Galileo 7 – Was it Boma, Spock or is it me?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Jeffty5, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Jeffty5

    Jeffty5 Ensign Newbie

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    This Lifeboat-esque episode has always held some charm for me. However, after I showed it to a friend last night, although he enjoyed the show, he and I had totally opposite interpretations of the goings-on down on Taurus II…

    It’s not the conclusion to the crisis (Spock igniting the remaining fuel as a distress flare was an impulsive and desperate action – eternally debatable if this decision was driven by logic or emotion), it was all the drama in-between that my friend and I disagreed on.

    He saw this episode largely as an indictment of Spock’s logical philosophy. He cited Spock’s mini-meltdown during the assault by the Taurean yetis as evidence that the Vulcan approach can’t cope with the rigors of command (Spock, as boulders and spears pound the hull of the shuttle: “Strange. Step by step, I have made the correct and logical decisions. And yet two men have died… I do seem to have miscalculated… and inculcated resentment on your parts. The sum of the parts cannot be greater than the whole.”).

    To my eye the rest of the stranded crew (excluding Scotty) seem overwrought and are hindering Spock’s methodical attempts to rescue them more than they’re helping. Most notable is, of course, Boma’s hostile rabble-rousing. Given the time-sensitive, life-threatening situation, it was not simply “illogical” for Boma to demand that Spock preside over Gaetano’s burial – it’s totally insane! Spock was trying to find solutions; Boma et al seemed to be more interested in brow-beating their acting commander than supporting his plans to give them a fighting chance at surviving.

    I’m not sure Kirk himself could have done much better with such an insubordinate bunch. For my part, the only failure I see is on Spock’s part is that he didn’t order McCoy to anesthetize Boma, or nerve-pinch the problem in the bud.

    So I’m curious what readings other people have of this episode. Did Spock fail? Was Boma righteous or mutinous?
     
  2. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it's a combination of failures on both parts.

    For Boma to be such a pain in the ass was definitely unprofessional insubordination..

    But if Spock had been Kirk, he would have set him in his place real quickly, the way an human who understands human emotion would. Because Kirk understands human psychology. He'd say something like "I know you're all feeling pain at the loss of our comrade right now, and I am too, but we've got to focus on the mission. We've got to pull together and focus on being alive tomorrow." Now, i'm a bad writer, so those wouldn't be the exact words, but something like that would have helped calm Boma down a lot more than what Spock was doing, which was basically ignoring/dismissing their human emotions completely.

    Spock is too unbalanced to lead at that point. It would be like Mccoy Leading, but giving in to panic and emotionalism instead of pure cold logic. Kirk has the balance, so he's the best leader of the bunch.
     
  3. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Kirk can freely calculate or emote...sometimes both within moments. It may not have been originally intended as such, but Kirk's philosophy is a virtually equal marriage of Spock's and McCoy's. (While Scotty is beyond unique so he's never emulated.)
    Still, Kirk isn't particularly big on ''fire to frighten,'' as Spock was. The major problem in GALILEO was that they seemed to forget firing to STUN is far more preferable. Assuming, of course, the multiple creatures could be seen in the mist.
     
  4. Jeffty5

    Jeffty5 Ensign Newbie

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    Yes, I suppose that's at the bottom of it: Spock is making the right - or logical - choices, but his management of a panicky crew in a dire situation may be lacking some morale support that they – particularly being human - needed. So the morale of the crew spirals downward.

    In that way this episode underscores why Kirk is Captain and Spock is First Officer.

    Still, I can’t wholly swallow that the concept that, ‘Kirk is not here, so things fall apart’. If Spock is too “unbalanced” to lead, what of those he is leading? OK, sure, he’s lacking in the bedside manner department, so everyone falls apart? True, if Kirk had been the seventh, it's impossible to imagine the other "Galileo 6" being as unhelpful, but at the same time, not every captain in the fleet can be Kirk. McCoy couldn’t hold the barbs until they were safely home?

    Also, why is it that every surviving member of the “Galileo 7” appears on the bridge in the last scene to enjoy a light-hearted laugh at the re-telling of the event, including Yeoman Mears, but excluding Boma? Maybe Boma was confined to the brig? Or sickbay?
     
