Thursday, May 21, 2015

17 to 01: The Galileo Seven

Derek and I politely fight for thirty out of fifty minutes about every. single. thing. in this episode.

There is a lot of what I feel is unintentional allegory in this episode, which is not to its detriment. Spock is constantly able to do everyone else's job and an episode which exploits his weaknesses to the hilt is much needed, but I'm still sifting for larger social messages.


SkilTao said...

It annoys me that the writers use "logic" as a synonym for Spock's clinical deliberateness and "irrationality/emotion" as a synonym for impulsiveness. They seem to be tying empathy, impulsiveness and people skills together into a bundle called "humanity" and saying that because Spock sucks at one he must suck at them all.

I suspect Spock selected or at least approved the away team, and as leader he's responsible for team cohesion, so I agree that the episode is meant to highlight his lack of people skills. But I'm not convinced there's a character arc here.
- His abrasiveness makes things unpleasant for the team but he never lets morale get so low as to actually hinder the mission.
- I think Spock's panicked soliloquy is mainly about his uncertainty and indecision at a critical moment. McCoy is clearly wrong--Spock was explicitly anticipating an emotional response (fear) from the natives, and I doubt this is the first episode to show Spock accounting for the emotions of friends or foes. No action against the natives was going to end safely; and, as with Kirk's decision to investigate in the first place, the fact that a tactical decision failed does not mean it was the wrong decision.
- He allows the burials at the first moment that a burial is tactically permissible.
- Dumping fuel is sudden and unexpected, but also clinical and deliberate; casting it as impulsive functions mainly to give Kirk something to tie in with at the end. (All main plots must end with Kirk.)
I guess I see two potential arcs. First is Spock identifying which people skills he needs to command effectively; the second is the crew (personified in Boma) learning to see the humanity behind Spock's alien facade.

It's nice that Uhura takes Spock's place as the voice over Kirk's shoulder.

The search parties were taking casualties - given enough time, I wonder how many deaths it would take before Kirk called the search off.

I guess the chairs are made of the same crazy-light future space balsa that the hull is.

If phasers had the range to be used as signal beacons, you'd think we'd've seen 'em used as sniper weapons at some point. Range is possibly good enough to signal people at the shuttle though.

If the natives had a second rock, Boma and McCoy would've been squibbed.

Good analogy about choice between weapons & space exploration.

VanVelding said...

Anything to avoid blaming Spock, eh?

SkilTao said...

Eh... more that the episode was written to answer "Spock is awesome! Why isn't he captain?!" with
- He's too abrasive to maintain control of the crew for extended periods, and
- He freezes when things don't go as expected.

Basically just getting riled up about the false "logic vs. emotions" dichotomy.

SkilTao said...

Bonus, it also answers "Why does the Captain lead so many away missions personally?"

VanVelding said...

Yeah, I think it's safe to say that logic vs emotion is the core concept in TOS and those two things are not mutually exclusive. There's more overlap than the series lets on and it gets frustrating after a while.