Discussion in 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' started by Charles Phipps, May 5, 2022.
Hair-splitting aside,, souls are established science in Star Trek.
And not just for Vulcans. Kirk's mind and Mulhall's were temporarily put in globes in "Return to Tomorrow," as was Spock's. (Chapel got to carry Spock's mind around for a bit, too.)
Yeah, the Gorn were always hideous - destroying an unnarmed and unresisting science outpost ("because it's in our space!!" is a laughable excuse) is bad enough, but then they actually post snipers in the surrounding canyons and wait for rescue parties to arrive and provide aid to the few survivors (who, naturally, the Gorn make no attempt to provide aid to themselves). They then open fire on the rescuers from afar. There isn't even any point to doing this, they've already butchered the people of Cestus III and "sent a message to the Federation" or whatever they thought they were doing, they just remain there to execute Starfleet medics and rescue teams for a laugh. They're definitely not analogous to the Federation.
I don't like the Gorn plot point in SNW, but only because the Gorn aren't meant to have encountered the Federation yet, and Arena works a lot better if the Gorn are a shocking new presence out of the darkness of unexplored space. But it doesn't really contradict anything we know about the Gorn's behaviour already, and it doesn't cheapen the message of Arena - Kirk's decision to refuse violence doesn't hinge on the Gorn being subjectively "redeemable" enough to warrant mercy, it's a decision made out of his conviction that violence just isn't the best way to solve any given situation, especially not in the case of the Gorn Captain, who was incapacitated and helpless. If anything, it strengthens the message that was already there - if Kirk had already heard rumours about the Gorn being as terrible as La'an describes them, his choice to refuse further violence takes even more moral courage.
Gorn captain: Tell us your sad story, La'an. Tell us how you planned to take revenge for the death of your family.
La'an: That's not true!
Slar: Objection! La'an has not been identified as the assassin.
Gorn judge: Sustained.
Gorn captain: I offer into the record this excerpt from the Noonien-Singh's personal log.
La'an (recording): I've never trusted Gorn and I never will. I've never been able to forgive them for the death of my family.
Gorn: (in Gorn) Again! Again!
Gorn judge: La'an Noonien-Singh. It is the judgment of this court, that without possibility of reprieve or parole, you will be taken from this place to the breeding mines on the nursery asteroid of Gecko Hel, there to spend the rest of your augmented life!
Scott: Better to kill her now and get it over with.
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