  5. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

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    You're 100% right. The other officers were insubordinate babies, and should all have been court-martialed after returning to the ship. Their behavior was ridiculous. Insane.

    Spock's soliloquy ("two men have died," etc) was weird too. Logical decisions can have bad outcomes, particularly in a situation with a lot of unknowns – Spock knows that as well as anyone.

    The whole episode is annoying and demeaning.
     
  6. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

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    That crew was composed almost entirely of officers, some of them senior officers. They should not need that kind of morale support. It's not like they're all Bailey (from Corbomite). Seriously, this crew is mostly guys who should be supplying that kind of support, not requiring it.


    Appropriate!
     
  7. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    If Boma or Gaetano had spoken to Kirk the way they spoke to Spock in this episode, Kirk would have double dropkicked them, and if by chance, the Landing Party survived till they got back to the ship, then he would have Court Martialled them.

    Scott was the only officer who performed his duty and obeyed orders as a Senior Officer should have.
     
  8. Nacluv

    Nacluv Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think Scott also understood Spock more than the others. McCoy gets him, but is often too impulsive, affective and carried away with crises that he cannot settle down and consider the possiblites of Spock's alternatives. Kirk, no matter how emotional, stressed or disoriented could mostly to greater extents digest both the pros and cons of Spock's tactics and therefore make the proper decisions himself.
     
  9. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Scotty unlike most of the rest of the Galileo crew works with Spock. Sure some of them might fall within the science department but might have little direct contact with Spock.
     
  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I agree that Spock was in the right, being doggedly determined to get them home. The other officers were being ridiculous. Decent burials? Pleading for inspiration? There's a ticking clock and death looming over them and they want to die like "men not machines?" Spock is 100% right about working to increase their chances for survival.

    I don't think it all fell apart without Kirk, but it did feel more like a class misbehaving because they have a substitute teacher. Now, we've speculated how Kirk would have handled it. I don't think the behavior of the men would have been the same, because Kirk is human and would have expressed some regret over the deaths. He also wouldn't have suggested leaving two men behind and would have made it clear from the outset that he himself would stay behind so his men could live, if they couldn't get the weight all the way down. If Spock had been able to make that choice logically, imagine who he would have picked. Spock is too smart and his quick thinking might make the difference, so he'd save himself a seat. Scotty - obviously, he's vital. Now it's down to three and Bones is the ships chief medical officer. That buys him a little seniority. Mears and Bomb had less to contribute to their survival in orbit and to the crew as a whole. Now THAT would have gone over great!

    Would Kirk have court martialed Boma had Kirk been in command of the shuttle? I don't think it would have come to that. Boma probably would have transferred out, either by his own design or recommended by Kirk. Unless Boma redeemed himself at the end; Kirk is pretty forgiving. In reality, s pointed out, the fact that he isn't on the bridge at the end is telling. Personally, I think he was packing.
     
  11. JimZipCode

    JimZipCode Commander Red Shirt

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    By the way, McCoy's behavior in Tholian Web was about on the same level. And for that matter, in Paradise Syndrome too. Unprofessional, non-supportive, inexcusable in a senior officer.
     
  12. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    of course, in both those episodes Kirk isn't there to keep him in check. He always acts like an ass when kirk's not around. (well more of an ass than usual)

    Like that annoying co-worker who acts professional only when the boss is around.

    i can imagine mccoy getting bad reports from people all the time, but since he's the captain's buddy and a good doctor he gets to stick around. perks of being in jim's good old boy club
     
  13. Admiral_Sisko

    Admiral_Sisko Lieutenant Commander

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    Absolutely. McCoy repeatedly insulted Spock and attempted to bait him into an argument. Several quotes from each episode stand out.

    Following the Enterprise's failed attempt to destroy the asteroid: "Well, Spock, you took your calculated risk in your calculated Vulcan way, and you lost. You lost for us; you lost for that planet, and you lost for Jim."

    Following the Enterprise's inability to recover Kirk from the interspacially trapped Defiant:"If this crew is to survive, I have to find an antidote to this space you've locked us into."

