The Galileo Seven

The term “tsundere” is a Japanese word used to describe a character who at first appears cold and harsh (tsun tsun) but over time reveals a soft side (dere dere). An entire sub-genre of anime has been built around this character concept. Many of the better-known tsundere characters are female (Taiga from Toradora! is a favorite of Ando’s), but plenty of males fit the role as well (Kyo from Fruits Basket is a personal favorite). As it gains traction, the term of “tsundere” is being applied more widely, to characters such as Sherlock from BBC’s Sherlock.

Is Spock tsundere?

Galaxy Quest FTW!

I half-expect to see Tony Shalhoub eating a cheese-dipper snack

“The Galileo Seven” shows off many aspects of Spock’s personality– mainly repeating themes we’ve seen before, but this time in more detail. The crewmen of the week openly demonstrate their disdain for Spock’s cold, reason-based decisions while on Taurus II. Team Passive Aggressive take Spock’s perceived lack of grief over a dead crewman as evidence that he considers the crew little more than an expendable resource like any other. His strict adherence to logic and reason means that he cannot have an emotional attachment to crew, even those under his command. As the episode progresses, Spock’s actions appear less cold and more protective. He invokes the classic “go on without me” trope, demonstrating he is willing to sacrifice himself to save his crew. This is a turning point for Squishy Spock, culminating in most of the bridge crew ribbing him about his “strictly logical” act of desperation.

Examples of Spock’s “tsun tsun” nature are plentiful, as his emotionless logic is central to his character. Like any good tsundere, Spock himself insists that he feels no attachment and indeed cares for no person, as those are illogical human emotions and therefore have no place in his mind. In “The Galileo Seven,” Spock’s actions suggest a level of protectiveness that he would never admit to. While later episodes and movies give us glimpses of what could be considered a kinder gentler Spock, it’s not until 2009’s Star Trek, with the introduction of a relationship with Uhura, that we see what could truly be considered tsundere Spock. As is often the case in anime, it takes a romantic interest to crack the shell of a stubbornly cold loner.

I hope Kirk-sama notices me...

Tsundere Spock – image by CanneDeBonbon (DeviantArt)

 

Shore Leave

McCoy's expression is pretty much how I feel about this blue feather duster that keeps peeking in from off-camera

McCoy’s expression is pretty much how I feel about this blue feather duster that keeps peeking in from off-camera

This episode is an example of why watching the shows in broadcast order provides a radically different experience than watching in series order. One of the first notable parts of this episode, and something Ando warned me about going into it, is the presence of Lt. Angela Martine, the bride-to-be from “Balance of Terror“, whose fiancee fell victim to the plot and was tragically killed during the cat-and-mouse game with the Romulans. This almost-widow is now seen snuggling up to Lt. Rodriguez, suggesting she got over her fiancee’s death surprisingly quickly. A little Wikipedia browsing reveals that in actuality, 7 episodes were filmed in between “Balance of Terror” and “Shore Leave”, and 1316.1 units of stardate (take that as you will; this early on, stardates meant next to nothing) have passed since Lt. Tomlinson’s death. Audiences of the time probably considered Lt. Martine a floozy, if they noticed her at all. The creators gave her much more credit than that, giving her what I’m sure they considered to be an appropriate mourning period, followed by the emergence of a new love interest.

I like the Caretaker - he looks like a cool guy

I like the Caretaker – he looks like a cool guy

Why were these episodes shown so out of order as to appear nearly randomized? I’m sure there were production reasons in some cases – special effects in post, delays in editing, etc. I like to think that in this case, “Balance of Terror” kept getting put off for some reason, and then all of a sudden, they realized, “Crap, that was the last episode before Christmas,” (aired Dec. 15, 1966) so then they gave us “Shore Leave” to apologize (aired Dec. 29, 1966). It’s an impressive episode, honestly – shot almost entirely on location, whereas most episodes up to this point are filmed primarily in studio. They also used this opportunity to do much more dynamic camera movements than we usually see.

"Look at me, Doctor. A lady to be protected and fought for. A princess of the blood royale."

“A lady to be protected and fought for.” This yeoman’s entire existence is one big feminist facepalm.

