Friday, September 21, 2018

Star Trek -- Season 1 Episode 16 (The Galileo Seven)

Some plots are seamless.  If there are plot holes, you don’t easily notice them.   Other stories are a little more difficult to believe.  You start asking questions that have no apparent answer.  If you were on your way to deliver medical supplies, wouldn’t that be your priority?

The Enterprise is delivering supplies to a colony that has an immediate need for them.  The Enterprise also has standing orders to investigate all quasars and quasar-like phenomena.  So, when the Enterprise passes near such a phenomenon, Kirk orders the ship to investigate.  This irks Galactic High Commissioner Ferris, but Kirk is the captain and they do have two days to spare.  (It will take them three days to meet a ship that will get there in five.)

So, Kirk sends out a shuttlecraft into a dangerous situation.  The shuttlecraft is promptly thrown off course and makes an emergency landing on a planet.  Sensors don’t work, meaning it won’t be easy to find the seven missing people.  Ferris reminds Kirk that they have to get those supplies to the rendezvous point.  Kirk reminds Ferris that they have two days.

Here’s the thing:  Why send out a shuttlecraft knowing the conditions?  Wouldn’t a probe have sufficed?  It shows extremely poor judgment to send out seven crewmembers when they have someplace important to be.  Ferris might be a bit of a jerk in insisting that they continue to their destination, but he’s right.  If you were one of the people that needed those supplies, would you want to hear that the ship stopped to do scientific research?

On that note, why do they even have two days?  It doesn’t seem like the best plan to have the Enterprise sit around for two days waiting for another ship.  You’d think someone would have picked a better meeting place.  Again, I don’t think I’d want to find out that the ship was sitting around if I needed something that they were carrying.

The episode gives Spock a chance to be in command, which is a whole other can of worms.  I would think that you would have to have some training to be first officer.  However, Spock is out of his element.  He tries to do everything logically and fails.  When defending against giants, he uses the phasers to scare them off thinking that the native inhabitants will act logically.  Spock has pointed out time and again how few races act logically.  An emotional response should come as no surprise.

As for the other crewmembers, this does come as a surprise.  Yes, humans are illogical, but the other six people are Starfleet officers.  They show a high level of insubordination towards the officer in charge.  I can understand the  reaction when two of the officers die, but Spock does have the advantage of being correct.  He is in charge and is responsible for their safety.  Spock is the one that will have to explain everything when they get back and will ultimately face the consequences.  This is how a military chain of command works.

The entire episode seems contrived.  It’s putting Spock in a difficult situation made worse by the scheduling.  It comes across as artificial.  It might have made more sense if the problem arose after the shuttlecraft was lost.  It wasn’t.  It’s a mess created by people that should have known better.

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