Joel Revisits TOS....

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Joel_Kirk, May 16, 2012.

  1. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The racism and lack of professionalism of the crew under pressure is apalling, but it was a running theme in the early season one episodes. It's worse when you consider that the really whiny ones are not youngsters but quite senior officers.

    Mears keeps a level head but as is often the case for the poor yeoman, she does almost nothing useful, being required only to record stuff. Rand was originally intended to be in that role. I know her early character draft was to have a sisterly relationship with Spock that we never really saw in any of her episodes. I wonder if she might have been a bit more supportive if she had been featured.
     
  2. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Court Martial Review

    Court Martial

    STORY:
    The Enterprise stops by Starbase 11 for repairs, due to previously encountering an ion storm. It is found out that Kirk lost a crewman – records officer Ben Finney – during said ion storm. Because of this loss, Kirk may possibly lose command due to records showing he jettisoned Finney's section before the red alert sounded prior to the ion storm.

    IDEOLOGY:
    Computers aren't infallible, and computers are just as smart as the users. It's an idea that holds true today - in the 'real world' - as many people debate the eBook versus the traditional print book, or online dating and social media taking over the traditional way of interaction. In the episode, we notice how many of Kirk's acquaintances turn against him at a drop of a hat based on the computer's information before anything was even investigated...yet Samuel Cogley puts his trust in books and keeps records the traditional pen/paper way.

    Interestingly, Spock claims he doesn't make an error, which is basically saying that he's better than a computer. However, he does use a computer to test his theories out in his own investigation to help out his captain. Technology is also used to cancel out the heartbeats on the Enterprise, so Finney's heartbeat and eventual location, could be pinpointed.

    PLOT HOLES/PLOT ISSUES:
    I couldn't find any plot holes. This was a pretty straightforward episode that fills in the story gaps to get us from A to Z.

    However, one possible plot issue would have been: What if Sam Cogley was a man who loved computers? How would they have pushed the ideology that computers will never completely take over traditional records, literature, etc.?

    I gather that Spock would still investigate on his own, but I wonder if it would have also been Spock that happens upon a book or 'something' non-computerized that helps him figure out Finney's plans?

    The episode definitely would have turned out differently. It would have been a different outcome, and would have either succeeded or failed based on the execution.

    One other plot issue is the ideology that the episode pushes. It isn't exactly sustained. It seems to be a 'quirk' given to Cogley since it's challenged, as aforementioned, later on in the episode when technology is used to save the day. Now, to a casual viewer, this might not even be a big deal...but the writer/director in me has those things lingering.

    MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS/OBSERVATIONS:
    *The black characters are portrayed pretty good in this episode. For example, Percy Rodriguez as Commodore Stone wears red with pride, and he is the commander of Starbase 11. (Interestingly, for my many observations on how black people are represented in the Star Trek universe, 'we' do okay in red – the aforementioned Commodore Stone, Uhura, that security officer from 'By Any Other Name,' Sisko - with the exception of that one TNG episode, 'Where Silence Has Lease'). Uhura mans the navigation station in this episode, showing that she is not only attractive, but is technologically saavy and a 'jill-of-all-trades.' She previously manned the navigation station in 'Balance of Terror,' and will be seen in a jumpsuit effecting repairs to a console.

    *There is also an Asian presence despite Sulu's absence. A records officer portrayed by an Asian female. While it was a small part, it wasn't the typical role Asian females have in Star Trek (i.e. primarily the love interest for a white male character). There is a bit that shows the records officer mouthing 'Sorry, Captain' when she walks by where Kirk is sitting in the court room after giving her testimony. We also see a high-ranking officer of South Asian decent during the proceedings.

    *Scotty is also absent from this. I do actually applaud not shoehorning either Sulu or Scotty into the story, which probably would have came off as obvious if it had happened.

    *Mr. Hanson makes his first appearance on the show at the helm. He would return in yet another court martial episode – it would be Spock's – 'The Menagerie.'

