Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by KirkSpockTOSFan, Jan 31, 2010.
The classic multipurpose Vulcan lirpa. Useful as a slashing weapon, a bludgeon, a staff weapon, and a baseball bat!
Sisko is lucky the Vulcan Captain in "Take Me Out To The Holosuite" didn't insist on playing "Vulcan Rules".
Well, T'Pring doesn't want to be "the consort of a legend." I suspect what she doesn't like is all us Spock fans over him...
ETA: And this one along with Journey to Babel and Balance of Terror are my top 3 favorite TOS episodes.
Just watched this one again; hadn't seen it for thirty years. Well... it's not bad - nicely paced with good characterisation from the big three. A bit cheesy in places, yes, but that's Star Trek for you - doing what it does best.
And it's worth watching for T'pring too...
Arlene Martel was also delicious -and blonde! - as the underground agent "Tiger" in early Hogan's Heroes episodes.
Here she is with her real ears and eyebrows from a Mission: Impossible episode (I think)
I LOVE this episode and think Celia Lovsky as T'Pau was fabulous~ i also loved T'Pring and her logic in the choices she made. When Spock thinks he has killed Kirk his line, "I shall have neither. I have killed my captain and my friend" (or close to that anyway) is just great. And of course, the ending whe he discovers Kirk is alive.
I love this episode, too - and this even though I concede that Too Much makes some good points about how silly the fight scene is. That is a big flaw since it's such a centerpiece for this episode. But I love it anyway.
I adore T'Pau - I wish all Vulcans had her accent, really. And I agree with those who kinda like T'Pring. While I don't understand why a female wouldn't want Spock, the plain fact is, she didn't, and I gotta admire a gal who knows exactly what she wants and finds a way to get it despite societal expectations. Really.
This is one of my all-time favorites, probably in my top five favorite Star Trek episodes. Sturgeon was a fine writer about people as well as being a great science fiction writer, and it shines through in this episode.
And he gave Spock a line of dialogue that constitutes one of the very few really smart, observant things ever said in Trek.
The fight scene has severe limits, but it's neither as clumsy or as gratuitous as most of these near-obligatory face-offs were in television of that day. I was thinking earlier about the whole "no text can sustain a hostile reading" thing I brought up in another topic yesterday and it occurred to me that the essence of fandom is not that we excuse or ignore the many shortcomings of something like TOS but that we fully appreciate and admire how remarkable it is, given the circumstances and limits both of the production and the medium at that time, that so much of it was so bloody good.
What I liked about the episode is that it shows that the Vulcans are still subject to biology, and the only way they can cope with something so deeply embedded in their biology it by reverting to ritual. What I didn't like about it is that future Trek writers were tainted by this episode and always portrayed the Vulcans as a group of ritualistic mystics. If you pay attention to the episode, the idea is that this is the one aspect of Vulcan life that they could never tame with logic. But every time we went to Vulcan, we see a secretive cave-dwelling monastic order completely at odds with the idea of purely logical Vulcans.
It's probably my favorite TOS episode. It marks one of only two occasions, I believe, where I actually noticed the music as a good thing (next to TNG's "Where Silence Has Lease"--okay, I did notice it once in a Voyager episode, but only because I was trying to find something nice to say about "The Killing Game"). The performances are also wicked good.
On the other hand, there's a lot I don't like.
There are many, many unanswered questions.
1)The lack of any clear rules about pon farr (other than no sex = death) is really obnoxious, although possibly necessary given the standards and practices of the time as well as narratively, given Spock's own extreme reticence.
2)Why is McCoy, and everyone else, totally ignorant of this aspect of Vulcan biology? The notion that it is unheard of outside Vulcan is bizarre, given the natural human curiosity and the sheer amount of scientific scrutiny the first aliens we ever met would receive.
Bonus points because the reticence on Spock's part is completely unbecoming a professional, endangering a mission in order to get laid (at least it wasn't "plague victims on Planet X delivery need these medical supplies!" this time). What's wrong with explaining the situation to his doctor (with full doctor-patient confidentiality attaching!) and gaining medical leave through normal channels? Even if the onset of pon farr is that fast, and it wound up having the same effect, at least Spock would have done his level best to not screw up everyone else's day, and come off as much less of a jerkass.
3)What's happened to Stonn's arranged wife? Isn't she pissed? Has she been "dealt with"? Or does divorce by consent exist on Vulcan after all?
4)Are there no sex professionals on Vulcan? With libidos on that socially and physically dangerous a scale, it would be amazing that they didn't. It sure would make things a lot easier.
5)Why do the rules of koon-ut-kal-i-fee permit the challenger to force anybody into a fight to the death? "I want to have sex with T'Whomever, so I choose this random guy to be my champion! Hand the man a lirpa!" Or is Kirk just really stupid or out of his depth, and just goes along with it?