Gene Roddenberry was a very forward-thinking man, but even he wasn’t perfect. Star Trek is still very much a product of the 60’s: aside from Lt. Uhura, we are very rarely presented with realistic and well-rounded female characters. I notice bits of casual sexism in every episode, but rarely find it worth bringing up. This isn’t a feminist Star Trek blog, and I don’t want it to be. But the character of Yeoman Barrows is worth mentioning as she is a shining example of a terribly-written female character. First, she gives Kirk a backrub on the bridge (is that really in a yeoman’s job description?), then she willingly objectifies herself as a prize princess, before finally perfectly personifying the Hysterical Female until Kirk takes her by the shoulders and shakes her in a classic “Get a hold of yourself, woman!” moment. Yeoman Barrows is an amusing character indeed, but one that leaves me shaking my head.

Miri

We went into watching “Miri” fairly lightly, expecting to be mostly entertainment – this was based on past viewings of the episode and the knowledge of the plot. However, as it progressed, we found there was a lot more to it than we had expected, or absorbed in the past. Let’s scratch that surface, shall we?

THE EPIDEMIC OF ADULTHOOD

The Onlies threatening bonking

The “Fittest”

After watching this episode, Ando pointed out that it seemed unusual that after 300 years, these children still acted like children rather than showing 300 years’ worth of wisdom and maturation. I think this suggests that there is some essential, biological difference between children and adults that the episode is trying to examine. It’s no wonder that the children on this planet are so prototypically childlike; on our Earth, maturity and wisdom gained on the journey to adulthood are obviously characteristics that favor survival. As the episode states pretty explicitly, the onset of puberty is a death sentence for the children on this planet. Remaining a child is essential for survival in Miri’s society, so childlike traits have been repeated and distilled for 300 years, meaning the comically obnoxious chants that we see the children do are actually displays of survival of the fittest.

Despite a supporting cast full of children, this episode is not exactly a family-friendly romp. It deals head-on with the impending death of dozens of children. But a little investigation suggests this episode is even darker than it first appears. The youngest children that we see are maybe 2 or 3 years old. Since this is a parallel Earth, we can safely assume society would follow the same patterns of age distribution. So where are the babies? The episode does not address this point at all, and I propose that is because the truth was too dark for television at the time (and may still be today). I believe infants too young to possess basic survival skills died – or were killed off – in the traumatic time period in which the “grups” destroyed themselves.

...and they're not pretty

Miri has seen things…

Miri explains that the “onlies” all hid while the “grups” killed themselves off. The same rage that killed the adults probably caused rampant infanticide as well. Any babies that survived the initial disaster surely died when their shellshocked older siblings were mentally and/or physically incapable of caring for them. Every one of the children seen in this episode has survived unspeakable horrors, which leads me to my next point.

 

Stress can cause early onset puberty. The horrific events that occurred as the virus spread probably triggered puberty in many of the older children, which of course only served to compound the disaster. In a similar vein, as the “onlies” succumbed over the years, rather than happening one by one, I imagine they probably turned in groups, as the stress of one “only” turning could have easily led to their friends turning as well, in a snowball effect of early onset puberty.

And rips his shirt...of course...

Kirk almost succumbs to the hyper-aging virus

Going into watching “Miri”, the most memorable moment we could think of was Kirk shouting “NO BLAH BLAH BLAH!”. Laughing about this together, we went into the episode not expecting much. Once we more closely examined the children-only society that we see, we realized the macabre implications behind it. The same grime-covered kids that we originally thought needed a spanking or a time-out are actually in great need of therapy due to the horrible things they have seen for the past 300 years.

Mudd’s Women

Mudd's Women

Why don’t we see more cosplays of these lovely ladies?

Katie Mae: When I saw Mudd’s women, I thought this was going to be “the show that launched a thousand cosplays.” But apparently nobody cosplays Mudd’s women. What’s with that? Those dresses were pretty cool…

Ando: Actually I was rather impressed by Harry Mudd’s swashbuckling outfit myself. And that earring…

KM: That earring was pretty impressive. And distracting. I wonder if there’s one on eBay… nope. Etsy? No? There’s something wrong with that. I bet we could make one. It looks like a Christmas ornament. Or those crinkly cat toys. Would you wear it if you got your ear pierced, Ando?

