Exactly WHEN in 1930 does "City on the Edge of Forever" take place?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by JonnyQuest037, Sep 4, 2017.

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What month in 1930 does COTEOF take place?

  1. January

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  2. February

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  3. March

    3 vote(s)
    33.3%
  4. April

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. May

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  6. June

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. July

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. August

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. September

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. October

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. November

    1 vote(s)
    11.1%
  12. December

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Tallguy

    Tallguy Commodore Commodore

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    Oh dear.
     
  2. mb22

    mb22 Commander Red Shirt

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    Or the Best of Trek hypothesis that the bum's death ultimately led to his embittered criminal son murdering police officer Gene Roddenberry years later...
     
  3. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Out-stand-ing thread.

    I loved jimcat's analysis of where Alnitak would be, and awarded myself points and a hearty self-administered backclap for (oh, just trust me) not only thinking of that immediately (I just watched the episode two weekends ago - fantastic as always) but knowing Alnitak's name and that it would be pretty visible in the NYC sky in the spring. I'm a bit of an amateur stargazer, Rigel is my favorite star (because of growing up with TOS and all its mentions, more than any other star I believe, then discovering as a kid how beautiful Rigel is), and so I can pass a pop quiz on her movements. Alnitak, the leftmost (eastmost) star in the belt, isn't that far from Rigel, generally considered the hunter's left (west) foot, hence her name which comes from the word "foot" in Arabic. And jimcat's awesome research is right on the money.

    The Alnitak mention plus how everyone is generally dressed inside and outside leads me to vote March. The mission calendar clearly has more than 28 days (1930 wasn't a leap year) so February, otherwise a good guess, is out. But then the mission calendar can't be March 1930 in our world as many posters astutely pointed out; the dates don't match and March 14 isn't a holiday that would be on a U.S. calendar. So I think February, which would still fit with Alnitak's visibility and the NYC climate, would be an equally good guess as March. I for one am all in favor of TOS remasters that fix production mistakes *as long as* the fixes are well-done (a minefield, I know) and the originals are still available and preferably presented on the same medium as the remasters, so maybe a future remaster might fix this. Or we can just all love the fact that there's a bit of an incongruous Easter egg in what is not my favorite, but is probably the best overall or darn close, episode of TOS.
     
  4. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Commodore Commodore

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    That would be tragic.

    So how long did they have to wait for McCoy? Can we tell what day they arrived and when they left? There's a descriptive passage in the fotonovel that suggests Kirk and Spock were there long enough to do a bunch of odd jobs for money to live on. Kirk mentions having spent the "other nine tenths of our combined salaries for the last three days on filling this order for you" . Does that mean they were there for 3 days, or was this the latest in a series of shopping trips for Kirk?

    It's possible that when Kirk says she's supposed to meet "6 years from now" (Feb. 23, 1936), he means 6 years to the day (Feb. 23, 1930)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  5. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    my WHOLE life I thought that was ringo

    chagrined:crazy:

    However, there is this:
     
  6. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it's a month at least, maybe two. If we assume Kirk and Edith had intimate relations, they needed enough time for their relationship to grow to that level.
     
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  7. Tallguy

    Tallguy Commodore Commodore

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    Whoa. Me too.
     
  8. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer I am the modman, goo goo goo joob Moderator

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    It does sound like him.
     
  9. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the timeline where the bum lived, it was. ;)
    Interesting! I'm going to have to investigate that further and possibly add it into my ST timeline as Khan backstory. :techman:
    In my mind they're there at least a week, maybe two. I get the feeling that Kirk earned at least a paycheck or two at the Mission. I don't think I'd say they were there for more than a month, though.

    Funnily, I never really imagined that Kirk and Edith had sex, though. I guess COTEOF is such a classic tragedy that I automatically picture their relationship as a classically pure & chaste one. But I suppose it's possible. They were living in the same building, and they certainly got playful & flirty with each other ("Are you following me, sir?"/"With ulterior motives.").
     
