Here is a bonus third post of the week, following my recent post on Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock. For those with no interest in Star Trek, normal service will resume on Saturday with a cultural blog on Lisbon!
Rather than write a long post highlighting various aspects of the show or turning points for the character, I thought I’d take this route instead. I’ve omitted several dozen of my favourite exchanges but these all give an insight into Spock and what he stands for. Please note my Star Trek guide-book is 60% finished, other projects keep getting in the way but it will be finished before the next movie comes out 🙂
In the Galileo Seven, a scientific party is on a small shuttle-craft which crash lands in the middle of a mysterious zone of space which cannot be scanned from a distance. With the Enterprise scheduled to leave the area in hours, the situation is made worse my marauding giant cavemen and the requirement to leave some crew behind in order to not overload the shuttle when taking off.
“Mister Spock, life and death are seldom logical.”
“But attaining a desired goal always is, doctor.”
- – McCoy and Spock, on leaving three people behind on the planet
- Star Trek – The Galileo Seven
In a whimsical tale of a little boy with the powers of a god who takes the Enterprise crew as pets, Mr. Spock is not afraid to nail his colours to the mast even when he could have been killed for doing so.
“I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose.”
- – Spock, to Trelane – Star Trek – Squire of Gothos
In “The City On The Edge Of Forever” an accident sends Kirk, Spock and McCoy accidentally back in time to the 1930’s. All time is changed as Germany wins WW2 and no-one is quite sure how to remedy it. A very young Joan Collins plays Edith Keeler, a social worker and peace activist who nurses the sick McCoy back to health. Spock informs the captain that Edith is likely the source of the time paradox and that she really should die in a car accident… doubly troublesome when the Captain reveals he has fallen in love with her. This most special of shows has lots of good Spock moments.
“We have a flop.”
“We have a what, captain?”
“A place to sleep.”
“One might have said so in the first place.”
- – Kirk and Spock Star Trek – The City On The Edge Of Forever
“I am endeavoring, ma’am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bearskins.”
- – Spock, as Keeler sees his work on the tricorder Star Trek – The City On The Edge Of Forever
(Spock is stoking the boiler when Edith comes in to confront them.)
EDITH: That toolbox was locked with a combination lock and you opened it like a real pro. Why did you do it?
SPOCK: I needed the fine tools for my radio work. They’d have been returned in the morning.
EDITH: I’m sorry, I can’t
KIRK: If Mister Spock says that he needs the tools and that they’ll be returned tomorrow morning, you can bet your reputation on that, Miss Keeler.
EDITH: On one condition. Walk me home? I still have a few questions I’d like to ask about you two. Oh, and don’t give me that questions about little old us? look. You know as well as I do how out of place you two are around here.
SPOCK: Interesting. Where would you estimate we belong, Miss Keeler?
EDITH: You? At his side, as if you’ve always been there and always will. And you? You belong in another place. I don’t know where or how. I’ll figure it out eventually.
SPOCK: I’ll finish with the furnace.
EDITH: Captain. Even when he doesn’t say it, he does.
Star Trek – The City On The Edge Of Forever
“Spock… I believe… I’m in love with Edith Keeler.”
“Jim, Edith Keeler must die.”
- – Kirk and Spock Star Trek – The City On The Edge Of Forever
“Save her – do as your heart tells you to do – and millions will die who did not die before.”
- – Spock, to Kirk Star Trek – The City On The Edge Of Forever
In The Doomsday Machine, a rogue killing machine is on the loose from a distant time and place. It destroys planets with a giant beam and uses the debris to re-fuel itself.
“Random chance seems to have operated in our favour.”
“In plain, non-Vulcan English, we’ve been lucky.”
“I believe I said that, doctor.”
- – Spock and McCoy, after the doomsday machine’s attack on the Enterprise
Star Trek – The Doomsday Machine
The Immunity Syndrome has a similar story to tell when the Enterprise is absorbed into a giant amoeba that if it multiplies will take over the galaxy. Both Spock and McCoy think they are the best men for the dangerous mission to stop this. Kirks problem is that they are both the best men and which friend does he consign to death, in the end it is Spock. This episode also contains what may be the inspiration for The Force in Star Wars.