A: Maybe not every day, but on special occasions, when I wanted to look dashing! So I realize Harry Mudd is not exactly what you would call a Star Trek villain, like Khan, for example, but he does make for an interesting adversary for Kirk. He causes more exasperation than anger. He feels like a precursor to Cyrano Jones.

KM: Oh yea, the The Trouble with Tribbles guy! For a second I pictured them as the same guy and wondered if it was the same actor, but then I remembered they really look nothing alike. But they have similar personalities. I think this episode has a similar feel to The Trouble with Tribbles. It’s fairly light-hearted and a little silly.

A: True, but this episode does have a deeper message than The Trouble with Tribbles. That episode really was just a comedy. Mudd’s Women at least had a commentary on true beauty and a pretty stark condemnation of trophy wives.

KM: Yea, I felt like I was getting a nice little Star Trek-style morality dose from Kirk and Mudd, there. What did they say? “There’s only one kind of woman.”

A: “Or man, for that matter.” Wise man, Harry Mudd… I think.

Harcourt Fenton Mudd

Seriously, who wouldn’t want that jaunty hat?

KM: Slivers of wisdom from Mudd. I didn’t see that coming. haha You know, I feel like there has been a fair bit of sexism in this show, but for some reason, this episode didn’t come across that way. Yes, the women wear provocative outfits, but it feels more like it’s all part of a joke. They’re so beautiful/sexy that they distract the men. It’s funny, not offensive.

A: Yes, it was so over-the-top that the viewers don’t see it as sexist. They know it’s wrong from the beginning. The show is not condoning the blatant objectification of the women’s bodies, and you can tell from the first scene how much of a slimeball Harry Mudd is.

KM: But he’s a lovable slimeball! I think he’s one of my favorite guest characters, actually. He’s fun.

A: And he sports a glorious mustache.

KM: It really is. He comes back in another episode later, right?

A: Yes, I, Mudd. He also shows up in an old Star Trek PC game, so I guess you’re not the only person who likes his antics.

KM: I think he really is one of the better characters. I wonder why you don’t see more of him, in merchandise and stuff. They could market Mudd’s Magical Venus Gummy Chews.

A: So what was your favorite moment in this episode?

KM: That scene where Mudd is coaching the women on how to avoid questions, but they kept calling him Harry. The security guard was right there (not giving a damn, by the looks of it) and Mudd kept getting flustered and paranoid. That was pretty funny. And yours?

Spock shrug

Spock has nothing but disdain for your silly human attractions, but he recognizes the significance of a smashing ass.

A: That moment when the women are leaving the conference room after meeting Kirk for the first time and Spock watches them leave, then gives Kirk a saucy little shrug and follows them. Ladies’ man Spock.

KM: This is a pretty good episode. I think I’m going to call it one of my favorites.

A: Fair enough, but there are still some awesome episodes ahead. *Turns to camera* Stay tuned!

Poore Trekkie Mustaches

We love Mudd’s glorious ‘stache so much, we got some of our own.

The Enemy Within

Star Trek has a tendency to underscore philosophical themes, with its morality tales and humanistic approach, but I especially appreciate this episode because I feel like it emphasized psychology over philosophy. That’s not to say that there is no philosophy in The Enemy Within – indeed, it is an ancient concept that there is good and evil in every man. As science and our understanding of the human mind has evolved, however, our concepts of the mind and behavior have become more grounded, and psychology has taken over. I will use these different points of view to interpret this episode.

Kirks embracing

“Good” Kirk finally embraces his “Bad” side

The philosophical viewpoint that The Enemy Within most embodies is the Chinese concept of yin and yang. This is an ancient belief of the balance and interdependency of seemingly contrary things. Though “good” Kirk and “bad” Kirk are at opposite ends of the behavioral spectrum, they cannot exist without each other – Dr. McCoy points out that they will die if not reintegrated. It is the balance of the two extremes that makes Captain Kirk a whole man, as well as an effective leader. McCoy says, “without the negative side, you wouldn’t be the captain – you couldn’t be, and you know it.” The philosophical lesson learned is that yin and yang – good and evil – are actually complementary, not opposing, forces, and that their combination forms something greater than the sum of its parts – in this case, Captain James T. Kirk.