    *Kirk is allowed to walk freely after Finney is found out. While it is a desparate time since the planetary orbit is decaying, it's almost a 'command decision' on Kirk's part to go it alone even though his command rights haven't been given back to him. I realize that Commodore could have easily said “Take Mr. Spock with you” or “Take a security guard” which would have cut the Kirk/Finney brawl scene down. Of course, Kirk had to beat Finney in said brawl to find out how to repair the ship. And, I got the sense that it was a personal matter that had to be put to rest, since it was Finney who held a grudge against Kirk for so long.

    *Shatner's Kirk somewhat breaks stereotypes in regards to his character. While Shatner's Kirk is low-key in this episode, it is Finney who is over-the-top. However, it is interesting how Kirlk's shirt gets ripped – character stereotype – and Finney's does not. Too, there are obvious stunt doubles which comes off a bit funny.

    *Bartenders at starbases or space stations wear the same outfits. The bartender at Starbase 11 wears the same leather jacket that the bartender in 'Trouble with Tribbles' wears on Space Station K-7. Apparently, it is the outfit for civilian bartenders.

    *Jamie Kirk is an ugly person when we meet her, literally and figuratively. She wears a dress that looks to be for a far younger girl and she is shown to be a 'plain jane,' with a shrew-ish attitude. Hence, we immediately hate her. We also understand that she is named after Kirk, so we assume there was some sort of hate from her father towards her...because she – in a way – reminded Finney of what Kirk did.

    *On the other hand, Areel Shaw is a beautiful and professional woman. She is also a previous love-interest of Kirk. However, she doesn't let that stop her from carrying out her duty as prosecutor...and she lets him know that. When the trial is over, she goes right back being 'friends' and kisses him goodbye.

    *Shaw's initial attitude about Kirk's innocence is a good juxtaposition with the attitude of other Starfleet officers at Starbase 11 who know of Kirk and immediately see him as guilty. As aforementioned with the ideology, evidence hasn't shown Kirk to be neither innocent or guilty. Shaw is prosecution, so she is going to have to support evidence of Kirk's guilt, but the others are basically going off what the computers said before the trial has begun.

    *A term that is rarely used in the series shows up in this episode: 'Vulcanian.' Spock refers to himself as such while giving testimony. Since we rarely hear this word, it could be attributed to Spock – in-universe - 'slipping' when he meant to refer to himself as 'Vulcan' since he was 'on the stand'
    and wanted to answer questions as quickly and succinctly as possible. (People tend to actually do that in 'real life' when they are in interviews or speaking to large groups of people - grasp for words, and use the first word that comes to mind).

    *McCoy, who has kinda pissed me off ever since I revisited 'Galileo 7,' is his usual cantankerous self in this episode. He is still seeing things at face-value before using any type of critical thinking. As usual, he is getting all up in Spock's business when the 'Vulcan' is trying to figure things out. In this regards, it is when Spock is testing out the computer through a chess match where we get an interesting bit of dialogue:

    McCoy
    Mr. Spock, you're the most cold-blooded man I've ever known.

    Spock
    Why thank you, Doctor.​

    *Lastly, the remastered version adds a nifty little addition in the early part of the episode. We see the area of the Enterprise that was jettisoned as the ship glides past the screen – our screen! - and into orbit around the planet where Starbase 11 is located.

    SCORE:
    3.6 out of 5. Stunt doubles, and Finney's over-the-top portrayal adds a certain amount of camp to the episode that lingers and dates the episode. Also, the ideology of computers never really replacing either the traditional forms of record-keeping or interaction isn't sustained throughout the episode.

    Although, the episode does get us from A to Z and hits all plot points. It's a straightforward episode and enjoyable for what it is, but not a 'must see' or stand out episode.

    Next Up
    Spock has his turn to go on court martial in the two-part episode, 'The Menagerie.'​
     
  3. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It refers to both, actually.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ;):techman:
     
  5. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Menagerie, Part I

    Story:
    Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to Starbase 11 with a claim they received a subspace message telling them to divert to said starbase; he message specifically from former Enterprise commander, Christopher Pike. However, both the commander of Starbase 11 and his assistant -Commodore Mendez and Miss Piper, respectively - claim no message was sent. Especially since Captain Pike is now severely crippled, a paraplegic, due to a prior accident and has to communicate through mechanized ‘beeps’ rather than verbal speech.

