Innocent Explanations

I love reading Birttany Diamond’s Analyzation/Commentary for the Star Trek TOS episodes.  I’ve already seen many of the episodes, but the commentary is hilarious.  Take “The Devil in the Dark.”  Her description of the monster:

The infamous monster lurches into view, and it looks like some sort of plastic…lava…rug…a Plavarug, if you will, complete with some poor producer’s nephew underneath it trying to give the damn thing some life.

(((Yay 60s really, really seems like an understatement here.)))

Also, she’s a Kirk/Spock shipper.  Which makes some very interesting reading, because I’d watched many of these episodes way before the idea of that ship had ever been introduced to my mind.  So she’ll say, what the hell, people, there’s no other possible explanation!   And…I’d read the scene completely differently.

Take another bit of “The Devil in the Dark”.  This is place where Kirk instructs his redshirts to, if they see the monster, kill it dead.  He then hands the guys over to Spock, who immediately tries to slip in something about capture-not-kill.  Kirk pulls Spock over to have a talk with him about this discrepancy.

Brittany’s take:

Kirk: “Mr. Spock…”

(((Oooooo, you’re in troublllleeee.)))

Kirk: “Capture it? I don’t recall giving any such order.”

Spock: “You did not, sir, I merely thought that if the opportunity arose-“

Kirk: “I will lose no more men. The creature will be killed on sight and that’s the end of it.”

Spock looks at Kirk for a moment.

Spock: “Very well, sir.”

(((Thus endeth Kirk’s obligatory captainly chiding and thus begins…well…hehehe…)))

He moves to leave.

Kirk: “Mr. Spock…”

Kirk: “I want you to assist Scotty in maintaining that makeshift circulating pump.”

Spock is taken back by this order.

Spock: “I…I beg your pardon, sir?”

(((When was the last time you heard Spock stutter? What was that, NEVER? Right.)))

Kirk: “You heard me. It’s vital that we keep the reactor in operation.”

(((The ‘You heard me’ was soft, somewhat low. For the rest of the line Kirk snaps up the captain tone for a moment, but that first line was, well, fascinating…)))

Kirk: “Your scientific knowledge-“

Spock: “Is not needed there, sir. Mr. Scott has far more knowledge of nuclear reactors than I do. You’re aware of that.”

(((Why, Spock, you make a brilliant point. Three brilliant, points actually. You are tremendously NOT needed to help Scotty, and Kirk even KNOWS this, so then why would Kirk offer up that exceedingly lame excuse?)))

Kirk’s eyes flicker downward for a moment.

(((We literally see Kirk change tactics right here. Stupid Excuse A didn’t work, so now he’s gonna try for Stupid Excuse B.)))

Kirk: “Mr. Spock, you are second in command. This will be a dangerous hunt. Either one of us, by himself, is expendable. Both of us are not.”

Spock: “Captain, there are approximately one hundred of us engaged in this search, against one creature. The odds against you and I both being killed are two thousand two hundred twenty eight point seven…to one.”

Kirk: “Two thousand…two hundred twenty eight point seven…to one? Those are pretty good odds, Mr. Spock.”

(((The SMILE Kirk gives SPOCK during that very last LINE is made of ADORABLE and SEX. Kirk can’t hold it back anymore, Spock is just too adorable with his numbers and his logic, he just HAS to start flirting.

SERIOUSLY…UNF.)))

Which is awesome, because I’d had a totally different interpretation.  I’m stealing the dialogue from a transcription I found online, because I am lazy.

KIRK: Mister Spock. Capture it? I don’t recall giving any such order.
SPOCK: You did not, sir. I merely thought that if the opportunity arose
KIRK: I will lose no more men. The creature will be killed on sight and that’s the end of it.
SPOCK: Very well, sir.
<Spock turns to leave>
KIRK: Mister Spock. I want you to assist Scotty in maintaining that makeshift circulating pump.
SPOCK: I beg your pardon, sir?
<I’d pegged Excuse A as bullshit, too, but I figured that it was because Kirk was worried that Spock would go all Greenpeace on the plavarug and either get himself killed or else interfere with the crew’s neutralization efforts.>
KIRK: You heard me. It’s vital that we keep that reactor in operation. Your scientific knowledge–
SPOCK: Is not needed there, sir. Mister Scott has far more knowledge of nuclear reactors than I do. You’re aware of that.
<Spock realizes that Kirk’s sending him to sit in a corner, and fights tooth and claw to remain in the tunnels.  He’s the only one who wants to save the plavarug, and so if he’s sent away odds are that all they’ll recover is a carcass melted beyond recognition by plasma fire. If he sticks around, he might be able to influence the outcome of the confrontation.  Also, Spock’s not the type to sit quietly whilst others are in danger.>
KIRK: Mister Spock, you are second in command. This will be a dangerous hunt. Either one of us by himself is expendable. Both of us are not.
SPOCK: Captain, there are approximately one hundred of us engaged in this search, against one creature. The odds against you and I both being killed are 2,228.7 to 1.
KIRK: 2,228.7 to 1? Those are pretty good odds, Mister Spock.
<Kirk lets himself be persuaded (and charmed, I’ll admit).  He figures that he’s made his point, and that while Spock may still be pursuing his pro-silicon-life agenda, he won’t actively interfere with the crew’s efforts to neutralize the alien. Also, he would probably prefer to have Spock watching his back.>
SPOCK: And they are of course accurate, Captain.
KIRK: Of course. Well, I hate to use the word, but logically, with those kind of odds, you might as well stay. But please stay out of trouble, Mister Spock.
<Kirk feels the need to make sure that Spock’s not going to go off and try to capture the alien himself, in order to spare it its date with the crew’s phasers.>
SPOCK: That is always my intention, Captain.
<Yes, yes, loud and clear, Captain.>

So.  Yeah.

That is why I like to read her commentary.  I don’t necessarily agree with her conclusions, but it opens my mind to the possibility that even the scenes which seem the most cut-and-dried (to me) might actually have something completely different going on.  And I won’t ever know.


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