM   #1
ZapBrannigan
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Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

"Requiem for Methuselah" takes a lot of heat for certain plot elements: Kirk falls in love very fast (but no faster than I would have!), and he lets himself be thusly distracted when the whole crew are desperate for him to just get back from the drugstore or they're going to die. Like die as in dead.

And he's getting right on that, but first he goes out dancing and he shoots some pool. Real captains get relieved of command for so much less, once HQ hears about it.

Fair enough. But this episode has always been a pleasure for me, for three reasons.

1) Hottest fembot ever. The current Rayna release has 17 university degrees and a huge rack. She is truly the thinking man's sex doll.

2) Tremendous music score. I like the waltz Spock plays, but the real treat here is the selection of love themes tracked in for Kirk's infatuation and Rayna's turbulent awakening.

3) The Enterprise gets miniaturized and put right in the room with us. That was very tantalizing to me as a boy. The way Kirk interacts with the ship, and it "sees" him on the main viewscreen, vividly dramatized the fantasy of boy model builders, that this thing though small is real and full of internal structure and detail.

So on the whole I say, good episode.
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Old February 17 2013, 09:13 PM   #2
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

As I've probably noted on some earlier thread: Of course Kirk fell in love with her instantly; Flint created her, and his genius was such that it's a wonder all three Enterprise officers didn't fall all over her, including Mr. Spock (heck, if he could swoon over that empty-headed Droxine...)

The extent of Flint's genius makes every element of the story possible, from the gigantic (partly pheromonal?) allure of Rayna to the Brahms waltz that Spock plays. He controls everything while Kirk et al. are on his planet, including the resolution of the ryetalin business; he could have whipped some up, uncontaminated, anytime. The Enterprise officers were puppets; like the crew and ship, they could have been suspended/miniaturized anytime (halting the epidemic's progress as well).

Flint could have anything he wanted - except that he couldn't succeed, despite repeated attempts, to create a Rayna who will love him like he wants her to. That's his tragedy and the point of the episode: Living thousands of years, and accumulating all that knowledge and having all that time to develop skills, has the tradeoff that you will always outlive anyone you fall in love with, see that person sicken and die, go through that dozens of times, and then you can't succeed in creating a replacement to avoid further heartbreak.

Kirk was just a conveniently visiting ordinary human who Flint thought could help kick-start the latest Rayna. At least we do get the epilog, to show (i) that Kirk was chewed up & spit out by the whole experience, (ii) Bones' compassion for Flint, and also for Spock because of what he'll never experience, and finally (iii) Spock's compassion for Kirk: "Forget."
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Old February 17 2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

gottacook wrote: View Post
Spock's compassion for Kirk: "Forget."
Foreshadowing Spock's hippy half-brother from ST5. Even before ST5 and Kirk's "I need my pain" speech, I felt that Spock had crossed a dangerous line that would result in Kirk tearing him a new one.
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Old February 17 2013, 10:07 PM   #4
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

I like the Gilgamesh/immortal man elements. Flint's moment of recollection of the black plague were particularly effective. I liked seeing someone using a robot, which we should have seen a lot more of in Trek but didn't. Unfortunately, Trek again bypasses the question of effective sentient, thinking AI by causing Rayna to go crazy at the thought of...love.
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Old February 17 2013, 10:10 PM   #5
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

...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.

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Old February 17 2013, 10:21 PM   #6
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Does Kirk, Spock or McCoy report this?

On the one hand losing the info Flint has would be almost as big a tragedy as losing Memory Alpha....on the other, Flint is a private man and wouldn't want to be interviewed every day of his life.

Last edited by Dale Sams; February 18 2013 at 02:54 AM.
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Old February 17 2013, 10:27 PM   #7
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Kirk probably gets to decide what gets reported. And he has to come up with an explanation for why the rhyetalyn shipment was almost fatally delayed. Does he want to make McCoy or Spock look bad, by going with some variant of the "contaminated batch" lie? Or Scotty, with some kind of "engine trouble" story? Does he indicate a different planet as his source of rhyetalyn, falsifying navigation data to support that story?

Or does he neglect to mention the outbreak of the disease aboard altogether?

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Old February 18 2013, 02:23 AM   #8
AtoZ
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
"Requiem for Methuselah" takes a lot of heat for certain plot elements: Kirk falls in love very fast (but no faster than I would have!), and he lets himself be thusly distracted when the whole crew are desperate for him to just get back from the drugstore or they're going to die. Like die as in dead.

And he's getting right on that, but first he goes out dancing and he shoots some pool. Real captains get relieved of command for so much less, once HQ hears about it.

Fair enough. But this episode has always been a pleasure for me, for three reasons.

1) Hottest fembot ever. The current Rayna release has 17 university degrees and a huge rack. She is truly the thinking man's sex doll.

2) Tremendous music score. I like the waltz Spock plays, but the real treat here is the selection of love themes tracked in for Kirk's infatuation and Rayna's turbulent awakening.

3) The Enterprise gets miniaturized and put right in the room with us. That was very tantalizing to me as a boy. The way Kirk interacts with the ship, and it "sees" him on the main viewscreen, vividly dramatized the fantasy of boy model builders, that this thing though small is real and full of internal structure and detail.

So on the whole I say, good episode.
You nailed it. Plus, I liked Flint's cape.
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Old February 18 2013, 05:59 AM   #9
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

One plot element that tends to get glossed over is Kirk showing up at a privately owned planet and threatening to kill Flint unless he hands over the rytalen.

