Has anyone else noticed the major plot flaw in TWOK?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Bry_Sinclair, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In TWOK when the Reliant is searching for a suitable site for Genesis, wouldn't their computer records show that the Ceti Alpha System was missing a planet when they first arrived (what kind of survey ship would skimp on sensors?), as well as it being the system that Kirk exiled Khan to (something Chekov should have known, since he was apparently onboard at the time)?
     
  2. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yes, this has been brought up many times before. Plot flaws in TWOK are mostly ignored because people like it, whereas "Generation's" plot flaws are harped on because people dislike it.
     
  3. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Those damn hypocrites. How dare they like one and not the other when they both contain flaws.
     
  4. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    ^Not necessarily. Khan himself said that Kirk didn't bother checking up on the colony once the Enterprise left. It's possible that the sector was largely ignored by Starfleet until they needed it as a possible Genesis test site.

    --Sran
     
  5. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    well, it actually IS hypocritical if the MAIN REASON for disliking it IS THE PLOT FLAWS!

    It's not hypocritical if you dislike it for other things.
     
  6. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    :rommie:

    --Sran
     
  7. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. Wrath of Khan is packed with issues like that.

    How did they ever think they were at Ceti Alpha VI if the fifth planet blew up leaving the system without six worlds??
     
  8. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    What? That's a gross oversimplification! It's entirely plausible to like a film in spite of its plot holes if the overall quality of the film is good enough. It's not hypocrisy: it's common sense.

    --Sran
     
  9. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Because the fifth planet didn't blow up. That would have killed Khan and his followers. The sixth planet blew up and shifted the orbit of the fifth, laying everything on it to waste. Kirk and the rest of Starfleet had no idea what happened because no one bothered to check up on the colony until Reliant visited the system.

    --Sran
     
  10. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    If people are enjoying a film they tend to overlook plot holes to a certain degree. If they aren't enjoying a film plot holes seem to shout out at them.
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, I got a little mixed up. But the point was - how did Reliant ever set course for Ceti Alpha VI when the system now only has five planets?
     
  12. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    It's a good question. Think of it the following way: when you drive to your house, do you recognize it as your house or as the fourth house on the left? The explosion that destroyed Ceti Alpha VI laid the fifth planet to waste and changed its orbit, making it look like the sixth planet in the process. Add to that the fact that the planets aren't arranged in a straight line (each has a unique orbit), and it's not hard to see why Reliant didn't realize they'd stopped at the fifth planet instead of the sixth.

    --Sran
     
  13. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    ^To add to what I said above, we also have to consider the route Reliant took into the system. If we assume the fifth and sixth planets are farther from the system's sun than the first and second (like our solar system), Reliant wouldn't necessarily pass by every other planet before reaching its destination.

    --Sran
     
  14. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If CA5 was at or near where CA6 should have been, why look any further?
     
  15. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Right, especially if Reliant took the most direct route to where they thought the sixth planet would be. Assuming they reached it without incident, there wouldn't have been a reason to look at the other planets in the system.

    --Sran
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's ridiculous. There are no horizons in space, no obstacles. You can see everything. I mean, look at us -- we're currently discovering tons of planets in other star systems dozens or even hundreds of light-years away, and continuing to discover new dwarf planets and minor objects way out on the fringes of our own system. Not only would it have been easy for the Reliant's sensors to detect every planet in the system, not to mention any debris left by an exploding one, but they should've detected the actual explosion itself as soon as they came within about 15 light-years of the system, because that's when they would've intersected the light given off by the event 15 years earlier (or 18 years, if you go by the Okuda chronology, in which case they would've detected it even further away).

    Not to mention that there's no way the explosion of a planet would've caused the next planet inward to somehow get pulled outward in its orbit and exactly duplicate the orbital parameters of the exploded planet -- not only orbital radius, but eccentricity, inclination, and argument of perihelion, or at least close enough that it would be exactly where Starfleet records said it would be a full 15 (or 18) years later. We're not talking about billiard balls on a table. More like billiard balls spread out over the Mojave Desert, and in constant motion. It's hard to find them unless you know where to expect them to be at a given time -- and the odds of one happening to end up in the same place as another are minuscule.