“Vulcan dignity? How can I grant you what I don’t understand?”
“Then employ one of your own superstitions. Wish me luck.”
- – McCoy and Spock, outside the hangar deck door
- Star Trek – The Immunity Syndrome
Mr Spock was so popular in the first season of Star Trek that the TV audience demanded more and so Amok Time gives us our very first glimpse of the planet Vulcan and the Vulcan culture and civilisation culminating with Kirk and Spock fighting each other to the death!
“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.”
- – Spock to Stonn, on winning T’Pring
- Star Trek – Amok Time
“Live long and prosper, Spock.”
“I shall do neither. I have killed my captain and my friend.”
- – T’Pau and Spock, before he returns to the Enterprise
- Star Trek – Amok Time
One of the things that make Star Trek stand out is that is is full of humour, some episodes are made to be outright comedies. Even in other episodes the relationship between the logical Spock and emotional Dr. McCoy is always entertaining whether dramatic or light-hearted like the one below.
SPOCK: I find your argument strewn with gaping defects in logic.
MCCOY: Maybe, but you can’t evaluate a man by logic alone. Besides, he has avoided two appointments that I’ve made for his physical exam without reason.
SPOCK: That’s not at all surprising, Doctor. He’s probably terrified of your beads and rattles.
– Star Trek I Mudd
Journey to Babel is another Vulcan episode where we meet Spocks family whilst the Enterprise hosts an intergalactic peace conference with numerous alien races. Spock father, Sarek, is seen arguing with a Tellarite ambassador who is later found dead. Sarek is the chief suspect until he suffers a heart attack and Kirk is stabbed by an Andorian. With the Enterprise under attack and Spock in command and yet the only person able to give a Vulcan blood transfusion.
KIRK: As you wish, Ambassador. Mister Spock, we’ll leave orbit in two hours. Would you care to beam down and visit your parents?
SPOCK: Captain, Ambassador Sarek and his wife are my parents.
Star Trek – Journey to Babel
(The doorbell rings impatiently.)
SPOCK: Come in.
AMANDA: Spock, you must turn command over to somebody else.
SPOCK: Mother, when I was commissioned, I took an oath to carry out responsibilities which were clearly and exactly specified.
AMANDA: Any competent officer can command this ship. Only you can give your father the blood transfusions that he needs to live.
SPOCK: Any competent officer can command this ship under normal circumstances. The circumstances are not normal. We’re carrying over one hundred valuable Federation passengers. We’re being pursued by an alien ship. We’re subject to possible attack. There has been murder and attempted murder on board. I cannot dismiss my duties.
AMANDA: Duty? Your duty is to your father.
SPOCK: I know, but this must take precedence. If I could give the transfusion without loss of time or efficiency, I would. Sarek understands my reason.
AMANDA: Well, I don’t. It’s not human. That’s not a dirty word. You’re human, too. Let that part of you come through. Your father’s dying.
SPOCK: Mother, how can you have lived on Vulcan so long, married a Vulcan, raised a son on Vulcan, without understanding what it means to be a Vulcan?
AMANDA: If this is what it means, I don’t want to know.
SPOCK: It means to adopt a philosophy, a way of life, which is logical and beneficial. We cannot disregard that philosophy merely for personal gain, no matter how important that gain might be.
AMANDA: Nothing is as important as your father’s life.
SPOCK: Can you imagine what my father would say if I were to agree, if I were to give up command of this vessel, jeopardise hundreds of lives, risk interplanetary war, all for the life of one person?
AMANDA: When you were five years old and came home stiff-lipped, anguished, because the other boys tormented you saying that you weren’t really Vulcan. I watched you, knowing that inside that the human part of you was crying and I cried, too. There must be some part of me in you, some part that I still can reach. If being Vulcan is more important to you, then you’ll stand there speaking rules and regulations from Starfleet and Vulcan philosophy, and let your father die. And I’ll hate you for the rest of my life.
