Why doesn't T'Pau tell Kirk the fight is to the death?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Corylea, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In "Amok Time," it always seemed strange to me that T'Pau didn't mention that the fight was to the death when she was explaining things to Kirk, and that made me wonder if she was intentionally concealing that fact from Kirk. And if she was, I wondered why she would do that. The reasons I can think of:

    1. T'Pau doesn't have anything special against Kirk, but she doesn't have anything FOR him, either, and if he dies, that means that no Vulcans die that day, which would probably seem like the best outcome to someone whose job is to manage and look after Vulcans.
    2. T'Pau is punishing Spock for bringing "outworlders" to the ceremony -- and possibly for having human friends to begin with -- by killing his friend.
    3. T'Pau is punishing Kirk for not being adequately respectful about the whole thing.
    4. T'Pau is prejudiced against humans. (Listen to the scorn and loathing in her voice when she pronounces the word "human" when she asks Spock if he's Vulcan or human.)

    I think #1 is the most probable, but they all seem at least somewhat plausible. And I guess it doesn't have to be either-or; she could tell herself it's #1 while any -- or all -- of the others operates in the background...

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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  3. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  4. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It was really an elaborate plan by Janice Lester to eliminate Kirk. When it was foiled by McCoy, she had to resort to plan B.
     
  5. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    If T'Pau had mentioned that critical info in passing, you'd never have gotten the dramatic third act finish. That's the reason. So T'Pau's ''lawfully accepted'' line regarding the challenge is an utter crock. Still a highly effective episode....
     
  6. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    :lol: Yes, of course that's the REAL reason. I was thinking there might be an in-character reason, as well. But the real reason could be the only one. ;)
     
  7. Valin

    Valin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ the in-character reason was number 4. Vulcans tended to be bigots when it came to non-Vulcans.
     
  8. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Another in-character reason is that T'Pau thought it was blazingly obvious that when you fight the groom at a wedding to take possession of his bride, you'd better kill him. It would have struck her as silly, as having to spell c-a-t, to mention that the fight is to the death. "This is for all the marbles. Aren't weddings done like this on every planet?" :vulcan:
     
  9. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ In other words, the Vulcan's take the term "best man" very literally. In the Earthly animal kingdom, there are often fights for mates, and oftentimes to the death. I think Zap has nailed it. "Does this really need to be explained?"
     
  10. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    But T'Pau isn't some uneducated hick from a backwards planet. Not only is she from a well-educated and well-traveled culture, but she's known enough in Federation circles that she was offered a seat on the Council. She has to know that different cultures do things differently, plus we see her explain several OTHER things to Kirk and McCoy.
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I'd say it's a combination of # 1, 2 and 4 (I don't think Kirk was that disrespectful to merit a possible death sentence). What's noteworthy is that Spock, although in heavy trance, urges T'Pau to explain the consequences of the ritual to Kirk and McCoy and still she doesn't.

    Of course, the whole ritual is essentially so embarrassing to "logical" Vulcans, that they just don't want to talk about it but just go with the program.

    The fact that T'Pau had rejected a council seat tells me that she feels extremely uncomfortable among non-Vulcans.

    Bob
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The circustance around T'Pau's turning down of the seat on the federation council has always been a curiosity.

    Who exactly was offering it to her in the first place?

    One possibility I've considered is that the federation council is separate from the (hypothetical) federation membership's general assembly, it's a smaller body somewhat like the UN security council. T'Pau was already the Vulcan representative to the general assembly and was offer a open seat on the smaller council. As a founding member of the federation, the Vulcan representative being offered a seat on the council might have been a given.

    She turned it down (for whatever reason), remaining in the general assembly.

    I've alway had a bit of a problem with the idea that she was first selected by Vulcan for a seat on the council, and then turned it down. Some fans have favored this, but would not she have refused when she was first considered?


    :)
     
  13. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Because that's just how gangsta she is. She just assumed he knew that's how the Vulcans roll.

    Or, it was part of a Vulcan Supremacy plot to get Spock in command of the Enterprise. :)

    I'm going with that one.
     
  14. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Plus one or both of the combatants is going through uber Vulcan rage at the time so it seems a given that they aren't to likely to play nice.
     
  15. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I've always loved that part! Spock is supposed to be so out of it that he can't even talk -- as witness T'Pau's surprised "Thee speaks?" -- but he manages to break through the Plak Tow to ask T'Pau to forbid Kirk to participate. Diverting the ship to Vulcan in defiance of orders shows how important Spock is to Kirk; breaking through the plak tow to plead that he NOT be asked to fight Kirk shows how important Kirk is to Spock. It's a lovely moment.

    And we owe that moment to Mr. Nimoy. According to his first autobiography, the original script for "Amok Time" didn't have Spock speaking while in plak tow, and Nimoy sent a memo to Roddenberry urging that Spock should feel torn by the idea of having to fight Kirk.

    (If you read both of Mr. Nimoy's autobiographies, it turns out that a lot of our favorite Spock moments were Mr. Nimoy's doing; we owe a lot to his advocating for his character's consistency, alienness, intelligence, and inner life.)
     
  16. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    After the Reformation, some progressive Vulcans proposed changes to the koon-ut-kal-if-fee ritual. Instead of dying in combat, the loser would have had to endure the humiliation of jumping out of the cake at the groom's bachelor party. Conservative Vulcan hardliners however, prevailed. :shifty:
     
  17. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    T'Pau could have simply assumed that Spock would have mentioned this detail to Kirk and McCoy (considering that they're supposed to be his best friends).
     
  18. Corylea

    Corylea Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That would be a reasonable assumption in the absence of any other evidence. But when T'Pring challenges, McCoy says, "Ma'am, I don't understand. Are you trying to say that she rejected him? That she doesn't want him?" So it should be clear to T'Pau from McCoy's question that Kirk and McCoy have never even HEARD OF the challenge, much less know anything about what the subsequent fight will be like.

    Given that challenging turns the woman into PROPERTY, I can well imagine that challenging doesn't happen too often. :wtf:
     
  19. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    T'Pau could have looked at the issue this way: Spock chose Kirk and McCoy to accompany him; therefore, it was Spock's responsibility to make sure they knew what the ceremony was about. From Kirk and McCoy's pov, since Spock never mentioned the Challenge, it should be reasonable to assume that he hadn't expected it to happen, and therefore didn't bother to mention it.

    No matter which way you look at it, T'Pau obviously thought it wasn't her fault that Spock hadn't told his friends that a fight to the death was a possibility.
     
  20. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All these answers, and not one about this being how T'Pau gets her giggles. :D