Monday, May 06, 2019

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 1 (Amok Time)

During the first season of Star Trek, the Vulcans were established as being very logical.  Everything about their race and culture was done logically.  Their reproductive habits weren’t talked about much, though.  As Kirk put it in this episode, everyone just assumed it was done logically.  But, Vulcans do mate and it’s not a very logical time for them.

The episode starts with Dr. McCoy telling Captain Kirk that something about their resident Vulcan is off.  If it were anyone else, they might be described as temperamental.  But, this is Spock we’re talking about.  Something is off.  He even requests to be taken back to Vulcan.  He won’t give any details other than that he has to go there immediately.

Kirk agrees.  The only catch is that they have to go to an important ceremony that can’t be delayed.  There’s no way that Kirk can drop Spock off at Vulcan and still make the engagement at Altair VI.  When Kirk diverts course, Spock diverts back to Vulcan.  Why?  It turns out that Vulcans have an uncontrollable urge to mate every seven years upon reaching adulthood.  Spock was bonded to a woman years ago and it’s now time for him to marry her.

Of course, it’s not that simple.  His bride challenges the marriage and has Kirk fight Spock…to the death.  No, they’re not going to have the first officer kill the captain this early in the second season.  (McCoy has a trick up his sleeve.)  I must admit that it’s an interesting way to start a new year.

The big plus for this episode is that we get to see some development for Spock and Vulcans in general.  I must admit that his parents are suspiciously absent.  You’d think they’d make the time for his son’s wedding.  For that matter, it would seem that neither side has any family present.  I can see that it might have been short notice, considering that the wedding takes place literally when the urge hits them.  You’d still think that they’d be on call.

It’s also curious that other Federation worlds don’t know anything about the Pon Farr.   It’s said that Vulcans are secretive about it, which is understandable.  It’s not clear what percentage of Starfleet officers are Vulcan, so it’s plausible that most were able to discreetly request personal time when the occasion presented itself.  Also, in The Immunity Syndrome, it’s stated that there was a ship staffed solely by Vulcans.  I’d think that at least a few officers would be gone at any given time.  In any event, it was great episode to lead off the second season.

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