6)Why does killing Kirk free Spock from the ravages of pon farr? This is weird.
7)The aforementioned "(in)formal speech." Not really an unanswered question, but more of "I wish T'Pau would knock that off." This isn't Asgard.
8)Where are Sarek and Amanda? (Obviously, this isn't Sturgeon's fault. On the other hand, he probably could have guessed that Spock had parents, if not specifically the parents created for "Journey to Babel." What's up with that?)
As for the no-fault problems I have with the episode, one I'd like to mention is the implantation of the persistent and pernicious belief that Vulcan always has a red sky. It's TOS. Their special effects were not good and do not necessarily represent an in-universe reality!
Still, a really great episode all around.
I can see a whole new line of fan fic based around vulcan whores!
Have you every been really horny, then strangled your best friend? I'll bet it's a buzzkill.
Well, we never saw a "successful" pon farr ceremony. You never know, maybe Vulcan males are so horny, that the finale of the ceremony is that he rips his wife's clothes off and satisfies himself right there on the spot. Might be a bit awkard for the parents, especially for your human mom...
This assumes that all Vulcan's, as children, are entered into arranged marriages. Or maybe Stonn already has a wife and T'Pring is seeking to be Stonn's second wife. Polygamy.
The episode would seem to make clear the husband has to hook up with the wife, not just a T'Hooker or the ship's nurse. And I think that there's more than just sex involve with pon farr. Spock said that he has to return to Vulcan and take a wife, here is the social and evolutionarily reason behind pon farr. Not just to reproduce and perpetuate the species, but a psychological drive to take a spouse and form a family, which would increase the chances of children living and becoming adults, especially on a harsh world like Vulcan.
T'Pau's comments to Kirk seem to imply that T'Pring could have choosen any of the Vulcan's in the arena, in ancient times this would have prevented a woman from having to marry a weak husband. And I think it was pretty obvious that T'Pring intended to pick Stonn orginally, he was the only Vulcan present who wasn't part of the official wedding party, chime guys, weapons carrier, headsman. T'Pring brought him. As soon as Spock saw him, he should have know there was going to be a challenge.
Did you notice that after he hit the gong a second time and Stonn entered the arena, even as Spock approached T'Pau, Spock kept the gong's mallet in his hand? Subconscious need for some kind of weapon?
I wonder if the weapons and weapons carriers are part of the usual wedding party, if T'Pring hadn't intended to challenge the marriage would they have been absent? If T'Pring hadn't intended to challenge the marriage Stonn definitely would have been absent.
Spock doesn't enter the blood fever until after T'Pring issues the challenge, up until then he was in at least partial control of himself. The blood fever might not be a common part of pon farr if there is no challenge. After combat the need for the blood fever disappears, Spock might not have been completely freed of the effects of pon farr yet, but had obtained the level of rational thought that would have come to him if T'Pring had simply accepted the marriage.
If it was generally known that T'Pring was going to contest the marriage, Sarek may have keep Amanda and himself away. Given Vulcan strength and stamina, Spock and Stonn might have sliced and hack at each other for a extended length of time.
If the true purpose of pon farr is to create a family, then that's why Spock didn't die. A family was formed, Stonn and T'Pring. Once Spock knew this, his psychological need was satisfiyed and pon farr was over for him.
I still wonder about one thing, after T'Pring picked Kirk, Stonn said, started to say, "the woman is ... " and was cut off by T'Pau. What was he going to say? I figure either "The woman is mine." or more interesting, "The woman is pregnant !"
I just reviewed the episode and don't think T'Pring is showing, although in two shots it clear her nipples are hard. But that's for another thread.
Every time this topic comes up people make the mistake of applying human ideas to a story that is supposed to illustrate how alien is Spock and the culture that bore him.
Sure, in human cultures we typically have family and friends at marriages, but Pon Farr isn't something you necessarily celebrate, given the whole "logic stripped away" thing. It's possibly considered extremely distasteful, and only those necessary for the event attend. Think about it: T'Pau might be there because it's some obligation for her rank, not because she's a close member of the family.
After the Pon Farr thing's been resolved and the poor schmuck gets control of his emotions again, then I'm sure there's a very logical after-event where it's safe to have family and friends in attendance.
Remember, aliens do alien things.
Spock brought his friends
And or course T'Pring brought her boyfriend.
T'Pau would appear to be officiating because Spock's family is important
Great episode. Spock seeing Kirk at the end might be the best Star Trek scene ever.
agreed...and T'pring was hot!!!
That is a very good point. I hadn't thought of that before. Indeed the books (I know they are not canon) such as Spock's World show us a modern, logical, Vulcan society, and the episodes and the films mostly show us caves and torches and hooded monklike figures.
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