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Scott Atwell Star Trek Discussion thread (Series and Films)


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#8781 of 12141 OFFLINE   FanCollector

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Posted August 27 2013 - 06:05 PM

Scott, it hadn't killed nearly as many people as the Horta. And Rojan, who really could have known better, was forgiven and welcomed after killing. The feeders of Vaal avoided retribution, too. And entire stories turned on Kirk's refusal to exact vengeance on the Gorn and the Earps after they had killed. I tend to agree with Bryan about "growing pains," but whatever the reason, it does feel like a philosophical outlier to me. I like a lot of things in the episode--just that ending that disturbs me.

#8782 of 12141 OFFLINE   KPmusmag

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Posted August 27 2013 - 07:11 PM

In "The Man Trap" Dr. Crater talks about studying the salt creature's racial cultural artifacts, art and music, etc. So we are led to believe that these are highly intelligent creatures, with the capacity to create beauty. The creature can obviously communicate. Why didn't it ask for help? Instead, it chose to kill. Surely it understood the Crater had already tried to help, surely it understood that the Enterprise brought people from Crater's world as well as great technology, and yet it chose to kill rather than attempt a peaceful solution. The problem (for me) with the analogy of the buffalo is that buffaloes didn't (and don't) create sculpture or sonatas, they act only instinctively. But, according to Dr. Crater, the salt creature's race did create art. I find it hard to reconcile.

 

What I do love about the episode is that we get to know the characters quite a bit. We learn about McCoy's life, and there is a lot that we learn about Spock, too, that sets up things to come. My favorite exchange is when Uhura asks Spock about what it's like on Vulcan on a warm evening with moonlight. He replies that Vulcan has no moon, and she wryly says something to the effect of "That doesn't surprise me one bit." You get so much about both Spock and Vulcan from that brief exchange.



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Posted August 27 2013 - 07:25 PM

I had the same questions and decided that the salt creatures were not necessarily the dominant species on M-113. They may have been like the buffalo in that they were widespread but not the most intelligent species. That is, they didn't create the art and architecture the Craters were studying. The early memos quoted in the new Cushman book indicate that the early plans for the episode were to have "an animal" as the antagonist, which may have made that distinction clearer.

#8784 of 12141 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 27 2013 - 09:14 PM

Great discussion guys! I agree that humanity may be too xenophobic to accept a friendly alien at present. It would be nice. This reminds me, that yes, Earth is made up of many governments. In Star Trek, the Halkans are a one government world. ( and yes, they wouldn't trade their crystals out of principle) There was a 1980's Twilight Zone episode called A Small Talent of War. An alien delegate arrives on Earth and addresses the UN. Makes sense, all the governments at once. The Day The Earth Stood Still of course took place in Washington DC. This Twilight Zone had a delightful twist ending. I won't give it away in case you guys missed it. So hopefully the aliens would go meet with the UN. Unless theres a Starfleet.About the salt creature, I forgot about that example. It was likely early days, the network wanted a monster, so they gave them one. I'll look for that in the Cushman book!

#8785 of 12141 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted August 28 2013 - 06:26 AM

Nelson,Yes, the Salt Vampire was probably the requisite 'bear' for TOS, much in the same way that TOL (according to Schow's remarks concerning TPTB) had to have one each week.  (In retrospect, there are several episodes of TOL that would have worked without the 'bear,' although I understand that it is one of the defining characteristics of that series.  And besides, Wah Chang made each 'bear' so incredibly interesting to appreciate.)

 

Kevin,

 

That's an interesting take on The Man Trap.  I hadn't considered the intelligence of the Salt Vampire before.  We know that the Horta is extremely intelligent.  And yet, both kill.  In my opinion, the Horta had (relatively speaking) a more justifiable reason for killing than did the Salt Vampire.  If you'll pardon my analogy, I think for me it comes back to the addage that 'not all wars are bad' (in other words, that some wars are justifiable while others are not).  Perhaps here I ought to substitute the word 'killing' for 'war.'

 

Lee,

 

For me, the ending didn't bother me too much.  I suppose it's because that even McCoy -- as gut-wrenching as it was for him to pull the trigger -- knew what had to be done given what had occurred to that point (i.e., the killing of Barnhart, Green, Sturgeon, Dr. Crater, etc.). Additionally, he was saving Kirk's life.

 

Your point about the Horta is well-taken.  I do see (as I mentioned to Kevin above) a distinction between what the Horta did and what the Salt Vampire did.  We know that the Horta was killing to protect her children.  I assume that the Salt Vampire was killing to remain alive.  Perhaps the salient question to ask is whether or not this distinction is important enough to justify the actions of both.  I don't know the answer to that question, and I don't think I can begin to answer it adequately without contextualizing the actions of both within various philosophical frameworks.


