Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Release date: December 6, 1991
This blog entry brought to you by a slow laptop, spotty wi-fi, and a pirated copy of this film, which sometimes just cuts out for no reason.
And now, also rolling blackouts caused by inclement weather.
So Christopher Plummer died. I really hate it when things that I'm covering also happen in real life, but there's nothing I can do about it but address it.
Though he was widely known for his theater and voiceover work, I mostly know him from this movie (on which I couldn't really find a recorded opinion from him), and The Sound of Music movie (which he hated).
A lot of his theater work included Shakespeare, and while those kinds of actors tend to find doing Star Trek a step down, he may have been at least amused to deliver Shakespeare in Klingon. And while I know that he considered Sound of Music a step down and probably less powerful than some of his other projects, I like the fact that he's heavily associated with this powerful image:
*Majel Barrett voice* "Previously in this film... Space Chernobyl on a Klingon moon has destroyed the environment of Qo'nos. The Empire has determined that they only have 50 years until the planet becomes unlivable. They can continue to pay for their bloated military, or make peace with their enemies and use their resources to fix their homeworld. Spock, as an ambassador, has been communicating with their High Commander Gorkon, and has arranged for the Enterprise and her OG crew to escort Gorkon's ship to a peace conference on Earth. Kirk hates Klingons, doesn't trust them, blames all of them for the death of an adult son that he knew for a hot second. Kirk invites Gorkon and his people to a dinner on the E. It's awkward, and everyone gets plastered on illegal Romulan ale. After dinner, Gorkon and his people return to their ship, and two torpedoes hit the Klingon Bird of Prey, disabling their gravity. A pair of people in white spacesuits and gravity boots beam over and kill Gorkon, their ship's doctor, and multiple other Klingon crew members. When the gravity is restored, there are a lot of bodies. Kirk tries desperately to determine if the Enterprise fired those torpedoes, and he and McCoy beam over to find out what happened. Gorkon is barely alive. McCoy attempts to save him, but is unfamiliar with Klingon anatomy, and too much damage has been done. Kirk and McCoy are arrested for the assassination of Gorkon. The Federation decides that the best way to keep the peace is to allow the Klingons to put the pair on trial and determine consequences for them. Kirk and McCoy are found guilty, and given a life sentence on the penal colony of Rura Penthe. Frustrated, the Enterprise crew is determined to solve the mystery of those torpedoes: Spock posits a theory that there is a cloaked ship beneath the Enterprise, which is where the torpedoes originated. He puts his new favorite pet, Vulcan Lt Valeris, on the case to find the mysterious gravity-booted murders.
And now, the conclusion."
We go to Rura Penthe, and it's fun. Like Hoth. Two weak-ass suns, a blizzard, and everyone in raggedy-looking furs. One guy pulls out a key fob and clicks it, opening some kind of trap door in the snow. Two Klingons emerge with a box.
Not ominous at all.
The guy who speaks is the concierge, and he's here to tell you about the amenities here at Gulag Rura Penthe. (Yeah, he did use the term gulag. I was unable to find it, but have to wonder how Russians viewed this film. It's not really a secret that Klingons are often compared to Russians, and here, the Klingons actually know enough about Russian Earth from earlier centuries to use that term to refer to a penal colony.) So here are said amenities: there are no fences or gates or stockades or guard towers. You work. If you work well, you live. If you do a bad job, they put your ass outside. That's it. Oh, and there's a magnetic block on Rura Penthe that keeps people from being beamed off the surface. Just as an example, they haul a guy upstairs and toss him, mostly naked, into the snow. He freezes to death before everyone goes inside.
What a fun place.
And the warden and his assistant haul the box back down through the trap door. What... what was that box for?
Inside looks like the inside of the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland, fake compacted snow carved into tunnels, and criss-crossing catwalks. I know this movie cost a lot, but man, those "carved snow walls" are kind of... early TOS.
There are quite a few alien species milling about, and Kirk immediately is beset upon by a guy who is much, much taller than he is. The guy starts talking to him in an alien language, and picking at his fur coats.
"I'm sorry," says Kirk. "They took our universal translators."
I get that. It's like when cell phones became a regular thing, and you no longer needed to memorize phone numbers, because every number was already programmed into the phone. My aunt recalls numbers so old that they start with KLONDIKE, and I have to pause when asked about my own number. You get a little lost when you rely on tech for things, and then it goes away.
Guy picks him up and yells at him, and it's pretty obvious to me that he wants Kirk's fur, but this other prisoner steps forward and says that the big guy wants Kirk's allegiance to "the Alien Brotherhood."
"He can have it!" says a frantic Kirk.
