In which other captains ain’t got shit on Kirk, Spock has his second First Time, and Vulcans are Space Elves.
The captain of the Excelsior is not portrayed as being very on top of his game. He kind of epitomizes the Overconfident Jerkface archetype. Upon being told that someone is stealing the Enterprise he doesn’t even give the order to pursue until he’s sauntered onto the bridge and gloated a bit about hte Excelsior‘s Transwarp Engines.To be fair, they’re inside an enclosed spacedock, but you’d have to expect someone hijacking a ship to have thought of that. And indeed they did.
These shots really drive home the saize of the Spacedock. It’s wider than a Borg Cube. just the mushroom cap that houses the ships is taller than the tallest building on Earth. If Kirk can outwit the full staff of that, he can certainly think to disable the only ship capable of catching him.
Back on Genesis, Saavik and David Marcus have found a tiny shivering naked Vulcan child in the middle of a blizzard. This marks the first time the captain of the Grissom is not a complete asshole. He calls back to Starfleet to confirm permission to proceed, and the jamming is how they discover the Klingons on their asses. Christopher Lloyd ties to take prisoners, but their shot takes out the ship by accident, leaving Saavik, David, and Spock stranded. It develops that David Markus used an unethical, dangerous, and unstable form of matter in the Genesis device, and that’s why the Genesis planet is ripping itself apart at the seams.
It is, at this point, unclear as to how the Genesis effect functions. It doesn’t appear to mess with healthy humanoids, but it evolved the microbes on Spock’s tube up to these betentacled monstrosities and rejuvinated Spock’s dead body. I have no problem with an effect that does accelerated metabolism and lifecycles (it should have taken hundreds of millions of generations of selection pressure to get one of these things) or some sort of Treknobable ‘revitiliation’ effect, but both at once and conveniently selective is a bit much. Then again, the Genesis device was specifically built as a terraforming agent. If it put evolutionary pressure on humanoids the way it did on these worms, it would be even less useful than it is now.
It’s hard to tell whether Young Spock is actually mentally vacant or just completely unsocialized. But he’s aging with the planet, and about to hit puberty. Good thing for him that one of the people he’s stranded with happens to be a Vulcan female, so he’s unlikely to stab himself in the neck with his own erection, or whatever the mechanism is that causes Vulcans to die if the Pon Farr is unrequited. Ideally, she can guide him through some meditation to calm him (he does appear now to understand spoken Vulcan, somehow) but in the last resort they can boink. It is a logical course of action. Don’t worry, Saavik, there are no age-of-consent laws on Genesis, since it’s not a Federation planet per se.
As the Enterprise approaches, Krudge finds Saavik, Spock, and David and takes them captive. Chekov just barely saw something on sensors, which alerts Kirk to look for the cloaking ripple, and power weapons so he can catch them when they decloak to fire. Kirk even kills Kludge’s dog with his shot. Problematically, the shields are not quite working. And by ‘quite’ I mean ‘at all.’ The shot takes out the Enterprise automation, and the two ships are essentially dead in the water and nose-to-nose. There’s some posturing on both sides, and Kludge orders a random prisoner killed. It’s about to be Saavik, but David saves her and takes the knife instead.
How’s that no-win scenario working out for you, Kirk? Although its hard to actually blame this scenario on him. If he hadn’t shown up, all three would be at the least prisoners of the Klingon empire, tortured to death or until the Klingons used their mind scanner from “Errand of Mercy” and got the secret of a device that can, when all is said and done, destroy all current life on a planet.
Kirk surrenders, and Krudge orders every crewman to form a boarding party. Kirk is, however, still Kirk, and no matter how many bayonets the Klingons fix to their disruptors, it’s not going to help when Kirk orders the self-destruct sequence active on a one-minute countdown. And thus, with the Klingon crew aboard her, the Enterprise took her final flight.
I have a hard time imagining what it was like seeing this in the theaters and not knowing that a sequel was on the way. Perhaps a bit like when Troi plows the Enterprise-D into Veridian III, or when Troi crashes the Enterprise-E into the Scimitar, but moreso because it is, after all, the first time we watch an Enterprise get totaled. Man, Troi should just not be allowed to drive.
The planet starts ripping itself apart in earnest, and Spock’s bone structure starts doing the same until he can be, at last, portrayed by Leonard Nimoy. It can’t feel good for Kirk to see his dead son and comatose best friend, but it has to help at least a little knowing that David died saving someone else. It’s going to take one final maneuver for Kirk to get home, though. Krudge is alone on the only functioning starship in the area, and the planet is breaking apart. He beams down and Kirk tries to take him in hand-to-hand combat.
And nobody but Shatner could deliver the line “I have had enough of you” with the emphasis on the wrong words. Oh Shatner. Never change. Kirk knows just enough Klingon to order a beam up. He sounds nothing like CHristopher Lloyd, but there was a lot of ambient noise. And thus, Kirk stole two ships in one movie.
It is, at this point, all over but the crying. McCoy still has Spock’s Katra in his head, and we get to hear, in private, his real thoughts about Spock. Of course, we know, but it’s nice to hear out loud. Less Than Three. The Unnamed Klingon Scoutship lands on Vulcan, where Uhura and Sarek are waiting for them along with a a coven of Vulcan mystics, and it does appear to be a foregone conclusion that Spock’s Mind will get to go come to Spock’s Brain. I guess he was having yet another out-of-body experience.
It is worth mentioning that this mind/body swap does appear to be a procedure that Vulcans are familiar with in more than theory. It’s dangerous and hasn’t been done for possibly centuries, but it’s been done in recorded history. This is somewhat surprising, since it seems to rely on a body without a mind. I can, however, picture a Vulcan tyrant (from the era before Surak, of course) having his young, strong enemies mindwiped and putting himself into their bodies. It could also be useful for the Federation to have access to such techniques – grow a clone body without mind and perform the transfer. There are all sorts of ethical implications.
Regardless, just as Spock’s theme from Wrath of Khan was ‘the needs of the many must outweigh the needs of the few,” Kirk’s theme in this movie is pretty clearly “the needs of the one can outweigh the needs of the many,” which is a very Kirk thing to believe. It’s also quite a nice bookend to this sequel. Sadly for thematic symmetry but fortunately for Star Trek fans, there’s a third part to this little trilogy, whose theme is ‘lol whales.’