Edited by Ockeghem, August 28 2013 - 06:49 AM.


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Posted August 28 2013 - 06:43 AM

There is certainly a distinction to be made regarding their motives for killing. The M-113 creature probably falls somewhere between the Horta and the other examples (Rojan, Gorn, Morgan Earp) on that spectrum. And saving Kirk's life surely would, and should, take precedence. My entire objection lies in the question, why not stun? It wouldn't even require any exposition, since Kirk and Spock stunned Crater earlier in the episode. In essence, they used a shotgun on the last buffalo when they had a tranquilizer dart readily available.One of the surprising things I learned in the Cushman book is that right up until Roddenberry's last rewrite of this script, Crater survived. By having the creature kill its benefactor/lover/protector for more salt, perhaps Roddenberry was seeking to reduce some sympathy for the creature and make the ending less disturbing to the audience. I see why the creature had to die dramatically; I just wish the script provided another mechanism for it besides our guys hunting it down and killing it.

#8787 of 12141 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 28 2013 - 06:53 AM

I've never given the salt vampire of The Man Trap this much consideration before.I suppose you can say killer whales are pretty smart too. But they just go about their business like sharks. It's instinctive, to quote Anan. So I've always thought Nancy wasn't evil, just acting on her natural inclinations. To feed.

#8788 of 12141 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted August 28 2013 - 08:34 AM

"My entire objection lies in the question, why not stun? It wouldn't even require any exposition, since Kirk and Spock stunned Crater earlier in the episode. In essence, they used a shotgun on the last buffalo when they had a tranquilizer dart readily available."Lee,Those are excellent points.  I hadn't even considered the stun setting before for that scene.  As Kirk would say, "Now I have something new to think about." ;)

 

Although peripheral to your point (and not central to The Man Trap), I keep coming back to the differences of opinion that Kirk and Spock have with regard to deciding whether to allow the Horta to live or die throughout The Devil In the Dark.  That's actually one of the most compelling aspects of that episode (first-rate in all regards) in my opinion.  First it's a "crime against science" (Spock), then it's "your orders are to shoot to kill" (Kirk), and when Kirk's life is (ostensibly) in danger it's "Kill it Captain!" (Spock).  And this doesn't even take into account Chief Vanderberg's change of position from the beginning of the episode to its conclusion.  Some interesting transformations are seen as we progress through the story.


Edited by Ockeghem, August 28 2013 - 08:38 AM.


#8789 of 12141 OFFLINE   KPmusmag

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Posted August 28 2013 - 08:39 AM

I had the same questions and decided that the salt creatures were not necessarily the dominant species on M-113. They may have been like the buffalo in that they were widespread but not the most intelligent species. That is, they didn't create the art and architecture the Craters were studying. The early memos quoted in the new Cushman book indicate that the early plans for the episode were to have "an animal" as the antagonist, which may have made that distinction clearer.

 

I have watched that episode for 40 years and never considered that the Salt Vampire's race was not the dominant one. Thanks for the thought! So I watched it again with that in mind, and that works. On the question of intelligence, even if the creature's race was the not the dominant species, nonetheless, the creature in its natural state wears clothing, which implies rational thought at some level. So again the buffalo analogy doesn't quite work for me, however, I can accept that perhaps the creature is at a lower intelligence level that does not allow it to conceive of anything other than a solution of violence. But then, I argue with myself, its ability to mimic not only the look of Nancy (and the others) but so precisely their behaviors seems more intelligent and cunning than instinctive - but - NBC wanted a monster so there you are.



#8790 of 12141 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted August 28 2013 - 08:43 AM

Kevin,I too argue with myself frequently when it comes to A Taste Of Armageddon.  It's great to be in good company. ;)



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Posted August 28 2013 - 10:04 AM

I have watched that episode for 40 years and never considered that the Salt Vampire's race was not the dominant one. Thanks for the thought! So I watched it again with that in mind, and that works. On the question of intelligence, even if the creature's race was the not the dominant species, nonetheless, the creature in its natural state wears clothing, which implies rational thought at some level. So again the buffalo analogy doesn't quite work for me, however, I can accept that perhaps the creature is at a lower intelligence level that does not allow it to conceive of anything other than a solution of violence. But then, I argue with myself, its ability to mimic not only the look of Nancy (and the others) but so precisely their behaviors seems more intelligent and cunning than instinctive - but - NBC wanted a monster so there you are.

It's behavior certainly problematizes the "animal" definition, especially when in the guise of McCoy, it makes a case for itself. All the more reason that the distinction is blurry, as opposed to the single-celled creature in The Immunity Syndrome, whose destruction doesn't make anyone feel guilty or elegiac.

