The Search for Plot - please help me!

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Whill, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Or at least did, until Chekov served Him with a photon torpedo.

    Timo Saloniemi
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Yes it is. Sarek and T'Lar both mention the word in its context in ST III. We also so a version of the transfer of Spock's essence into Christine Chapel, to hide Spock from Henock, in "Return to Tomorrow".

    The term "Hall of Ancient Thought", though, is not canonical.
  3. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 3, 2001
    Also lets not forget the whole Enterprise Vulcan arc.
  4. Whill

    Whill Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Thanks guys, but this thread was not intended to be about whether katras, sin or God is "canon" or not.

    My intention was to ask a question about the storyline of the movies and the motivation of the characters to help me make more sense of it so I can enjoy it more. Furthemore, suggested non-canon explanations are even welcome.

  5. KarmicCurse

    KarmicCurse Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 1, 2009
    This is sort of a stretch that attempts to unite in- and out-of-universe explanations:

    The sequence of events presented in the final edit don't necessarily represent the in-universe events. Perhaps days elapsed between Grissom's arrival at Genesis and Sarek's arrival in San Francisco. Maybe we were shown the events on Genesis pre-Enterprise as flashbacks? Once the Enterprise arrives both stories catch up to the "present". (I know this is probably not what the editors intended but it kinda works!)

    By the way, this whole thread is a good catch! I never noticed this. You may have ruined this movie for me! LOL. But I just learned about the last minute editing changes, so it's been interesting.
  6. ssosmcin

    ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 2, 2002
    God only exists where there is faith. Without faith, there is no God.

    Since Star Trek is not The Real World and is a work of fiction, then Spock, Vulcans, and Starfleet don't exist either. But since we're talking about the confines of an established fictional universe, you're blowing smoke. According to Star Trek, the katra exists. You don't live in the Star Trek universe, so your own religious beliefs don't count.

    Whether or not God exists in the Star Trek universe is a different dicussion.
  7. KobayashiMaru13

    KobayashiMaru13 Captain Captain

    Jul 25, 2009
    358/2 Days
    What does God have to do with katra?

    Isn't the katra the Vulcan "soul" per say? it holds the memories, personality, etc. after all, Spock on the Genesis planet lacked a katra, therefore a soul, and was an empty shell, going through the motions of living without any animation.

    (BTW, your sig is exactly right, ssosmcin! :D)
  8. Saquist

    Saquist Commodore

    Jun 22, 2009
    Starbase Houston
    That's actually a sufficient explanation.

    Spock also says through McCoy. "You left me...on Genesis why did you do that? Help me!" ...well before Jim talks to Sarek. It's almost like it was known. Sarek says the same thing...

    No one ever says that body isn't necessary in the story SO...there is no problem. Unexplained yes, and the thread starter was most perceptive.
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    Probably not in the most conventional sense. After all, Spock donated his to McCoy and still was able to save the ship and have a nice death scene afterwards. Not a "soulless" performance at all!

    Probably one can dump a copy of one's katra contents through touch telepathy to some extracorporeal receptacle such as a fellow humanoid or a katric ark when one wants to. Doesn't mean the katra inside one's noggin would be diminished by the act.

    Probably one's katra also "grows" through life, so that the katras of two adults would be in conflict if crammed in the same head for long (as we see with McCoy or Archer), but the katra of an adult could easily displace that of an infant (as we probably see with Spock-from-McCoy's-head and Spock's-body-reborn-through-Genesis).

    Timo Saloniemi
  10. Whill

    Whill Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    From TSFS novelization...

    I have taken the TSFS movie script, and then added dialogue lines and a little bit of other explaination from the novelization. The movie dialogue is in bold, while the novelization dialogue is not. Italics mean I have paraphrased, summerized or described the book's descriptive text.