Screaming Kirk

“Bad” Kirk’s boundless rage and lack of inhibition perfectly embodies the id

Moving into the realm of psychology, one can find elements of the Freudian model (the id, ego, and super-ego) in The Enemy Within. “Bad” Kirk is the embodiment of the id: primal, instinctual, and pursuing only what can satisfy his own personal desires. “Good” Kirk represents the super-ego: morality and conscience. So what of the ego? Following the concept of the Freudian model, it was essentially removed by the transporter accident. Though some elements of the ego – intellect in particular – appear in “good” Kirk, the main purpose of the ego is to sit in balance of the id and super-ego, moderating the conflict between the selfish and the selfless. Without the two residing in the same vessel, there is no place for the ego, and Kirk basically has none during this episode. Freud’s original definition of the ego pertained to a “sense of self”, and it is obvious that both Kirks lacked this sense, and were therefore incomplete. Each body was little more than a sack of personality traits, both less than half a man, lacking the glue that is ego holding them together.

Half-raped Rand

While the word “rape” was never used, we all know what almost happened

A more modern understanding of psychology has led to a different model encompassing what is known as the Big 5 – a collection of personality traits – which is known as the Five Factor Model (FFM). In looking at these factors, and the traits encompassed by the categories, we found that the two Kirks tended to be on the opposite ends of each spectrum. The most obvious of these is Agreeableness: with his cooperation and compassion, “good” Kirk ranks very high on this scale, while “bad” Kirk, with his coldness, cruelty and open antagonism, ranks very low. Also very clear is where the two rank on Neuroticism: “good” Kirk’s anxious lack of self-confidence displays his high level of Neuroticism; “bad” Kirk is obviously full of himself and eventually settles in to an eerie, cool control which is able to briefly fool the rest of the crew – even Spock – into believing he is the “real Kirk”. There is also a good example of their difference in Extraversion shortly after the transporter accident – “bad” Kirk goes to sickbay, strong-arms McCoy into giving him booze, and gets more than a little rapey on Yeoman Rand; meanwhile, “good” Kirk goes to his quarters, lies down, then takes a shower. The two Kirks are undoubtedly representations of the two opposite extremes of Kirk’s personality, but by looking at the FFM, we can delve deeper into this division and identify the personality traits on which they are opposites.

It is said several times during this episode that “good” Kirk has all the intellect, but none of the decision-making ability or willpower, whereas “bad” Kirk has all the strength of will, but no intellect. By applying these models of philosophy and psychology, we can analyze the two Kirks, not only in terms of how they are different but why they need each other to survive. It goes to show that all the intellect in the galaxy is useless without the capacity for decision-making; the willpower to put it to use.

Charlie X

I’m sure Charlie X is supposed to be about teen angst, or growing up, or something. There’s probably a coming-of-age story behind Charlie Evans’ awkward, slightly creepy vibe. His story is a sad one- he has never know the touch of another human; he was raised by incorporeal beings, so he has no concept of humanity. Charlie’s situation is Kirk’s first encounter with a no-win scenario.

I could talk about how desperate Charlie’s escape from the life he hates is, or how heart-wrenching it is to hear him sob about not wanting to go back to live with the bodyless beings that raised him, or how this is the first (but not last) time that Star Trek deals with starship captains being unwilling father figures to rebellious teenagers, or any number of nice little moments of Kirk/Charlie interplay.

But I just keep getting stuck on

Charlie face 1

That Face

Charlie Face 2

That Face some more

Seriously, I’m sure this episode has some poignant moments, but I just can’t get past the ridiculousness. Spock’s playing this weird harp thing and Uhura’s kinda flirting with Spock. And that’s kinda weird.

Spock and Uhura

Spock and Uhura – Didn’t come out of nowhere after all!

Oh yeah, and we see Spock smiling again. Don’t get used to it.

Spock smiling

Hello, ladies

 

I’ll leave you with this absurd, out-of-context quote:

“There’s no right way to hit a woman!”
– Captain Kirk