    Ideology:
    “Loyalty to one’s friend is stronger than any ‘duty.’”

    Spock decides to to help his former captain get his life back, and feels he needs to kidnap his former captain to achieve this. While there seems to be a friendship between Kirk and Spock, Spock doesn’t feel the need to let anyone outside himself and the Talosians (and eventually Pike)know about his plans.

    Spock has shown this compassion - albeit stubborn compassion, at times - later on in the franchise. For example, in The Motion Picture when he ‘feels’ the sadness for V’Ger and cries or in The Wrath of Khan when he sacrifices himself for the crew.

    In The Undiscovered Country Spock takes it upon himself to enlist the Enterprise crew to be the pioneers in peace with the Klingon Empire (again, not touching bases with Kirk)....and later on in Star Trek: The Next Generation when he goes undercover on the Romulan homeworld to slowly but surely bring together the Romulans and Vulcans. And lastly, in the 2009 Star Trek, Spock tries to help prevent the destruction of Romulus - he is unsuccessful - and eventually helps rebuild Romulus on another planet.

    Kirk, on the other hand, shows loyalty to Spock in Star Trek III when he puts his career at risk to go yet another quarantined planet, Genesis. As we know his friendship grows later on in this series since we’ve seen him snap at McCoy when he thought the doctor put the Vulcan at risk (e.g. ‘Operation: Annihilate!’) and when Spock states that Kirk is his friend during the ku-nut-kal-i-fee in ‘Amok Time.’ Even when Kirk takes over command of the Enterprise[i/i] in Star Trek: The Motion Picture - by pulling rank on the current commander, Decker - Kirk wants another Vulcan at the science station since Spock, at that time, is no longer with Starfleet.

    Plot Holes/Plot Issues:
    *It’s not clear how Pike and Vina getting together will help the Talosian race thrive. Too, was Vina's mate chosen at random? Vina seems very eager to please Pike for just having met him.

    *Vina is trying to get Pike to pick a dream to live out with her. At one point, she describes the dream of them together as 'real like Adam & Eve,' and even Mendez says that Pike was 'breeding stock.'

    Now, breeding stock for what? A new Talos IV? How does Vina and Pike (or Vina and any other man) getting together fit in with the other species the Talosians have in glass cages?

    Why is Pike special? Why not any of the other men on the Enterprise?

    *Granted we wouldn’t have a story if this didn’t happen, but why the ‘cloak & dagger’ with Spock trying to get Pike - at first against his wishes - back to Talos IV? Why couldn’t he just ‘ask?’

    (Note: If we coming at this episode for the first time, we would expect these questions to be answered in Part 2. So, let’s see if they are in the next review).

    Miscellaneous Thoughts:
    Miss Piper seems to have a prominent status at Starbase 11. She is never referred to as 'Yeoman' - which tells us she isn’t one, especially since we never do stereotypical duties like getting coffee or waiting on the primarily male officers- and her demeanor, the way she is familiar with Kirk, further hints that she may be at least a Lt. Commander or even a full Commander. She obviously is an assistant, in some regards, to Commodore Mendez - maybe a first officer/second-in-command?

    There are a few returning supporting characters in this episode. In addition to Scotty returning, we Mr. Hanson returning as helmsman. He returns from the previous episode, ‘Court Martial,’ and it is interesting how both the episodes he is present in involve Kirk or Spock in court martials.

    Lt. Leslie, or his twin in yellow, also returns. He is seen in the corridors as he listens to Spock's announcement about the course change. (Yes, out-universe explanation is stock footage. However, the in-universe explanation is a possible relative or clone, or a change in departments or an ability to work in multiple departments! Which makes it less jarring to figure out what the editors were doing….lol).