    KIRK: ...Come. ...Sarek! Ambassador, I had no idea you were here. I believe you know my crew.
    SAREK: I will speak with you alone, Kirk.
    KIRK: Please excuse us. ...Ambassador, I would have come to Vulcan to express my deepest sympathy.
    SAREK: Spare me your human platitudes, Kirk. I have been to your Government. I have seen the Genesis information, and your own report.
    KIRK: Then you know how bravely your son met his death.
    SAREK: Met his death? How could you, who claim to be his friend, assume that? Why did you not bring him back to Vulcan?
    KIRK: He asked me not to.
    SAREK: I find that unlikely in the extreme.
    KIRK: His will states quite clearly that he did not wish to be returned to Vulcan, should he die in service of Starfleet.
    SAREK: I am also aware that Starfleet regulations specifically require that any Vulcan’s body to be returned to the home world. Surely this would override the dictates of the will…
    KIRK: …I’ll tell you why I followed Spock’s request rather than the rules of Starfleet! It’s because in all the years I knew Spock, never once did you or any Vulcan treat him with the respect and regard that he deserves… He spent his own life living up to Vulcan ideals - and he came a hell of a lot closer to succeeding than a lot of Vulcans I’ve met. But he made one choice of his own - Starfleet instead of the Vulcan Academy - and you cut him off! …For nearly 20 years I watched him observe the slights and subtle bigotry of the Vulcans! When he died, I was damned if I would take him back to Vulcan and give him over to you so you could put him in the ground and wash your hands of him! He deserved a hero’s burial and that’s what I gave him - the fires of space!
    SAREK: Why did you leave him behind on Genesis?! Spock trusted you. You denied him his future!
    KIRK: I saw no future.
    SAREK: You missed the point, then and now. Only his body was in death, Kirk. And you were the last one to be with him.
    KIRK: Yes, I was.
    SAREK: Then you must know that you should have come with him to Vulcan.
    KIRK: But ...why?
    SAREK: Because he asked you to! He entrusted you with his very essence, with everything that was not of the body. He asked you to bring him to us ...and bring that which he gave you, his katra, his living spirit.
    KIRK: Sir, ...your son meant more to me than you can know. I'd have given my life if it would have saved his. Believe me when I tell you ...he made no request of me!
    SAREK: He would not have spoken of it openly.
    KIRK: Then, how was...
    SAREK: Kirk, I must have your thoughts. May I join your mind?
    KIRK: Of course.

    At the beginning of the mind-meld, Kirk feels that the recent message from Grissom that Spock’s deceased body may still exist gives Sarek a strong resonance of hope that there is still time to recover the body and thus save Spock’s katra for the Hall of Ancient Thought on Mt. Seleya. To continue, here is a direct quote from the book:

    “And James Kirk understood that even if Sarek found what he sought, Spock was lost to the world he lived in. Only a few individuals trained for years in Vulcan philosophic discipline, could communicate with the presences that existed within the Hall of Ancient Thought. If Sarek found what he was looking for, he would give Spock a chance at immortality… but not another chance at life.”

    The mind-meld sequence then plays out as it did in the movie, reprising the death scene dialogue from TWOK…

    SAREK: Forgive me. It is not here. I had assumed he mind-melded with you. It is the Vulcan way ...when the body's end is near.
    KIRK: We were separated! He couldn't touch me.
    SAREK: I see. ...Then everything that he was. ...Everything that he knew lost.
    KIRK: Please wait! ...He would have found a way! If there was that much at stake, ...Spock would have found a way!
    SAREK: Yes. ...But how?
    KIRK: What if he joined with someone else?

    The engine room flight recorder sequence plays out as it does in the movie…

    KIRK: McCoy!
    SAREK: One alive, one not. Yet both in pain.
    KIRK: One going mad from the pain! Why did Spock leave the wrong instructions?
    SAREK: Do you recall the precise words, Kirk?

