Saturday, January 12, 2013

TOS: Amok Time

The Pon Farr (aka: how Vulcan babies are made) has become something of a joke--a cliché--even within the Star Trek franchise. We all know (and if you don't know, you ought to educate yourself with this fine documentary) that the Pon Farr makes Vulcan's act very... un-Vulcan-like. They're driven to mate and, if they don't, they'll die.

The first appearance of this legendary Star Trek trope came in the TOS second season premier: "Amok Time." This iconic episode features Spock in the throes of a Pon Farr induced blood fever. He doesn't want to, but he's forced to fight his best friend with some seriously amazing music playing behind them. You've heard this music. Even if you haven't seen this episode, you've heard it. The score became crazy famous and the composer himself didn't even realize how far it had gone until he heard it on an episode of the Simpsons years later.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll talk a lot more about the Pon Farr in posts to come but, for now, I just want to mention my two favorite moments of "Amok Time."

#1- It's commonly known that Christine Chapel has a crush on Spock. As such, she really, really wants to help him out but doesn't understand how. This could all be played to comic effect and we could all have a hearty laugh at how naïve Chapel is and then make much merriment about the subtext. Instead, it's tragic. All she wants to do is help him. Her friend, the man she secretly loves, is going to die. When she visits him in his quarters, all of this shows and it's heartbreaking.

Spock says, "I had a most startling dream. You were trying to tell me something. But, I couldn't hear you."

Christine Chapel begins to cry.

He approaches her, runs his hand along her cheek, and says, "Your face is wet."

And that's pretty much how their entire relationship goes. It's tragic. I love it.

#2- When Spock is finally about to leave the Enterprise for Vulcan he says that, "The male is accompanied by his closest friends." Then, Spock asks Kirk to join him. Kirk agrees. That's all well and good and nice. But, the thing I love about this is when Spock suddenly turns to McCoy and says, "I also request that McCoy accompany me."

This is awesome because McCoy and Spock supposedly loathe at each other. McCoy is too passionate and emotional for Spock; Spock is too logical and stoic for McCoy. McCoy never refrains from insulting Vulcans as a species and Spock constantly regards his own humanity as a weakness. Still, Spock wants McCoy there. Their reluctant friendships is one of the great institutions of Star Trek. They would go on, for many years and many movies, to poke fun at each other but the heart of their relationship, the truth under the sarcasm, is right here in "Amok Time."

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Pon Farr. His blood boiled with mating lust. Even the Big Bang Theory pokes at this! I'll be checking out the full definition when I'm not at work, haha.


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