ST VI:TUC Out of character for McCoy?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Captain Nebula, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Pondslider

    Pondslider Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 16, 2008
    I remember hearing the "mind rape" descriptions of that scene when the movie was released. If the audience interprets a scene a certain way it's not the audience's fault it's the filmmaker's.
  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Commodore Commodore

    Sep 2, 2008
    I have no real opinion on this particular scene. But the general idea that filmmaker's are at fault for audiences' interpretations is total bullshit!

    All the time viewers are drawings outlandish conclusions from films that have nothing to do with the intentions of the people who made them.
  3. Shazam!

    Shazam! Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 22, 2006
    I'm okay with this. The story should always take precedent even at the expense of some character acting differently to how they did 30 years ago.

    However, if the story isn't strong enough such an approach would fall flat on its face, so it's a fine balance.
  4. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored KNEEL BEFORE RODD! Moderator

    Jul 5, 2004
    Incinerating You With Gene's Vision
    I would chalk this up to the difference between achieving temporary cease fires like in STV and the proposed lasting peace which would include mothballing a significant portion of Starfleet and dismantling the Neutral Zone outposts. Kirk did not believe the Klingons to be trustworthy and felt that this was an attempt to weaken Starfleet's defenses before launching a major attack to grab resources they needed to survive, which is precisely what some of Azetbur's top generals were suggesting she should do. He was fine with ending a shooting war and remaining in a Cold War setting, but going beyond that troubled him.

    Similar complaints come up about Picard's backslide from I, Borg and Descent to First Contact, where he returned to an immediate post-BoBW type attitude about the Borg, but like the lasting peace with the Klingons in TUC, the First Contact incursion was a massive escalation in scope from the incidents that came before it, and something Picard hadn't faced since BoBW, so his sudden turn to vengeance is understandable. Likewise, Kirk is seeing Starfleet potentially being left defenseless in an unprecedented peace with an untrustworthy foe, so his earlier willingness to accept some small measure of detente goes out the window when he thinks about other families losing their children to a Klingon attack.

    Plus, things don't happen in a vacuum. What if sometime between STIII and STVI Carol Marcus had cut off all ties with Kirk because she blamed him for the death of her son, or maybe the shock of his death adversely affected her mental and/or physical health in some way and Kirk recently found out about it? Or it could be something as simple as the anniversary of David's death or his birthday filling Kirk with regret about missing out on spending time with him. Any number of things could have made him adopt a more bitter attitude toward the Klingons as time went on.

    Plus, while his "let them die" line is harsh, I don't think they were literally saying the Klingons as a species were going to die out (such a massive empire on so many worlds would make that incredibly improbable), just that the Klingon homeworld would have to be evacuated and the Empire as an entity might diminish somewhat with the destruction of their key energy facility and the loss of their capital.

    In the real world it's not uncommon for groups of people to not take action when faced with a person being harmed until someone takes the initiative to step up first, and then others generally follow.

    Plus, there's hesitation because she's a traitor and Spock is a trusted friend, because they are still ignorant of the intricacies of Vulcan mind melds (Is she being physically hurt? Would pulling Spock off of her damage their minds?), because they were shocked and frozen by what was happening, and because they felt the safety of the Federation and the innocence of Kirk and McCoy were at stake.

    I'll agree that the worst thing in the film character-wise is Spock and the forced mind meld, but as mentioned, he also put McCoy's mental well-being in danger with his katra before without his permission, so who knows? Maybe Vulcans consider forced mind melds permissible under extreme circumstances where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?

    You know McCoy, he always speaks in hyperbole. He probably knew the basics of Klingon anatomy, but that's a far cry from the level of detail required to be able to perform trauma surgery on one of them, especially when screwing up would possibly cost you your life or freedom, as eventually happened.

    The Klingons don't place a high priority on medical care themselves (as seen in DS9), and are incredibly paranoid and secretive, so the combination of their own de-prioritization of medical concerns, lack of sharing of medical data with other species, and so forth could have contributed to his lack of knowledge. Plus, with all the kamikaze-like behavior of the Klingons and ritual sacrifice/suicide of the wounded, I bet their enemies don't get a lot of chances to operate on wounded Klingon POWs.

    My memory is hazy. Was Uhura ever shown to be some sort of amazing linguist in TOS? Because my recollection is that that was more of an invention of Enterprise with Hoshi and nuTrek's Uhura, in order to give the communications officer a more active role in events than just making hails and repeating commands and incoming messages like Sigourney Weaver parodied in Galaxy Quest. I could be wrong on that though.

    Regardless, unless Uhura was specifically shown to be fluent in Klingonese beforehand, it can't really be called "out of character."

    Even if she is a proficient linguist, she could be fluent in other enemy languages like Romulan, or languages of friendly non-Federation species around the border who you might have to negotiate with for supplies.