    Following the battle with the Tholian vessel: "You should have known what could have happened and done everything in your power to safe-guard your crew. That is the mark of a starship captain, like Jim."

    Prior to viewing Kirk's last recorded orders: "He was a hero in every sense of the word, yet his life was sacrificed for nothing. The one thing that would've given his death meaning was the safety of the Enterprise. Now, you've made that impossible."

    "Honestly, Spock, I just can't believe that you'd want Jim's command. But you must know that if you get us out of this, they'll pin a medal on your chest and give you command of the Enterprise."

    Following Spock's reply that he already was captain of the Enterprise: "I'd like to remedy that situation."
     
  14. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agreed, and this is why I never make a point of watching it. Their behavior is just so way out of line. The writer of this episode was probably angling for the "Vulcan in command" receiving discrimination, pushing on the whole "logic" over reason argument. This episode focused way too much on "logic" running decisions.

    Spock was inexperienced at commanding in this kind of scenario. While worthwhile to showcase the dynamic, I also feel the writer fell short on credibility for Spock.

    McCoy's incessant criticism of Spock bordering on slander is one of the worst aspects of TOS. He's a senior officer, not a country doctor, and must abide by military protocol. When a doctor gets commissioned, they are indoctrinated just like any other officer. Duty and protocol are weighed just as heavily. Kirk knocks him in line from time to time, but man... sometimes he should have come down much harder, slapping McCoy back into reality. Insulting a senior officer, especially in the midst of the crew, is absolutely unacceptable.

    Now in dire situations where death seems imminent, it's understandable that someone might crack and lose restraint, but you'd expect that from a junior officer or NCO, not a senior officer.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It could be argued this was professional insubordination.

    Boma was a scientist. If those meekly follow the orders of a superior scientist, they get nothing done. It's as much Boma's duty as M'Benga's to occasionally slap Spock in the face until he reacts the right way. Granted this wasn't the time or place, but it would be in Boma's professional instinct to talk back to the boss, and that's what he'd get paid for (assuming Starfleet believes in salaries).

    What was the ticking clock as regards the burial?

    The shuttle had lost fuel, but there was no dialogue to the effect that the leak would persist and more fuel would be wasted by the minute. The crew lacked supplies, but there was no immediate danger of starvation. The starship in the vicinity would be forced to depart in a couple of days, after which she would be gone for a maximum of six days, and then return to continue the rescue efforts. And the natives could be kept at bay indefinitely as long as our heroes did not loiter far away from each other and from the immense firepower they possessed.

    As far as we could tell, Spock could have taken a full day off to write an eulogy, draw a fictional cathedral in the sand, hold a ceremony involving solemn processions and hours-long chants, get Gaetano buried in a proper, carefully prepared six-foot hole, and then get drunk in a merry wake. There was no hurry.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of course they had limited time. The Enterprise was leaving soon. The "immense firepower" was being drained for fuel, so there would be no defense against the creatures (who were out for blood). Search parties were being attacked and killed almost as soon as they arrived. The shuttle crew couldn't continue to use the batteries to electrify the ship because they needed that power. Once draining the phasers, they would only have enough fuel to reach orbit for a short time before being forced to land or burn up. So, yes, they had to get into orbit BEFORE the Enterprise left. That was a major plot point, actually.

    It's all right here:

    SPOCK: Yeoman, your phaser.
    MEARS: But what if the creatures attack again?
    SPOCK: They won't attack for at least several hours. By then, with luck, we'll be gone.
    SCOTT: If I can get a full load, we should be able to achieve orbit with all hands. Not that we can maintain it long.
    SPOCK: We don't have to maintain it very long, Mister Scott. In less than twenty four hours, the Enterprise will be forced to abandon its search in order to make a rendezvous. If we can't maintain orbit after that time, it won't make any difference. If we burn up in a decaying orbit or die here on the planet's surface, we shall surely die.


    Regarding the services:

    BOMA: Mister Spock. we're ready.
    SPOCK: For what?
    BOMA: The services for Latimer.
    SPOCK: Mister Boma, we're working against time.


    Spock did find the time to have a quick burial in the end, but only when it was deemed practical and they were ready to go. Also beacue the creatures were quiet at the time. It never should have been the priority Boma made it out to be.
     