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  10. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Captain Captain

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    Threads like this are why I truly love coming to these boards.
     
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  11. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've been enjoying it, too! I was thinking that this would just be a pedantic continuity question, but it's gone in all sorts of interesting directions!
     
  12. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The debate about how long they were there is great. I've always figured it to be about two weeks but don't really have anything to back it up. A month doesn't sound out of bounds either. That also reminds me of perhaps my favorite aspect of "City," which is that it's only 48 or 50 or whatever minutes long, but it has so much plot and does so much with it that it feels like a two-hour movie. And not because it drags one bit. It's just an incredibly efficient script. By the end it's hard to believe the ep started on the Enterprise.
     
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  13. Kirk Prime

    Kirk Prime Commander Red Shirt

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    I would say this--you can't assume he would have died anyway, but clearly, history was unchanged by his death. In the absence of anything in the story to the contrary, we have to assume that. That leaves one of two options--one that man had no impact on the world, which is pretty hard no matter who you are, and they got very lucky. The other option is that McCoy clearly affected two lives, not one, when he traveled back in time. He caused the homeless man to die and he caused Edith to live. Spock and Kirk only focused on one event, not multiple, because they didn't know and didn't think about it. They kind of had one shot, and thanks to the tricorder, it became clear that Edith had to die. That was such a big event that Spock hadn't even considered there could have been more than one person impacted by McCoy.

    Given that everyone who interacts with people will affect the world in a big way, the other option would have to be that by causing that homeless guy's death, McCoy actually helped set forth the events that led to the 23rd century as he knew it. Had he NOT traveled in time at all, that man could have impacted history in another way that would have had a massive effect on things.

    You can even take it one step further. Spock was working with "stone knives and bear skins."

    He didn't have the time nor the ability to fully analyze his tricorder.

    How do we know that when Edith lived, Spock wasn't looking at a world that never had McCoy travel to it?

    Think about it--there were two headlines--one that led to each timeline.

    But nothing said which one was affected by McCoy.

    Nothing said McCoy saved Edith's life.

    How do we know that the timeline where the Nazis lost WWII, the real timeline, wasn't the one that unfolded through this episode?

    As in, if McCoy DIDN'T travel in time, Edith never would have met Kirk, and never would have crossed the street trying to figure out how Kirk and McCoy knew each other?

    There is no way to know for certain, but what if McCoy's time travel, which forced Kirk's and Spock's time travel, was the element that got Edith killed, which changed history, and caused the Nazis to lose a war that they actually would have won had Kirk, Spock and McCoy not caused a traffic accident that killed Edith?

    Spock only showed us two scenarios--he never did say which was the one that involved interference from time travelers. He only ASSUMED the one where the Allies won WWII was the right one because that was HIS timeline.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We don't really know what the Guardian did with time, the heroes and continuity. If it was a "mere" time machine, we're still faced with the question of which of the two intuitively obvious primary operating principles it was working on: a) taking people to those realities, out of the infinite number available, that the people find pleasing, or b) letting people muck with a single timeline whose entire "future half" gets rewritten whenever something is done.

    Both work fine, but the former takes some of the glory out of heroic history restoration: Kirk doesn't save the Earth, he just goes back, alters things, and then travels to an Earth that is saved, while the destroyed Earth remains in parallel.

    Yet the "both work fine" bit is consistent in Trek: meddling always works in the end. And there's no butterfly effect: no matter which type of time machine you use, it stamps on 'em bugs hard and so the very same people are born centuries in the future of the incident where Kirk accidentally shoved a man in the traffic lights and thus six thousand people might never have met each other at the right moment.

    We have no real way of telling whether Edith Keeler mattered at all. It's just speculation by our heroes, neither confirmed nor denied by the Guardian. Perhaps key to history restoration was the removal of McCoy's phaser from anachronistic existence, and Edith could have lived or died or poisoned every single customer of the Mission and nobody would have noticed.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's something that "City" has in common with another one of my favorites, "Mirror, Mirror." That's a similarly dense script that packs a lot into it. Whenever it ends, a part of me is always disappointed that Kirk & co. end up in the regular universe again -- The Mirror Universe seems so interesting that I wanted them to spend more time there.
     
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  16. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    When Star Trek: Enterprise did it's mirror universe episode, it was obvious that the entire series should have been set there, with no need to ever visit the good-guy prime universe. ST: Mirror Enterprise would have been like The Sopranos, and much more fun than the actual ST:E.
     
  17. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe Kirk was enjoying having a relationship for once that was sweet and slow, old-fashioned. Maybe that was the appeal of it all.

    Compare it with "The Paradise Syndrome" - you have Spock and McCoy to remind you about the Enterprise every time you're getting lost in Kirk and Miramanee's love story. Come to think of it, that's another time we see Kirk have a satisfying, long-term relationship (although it's because he can't remember who he is, but then I suppose he forgets McCoy when Edith's close by, too - note the way her mention of him snaps Kirk back to reality). He even becomes a father who's very pleased to have a baby on the way. It's the happiest we ever see him, apart from going into the final frontier.

    If they had lengthened it to a two-parter, what would you have liked to see? If they were making the episode today, the stranded Enterprise crew would experience a longer time trying to survive on the planet, discuss where they would go if Kirk and Spock didn't return, etc. Uhura and Scotty might have gotten a B story.
     
  18. Kirk Prime

    Kirk Prime Commander Red Shirt

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    I think Edith's importance in the timeline is pretty clear. If she lived, she causes the delay in the US entering WWII and the Germans wins. If she dies, she does not. The script makes that much clear. What is unclear, and worth thinking about is-did McCoy's madness cause her to live, necessitating Kirk and Spock coming back to kill her, or was the presence of Kirk, Spock and McCoy necessary and predestined to set into motion events that got her killed?
     
  19. jimcat

    jimcat Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hello everyone,

    Thanks, @Phaser Two for your kind comments. I didn’t do much more than let the software show me where the stars were, though.

    My own guess at how long Kirk and Spock were back in the past is just over a week, probably nine days. I’ve gone back and checked (thanks to Chrissie’s Transcripts site) and this is what led me to the guess:

    SPOCK: I was recording images at the time McCoy left. A rather barbaric period in your American history. I believe I can approximate just when to jump. Perhaps within a month of the correct time. A week, if we're fortunate.​

    Later on, just after they’ve stolen the clothes and run into the 21st Street Mission basement:

    SPOCK: First, I believe we have about a week before McCoy arrives, but we can't be certain.​

    I can’t be certain either. The other references do seem to fit, based on it being at least the fifth day when Spock steals the tools and the sixth when Jim walks Edith home. I still wouldn’t say it’s any more than a rough guess.

    I’ve also found scanned copies of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle here:
    https://bklyn.newspapers.com/title_1890/the_brooklyn_daily_eagle/
    They cover the relevant period, you don’t need to pay, and I have to say that if “Star Trek” history is a close match to ours, the earliest Clark Gable is a big movie star, Goodnight Sweetheart could be on the radio and Alnitak is going to be in the sky at a reasonable hour seems to be early in 1932!

    As always, what weight you attach to each bit of “evidence” is a personal choice. I think the show was going for a general impression of a particular era, not a specific recreation of a definite time. You can’t pin down the date because you weren’t supposed to. It’s still a lot of fun trying, though.

    And it didn’t take me ages to track down the model of radio. It took me exactly as long as it took to realise I should check Memory Alpha and go here:
    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Radiola_20

    Best wishes,
    Timon
     
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  20. aridas sofia

    aridas sofia Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ellison's early concept for CotEoF included two storylines over two episodes, one of which happened on the pirate ship Condor, the ship that had taken the place of Enterprise in orbit in the timeline altered by Beckwith's (instead of McCoy's) interference. That has always seemed to me the source of the "Mirror Universe" idea.