What was wrong with Kirk?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Skipper, May 14, 2022 at 10:51 AM.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    (I already posted a different version of this post in SNW forum, but I think this is the best place to discuss the subject)

    Kirk, after the loss of several ships and the death of hundreds of crewmen caused by the Enterprise's computer (The Ultimate Computer)
    [​IMG]

    Kirk, after the losing of Memory Alpha and all the people living there (The Lights of Zetar)
    [​IMG]

    Kirk, following the violent deaths of several women at the hands of a serial killer (Wolf In The Fold)
    [​IMG]

    Kirk, after the death of his brother, his sister-in-law and two nephews, with one nephew, Peter, left an orphan.

    [​IMG]

    Now, the Real Life reasons why it behaves like this after horrendous tragedies is clear. It was a different (tv) era and they didn't want to leave the viewers with a bitter taste at the end of an episode. I mean, Jessica Fletcher laughed gleefully after each gruesome murder.

    But with a modern eyes his behavior is a little disturbing. I understand using black humor as a copying mechanism, but doing every time while the bodies are still warm it seem really insensitive and disrespectful toward people who are still mourning their beloved dead ones. One wonders what it is his problem.

    So I figured out this in-universe explanation: he suffers from a severe form of PTSD. After seeing huge tragedies, he is no longer able to healthy process them so he reacts in a totally inappropriate way to the situation (and does not even realize it). Of course, being Kirk, he doesn't even think about asking for help and no one thinks of contradicting him ("Er, there are still the bodies of our mates floating out there and they are visible on the main screen, sure it's the best time to make a joke?") because he is , well, Captain Kirk.

    Your thoughts? ;)
     
    ATimson and Dr Helen Noel like this.
  2. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2018
    Location:
    Back on the Shelf
    This could be a method to maintain good moral. Kirk knows that "A happy ship is an efficient ship and an efficient ship is a happy ship. Invest in your crew – there are rough seas ahead."
     
  3. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    Yes, but people need mourning too. If someone were to joke at me while I'm in anguish near the still warm body of a friend of mine it wouldn't make me feel any better. On the contrary.
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    This is him being desperate after he lost his robotic sex doll he had known for five minutes.

    [​IMG]

    I think that he simply doesn't care when a tragedy is not of direct concern to him.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2022 at 8:30 PM
    shapeshifter and Foxhot like this.
  5. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, Missouri, USA
    I do think most captains put on a brave face or an air of levity for their crews if only for the sake of morale. Kirk may have been an expert in finding a bit of light in even the darkest of situations, something that he telegraphed to his crew to keep their spirits up even in the face of tragedy. Additionally, there weren't many people outside of Spock and McCoy who ever saw Kirk down and depressed, IMO. To the rest of the Enterprise crew, Kirk was always pushing forward, getting on with life, even if privately he may have really felt like crying at times...
     
    Dr Helen Noel likes this.
  6. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    Idaho
    I love it when when the OP answers their own question / conundrum right in the OP.

    And there is no other answer than this, really, because it's a TV show, make believe, and a real person wouldn't behave that way IRL, as we well know.
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    How do we know Kirk isn't like this after the other episodes you listed? If we followed Kirk around every second of those episodes we'd probably see this private mourning.
     
  8. Foxhot

    Foxhot Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Location:
    hans gruber
    Fire the bastard.
     
    Skipper likes this.
  9. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    It isn't necessary. Just make him to report for Sensitivity training ;)
     
  10. trynda1701

    trynda1701 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere in the darkest reaches of the Universe!
    This is indeed true.

    Also, I find it ironic that in the pictures posted, both McCoy and Spock are involved in said scenes. You know, the two officers who could, within Starfleet regulations, relieve Kirk of command if circumstances dictate (see "Obsession", which itself has four or five redshift deaths, Kirk is delaying the delivery of perishable medical supplies, yet ends with a scene where Kirk intends to tell Ensign Garrovick a few stories about his DEAD father!).

    But at the end of the day, it's still a TV show. :)
     
  11. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    And they are NOT amused. :lol:
     
  12. trynda1701

    trynda1701 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Location:
    Somewhere in the darkest reaches of the Universe!
    In the fourth pic, that's because McCoys' under his breath compliment was overheard by Spock! :lol::lol::lol:
     
    Phaser Two and Skipper like this.
  13. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    I'm thinking that everyone knows going in that serving on a starship is a very dangerous job and a certain percentage of deaths is expected. If the captain is going to be paralyzed by grief every time it happens, he's not going to last long. I'm thinking starship officers learn to compartmentalize their grief. We know there are scenes where Kirk has great sorrow and compassion when a crewman dies, such as when he consoled Angela when Tomlinson was killed in Balance of Terror.
     
    blssdwlf likes this.
  14. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Kirk is an atavism according to The Movie novelization. Most of Starfleet are.

    Primitive and savage people they put on starships because regular humanity are a bunch of nudist vegetarian psychics.

    :)
     
  15. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Location:
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    Your answer is in the final scene in Balance of Terror as Kirk, walking down the corridor, rebuilds his armour. He has a long history of using gallows humour to mask anguish. His achilles heel is getting snappy in a crisis.
     
    Harpsichord and ZapBrannigan like this.
  16. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2013
    Location:
    Backwaters of Australia
    Kirk is sad a lot - after COTEOF, Miramanee's death, on Neural, Kodos, Lazarus, Charlie just to name a few.
    I can only explain the levity after Galileo 7, Operation Annihilate!, Lights of Zetar as relief that it wasn't worse.
    I can't explain Wolf in the Fold though, so many women died and all Kirk could say was it wasn't Scotty - not a word about all the women who were killed.
     
    shapeshifter and Skipper like this.
  17. urbandefault

    urbandefault Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Location:
    Sickbay, dammit.
    "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence." - Bones
    "Sometimes things go so badly that you just have to laugh." - Spock
     
    Poltargyst and Skipper like this.
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2016
    Well, it's simple: they were women, and they were in the 60s.

    I mean, I didn't want to focus on that, but all the episode reeks so much of sexism to make "Mad Men" proud.

    Spock says assumes Redjac targets women because “women are more easily and more deeply terrified, generating more sheer horror than the male of the species.”
     
  19. Herbert

    Herbert Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2017
    Location:
    Yeoman Rand's Quarters
    Instead of cherry-picking those events that support only your argument, why don't you show us screenshots of all the times Kirk agonized over the death of people? ;)
     
    Henoch and blssdwlf like this.