  17. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I chalk this up to the whole "missing the mark" aspect of the third season. Someone glanced at a few episodes in the first two years and saw "McCoy is cranky and fights with Spock" without paying attention to the layers below. Bones was still insubordinate in the previous seasons, but for the most part, it was their "banter." In the later episodes, the banter slipped and it became kind of nasty.

    But I like the idea that McCoy gets bad reports and is saved by being Kirk's pal. It would explain why Bones never seems to have an assignment under anyone else in the films. He simply quit the service, to be called back by Kirk in TMP. Nobody else wanted to deal with his bullshit.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Spock is making hurry a priority by his odd choices. Why strive to reach orbit immediately? That only makes Scotty work under unnecessary pressure, possibly leading to mistakes. Why drain the phasers so soon? This could be done at any point, just before the chosen time of departure. And firing at the natives would not drain the phasers, unless the cavemen arrived in the thousands - "Omega Glory" teaches us that much.

    Staying put for a week should be an option here, and a fairly safe one at that. Outside rescuers would have great odds of success; the castaways had virtually none. Doing nothing (except burials and a perhaps a friendly game of baseball) would be a perfectly valid survival tactic, if not for Spock's oddly biased approach to the crisis.

    Really, the sooner the Enterprise left, the better. She would be back all the sooner, too. It would take three days to make the scheduled rendezvous. Or just two if Kirk called ahead after the first day of sailing, caught the Yorktown at the rendezvous spot, and asked her skipper to come meet the Enterprise one-third way in because of the overriding emergency. Kirk would be back in four days, then. If the additional two days for the delivery of the medicine were not possible, it would be the aforementioned six days, within which none of our castaways would yet have to go cannibal. And there are always higher warp factors...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just don't get how staying put for a week is a "fairly safe" option when giant ape creatures keep attacking.

    Scotty's comment about "a phaser can only drain so fast" tells us that it is a very slow process, so waiting until the last minute doesn't work. Again, the creatures aren't happy with them being in the area. Without provocation, they speared Latimer. Once Spock went on the offensive, the creatures were pissed. They were smashing the shuttle with boulders. Spock scared them off, but they came back. Once the batteries burned out, there would be nothing to stop them from damaging the shuttle to the point where it couldn't lift off at all. I don't understand why you think they could hold out for six days under these circumstances. Not a chance. And then consider Kelowitz's report:

    KELOWITZ: Ensign O'Neal got a spear through the body before we even knew they were around. Lieutenant lmmamura has a dislocated shoulder and severe lacerations, but he'll make it all right. Captain, the creatures are all over the place. If the Galileo is down on that planet…

    The clear message is that the shuttle crew cannot survive for long down there. Drained phasers = no weapons. Possibly little or no food or water. Even if you could hold off the creatures with stones or clubs, why would you WANT to delay departure in this situation? Wouldn't you want to leave the planet ASAP? The sooner you leave, the better the chance of the survival of everyone left. If Spock dilly dallied and let the Enterprise fly off, how many of the crew would be left to pick up on the return trip? They already lost two in the first few hours. That would also make him a pretty crappy commander. The landing party is in jeopardy. If you were in this situation, would you be okay with waiting around a week for the Enterprise to come back and keep searching?
     
  20. Lt. Zanne

    Lt. Zanne Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Spock always said he never wanted command, never wanted to be captain, etc. I think he knew he was not really cut out for that type of position. Also too, there was at times in other episodes, an underlying understanding that Spock was discriminated against because he was half Vulcan and I thought that was partly why the Galileo crew was not respectful of him. And that the episode was exploring what it took to command~ not just superior knowledge and ability to make decisions, but an ability to read and understand people- not just human - because Spock mis read not just his crew, but the species that lived on the planet and attacked them.

    And as for Scotty, I thought he always worked well with Spock because he never judged him and always seemed very practical (until you insulted his "bairns")

    McCoy is just scrappy and doesn't care what he says to anyone - it is his one fearlessness. If you don't like what he says, tough beans. I like when he says what everyone else is thinking but won't say. Don't we all know someone like that and smile inside when they do it?