    Of course, this is far from the only plot or conceptual flaw in TWOK. The movie is full to the brim with flaws. How come Khan's followers, who were multiethnic adults when they were stranded 15 (or 18) years earlier, are now a bunch of blond Nazi-recruiting-poster types in their 20s? How can a tiny torpedo terraform an entire planet? How can a torpedo programmed to restructure the surface of an existing planet spontaneously adapt its programming to create a planet (and implicitly even a star) out of nebular gas? How can the supposedly ingenious Khan fail to see through Spock's screamingly obvious "hours could seem like days" code? Why did the Ceti eel just leave Chekov instead of killing him, which according to Khan was the inevitable result? Why does Scotty bring his bloody, dying cadet/nephew (depending on the cut) to the bridge instead of sickbay? And how in the seven hells of Mongo can Kirk say he's "never faced death" after losing Gary Mitchell, Edith Keeler, Sam and Aurelan, Miramanee, and his unborn child??????
     
  17. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    CA5 and/or CA6 could have very elliptical orbits and the planets apogee from it's star could be at roughly the same distance.

    Though we don't know how detailed the star chats are off that system.

    I could just as easily say one theory is that it that it the star Ceti Alpha captured a rouge planet. Or that CA6 had a moon, and when CA6 exploded the moon was thrown into an orbit around the star.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But planets aren't stationary. As I said, it's not just about the distance from the star, it's about all the parameters of the orbit. Even if, by some astonishing coincidence, Ceti Alpha V happened to be at the same point in space where Ceti Alpha VI was supposed to be by then, it would still have been moving along at least a somewhat different trajectory, and the ship would've had to match that trajectory in order to go into orbit, so they would've measured it and known that it wasn't the same.

    Not to mention that they could count. They could see the whole system -- from quite a distance away, given what's been shown about the power of long-range sensors in the Trek universe -- and know that it was missing one planet. Again, they should've been able to directly detect the explosion itself. Even if they somehow missed it, even if we're assuming that the visible light from the event wasn't detectable to them at warp, they certainly should've noticed the increased debris in the system -- that's something a starship would routinely scan for due to the potential navigational hazard.

    And none of this addresses the question of why Starfleet didn't have a record of Khan's presence in this system. I have a hard time believing Kirk would've been so criminally irresponsible as to leave Starfleet unaware of the fact that there was a potentially dangerous population of superhuman criminals living in the system and that they should probably be left alone. Even if you posit some monumental bureaucratic snafu that kept the information from getting into Reliant's databanks, the film itself posits that Chekov was aboard during the Botany Bay incident -- so why doesn't he remember that this is the system where they dropped off Khan's people? For that matter, why doesn't Kyle? He was in "Space Seed." He was probably the guy who beamed them down to Ceti Alpha V. And he was on the Reliant crew. The plot only works if two people who were present for the first Khan incident completely forgot what planet Khan had been left on.
     
  19. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    No obstacles that we know of. Our working knowledge of space is extremely limited. It's impossible to know what a ship might detect while on approach to another system. Now, one would assume that another solar system in our galaxy would have physical properties comparable with our own, but we don't know for sure.

    The Ceti Alpha star system is, by and large, a blank canvas. What we know is that there were at one time at least six planets in the system, but that's about it. There's no mention of nebulae, asteroid fields, or other phenomena that might interfere with starship sensors. But absence of proof is not proof of absence.

    Theoretical knowledge and practical experience aren't one and the same. Khan's intelligence may have been superior to that of any other human, but he still didn't have Kirk or Spock's experience. What's more, even genetically enhanced supermen aren't perfect. Khan would certainly have been capable of making a mistake, as he did when he failed to anticipate Kirk using the prefix code to lower Reliant's shields.

    People do strange things when they're in shock. Scotty may not have realized what he was doing until he actually stepped onto the bridge with Peter, so traumatized by his nephew's injuries was he.

    I don't have a good answer to this one. The only thing I can say is that none of the other situations involved a deliberate self-sacrifice in order to save Kirk. Without knowing precisely what Kirk was thinking after Spock died, it's possible that his comment stemmed from Spock having sacrificed himself to save Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew. That didn't happen in the other scenarios.

    Gary Mitchell was killed by Kirk on Delta Vega. Sam and Aurelan died due to the neural parasites in "Operation Annihilate!" Edith was hit by a truck. Miramanee died of internal bleeding after being stoned.

    In each case, a person died for a reason having to do with Kirk, but none of them chose to sacrifice their lives to save Kirk. As captain (either in title or role after TMP), Kirk had always assumed the responsibility for his crew himself and was willing to die to save the Enterprise. But Spock took on that role in place of Kirk in TWOK, and the knowledge of this combined with the then-reality that he'd lost his best friend forever undoubtedly drove home a new meaning of "facing death" to Kirk. Perhaps that's what he meant.

    --Sran
     
  20. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In other words, just like Khan later in the movie, the Reliant crew only use two-dimensional thinking. ;)