    Or, since they couldn't use the universal translator, the Klingons at Morska might have been speaking a dialect of Klingonese that she was unfamiliar with. Didn't they have several translation books with them? Maybe they covered different regional dialects.

    Well, he was trying to empathize with and relate to Kirk on an equal footing, so pointing out that he was actually in the prime of his life as a Vulcan wouldn't really be helpful. Besides, technically Jim was just in middle age himself if humans are living upwards of 120+ years.

    Beside which, even though physically Spock was still in his prime, he still has experienced the passage of time the same as Jim has. You can feel old mentally without feeling old physically, especially when confronted with something that makes you feel out of touch. Just ask someone who's in good shape but on the verge of their thirtieth, fortieth, or fiftieth birthdays (says the guy who's nine months away from turning 40). ;)

    We're going on a quarter of a century since the end of the Cold War, and I wouldn't exactly call us BFFs with the Russians. Peace is not always an overnight process. Once the Klingon Empire was saved from immediate peril, maybe they fell back on their more adversarial ways again.

    Besides, we saw in The Way of the Warrior that it doesn't exactly take much to get them to throw away their treaty with the Federation and go to war with them. What's to say other incidents like that didn't occur in the decades between the Khitomer Accords and the Enterprise-C coming to the rescue at Narendra III, and that the peace between the Federation and Klingons was tenuous and occasionally fractured during that time?

    Also, didn't Yesterday's Enterprise air only about a year or so before TUC came out? Maybe the plot had already been finalized by that point and the Cold War analogy settled on, and they didn't want to radically change the entire film when the conflict with the show was a relatively minor one.

    Eh, none of those seemed like anything that can't be fairly easily explained and still be in character, and I find them forgivable because they made a dramatic and enjoyable film, IMO. Obviously if one doesn't like STVI they aren't going to feel the same way, and that's fair, but I just didn't find any of the character behaviors in the film so beyond the pale that it makes me hate the movie or anything. To each their own, though.
  5. Pondslider

    Pondslider Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 16, 2008
    It's not bullshit. If the filmmakers create a scene with one intention in mind and the audience interprets it in another way then the filmmakers failed to get their message across somehow.
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    May I ask why it must be the fault of one party -or- the other? Because in my experience misunderstandings are often the fault of all involved parties.
  7. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    It's apparently something added to the character by Roddenberry and Nichols for the aborted Phase II television series. I grew up reading Trek novels, which as far back as the 70's often included these linguistic abilities (which Nichols had spoken about at conventions and in interviews), and so I had always assumed it was part of her job from the outset. It wasn't until I joined Trek BBS that I learned otherwise. The closest she comes to translating anything in TOS is decoding a Romulan transmission.
    So, I guess since this added-on talent was never shown canonically (until the reboot), her not knowing Klingon is valid.

    I don't actually dislike STVI. I think its an okay movie, and when watching it I take it on it's own terms rather than trying to fit it perfectly with the rest of the Trekverse. But I do think a little bit of rewriting could have helped a lot without changing the film itself much - the Klingons talking in an obscure dialect Uhura doesn't know, or asking for authorization codes, McCoy encountering some complication he couldn't help without his sickbay (and the Klingons of course refuse to let them take Gorkon), the mind meld de-sexualized, some handwave explaination of Kirk's sudden racism (like, say, Peter's ship is ambushed and he's killed leaving Kirk with no family at all) etc.
  8. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 24, 2002
    Somewhere in the South Pacific
    No, she wasn't. There are scenes in TOS that require one of our heroes to display amazing linguistic ability, but that hero is always Spock, even when Uhura is in the same scene.
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    The "mind interrogation" goes back to TOS. Kryton from "Elaan of Troyius" kills himself before he would let Spock do a mind meld with him so I would imagine an uncooperative subject would suffer as Valeris did in TUC.
  10. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 4, 2003
    Mirror Spock did it to McCoy and McCoy didn't seem particularly traumatized.
  11. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Feb 26, 2010
    I dunno. They cutaway from McCoy before he starts to answer Mirror Spock and the next time we see him he needs someone to hold him steady. Scotty guides him up the transporter steps and holds onto him all the way up till Spock beams them out.

    McCoy doesn't seem to snap out of it till after he's back in the regular universe.

    Valeris seems to have snapped out of it relatively quickly when she answers Kirk that there is only the prototype BOP.
  12. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Oct 14, 2004
    Also, Konner/Rosenthal apparently played the WGA game even better than the first two guys on TVH ... Nimoy's account is that they just turned in all his notes as their work. They DID have one good idea, kind of taken from ULYSSES I think, but none of that is in the movie. Also I think they were big on making the prison stuff include Klingons we already knew, which could have been great. But again, not reflected in final product at all.