 

 

Although peripheral to your point (and not central to The Man Trap), I keep coming back to the differences of opinion that Kirk and Spock have with regard to deciding whether to allow the Horta to live or die throughout The Devil In the Dark.  That's actually one of the most compelling aspects of that episode (first-rate in all regards) in my opinion.  First it's a "crime against science" (Spock), then it's "your orders are to shoot to kill" (Kirk), and when Kirk's life is (ostensibly) in danger it's "Kill it Captain!" (Spock).  And this doesn't even take into account Chief Vanderberg's change of position from the beginning of the episode to its conclusion.  Some interesting transformations are seen as we progress through the story.

 

That shift was exactly what I meant earlier in saying it was one of the more significant character moments in the series. Looking at the Gene Coon scripts for Arena, Errand of Mercy, Metamorphosis, and The Devil in the Dark, we see a Kirk whose first priority is always "the mission." He begins by accepting what he is told at face value and single-mindedly pursues his ordered (or presumed, based on standing orders) goal. In each case, however, new circumstances force him to question not only his orders, but his own philosophical assumptions, and he finishes the stories in a very different place from where he starts; always turning away from violence and toward a peaceful solution. In The Devil in the Dark, he starts out focusing strictly on the most efficient way to resume mining on Janus VI, but then reexamines his strategy when faced with the Horta itself. (Another reason he can question himself at that time is that he prioritizes his safety at a comparatively low level.) Spock is just the opposite: he doesn't really care about pergium mining. He stands by his oath and mostly does what he is asked unless it becomes impossibly unethical to him, but mining operations interest him much less than science. When Kirk is threatened, however, Spock's priorities shift radically also, for the opposite reason. Science is more important to Spock than mining, but apparently Kirk is more important to him than science.



#8792 of 12141 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted August 28 2013 - 10:46 AM

Not sure this is the best thread for this or not, if you have a better suggestion, let me know.  Saw this in my email this AM and thought you guys might like it:

http://videos.digg.c...terclass-on-how



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Posted August 28 2013 - 12:55 PM

Loved it!!

#8794 of 12141 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 29 2013 - 07:02 AM

Fun to see Sir Patrick give a lesson like that! Well, I hadn't been checking in at Trekcore the last week, but I did last night and I'm glad to see that they have done a review of These Are The Voyages! Another scoop for them again doing stuff other Star Trek sites are not. I only had a chance to look at it, I'll read the review later today. http://trekcore.com/...tos-season-one/

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Posted August 29 2013 - 06:24 PM

Poor Scotty...at least it didn't work out that way for him:http://www.missionlo...ddocuments/056/

#8796 of 12141 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 29 2013 - 07:34 PM

Poor Scotty? Was there a Scotty reference in that Roddenberry article you linked to?

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Posted August 29 2013 - 07:38 PM

No. Below the article is a memo from Bob Justman regarding the contract options of the regular cast members.

#8798 of 12141 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 29 2013 - 08:03 PM

I see it now Lee. Thanks! I didn't realize there was more below.Amazing to see that document. It seems crazy in hindsight of how during those days the supporting cast was seen as expendable. The budget was that tight. Also, the numbers are blanked out, but I can guess the main three were given 4 figures an episode if I understand how they are paid. And the support cast is in 3 figures, except Doohan who seemed to be getting more.

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Posted August 29 2013 - 08:54 PM

I really wonder what deal they finally struck with Doohan, because Justman's concerns notwithstanding, he was used in every episode that year. I know that Ms. Nichols had a surprisingly lucrative deal the first year and, as I learned in Cushman's book, they were all going crazy trying to find a way out of it.While some of Justman's assessments seem a little harsh and even hasty, it does pretty much belie Ms. Nichols's view that Star Trek was "the first ensemble show." Roddenberry's endorsement of Justman's memo is hard to ignore.

#8800 of 12141 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted August 30 2013 - 06:41 AM

I had to read that memo again for it to kind of sink in. So the sliding scale confused me at first. I think it meant that Doohan, Takei, Nichols and Keonig would be paid $100 to work one day a week per episode, or $200 for two days, or $500 for 5 days. Just throwing numbers out for examples. and that's for at least 7 out of 13 episodes. As i mentioned before, I imagine you'd really have to hustle to earn a living.And I wondered what he meant about a thin verse fat Nichelle, fat pay or fat body. I'm guessing it's related to the request that Shatner loose weight. Obviously it was all worked out.Your Cushman story has me curious about who was trying to get out of it. The cast or studio. I'll read about it when I get to that chapter!




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