In which exploration takes a backseat to humanitarian aid, Spock and Scotty are the only sane people on a shuttlecraft, and I draw entirely the wrong lesson.
Guys, I’m trying really hard not to read the Neflix plot synopses, and I don’t always succeed. This one may get a little ricockulous. Just so you know.
Apparently, there is a position called “galactic high commissioner.” In the same way that the winner of the NFL Super Bowl are considered ‘world champions,’ I suppose. He commissions everything in the galaxy that deigns to be commissioned by him. This reference class does not, apparently, include Kirk, who has decided to stop at a pretty amazing stellar formation to look at the pretty lights on the way to deliver emergency medical supplies. He has his reasons.
Oh, I see. The shuttle is called the Galileo and its designation is NCC-1701/7. Well, that’s one mystery solved then. I’m sure everything will go swimmingly
from here and the flimsy shuttlecraft will in no way be completely fucked over by this unpredictable stellar phenomenon, revealing critical flaws in shuttlecraft design. Instead of, say, taking the actual ship with full deflector shields and a sensor suite that can find a cloaked Romulan Warbird. I guess they’ll save that sensor suite for when the shuttlecraft goes off course and has to be rescued.
Fortunately there’s exactly one planet that the crew won’t immediately die if they land on it. So it’s the only place that makes sense to search, and since McCoy, Spock, and Montgomery Scott were on the shuttle instead of a bunch of nameless redshirts, that is in fact where they landed. Although ‘landed’ is a generous term. Knowing that they don’t have the personnel to spare, Spock sends out two goldshirts to scout. And it will be decades before goldshirts are the ones who die randomly.
I’m not sure what the Galactic High Commissioner’s deal is, but I’m pretty sure it’s an appointed position. He doesn’t seem like the type to be able to win an election, the way he keeps telling Kirk to abandon his crew. Luckily, Spock has the answer – they’re overweight for how much fuel they have left, so they need to dump some passengers. And luckily, the goldshirts are going to relieve us from the burden of choice by antagonizing a hairy giant with a spear. Hur hur hur. But speaking of not winning any popularity contests, Spock is not currently the kind of person who can inspire loyalty in his men.
McCoy is still the dumbest person around. If you’re stranded on an alien planet with spear-chucking giants, and you know the Enterprise has somewhere to go in less than 24 hours, you fix the shuttle. I side firmly with Spock on this one – he could use a little more tact and polish, but he’s actively working on a solution, whereas McCoy is literally advocating a course of action where they all accept their deaths and get sad about it. If you need to lose an adult human’s equivalent of mass, leave McCoy. I don’t even know what he *does*. Call it lifeboat ethics again, but even when the repairs fail and they dump the rest of the fuel, Spock does not give into despair. Despair is illogical. Don’t tell McCoy, though, he’ll probably just suggest everyone get into a warm bath and get creative with a razor. Spock is also the only one not to advocate indiscriminately killing the native lifeforms. Half the time, he embodies a morality tale about not losing
sight of your humanity, and the other half he serves to highlight just how barbarous human instinct is. Scotty is hard at work converting a reactor that runs on some sort of fluid fuel that runs through pipes to being able to run on a phaser battery.
Back on the ship, Kirk hasn’t decked the High Commissioner with one of his patented double-hammer-fists.
We end with humans insistence on a burial nearly costing the shuttle their chance to escape, and Spock his life. I’m pretty sure the lesson I’m drawing from this is not the one I’m supposed to: It takes a lot of effort to compensate for the irrationality of others. Everyone gets safely home, and Kirk gloats about Spock’s decision to spend the last of the shuttle fuel sending a flair, and everyone laughs heartily, totally fine with two crewmen having died horrible deaths down on the planet.