    Sarek then “repeated a phrase from Spock’s will as he had plucked it from Kirk’s mind”…

    SAREK: “Failing a subsequent revision of this document, my remains are not to be returned to Vulcan.” Spock did not believe that his human heritage would permit the transfer of his katra. He did leave the possibility open.
    KIRK: But he never made a revision. He only left-
    SAREK: -The good Dr. McCoy, who if the process had worked properly, would have known what to do… He is undergoing an allergic reaction.
    KIRK: What?
    SAREK: It is unusual, but not unprecedented. McCoy’s mind is rejecting what Spock gave to him. …the result is McCoy was unable to assimilate the information even so far as to rescind the provision of Spock’s will that may not destroy them both. It would have been better if Spock had been near another Vulcan when he died. He did not prepare well, Kirk. He left too many factors open to chance-
    KIRK: This is hardly the time to criticize Spock! …What do we do to make things right.
    SAREK: It may already be too late.
    KIRK: Sarek-!
    SAREK: The fact that McCoy even retains even a semblance of sanity gives me some cause for hope. You are fortunate that you failed in your plan to burn my son like a barbarian chieftain. Had it succeeded, McCoy would surely be lost to us now. The mind and the body are a duality, they are parts of a whole. If one is destroyed, the other must disintegrate. If they are separated… the greater the difference, the greater the strain, until it become intolerable.
    KIRK: The strain on McCoy, you mean.
    SAREK: Precisely.
    KIRK: What must I do?
    SAREK: You must recover Spock’s body from Genesis. You must bring it, and Dr. McCoy to Mount Seleya, on Vulcan. Only there the passage is possible. Only there can both find peace.
    KIRK: What you ask difficult.
    SAREK: You will find a way, Kirk. ...If you honor them both, you must.
    KIRK: I will. I swear it.

    And the book shows a final discussion in which Kirk attempts to gain an understanding from Sarek about what exactly will Spock’s immortal existence will be like if his deceased body is successfully recovered from Genesis allowing his katra is successfully transferred from McCoy to the Hall of Ancient Thought (the Vulcan afterlife). Sarek tells Kirk that he would have to learn the Vulcan language and take ten years of his life to study Vulcan mysticism to even begin to understand. Kirk gets angry again and explains that he needs more details to tell Admiral Morrow when he asks for permission to return to Genesis, but Sarek refuses to elucidate.

    And I’ll also add that although it as not revealed by the film, the novelizations states that Saavik is only half-Vulcan (and half-Romulan). She was 10-year-old orphan when she was rescued from an abandoned Romulan colony by Spock sometime in the years after the five-year mission of TOS. Spock made sure she was taken care of and sponsored her enrollment in Starfleet Academy. Despite the fact that she was trained in the Vulcan language and general (logical) way of life, she had never actually been to Vulcan before the end of TSFS and had not learned about Vulcan mysticism regarding death and afterlife...
  11. Whill

    Whill Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    continued... discussion about the novelization...

    ...That is why Saavik did not question Spock’s funeral or any other actions Kirk made regarding the death of Spock.

    So according to the novelization, Spock did indeed have a will that stated that his remains were not to be returned to Vulcan, and because of that, Kirk intended for Spock’s body to be launched into space and incinerated in the upper atmosphere of the Genesis Planet, not unlike a Viking hero‘s funeral pyre at sea. Gravity was in flux and the coffin-tube soft-landed, unbeknownst to the crew at the time.

    There was no “Genesis hope” in either Sarek or Kirk that Spock’s body may have been regenerated. It is made explicitly clear that the deceased body of the Vulcan is necessary for the ritual to transfer the katra from the katra holder to the Hall of Ancient Thought on Vulcan (afterlife), so that and McCoy’s well-being alone are reasons enough to go back to Genesis to retrieve Spock’s dead body.

    Sarek had always just assumed Spock would prepare for following all Vulcan death traditions. After Sarek learned the exact language of the Spock’s will from Kirk‘s mind, Sarek is convinced that because Spock was half human, Spock did not believe that he would be able to transfer his katra to another when he wrote the will, but he remained open to the possibility that he may change his mind in the future. That was obviously to suggest that is what ended up happening, that Spock must have changed his mind at the last minute and melded with McCoy.