    That scene is Meyer/Flinn with a heavy dose of Nimoy.
  13. CaptainMurdock

    CaptainMurdock Captain Captain

    Feb 5, 2013
    Those wild eyes did the talking for us. ;)
  14. Flake

    Flake Commodore Commodore

    Dec 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    I agree the characters are not spot on but I think the movie is great. The Valeris mind meld was a very powerful scene indeed but I don't understand why Spock pushes for the location of the peace conference when immediately after the mind meld he just contacts Sulu anyway! It was not necessary to forcibly try to find that information.
  15. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored KNEEL BEFORE RODD! Moderator

    Jul 5, 2004
    Incinerating You With Gene's Vision
    Yeah, the the fact that Spock says to contact Sulu and ask for the location of the conference seconds later sort of undercuts the necessity for the forced mind meld and makes it look worse.

    However, perhaps it was the mind meld that clued him in that Sulu would know the location of the conference. Like for instance Valeris knew the sector the conference was in but not the exact location, and Spock knew Sulu was in that sector. Or Valeris knew the ships that were assigned to patrol the region around the conference (without knowing its precise location), and revealed that Excelsior was one of them. Those are both pieces of information one of the lower level conspirators like her might know.
  16. Sky

    Sky Captain Captain

    Feb 9, 2009
    Spock was also trying to find out the other co-conspirators. The location was not the only information he was seeking from Valeris.

    People have compared the mind meld to other mind melds in Trek and wondered why this one had the insinuation of rape. Maybe it was not because Valeris is female, but because she is Vulcan and thus capable of trying to resist someone invading her mind. She has the same telepathic abilities as Spock and is trying to fight him all through the scene. It's an extremely powerful scene, made even better when Spock quits the mind meld and his voice shakes when he says "She does not know."

    I always prefer to think of Valeris as Saavik, though. That would explain the intense feeling of betrayal Spock seems to have.

    I'm not very surprised about Kirk's feelings towards Klingons, either. After all, they just very recently killed his son. The film is very much about old times changing into new times, and old warriors not being able to give up their old grudges.

    TUC is still my favorite Trek film.
  17. Pondslider

    Pondslider Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 16, 2008
  18. Admiral_Sisko

    Admiral_Sisko Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 7, 2006
    Nor am I, and I also don't find Kirk's behavior surprising in light of how he treated the Klingons in The Final Frontier. The Klingons were guests aboard his ship, but there was no mention of peace talks or abolishing the Neutral Zone. Kirk knew that the Klingons were going to return to their space once the mission was over.

    The circumstances are different in TUC. The Klingons are once again guests aboard the Enterprise, but their presence signifies the beginning of the end of hostilities between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, hotilities that have lasted since before Kirk was born.

    Kirk was due to stand down from active duty, though it's not clear what he was slated to do beyond that. TUC was certainly his final mission aboard the Enterprise as its commanding officer, a final assingment in a career spanning more than four decades, including Kirk's time as an academy cadet. He'd spent the majority of that time protecting the Federation, risking his life and the lives of his crew on more than one occasion. Now, suddenly, as he's about to step aside, he's been volunteered for a mission as part of a peace envoy with the Federation's fiercest rival, a rival who's officers killed his son only years before, and everything that he has previously risked his life to protect and preserve is about to change, perhaps forever.

    It's easy to deal with people if there's a known endpoint or resolution to the situation, but it's much more difficult when the people in question may bring about a change in one's own life. Kirk had never known a Federation at peace with the Klingons, and the idea of a disruption in the status quo scared him. It's not surprising that the fear he experienced drove him to say things he later regretted.

    "Gorkon had to die before I understood how prejudiced I was."

    In the end, Kirk did his duty, and helped to preserve the possibility of peace that Gorkon died to bring about, an action that was absolutely in character for him.
  19. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 24, 2006
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    He had enough reason with his own son murdered at the hands of Klingons. Bigger loss than Peter biting the dust.

    You see his reaction in TSFS, referring to them as "Klingon bastards," instead of "bastards," which implies (strongly) using their species name as a pejorative (the way a white racist would say "n***** bastard" instead of the latter, which would have been enough for one without racist intent). Add his TOS behavior in "Errand of Mercy," "Friday's Child," and general tone in "A Private Little War," and he does not seem to be the biggest fan of Klingons, or even tries to imagine part of the race may not be like the military end he faced.

    With David's murder, his undercurrent of hostility evolves into its full-on, racist form. His behavior in TFF was more about putting up with them until he could separate from them.
  20. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

    Dec 24, 2007
    Redmond, Oregon, United States of America
    Exactly. I think a better analogy is calling someone a "Jew Bastard" instead of just a "bastard," since 'Jew' by itself isn't a pejorative, but context can make it such. 'Klingon' by itself is the correct term to use for their species, just as 'Jew' is the correct term for someone whose religion is Judaism, but "Klingon Bastard" sounds just as racist as "Jew Bastard" does, imo.