Y'all, no. Maybe it's because it sounds exactly like "Aryan Brotherhood," or maybe it's because anything called "_________ Brotherhood" in prison is bound to be a racist gang, but maybe don't join something you've just heard of?
It turns out that he also wants Kirk's coat, but the smaller prisoner tells the big guy to GTFO. He lumbers off.
"I'm Martia," says the new prisoner. "You must be Kirk and McCoy." She gives them a spliff to smoke, because sure, why not? "We don't get a lot of presidential assassins in here."
Kirk proclaims their innocence.
For some reason, Valeris is searching the Enterprise kitchen with Spock and Chekov. I say for some reason, because why is there a galley at all? They have replicators. Anyway, they're looking for the boots.
Valeris wonders out loud if the boots have been disposed of, and asks Spock why the assassins would have brought them back, when they could have left the boots on the Klingon ship.
"No gravity yet," Spock replies. "They would have floated off the transporter pad."
"I have people looking."
"Vaporizing," suggests Chekov. "No boots, no evidence."
Valeris goes to a wall panel that contains a surprising arsenal of phasers. In the kitchen. She pulls out a phaser and proceeds to shoot a huge stockpot without really warning anyone. Galley workers jump out of the way at the last minute, and the stockpot vaporizes, leaving what looks like mashed potatoes and a whisk behind.
I have problems with a lot of things in this moment, but let's pause to enjoy these WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK faces from Chekov and the galley workers. This is some straight tea that will be spilled around the ship later.
So firstly, why the hell is it so hard to say, "hey, step to the side"? You don't just fucking discharge a weapon in a crowded room without warning people.
Secondly, the phaser vaporized the pot only. I... just... whut. Why would it not vaporize the whisk and the food in the pot? We've seen them vaporize people - it did not just vaporize the skin or bones, and drop a bunch of internal organs on the ground in a splattery pile. The whole person goes. Did she grab a special kitchen phaser that has a dial setting for "Vaporize Pot Only"?
And why is the food frozen in time? It looks like potatoes, but maybe it's something stiffer? Okay. But having worked in commercial kitchens with food that kind of stiffens... it all oozes, even just a little. And without a pot there, that food is now sitting directly on top of whatever heat source they're using, probably burning.
Anyway, no one is asking these questions, because as soon as the phaser went off, it sets off a klaxon alarm, which is what Valeris actually wanted to happen in the first place. It illustrates the answer to Chekov's question of "why didn't they vaporize the boots?" Answer: an alarm goes off if a phaser fires in the ship.
Uhura rushes in with a pair of Security Guys, who look like they're playing laser tag. "Did someone fire a phaser?"
Chekov says it's fine, and shoos the Security Guys out. But then Scotty rushes in the other door, demanding the same thing, and I'm curious as to how everyone knows that it was Valeris In The Kitchen With a Phaser.
ALSO WHY ARE WE STILL IN THE KITCHEN, PLEASE?
Uhura tells Spock that Starfleet Command wants to know why they're still sitting in space. So Spock asks Scotty how long it will take to fix the warp drive problem.
"There isn't one?" he asks in confusion.
Spock tries again: "If we go back to Earth and don't find those boots, we'll never see Kirk or McCoy again. HOW LONG on the warp engine fix?"
"OH. Coupla weeks?"
Why are you having this conversation in the kitchen, in front of galley workers? People who could turn you in to Starfleet Headquarters? People who are now accomplices, or could testify at your court-martial? I'm not saying "don't rescue your friends." I'm saying "call a senior meeting in a place that isn't filled with underlings." If 2021 has taught us anything, it's that if you're about to do something sketch, you don't fucking livestream it.
Back on Rura Penthe, Kirk has landed himself in a fight with another big alien. And rather than break it up, the warden opts to turn on a spotlight so he can see better. Kirk ends up against a wall, and the alien manages to drop him onto his back. A swift double-kick to the knees, and the alien goes down, whimpering.
Kirk is surprised.
Martia takes a drag off her cigarette. "You nailed him in the nads."
|Guess it's just the ladies, Raj|
"You want to get out of here?" asks Martia.
She's talking about Rura Penthe, not a hook-up.
Later, Kirk and Bones are lying in bunks. Bones bitches about being three months out from retirement, and Kirk asks if Bones is afraid of the future. Bones makes a Kobayashi Maru joke.
"No, really," says Kirk. "I think I'm afraid of change. Peace with the Klingons means no more Neutral Zone. It means actually learning to not hate Klingons. And like... I didn't even consider that Gorkon might be genuine in his efforts to make peace. If this is hard for me, it might be even harder for others. It might be unthinkably hard for people willing to assassinate Gorkon, and who might try again. They're still going forward with that peace conference."