"Beaming down to the planet, Kirk, McCoy, and Spock are attacked by a hovering robot. An old man, Flint, arrives to halt the robot's attack, but insists that the landing party leave at once. Kirk asks Flint to reconsider but Flint still refuses. As a result, Kirk orders the Enterprise to lock phasers onto their coordinates. When the situation seems completely hopeless, Flint gives Kirk two hours to obtain the ryetalyn."

Apparently Starfleet can show up and take whatever the want to from a privately owned planet, or at least Kirk seems to think so. The planet and everything on it belongs to Flint. He was well within his rights to refuse. He only gave in at gunpoint.
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Old February 18 2013, 06:49 AM   #10
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Kirk undermined entire civilizations just because his ship was in danger. You think a little private property is going to dissuade him?
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Old February 18 2013, 07:25 AM   #11
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Timo wrote: View Post
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.
I never thought of that. It puts a wildly different spin on things. The question is, was the drama that sophisticated? The writing style of one-hour drama, in that period and well beyond, seldom did anything clever without some dialog to announce it during, and then put a button on it at the end.

But we can read into things, like you said.
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Old February 18 2013, 07:39 AM   #12
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Maurice wrote: View Post
Kirk undermined entire civilizations just because his ship was in danger. You think a little private property is going to dissuade him?
Not at all but he wasn't talking about destroying property.

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.
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.
He's willing to kill Flint in order to take something that he has no right to take. He could even beam down to another part of the planet, assuming that the rytalin isn't just located near Flint's house. He's not just willing to commit theft, he's willing to kill when it's unnecessary.

Kirk's a criminal multiple times over. I was just pointing out something that is often overlooked in this episode. For all his talk about how mankind has advanced he's still a thug when he's prevented from getting what he wants.
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Old February 18 2013, 07:44 AM   #13
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

I hadn't thought about this episode in a while, thanks for bringing it up Zap.

I too can't fault Kirk for falling in love with her so quickly, akin to Kirk falling for the Dohlman of Elas with the help of her tears. Rayna was perfection in so many ways, so very easy to be mesmerized by her. I know I would've been puppy eyed straight off.

But yeah... it wasn't a drug acting on Kirk, just his male sensibilities. You have most of your crew knocking on death's door, but you can compartmentalize it and enjoy some pool and passionately flirt with a woman? Yeah, looked really bad for ol' Jimmy boy. I'm surprised McCoy didn't make more of a stink about it.

About the ryetalyn imperative... Kirk and party are very sensible people. Here's Flint with his very own planet and time without end at his disposal. It was SO BLATANTLY CLEAR that the ryetalyn would be a mere spec of inconvenience to Flint. This wasn't a precious resource for him in any shape or form. Kirk knows that the ryetalyn is possible to retrieve and here's Flint getting in his way. I don't blame him for taking a threatening stance, after having offered compensation (to which Flint replied "You have nothing I want."). So, Kirk was stuck in a Catch-22 scenario and desperate.

But of course, Flint eventually recognizes the advantages of having the men there, to help lift Rayna to the next level. Only, his superior intellect managed to overlook some of the obvious concerns. At least to anyone else. Flint was so arrogant, he couldn't see the danger. Of Rayna perhaps falling for some other man and that her relationship with Flint had really been forged as more like father and daughter.


This episode is one of my favorites for many reasons. I try to overlook Kirk's ridiculous behavior, chalking it up to the stress of the situation (the loss of his crew) plus perhaps being well overdue for some shore leave (a persistent problem with him). What I also found a bit offensive was the tediously PRIMITIVE works that were supposedly hand written by Brahms himself. Um... WRONG. I am familiar enough with the work of Brahms to know that the trite waltz we heard Spock play was nowhere near anything Brahms had written (one would have thought a little research and some cleverly written waltz by a modern composer with obvious elements from the style of Brahms could have been used). But again, that can be overlooked. James Daly did a terrific job with his role. So did Louise Sorel with hers. While a simplistic episode from a set and effects perspective, it was a refreshingly interesting story with a surprise kind of ending.
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Old February 18 2013, 08:37 AM   #14
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

Gary7 wrote: View Post
What I also found a bit offensive was the tediously PRIMITIVE works that were supposedly hand written by Brahms himself. Um... WRONG. I am familiar enough with the work of Brahms to know that the trite waltz we heard Spock play was nowhere near anything Brahms had written (one would have thought a little research and some cleverly written waltz by a modern composer with obvious elements from the style of Brahms could have been used). But again, that can be overlooked. James Daly did a terrific job with his role. So did Louise Sorel with hers. While a simplistic episode from a set and effects perspective, it was a refreshingly interesting story with a surprise kind of ending.

Remember, they only had a few days. The liner notes to the box set...

http://lalalandrecords.com/STTOS.html

...say that Wilbur Hatch asked keyboardist Ivan Ditmars to compose the new waltz, and Ditmars got it done in three days. It may not pass muster for a classical audience, but I've always liked it. The waltz has a good bridge that's dialed way down in the episode, leaving only the simpler part for most viewers to notice.

I second your comment on the guest stars. Louise Sorel really hit the spot for me. And the big reveal, when Kirk finds the Raynas who were junked for parts, is like a really good TWILIGHT ZONE moment.
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Old February 18 2013, 02:51 PM   #15
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Re: Requiem for Methuselah (Spoilers)

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.

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