Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That Which Stinks

So I have the great fortune of having a wife who not only willingly watches Star Trek with me, she enjoys it. Every night we watch one episode of a TV show together on our Apple TV. She was the one who chose to watch Star Trek: The Original Series (she also chose to watch Next Generation a year ago or so). Here's the great thing about watching Star Trek with my wife: we both enjoy cheesy sci-fi, but we also un-ironically love the Star Trek universe. When the Gorn threw its unbelievably slow punch in "Arena," my wife and I both laughed out loud and played it back three times. When Spock's brain was stolen, my Wife and I were legitimately concerned because despite everything we were still able to suspend our disbelief. I love it because we can watch the show with both a critical eye and  a childlike wonder.

Our love of the Trek being what it is, my wife and I couldn't help but be completely offended and bothered by  the episode we watched last night: "That Which Survives." It was without question the worst episode of the series thus far, and I can't imagine a worse episode with so few left in the series.

Here's the problem with "That Which Survives": the dialogue for Spock awful. It is a well-established fact that Spock is not a fan of the emotional nature of humans, but he is not openly antagonistic about this point. He merely treats it as his cross to bear since he was the one who chose Starfleet over the Vulcan Science Academy. For example: in "The Galileo Seven" Spock is in command of a shuttlecraft crew whose members are being killed by large and somewhat comical cave men (the weapons in this episode are hilarious, especially the non-threatening giant spears). When members of the shuttlecraft crew suggest that Spock is being unfeeling in not allowing proper burials for dead crew members, opting for the more logical course of securing a means of escape, the crew nearly mutinies. Spock responds only by outlining the logic of his course of action and does not condescend to his crew or seem unable to comprehend their feelings. The Spock of "The Galileo Seven" is a Spock we know, understand, and can predict.

In "That Which Survives" Spock is constantly berating the Enterprise crew for their human thoughts and feelings. He suddenly seems unable to comprehend metaphor and exaggeration (a problem he never had before). It seemed like Spock basically turned into Sheldon Cooper. Every time Spock opened his mouth, my Wife and I groaned. It was as if the person who wrote the episode (John Meredyth Lucas, who also wrote "Patterns of Force," the Nazi episode that was strangely awesome) had never seen an episode of Star Trek. In fact, if you gave the basic plot to a person who had never seen a single episode of Star Trek and had no idea what a Vulcan was, they would have written better dialogue. A room full of monkeys with typewriters would have churned out a better script.

Because Spock is my wife's favorite character (what can I say? The lady has taste) the entire episode felt like a betrayal of everything that came before it. The sad thing is that this episode actually had potential. The plot wasn't too bad, but the dialogue killed it. "That Which Survives?" More like "That Which Stinks."

No comments:

Post a Comment