    Something else that would return, on the big screen, is the quarantined planet - in this case, it would be the Genesis planet of Star Trek II and III - off-limits due to political reasons. A matter that also involves Spock. Here, in ‘The Menagerie,’ While a visit to the Genesis planet hints heavy prosecution by Starfleet if any ship were to go near that area, a visit to Talos IV carries a death penalty if anyone visits it if one is found guilty in a court martial. The difference in these two circumstances, as aforementioned, is Kirk (in ‘The Menagerie’) stands by his rules and belief in Starfleet as he is one of the individuals to judge Spock alleged violation of protocols. Especially since their ‘friendship’ is arguably in the early stages at this time in the franchise. However, in Star Trek III, he breaks rules and risks his career to save Spock.

    There are also some differences in the way Kirk and Spock are in ‘control’ of the explanations of their actions. Unlike Kirk in the previous ‘Court Martial,’ Spock is given a bit more free reign to explain the trip to Talos IV; a sort of clip show of ‘The Cage,’ to give an idea what happened 13 years ago. Interestingly, some fans have pointed out that Star Trek IV’s scenes with the Klingon Ambassador - showing the Enterprise from the previous movie blowing up - has many impossible angles from the exterior of the vessel given what was occurring during those action scenes. (Who was filming those scenes? Was there an exterior camera that is released to catch the action before the ship blew?) Well, those angles and scenes shown in ‘The Menagerie’ could be explained away as the Talosians utilizing the memories from Spock as well as Captain Pike to recreate scenes from ‘The Cage.’

    It’s just too bad Kirk didn’t have the Talosians to help him in his case during ‘Court Martial!’

    While going back on this episode I also noticed that there was a significant number of people on board Kirk’s ship than Pike’s. It is brought out that there were 203 lives on Pike's ship - not clear if this was before or after losing the 7 lives on a mission prior to the Talos IV incident while on Kirk’s ship, there are more than 400 people. (To paraphrase one of the characters from the Deep Space Nine episode ‘Trials and Tribble-ations,’ “They really packed them in on the older ships.”

    There is also some familiar faces I’ve seen elsewhere: Talosian leader, portrayed by Meg Wylie (sp?) was seen in the Hitchcock film Marnie as well as on Night Court, which also featured John Larroquette (Maltz, from Star Trek III) and Brent Spiner in an early role…as well as an extra in the background - one of the officers, a white guy - who I saw on a few Next Generation episodes in the background as a Starfleet officer.

    Jon Lormer, who portrays one of the S.S. Columbia crew - or the illusion of one of the ship’s crew - has been seen in other Trek episodes as well as Twilight Zone. And, John Hoyt, for me, was best known as ‘Grandpa’ on the 80s sitcom Gimme a Break! with Nell Carter.

    And, on a separate note of the Pike Enterprise crew, speaking and non-speaking: ‘The Cage’ crew is primarily made up white males, albeit one Asian male and one female in charge portrayed by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. The other female, a yeoman named Colt, has the main job to just stand back and look cute. While the racial and gender aspects have been tweaked since ‘The Cage,’ those aspects - how women and non-whites are depicted in Star Trek overall - are still being talked about and debated today.

    Pike’s relationship with the Talosians is interesting. He initially tries to appeal to the Talosian by saying, "Our intentions are peaceful" but always has to show his physical prowess since ‘hate’ is the only way to keep them - temporarily - out of his head.

    Pike sees that the Talosians are going out of their way to make her attractive to him. And, I had hilarious Idea - well, at least it was hilarious to me - of making both Pike and Vina happy. For example: Pike is made to have a huge phallus, firm abs and buttocks, and Vina is made with large breasts, firm buttocks, smooth skin, etc.

    And lastly, the final sequence as the episode closes is pretty cool: The incidental music turns to a dark, military march - denoting that despite the evidence given in the case, things don’t look good for Spock - as we pan with the yeoman as she shuts off her monitor and cooly exits the briefing room. McCoy and Scotty wheel Pike away, and Spock tells Kirk to see the case through as security officers escort the (maybe) former first officer away. The dark music theme changes to a lighter sound, the Star Trek fanfare, as Kirk stands alone.