Y'all, any time Kirk asks "Am I the Asshole?" without having to consult Reddit first, I'm down. Kirk is racist. He knows he's racist, and here, he's recognizing that his own racism may be holding him (and the Federation) back from progress. He saw a flicker of it in that captain's log when he suggested that he and others like him would need to get out of the way of history. Talking is not doing, though. He recognizes that he is having this issue, but when faced with it in the flesh, he suggested that Chang was like Hitler. Listen, Reflect, Do. He's doing the reflecting here, but needs more practice with Listen and Do.
There's a noise, and Kirk and Bones both grab rocks off the ground, just in case. But it turns out to be Martia.
"Nobody's ever escaped from here. I know how to get out of the magnetic shield that prevents beaming, but I need help once outside the shield. You're the first person to come along in months who might be able to do it. Can you do it?"
"What do you need?" he asks.
She makes out with him, which is not a fucking answer.
Bones rolls his eyes hard, because he's the audience here. He's all of us.
When she finally extracts all of the saliva from his mouth, she tells him to meet her at a specific work lift tomorrow, and they'll go from there. And again, she doesn't tell him what else she needs for their escape. She just leaves.
Bones: "What IS IT with you?"
Sulu is awakened in his quarters. (If I'm reading the Navy bells chart right, it's 0230. Oof.)
Hey, look. It's v smol Christian Slater.
"Starfleet Headquarters wants us to forward them any info we have on the Enterprise," says crewman Slater.
Sulu pauses. "Tell them we don't know anything."
Slater is confused.
"You got a hearing problem?" demands Sulu.
Slater quits slouching against the door frame and stands up. "No, sir."
He leaves with the information that his captain has elected to be quietly subversive here, and Sulu slumps back in his bed.
On the E, Chekov has found dried Klingon blood on the transporter pad, backed up with some dramatic music. This is pretty lucky, considering how often the military cleans. Spock confirms in a lab that it's Klingon, but that it isn't the smoking gun they need to take to Starfleet.
In truth, someone from the delegation may have dripped a spot of blood on the pad before or after dinner.
"We need to look at uniforms," Spock announces.
And now... A MONTAGE! Many crewmembers open drawers, go over uniforms with scanner things, and equipment that looks suspiciously like metal detectors dressed up to be more tech-y go through the corridors, I guess looking for blood?
Someone slides open a wall locker, and yells "SIR!" He hands a single gravity boot over to Valeris, who slides the door back to reveal the crewmember's name on the locker: Dax. She then sticks the gravity boot to the door of the locker and turns to smile off-camera, like a 6th grader standing next to the science fair project that her mother made.
You didn't do shit, Valeris.
In the morning, Kirk and Bones get in line for that specific work detail Martia described. They're given helmets and shuffled onto some kind of lift. They do not see Martia among the others in the lift, and Bones tells Kirk that he thinks they've been had. The big dude behind them laughs and says, "No, doctor" in Martia's voice.
She explains that this work detail doesn't "take girls," then gives them further instructions when they get off the lift.
Ah. A shapeshifter. You'd think that Rura Penthe would know about that ahead of time, and somehow figure out how to mark her so she couldn't move around the facility undetected like that.
The E has pulled crewman Dax into the locker room, and Chekov seems to have appointed himself prosecutor.
"Are you familiar with Russian tales of Cinderella? If the shoe fits, wear it."
He grabs the boot off the locker door and drops it on the floor at Dax's feet. Then he beams at the others, because this is clearly all wrapped up.
Spock points at Dax's feet.
Not The Guy.
Martia gets off the lift, followed by the boys. Kirk rudely admits Morning After Regrets to Bones. But they follow Martia regardless. She leads them to the end of the tunnel, past three Klingons having breakfast, and when the Klingons have failed to notice them, she melts down into a small human girl, tiny enough to slip out of her metal foot shackles.
She then opens a little metal door in the wall and tells them to follow her. Once in this new tunnel, she turns back into the big guy again, and impatiently urges them to climb a wall. Martia has a small stash of extra furs set aside, which she distributes before they go outside.
And go outside they do. It's pretty freaking miserable, and Martia still has not fully explained her plan, so Kirk and Bones have no idea what part they play, or why she thinks they fit the bill so nicely for her escape. They make their way to the edge of a frozen waterfall. and up on the E, Uhura finds them on a sensor. They're just outside the magnetic shield.
Apparently, though, the E is nowhere near Rura Penthe. That's deep inside Klingon space, and Spock tells Chekov that they're going to have to do some fancy footwork to get in that far before Kirk and McCoy freeze to death.
On the surface, Bones stumbles and tells Kirk to leave him there to die, but Kirk admits that Spock stuck a Lo-Jack on him just before they beamed over to Gorkon's ship, which is why Uhura was able to find them on the sensors so far away. Bones expresses doubt that anyone will come for them.