    Sarek speculates that the mind-meld didn’t work perfectly because of multiple possible factors such as Spock is half-human, McCoy is allergic to katras and McCoy is not Vulcan. If it had worked correctly, then Spock’s katra would have clearly explained to McCoy what was going on and that, contrary to the will, they had to keep Spock’s dead body after all. If McCoy had been completely lucid and not acting as fruity as a nut cake, it can then be assumed that Kirk would have believed McCoy, ignored Spock’s will, and sent the body and McCoy to Mt. Seleya on Vulcan so Spock’s katra can hopefully gain Vulcan immortality. (But then of course Spock couldn’t have come back to life so it’s a good thing the katra transfer didn’t work right!)

    This also works to explain why McCoy refers to Spock’s body on Genesis and then immediately refers to going to Mt. Seleya on Vulcan. Spock’s katra and McCoy are not clearly communicating with each other due to the problematic katra transfer. Sarek also states that the issue is amplified by the distance between Spock’s katra in McCoy on Earth and Spock’s body on Genesis, furthermore impressing the value of a Vulcan’s body soon after death and McCoy‘s peril.
  12. Whill

    Whill Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    My Conclusions

    These explanations are extremely contrived, but they still work for me. Saavik was not raised on Vulcan and didn’t know anything about Vulcan death traditions. Sarek expected Spock would prepare for following all Vulcan death traditions. Spock had a will to not have his body returned to Vulcan because he believed at the time he wrote it that he couldn’t perform the katra transfer due to him being half-human. Spock changed his mind when the moment came and tried it anyway. It worked but not perfectly, so Spock’s katra did not clearly communicate to McCoy what had happened, or to save his body. The body was required for the Vulcan afterlife ritual, so they had a reason to go back to Genesis to get it without suspecting or hoping the body had been regenerated.

    Of course even with the added dialogue between Sarek and Kirk in the novelization, the conversation still seems a bit disconnected in parts. For the book and more importantly the movie, I think I can now write this off as Sarek’s logic faltering when it comes to his son. I suspect the author writing the novelization was given the script and added dialogue with explanations in an attempt to make it make more sense. Since the movie is disconnected on its own, I am willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt in that she is largely responsible for working out the details more than the possibility that the script had all this dialogue and it was shortened during filming or editing.

    Either way, I’m still critical of the film for not including essential details to make TSFS make more sense with respect to TWOK. This is the first katra transfer we have ever seen in Trek. The movie mentioning Spock’s will and how he changed his mind would have explained why he didn’t will his body to be returned to Vulcan even though the body is needed for the Vulcan afterlife ritual. From the movie alone, we had no idea that the katra transfer mind-meld didn’t work correctly and McCoy would have been able to explain things if it had.

    But the point of this thread was always to help my appreciate of the movies. I think after first reading the novelization in my childhood the movie made sense to me, but after going so many years without watching the movie I forgot those details. This discussion and my rereading of the TSFS novelization (for the first time since 1984) completely resolves things for me. When I create a new custom DVD cover for the movie, I will include some of this essential information in the plot synopsis on the back! I love this movie on its own, and now I can fully appreciate it again as part of a larger continuity of films and series I enjoy.

    And I’m so extremely thankful for the author including these essential details. In my mind, this completely redeems her for later writing an absolutely awful original Star Wars novel based on a rejected DS9 script (Crystal Star). Vonda N. McIntyre, I thank you again, and I finally forgive you!
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Re: My Conclusions

    No, as I said in an earlier post, having learned about katras in ST III, we can now go back and see that Christine Chapel once held Spock's katra in "Return to Tomorrow", in the ruse to thwart Henoch from possessing Spock's body.
  14. Whill

    Whill Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Re: My Conclusions

    Thank you. I have very a very vague recollection of that episode, as I have not seen it since the mid-80's. I remember "Sargon" and some consciousness-swapping, but don't recall the transfer from Spock to Chapel. Maybe that's where they got the inspiration for the katra transfer in TWOK/TSFS?