    Score:
    No overacting in this particular episode - possibly because this episode is pretty much centered around Spock and not Kirk - but there are plot issues that aren't entirely clear. Plot issues that would hopefully be answered in the next episode. Too, this still comes off as a routine episode of Star Trek. We know Spock is going to get out of this predicament since he is a main character.

    With that said, this is an episode one might watch out of interest to get familiar with characters, but there are better episodes out there from TOS; episodes strongly written.
    However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe part 2 will explain my questions and build on what the first part has established.

    Score: 3.6 out of 5

    ***

    Joel’s Note
    A little recollection for those who are American or lived in America, particularly Southern California:
    I remember the television station KTLA, Channel 5, showing ‘The Menagerie’ as a special in the early 80s. I wouldn’t see ‘The Cage’ until around 1986 or 1987 on videotape - around the time Star Trek: The Next Generation was being talked about and around the time I would watch, for the first time, Star Trek IV on videotape.

    Also in the early 80s, I recall having a blue Star Trek tunic, short-sleeved like McCoy’s. And, I owned the Mego action figures - particularly Spock and Scotty. I may have had Kirk, also, but I do remember having Spock and Scotty for the longest time. (I think they are in a box somewhere in storage with Star Wars action figures I got in the late 90s during the re-releases). It wasn’t because they - Spock and Scotty - were my favorite characters, since I really didn’t have any faves from that particular series. I just liked the environment, the costumes, the adventure.

    Ahhh...when Mr. Joel was innocent.

    (Technically, I’m still ‘innocent’....just a lot more world saavy!)

    Next up:
    ‘The Menagerie, Part 2’
     
  6. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Menagerie, Part 2

    Story:
    The continuation of Spock’s trial from the previous episode.

    Ideology:
    See previous review.

    Plot Holes/Plot Issues:
    See previous review. One of my main questions was, “Will part 2 answer plot questions?”

    They don’t.

    Miscellaneous Thoughts:
    In the previous episode, we saw Lt. Leslie, or his twin, in yellow during one of those scenes where duty officers pause to listen to an update from the bridge. Here in part 2, Lt. Leslie - or his twin - is seen in red on the bridge. Too, stock footage shows the back of what could be the back Leslie’s head at Navigation - still in red - and another helmsman, until it changes back to updated footage with Hanson back at helm...and possibly another crewmember at navigation. (Now that I think about it, I watched the ‘remastered’ episode...and I wonder why they didn’t fix those little bits).

    There is some dialogue I’ve found hilarious. Pike has so much disdain for the Talosians built up after being caged, so his attitude towards them is always defensive. Granted, he was told that the Talosians can’t read through ‘hate,’ but by the end of the ordeal he’s just pretty much angry with them. As the Talosians basically let him, Pike, and Vina on the surface of the planet to ‘propagate’ for whatever reason, the exchange between the leader and Pike goes:

    Talosian Leader: You will now begin carefully guided lives.

    Pike: To start by burying you?

    Talosian (with a benign smile and nod): If that is your choice.

    (I’m picturing a daily routine of Pike punching out a Talosian before breakfast).

    As I possibly mentioned in my review of part 1, Pike talked ‘peace’ but turns out to be anything but. (Hmmm, sounds like another ship captain I know…..First name: Jonathan….Last Name: Archer).

    Another memorable scene in this part is the Vina-as-the-Orion-Slave-Girl dance. I would have ‘tipped my hat’ at the ENT producers - the producers of the television show, not the ship - if they used the incidental music heard here in ‘Bound.’ (I do wonder, however, what happened between Orion Vina and Pike after we see him literally trapped between a rock and a lustful place - i.e. Vina, who is seen licking a lip, well, lustfully).

    Like what we heard in the previous part, the music at the end of the episode is pretty good. (Remember, The Classic Series - TOS - is known for its incidental music). As Kirk looks at Pike and Vina being reunited via illusions, he smiles as the ‘cosmic’ music theme plays and the credits begin.

