Friday, March 3, 2017

Episode Review - Amok Time (Original Series, Season 2)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – Spock is acting erratically, showing emotional outbursts. He requests that the Enterprise return him to his home planet of Vulcan, where he is to be married. Kirk and McCoy soon learn that Spock is entering the pon farr, a time when Vulcans must mate or they could die. Upon arrival at Vulcan, Spock’s betrothed has a surprise for Spock which finds him pitted against his friend and captain in a duel to the death.

Kirk discusses his science officer with the legendary T'Pau

Score: 10/10 – One of the most popular Star Trek episodes of all time, this is an episode that is exciting and sheds some light on the Vulcan people that has so far been lacking in the series. We get to see the planet Vulcan for the first time, which is always nice. Most importantly, we get a great story that really shows the dynamics between the famous Kirk-Spock-McCoy friendship.

McCoy checks out Nurse Chapel's homemade soup.

Relevance - 3 points. One point scored for pon farr, which will be touched on again in the movie Star Trek III as well as on Voyager. A point is scored for the appearance of T’Pau, a legendary figure in Vulcan history who, while making her first appearance in Star Trek, is seen as her younger self in the three-part Enterprise arc starting with the episode “The Forge”. A third point is scored for the first appearance of Pavel Chekov, who would come to be a huge fan favorite in the series. We also see the Vulcan hand salute and the accompanying “Live long and prosper” for the first time, so to say that this episode is highly relevant to Trek lore would be an understatement.

Live long and prosper.

Continuity - 3 points. This story establishes so much about Vulcans and their culture that it is considered by many to be its genesis, so Trek universe continuity is secure. Storyline works, nothing contradictory here. Finally, character continuity works, even with Spock’s emotional rollercoaster ride.

T'Pring has a different idea in mind

Character Development – 3 points. A strong Spock story that also shows McCoy’s quick thinking and Kirk’s loyalty to his Vulcan friend. We would see this devotion of Kirk towards Spock again in the Search for Spock movie. Still, this gives us the most insight into not only Spock but Vulcans in general.

Spock cannot return Christine's feelings.

Social Commentary – 0 points. This is an excellent story with lots going on, but I struggled to find anything that was socially relevant to us. Still, a great story, but that’s not enough to score in this category.

The fight to the death

Cool Stuff – 3 points. Spock, and thereby Vulcans, was one of the most popular aspects of Star Trek. As a result, fans had been eagerly awaiting a trip to Vulcan to see where our favourite alien grew up. We get to see that in this episode. We also get to experience the iconic Star Trek fight music for the first time (if you are not humming it right now, then turn in your Trekkie card). Finally, at the end of the episode where Spock discovers that Kirk is still alive, he drops his Vulcan composure and gives us a huge Vulcan smile. While he quickly regains his composure, it is still a warm and cool moment.

You're dead, Jim.

Rank – Admiral (22 points). Honestly, if you are a fan of Star Trek of any type and have not seen this episode, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! This is about as classic as any episode gets, and is likely on so many people’s Top Ten lists of best episodes from the Original Series that I think the few who don’t place it there say that they do so they don’t look out of touch. And if you still think that Amok Time is not one of the best episodes of Star Trek, then come meet me out back and we can settle it plak tow style. Bring your Lirpa. 

Spock's momentary lapse in control

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