AMANDA: Oh, go to him. Now. Please.
SPOCK: I cannot.
(She slaps his face and storms out.)
Star Trek – Amok Time
The third season of Star Trek is undeniably less great the first two years due to a lack of budget and many of the writers having left the show and yet in some ways it returns more to the core themes. In Whom Gods Destroy Kirk and Spock beam down to facility for the criminally insane and are trapped there by a former starship captain who has become insane with shape-shifting abilities.
KIRK: They were humanitarians and statesmen, and they had a dream. A dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars, a dream that made Mister Spock and me brothers.
GARTH: Mister Spock, do you consider Captain Kirk and yourself brothers?
SPOCK: Captain Kirk speaks somewhat figuratively and with undue emotion. However, what he says is logical and I do, in fact, agree with it.
Star Trek – Whom Gods Destroy
The Cloudminders is a parable about living in an unequal society which in many ways is more relevant today than ever before. Similar Star Trek shows tackled themes such as war, racism, equality and disability.
“I have never before met a Vulcan, sir.”
“Nor I a work of art, madam.”
- – Droxine and Spock, on their first encounter The Cloud Minders
“This troubled planet is a place of the most violent contrasts. Those who receive the rewards are totally separated from those who shoulder the burdens. It is not a wise leadership.”
- – Spock, meditating on Stratos The Cloud Minders
“Spock, you haven’t changed a bit. You’re just as warm and sociable as ever.”
“Nor have you, doctor, as your continued predilection for irrelevancy demonstrates.”
Star Trek The Motion Picture is the first Star Trek film and sees a particularly frosty Mr. Spock.
- – McCoy and Spock – Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- “Each of us, at some time in our life, turns to someone – a father, a brother, a god – and asks: Why am I here? What was I meant to be? V’ger hopes to touch its creator to find its answers.”
““Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?“
- – Spock and Kirk – Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Whereas Star Trek 2 sees Spock at his absolute finest.
“You are my superior officer. You are also my friend. I have been and always shall be yours.” Spock – ST2:TWOK
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Spock – ST2 :TWOK
Star Trek 4 took on the parable theme of the series for an environmental cause, the Humpback Whales and had the premise of the whales being at least as important on earth as humans, when they became extinct an alien probe comes to wipe out all life on the planet and start afresh. Spock comes up with the idea of going back in time to 1986 and bringing them back without the humans of the time knowing anything about it.
“There are other forms of intelligence on Earth, Doctor. Only human arrogance would assume the message must be meant for man. -Spock Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home
“Spock, where the hell’s that power you promised?”
“One damn minute, Admiral!”
- – Kirk & Spock, (swearing for the first time in his life, trying to fit in to 1980’s LA)
- Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home
“Do you have a message for your mother?”
“Yes. Tell her I feel fine.”
- – Sarek and Spock Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home
Star Trek 6 is the final film featuring all the original cast together and forces the old foes of the Federation and Klingon Empire to come together in peace and again mirrored the events surrounding the end of the Cold War. However vested interests on both sides don’t necessarily want peace.
“You were right. It was arrogant presumption on my part that got us into this… situation. You and the Doctor might have been killed.”
“The night is young.”
- – Spock and Kirk Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country
“You’re a great one for logic. I’m a great one for rushing in where angels fear to tread.”
- – Kirk, to Spock Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country
“Is it possible that we two, you and I, have grown so old and so inflexible that we have outlived our usefulness?”
- – Spock, to Kirk Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country
“Captain, I have orders from Starfleet Command. We’re to be put back into Spacedock immediately. To be decommissioned.”
“If I were human, I believe my response would be: Go to hell! If I were human.”
- – Uhura and Spock Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country
Though Dr. McCoy and later Sarek had appeared on Star Trek TNG, having Spock appear was the final act that gave the show legitimacy and sense of belonging in the same Star Trek universe.
“In your own way, you are as stubborn as another captain of the Enterprise I once knew.”