    Would you please elucidate and relate that to the Search for Spock topic at hand? I would very much appreciate any further participation in this thread you can provide. Thanks.
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
  16. Whill

    Whill Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    If you count this episode as in the same continuity as TSFS, then TSFS goes back to not making any sense.

    We know the dead body is definitely needed for the ritual transfering the katra from the katra holder to the afterlife. The movie novelization implies that Spock, being half-human, didn't think he could transfer his katra to a holder (at the time he wrote his will), which is why his will specified that his body not be returned to Vulcan if he died in service of Starfleet, which is why Kirk launched Spock's dead body into space instead of following Starfleet regulation regarding the return of a dead Vulcan's body to the planet Vulcan.

    If Spock had already transfered his katra to someone in TOS, then that totally unravels that explanation because if he had already done it then he would know he could do it. If he knew he could do it, then he would have willed his body to be returned to Vulcan, then it wouldn't have been launched into space, then it wouldn't have been regenerated on Genesis, then Spock would have stayed dead.

    So if anyone's got another explanation as to why Spock's body was lauched into space after the katra transfer to McCoy that doesn't contradict "Return to Tomorrow", please post it. Otherwise, I'm just gonna delete RtT from my personal Star Trek continuity to allow TSFS to make sense.
  17. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

    Sep 1, 2006
    Centrelea, Nova Scotia
    Remember when McCoy was freaking Kirk out while hiding in the shadows of Spock's quarters. "Why did you leave me?" "Climb the steps of Mount Selaya." Apparently Spock thought that McCoy would be able to tell Kirk what to do. Something went wrong and in the absence of a written will, Kirk decided for burial in space.

    Would Spock not have a written will? Apparently not since nobody knew about the katra, Mount Selaya or any of that.
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    It would be really inconsistent of Spock of TOS to write any deep revelations into his will: he would lie about his basic biological nature to his closest human friends and those responsible for his medical well-being and risk death rather than divulge details of the Vulcan lifestyle.

    Whether Spock of ST2 would be more open is debatable. Some of his more easygoing ways only emerge in ST4, after his rebirth.

    One wonders if it is possible to get the katra off a dead body. If so, it would make perfect sense for Sarek to yearn for his son's body when no living person is forthcoming with his son's katra...

    I'm still far from convinced that the body (alive or dead) is needed for standard katra extraction. It's needed for the rare reinsertion, of course, but there's zero indication that Sarek would have been considering such a maneuver when he first approached Kirk. And we already clearly saw in ST2 that the katra effortlessly went from Spock's body to McCoy's, in a situation where Spock was deliberately taking his body to a radiation-filled chamber that would ruin it forever and then some - it would be pretty absurd that Spock's body would be of any further use to anybody, or in any way necessary in the subsequent steps of katra transfer business.

    Doesn't mean the father wouldn't want the son's body back, of course. Klingons consider corpses "empty vessels" to be abandoned on the battlefield; there's no need for the Vulcans to think the same way. But any connection to the katra business is yet to be demonstrated...

    Timo Saloniemi
  19. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

    Sep 1, 2006
    Centrelea, Nova Scotia
    Well reasoned as always Timo. I do wonder why Spock, through McCoy, was asking :Why did you leave me on Genesis?" That shows that the katra was still accumulating knowledge. It looks like the body and the katra were both supposed to be returned to Vulcan, for what reason I do not know. I don't think Spock would want to undergo fal-tor-pan with a body riddled with radiation damage.
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    McCoy doesn't start showing effects of the meld until quite some time after Spock's burial. Saavik and David have already left the ship and have a new posting on the Grissom, Carol Marcus is gone, the Enterprise is heading to Earth... and then McCoy goes loopy.