Bread & Circuses - Kirk's Folly

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    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?
     
  2. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Welcome to Star Trek. :p
     
  3. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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! :lol:

    Maybe it all does come down to "welcome to star Trek", after all!
     
  4. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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).
     
  5. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    Rightly or wrongly, this is why the whole "away team" concept immediately led me to peg Picard as a wuss.
     
  6. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  7. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Fontana decided to crank this approach up to 11 for "The Enterprise Incident."
     
  8. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  9. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  10. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.)
     
  11. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  13. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  14. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  15. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  16. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    It's things like this that you have to gloss over if for no other reason than it was 1960's television and the needs of the television executives outweighed the needs of anything else.
     
  17. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Let me just step in here and point out that Picard was probably more fit in his Golden Years than Kirk ever was in his prime! Stewart's certainly more fit than Shatner, even in these days. But he had to be, did he not? To secure a Pretty Young Gold Digger, a Sugar Daddy must be fit in body ... and bank account. Stewart is also a superior actor than the Shat, in every way. For example, Picard's kicked ass on many a planet ... and found love with many a young woman in a tight, short skant - all whilst quoting Shakespeare in an authentic British accent. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  18. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Kirk was way fitter than Picard. You never saw Picard's stuntman doing the double reverse kick off the wall backwards.
    Picard never kicked ass. He had Worf, Riker and Data kick ass for him. Its not the same.

    And that Shat has done as well as Kirk on the ladies front - have you seen his wife? :lol:
     
  19. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    One of the things which is most intriguing about 'The Galileo Seven' is the way it splits up Spock and Kirk, but (almost uniquely for TOS) it leaves Kirk on the Enterprise bridge dealing with the bureaucratic nonsense instead of being the one down on the planet in the thick of things. It's a surprisingly forward-thinking plot strand, especially in light of TNG making such arrangements a part of the regular format, and it works really well to the point where I kinda wish they'd been able to do it more often in TOS.

    But hey, Shatner's the star with contractual benefits, so what you gonna do? :shrug: ;)
     
  20. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    THAT WHICH SURVIVES, an underrated episode in my view, is the flip side of GALILEO. Separating Shatner and Nimoy can lead to better plots; WRATH OF KHAN and UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY also support that. The best result of overusing the classic trio beamdown of KS&M is that it puts Scotty in command. Yet Scotty seems overly wussy in the third season (''Cap'n, we're caught in a storm, dinna know what;s causin' it, we can't last!''). Please.

    GALILEO also sticks out for its diverse landing party. Gaetano and Boma are character standouts, and you have the ''trinity'' of Spock, McCoy and Scotty. A good combo in all. First year landing parties were usually larger and unpredictable. Guards could actually survive, parties could be six or seven instead of just three. The oddest landing party ever had to be McCoy, DeSalle and Jaeger in GOTHOS. Those three ending up retrieving Kirk AND Sulu. Only in the first year, I suspect, Spock would NOT have gone down right away to find Kirk.

    Year Two parties are large and give Chekov and Uhura more chance to leave the bridge. They also cement the stereotype of ''New face? You're doomed.'' Garrovick was one of the lucky few to break the 2nd year curse.

    I think TRISKELION had a nice combo in Kirk, Chekov and Uhura. Spock might've trounced the opposition had be been chosen for it. And you once again have the Spock-McCoy-Scotty dynamic working.