    Score:
    While it was well-meaning, the writing for this two-parter was lacking.

    3.5 out of 5

    (Note: I may have to go back to see what I rated ‘The Cage’!)

    Next Up
    Shore Leave​
     
  7. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    There is a changed premise here, between Vina-as-Orion-Slave-Girl and all Orion women seen since. When Vina confronts Pike after the wall seals up, she towers over him, perhaps 6'6", or even 7 feet tall. All Orion women seen since have matched the human female proportions.
     
  8. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hmmm, that's interesting. I always thought that she was the same height as her 'normal' self....but I guess one can make that connection since Orion Vina isn't in the same shot as Pike, save for the over-the-shoulder shot where she emerges and looks as if she could be Amazonian.

    Given the height of some Orion men, I would think there would be tall Orion females as well.;)
     
  9. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've never had the impression that Vina in her Orion guise "towers over" Pike. She looks taller in that shot because she's in the foreground. It's called "perspective."

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    To be fair, from the script dated November 20, 1964:

     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh. Well, then . . .

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    To be honest, until I checked the script last night, I had never even noticed. I don't think Robert Butler's direction makes it very clear, except in the shot pictured above, which is only on the screen for a few seconds.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't know this either. It's a great find, actually. Thanks to FormerLurker and all involved for pointing it out.

    I also agree that the intent here is unclear in the finished product. I always realized Vina-as-the-Orion was looking down on Pike, but the problem for me was always that he'd just been hunching over a second or two before, about to go through the low hanging door into the next chamber. The whole thing was always a head-scratcher to me: were his knees bent from also squatting to go through the door? A different angle showing more would of course have cleared the whole thing up, though I suppose could easily have cost more.
     
  14. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I thought that was pretty well resolved with Pike's dialogue in the picnic sequence.
    Stockholm Syndrome?


    For that matter, why did they wait so long to scan the Enterprise's library computer banks (from which they gleaned that humans have "a unique hatred of captivity, even when it's pleasant and benevolent")? Because then there would have been no story.

     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Court Martial Review

    What guards? The ship had been evacuated except for the people on the bridge and the one tech in the transporter room.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  16. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Court Martial Review

    Scotpens -

    Good catch with those!

    However, even though some of the dialogue does answer some questions, there are others left open. If we were to look at the episode solely on its own, putting ourselves back during the time when the Trek universe was still being built, we still have to ask: Is the Enterprise the only ship 'out there' exploring? Has there been other ships, from Earth or alien planets, previously called to Talos IV with potential companions for Vina? If so, are they in cages as well, or were they destroyed? (It was hinted by Number One that Vina was older than she looks, so I'm assuming that the Talosians were scouting the universe before Enterprise. If not, what were they - the Talosians - doing all that time)?

    Lastly, as I asked in my review: How would Vina getting her companion help the Talosians survive?

    (Note: I'm working on a story right now which a friend of mine in Singapore is peer reading, and I'm asking the same questions as I work on my rewrite: Why would a character do that if they're going to be doing this? Or, if they said that previously, shouldn't they be doing this?)

    Exactly! Which brings me back to my question of why Kirk was allowed a such freedom if he was under 'Court Martial.'
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Because it was an emergency, they'd basically proven Kirk's innocence, and no one wanted to burn up in the atmosphere.
     
  18. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, maybe....maybe. ;) I can probably agree with the burning up in the atmosphere bit, but again he was a man accused of dereliction of duty and murder, and the gavel wasn't struck yet.
     
  19. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    I always took it that the Talosians meant to survive by attribution, that is, by using Pike and Vina as 'Adam and Eve' to repopulate the planet, with the Talosians teaching them and their descendants how to be what the Talosians had been before their world-devastating war. Pike wasn't willing to accept that level of control over his life and destiny, and the investigation of Federation records by the Talosians convinced them that no human would, given the circumstances.
     
  20. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Intriguing idea...:vulcan: