Obvious plot hole at the beginning

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by Agenda, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. Agenda

    Agenda Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 28, 2009
    I don't know if this has been discussed much, but I think the movie got one thing wrong right off the bat. Whether or not this is a true plot hole, it's not very consistent with Trek canon.

    Spock didn't like that they broke the Prime Directive when they saved him from the volcano.

    But the truth is, the crew broke the Prime Directive the moment they decided to screw around with the volcano at all.

    It's like in that TNG episode Pen Pals. Picard was firm that helping the planet would break the PD. He only allowed it when it became clear that Data's pal was asking for help. But in this movie, the natives weren't asking for anybody's help.

    To be consistent with the Prime Directive, Spock should've been pissed (not literally) that they were helping at all. He should've insisted that the Enterprise just sit in orbit and watch the volcano go kablooey.
  2. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 27, 2006
    Germany, Earth, the Solar System
    Not really, the whole point of the prime directive is to not contaminate an alien culture with knowledge and/or technology that influence them in their natural development.
    So the plan was to help them without them ever knowing they were in any danger.
    Picard's (in)action in similar situations was more or less based on that he didn't believe saving those 2 cultures could be done with cultural contamination.
    He was proven right, there was a hefty price paid in the end.

    The question really is, if it is moral to not intervene when the harm done to the culture is complete annihilation.
    I'd say it is not, but where do you draw the line?at what point does it become acceptable to let things play out on there own?
    A volcano that kills a continent of natives? A single region? Just one tribe? A village? One person?
  3. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

    Aug 22, 2002
    Terra Inlandia
  4. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 29, 2008
    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    My understanding of the Prime Directive is that it applies to directly interacting with developing civilizations. If Starfleet can act to save a world or civilization with a reasonably high level of confidence that they can do so without making their presence known to that civilization, then they will. The goal is to avoid contaminating the natural development of cultures (and probably also to avoid providing potentially destructive technologies to species that have not had the time to develop socially far enough to handle them without getting a lot of people killed), not to be selfish dillweeds. ;)

    I think the reason Picard initially refused Data's request was Drema IV was not advanced enough to be beyond PD concerns, but was sufficiently advanced to have a reasonable chance of realizing that an outside influence had done something if they acted.
  5. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 29, 2008
    Go ahead, caller. I'm listening...
    I believe that given the opportunity, the Federation Council can and would vote an exception for such cases. The problem is that such cases frequently come in locations and circumstances where it isn't practical to let the decision be made that way with the delay involved. So Starfleet - at least the Starfleet of TOS (TNG and beyond seemed to vary depending on the writer) - has what seems to me to be a very reasonable way of handling things: if a man or woman of intelligence and good character, (hopefully) such as those that would be placed in command of a starship, decides that the situation is worth their career to take the chance to save people, then the unwritten rule is that they can do that, and then Starfleet and the Council can decide whether or not they were right, after the fact.
  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Premium Member

    Nov 4, 2001
    Super Happy Funtime Hour With Robot and Old Man
    In TOS the Enterprise tried to divert an asteroid that was headed towards Mirimanee's planet. So the PD isn't against stopping natural disasters. (at least in the 23rd Century)
  7. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    Taking up space
    Good point. And that was before knowing what the Preservers had done.
  8. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 22, 2001
    Reboot. The only canon that's applicable here is the previous movie, which said nothing about the prime directive. TNG no longer counts.

    Even if it did, the prime directive is made to be broken. Literally. That's the only reason it exists, and it's been broken in virtually every episode and movie in which it's mentioned.
  9. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 10, 2010
    Not a reboot, an alternate timeline. Everything that came before ST09 is still canon, for whatever that's worth.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  10. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

    Jul 23, 2001
    And Kirk got chewed out and demoted because of it. Seems pretty consistent with canon to me.

    As for Spock's attitude, in TOS Spock didn't follow a strict and rigid definition of the Prime Directive, and showed a willingness to bend it on occasion, or at least go along with Kirk when he chose to interpret the Directive his way. Obviously saving the tribe from a volcano is deemed an acceptable bending to Spock, provided it can be done without the natives being aware of it.
  11. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

    Apr 27, 2003
    Ottawa, Canada
    In fact, the demotion was a solid earned consequence of deceiving the brass, and if Abramsverse-Kirk had owned up right off the bat, he might have managed to avert the demotion.
  12. MakeshiftPython

    MakeshiftPython Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 10, 2013
    I didn't think it was a plot hole in the beginning at all until Pike said doing that business with the volcano was a violation of the PD, which means that Spock was violating the prime directive even though he kept spouting "we can't break it". It's an odd inconsistency, but it's the least of the film's problems.
  13. Cinema Geekly

    Cinema Geekly Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 1, 2012
    It felt....to me like in the act of saving the people on that planet they were bending the PD a little bit but it was for a good cause and I think there are a lot of examples of that in Trek.

    Obviously Kirk outright snapped it in half when he exposed the ship in order to save Spock.
  14. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Oct 8, 2005
    Los Angeles, California
    Short answer: the moral dilemma in "Pen Pals" is garbage and inconsistent with its portrayal in the original series; Star Trek Into Darkness was wise to ignore it.
  15. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    The Feds intervening re the Prime Directive is much like "God's" take on being God in Futurama - "When you do things right, people won't be sure you did anything at all."
  16. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2012
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    Well maybe he DID. We just didn't actually see that conversation take place. Maybe he did put all this forward, but his opinion was over-ruled by Kirk's decision to go down there and help people.

    I mean, we know for a fact Scotty had reservations about certain aspects of the plan too (even if he might have sided with Kirk about the actual sentiment of saving lives). But his opinion is just an opinion, he isn't the Captain. Neither is Spock.

    Ultimately, the chain of command on a starship is an autocracy. It's Kirk's call what they do, no matter what Spock (or anyone else) says. If there's a post-mortem of the decision process, that's up to the brass at home, to decide whether Kirk made the right decision retrospectively, and to praise or punish him accordingly.

    This is true of TOS itself as much as it is the JJ films.
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Sep 10, 2012
    USS Berlin
    Agreed, but Spock violated the PD the moment they beamed down and scared off the Native Americans to save Kirk. ;)


    P.S. The above scene was from "The Paradise Syndrome" which should have been obvious looking at the screencap I linked to...
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
  18. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    What film did you watch? Kirk stole a religious relic (while disguised in a robe and hood), luring the locals out of their temple, which was in the Volcano's immanent danger zone. He and McCoy escaped without help.
  19. Franklin

    Franklin Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 22, 2006
    This. Spock didn't have any qualms with it as long as no one got caught. When the jig was up, he was willing to die rather than have the Enterprise revealed to the natives in an effort to save him.

    The thing I don't think has been discussed in all this time (or I've forgotten if it has) is what Spock would've entered into his log if things had happened as planned. Would he (and Kirk) have gotten into trouble with Starfleet if Spock reported that they detonated a cold fusion device in a volcano about to destroy a planet with intelligent life, but they never revealed themselves to the natives?

    Did they get in trouble for what they did, or what went wrong with what they were trying to do that led to the natives seeing the Enterprise?
  20. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell memelord Premium Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    Given that the entire Enterprise crew went along with the plan to save the natives, it doesn't seem like saving them, in and of itself, was a violation of the PD. It was recklessly revealing the ship to the natives in an effort to save Spock that got them in trouble. Spock clearly didn't have a lot of qualms about undertaking the mission in the first place, so long as the natives never found out.