“Then I am in good company, sir.”
- – Spock and Picard ST:TNG Unification Part II
For over 25 years, Spock vanished from new Star Trek as actor Leonard Nimoy took a principled stand over the direction of the TNG movies and his part in them but when at last new creators took over and Spock was given a meaningful part then the stage was set for his return in Star Trek 2009 as Spock(Prime).
SPOCK Father...? Sarek turns -- but IT ISN'T SAREK. IT'S SPOCK PRIME. Who says: SPOCK PRIME I am not... our father. An incredible beat, our two Spocks in eye lock... both minds processing conversational possibilities at an incredible rate... surreal extensions of each other, separate but connected... SPOCK ... Fascinating. SPOCK PRIME There are so few Vulcans left. We cannot afford to ignore each other. Young Spock's eyes flicker in puzzlement... SPOCK Then why did you send Kirk aboard when you alone could've explained the truth? 127 241 CONTINUED: 241 SPOCK PRIME (beat, simply) Because you needed each other. Opposing yet complimentary opposites. It was that balance between us -- I should say you and Kirk -- that often made the impossible, possible. SPOCK ... it was a test? SPOCK PRIME (no: his heart heavy) I'm in no position to pass judgment... my actions have robbed you of much. I could not also deprive you the revelation of all you can accomplish together... of a friendship that will define you both in ways you cannot yet realize. There is, to young Spock's surprise, vulnerability in that. SPOCK How did you persuade him to keep your secret? SPOCK PRIME I inferred universe-ending paradoxes would ensue should he break his promise. SPOCK You lied. SPOCK PRIME I implied. SPOCK A gamble... SPOCK PRIME An act of faith. One I hope you'll repeat in the future. Young Spock considers an enduring friendship between him and Kirk... for the first time, understanding it. But -- SPOCK The future's not what it used to be... in the face of extinction, it's only logical I resign my Starfleet commission and help rebuild our race. 127A 241 CONTINUED: (2) 241 SPOCK PRIME And yet, you are in a unique position... you can be in two places at once. (MORE) 128 241 CONTINUED: (3) 241 SPOCK PRIME (CONT'D) (beat) I urge you to remain in Starfleet: I've already located a suitable planet on which to establish a Vulcan colony, and assist in the foundation of a new science academy. Young Spock takes that in, resolute... SPOCK My future cannot be determined by your past. We are one, but not the same. SPOCK PRIME Then I ask that you do yourself a favor. Put away logic. Do what feels right. The world you've inherited lives in the shadow of incalculable devastation... but there's no reason you must face it alone. Spock Prime moves to the door, stops. Offers the VULCAN SALUTE: SPOCK PRIME (CONT'D) As my customary farewell would appear oddly self serving, I will simply say... good luck. Star Trek 2009
Unless Leonard Nimoy cleverly filmed a small scene for the new movie which is about to be filmed (not to be discounted given that his most recent appearance was kept quiet and Majel Barrett also appeared in Star Trek which was released after her death) then Spocks final appearance on-screen as played by Leonard Nimoy took place in 2013, 49 years after he filmed the pilot episode of Star Trek). Here in Star Trek Into Darkness in this parallel universe, the crew of the Enterprise are confronted by a eugenically engineered superman from a past age. Bombs go off in London and the Enterprise is set on a secret and unknown to them, suicide mission, when they recover Khan Noonien Singh. With things looking desperate a young Mr. Spock contacts his older self.
- – Spock Prime and Spock greeting each other on the Enterprise‘s view-screen
- Star Trek Into Darkness
“I will be brief. In your travels, did you ever encounter a man named Khan?”
“As you know, I have made a vow never to give you information that could potentially alter your destiny. Your path is yours to walk and yours alone. That being said, Khan Noonien Singh is the most dangerous adversary the Enterprise ever faced. He is brilliant, ruthless and he will not hesitate to kill every single one of you.”
“Did you defeat him?”
“At great cost, yes.”
- – Spock asks Spock Prime about Khan
- Star Trek Into Darkness