Friday, October 04, 2019

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 10 (Journey to Babel)

Star Trek tended to focus mostly on the stories.  The crew of the Enterprise is made up of people that presumably have families.  Very little is said about these families  We’ve seen that Kirk had a brother.  But we never see Uhura’s family.  I think there was mention of Dr. McCoy being married.  The only notable exception is meeting Spock’s parents, Sarek and Amanda.  This would be their only appearance in the TV show.  In fact, we’d be surprised to learn in one of the movies that Sarek had another son.  In Star Trek: Discovery, we’d learn that he has a stepsister.  This is how little character development there was.

The episode revolves around the Babel Conference.  The Enterprise is escorting various Federation ambassadors to the location, including Spock’s father.  The purpose is to discuss admission of a system to the Federation.  There’s all sorts of infighting as the various member planets don’t always get along.  When they get to Vulcan, Kirk suggests that Spock beam down to see his parents.  Kirk is surprised to learn that Sarek and his wife are Spock’s parents.  You’d think that Spock would have mentioned who his father was, given that he was supposed to be married at the beginning of the season.  (Spock’s family was curiously absent.)

Well, this planet that they’re discussing is important.  It’s so important that there’s a ship following them.  Kirk is stabbed and Sarek suffers an episode due to heart problems.  This leaves Spock in command when his father suddenly needs a blood transfusion.  Spock could be a donor, but it would be difficult.  Just moments before the operation is to begin, the ship is attacked.  Spock refuses to turn command over to Scotty, saying that he’s not experienced enough to handle the situation.  It seems like a run of bad luck, but there it is.  Kirk has to trick Spock to go down to sickbay and help his father.

I have to wonder if this was done just to get the character development.  I get that Vulcans are logical and all, but the entire thing seemed forced.  To have Spock refuse to go to sickbay to retain command made him seem spiteful.  Kirk thought Scotty could take command.  Why wouldn’t Spock?  Is this his way of spiting his father?

There also seemed to be a lot of fighting among the ambassadors.  One even turns up dead, with Sarek as the likely suspect.  I looked up the definition of federation.   It‘s a group of states with a central government, but still have independence in terms of their own affairs.  This is why they have ambassadors in the first place.  Still, you’d think they’d get along better.  You don’t hear of ambassadors to the UN killing each other.

It’s a shame that the series didn’t have better continuity.  I was never really clear on the structure of The United Federation of Planets.  This was the only episode to give any sort of real insight into that.  We‘d also have to wait for the movies to see Sarek again.

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