Out in BFE Klingon Space, the E has been sighted. Or you know, it's a blip on a radar. They can't see that it's a Federation ship. And the guy running the radar appears to be hung-over.
He calls the E, but I don't know what he's saying, because the pirated copy of this film has the spottiest subtitles ever, but he's probably just asking them who they are and what they're doing. Basic sentry stuff. When no one answers right away, he's joined by another guy, but I get the feeling like this is a tollbooth in the middle of nowhere, and they either nap or play on their phones all day, because they both seem surprised to be working.
Back on the E, half a dozen bridge workers are helping Uhura page through hard copies of old-looking books. Chekov provides the exposition to the audience that if they use the universal translators, they'll be spotted quickly. Uhura will have to respond in Klingon specifically. (Before I get notes, reboot Uhura speaks Klingon fluently, but original Uhura does not.)
She finally finds what she needs to say in one book, and haltingly tells the sentries that they're the freighter Ursva, and that they're six weeks out from Qo'nos. Her grammar is not good, and the sentries exchange WTH faces.
The sentries ask where they're going, but it takes Scotty several minutes to figure out what they asked and relay it to his crewmate.
Her grammar is just as bad in reply:
but gets the message across that they're taking supplies to Rura Penthe.
"Don't catch any bugs," replies the sentry. They laugh.
The E crew all look at each other before another crewmember mimes that they should laugh back.
Down on the surface, Martia leads the boys into a relatively sheltered area, and strikes some kind of space-flare over what looks like an iced-over campfire. They all warm their hands, and Kirk asks Martia about her shapeshifting trick.
Her people have the ability, she explains.
Bones is surprised, because he thought her people were a myth. "How do we know which you is the real you?"
She melts from the big guy back into the shape we originally saw, which is Iman, with feather hair and yellow eyes. "I picked a pleasing shape."
Kind of not an answer, but okay.
And then Kirk just straight-up punches her.
"What the fuck?" yells Bones.
"What's the deal?" Kirk yells at Martia. "Where did you get these extra clothes, and that flare?"
Kirk: If you can't seduce 'em, accuse 'em of conspiring with your captors.
"I bet that flare is to alert the Klingons where we are," he continues. "What are you getting out of this?"
"A full pardon," she admits.
Kirk is correct, because of course he is. Kirk is never wrong, and he always wins the fight. Yawn.
"It'll look really good when you're killed trying to escape," she says. Then she morphs into Kirk.
Martia-Kirk knocks out Bones cold. "Surprise!" Interestingly, she has Kirk's voice, even though she's always had her own voice in other shapes.
Kirk: "I can't believe I kissed you."
Martia-Kirk: "It must have been your life-long ambition."
That's... that's a pretty good self-deprecating joke, Star Trek. Oh, right. Leonard Nimoy wrote this script. LOL.
I have three thoughts here:
1) I never remember this film, because I always fall asleep at the beginning, and I always wake up when Kirk is fighting himself. Every time.
2) This is absolutely Kirk's wet dream.
Also, it appears that Bones was carefully laid out in an angel position here, yet I can find nothing written about it.
The fight ends quickly when the Klingons show up, and we briefly get one of those "don't kill me, kill him!" moments. It feels like this situation shouldn't come up as often as it does, but that it actually comes up enough to be considered a trope.
Anyway, the Klingons fry Martia (though we don't know why they knew who to pick - maybe it didn't matter?). "No witnesses."
And now, another trope:
Kirk: "Tell us who wants us dead!"
Warden: "Why not? You're all going to die, anyway. His name is -"
And then Kirk and Bones are beamed onto the E.
The Klingons fire into the space where they were beamed from, but they're gone.
Kirk gets off of the pad swearing, demanding to know why Spock couldn't have waited another few seconds.
"You wanna go back?" asks Scotty.
"Fuck no," replies Bones.
Later, Scotty is hanging out in the Obs Lounge by himself, looking over some schematics, when he hears a vent rattling nearby. Taking the vent screen off, he finds two sets of white uniforms covered in Klingon blood.
Elsewhere, Chang finds out that Kirk and Bones have escaped. And that's all I could glean from that mostly-unsubbed scene. His ship flies off.
Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Chekov are walking through the corridors, catching each other up on things: the Klingons are able to fire torpedoes from a cloaked Bird of Prey, but Spock thinks the assassins are on the E. Kirk asks if the peace conference is still on, but Chekov reveals that the time and location is secret. Scotty, presumably having run the length and breadth of the ship, bursts right into their space with the uniforms. Before they can say anything, the door in front of them whooshes open, exposing two crewman bodies on the floor. It's those guys who were on duty in the transporter room and made a bunch of racist comments when the Klingon delegation beamed back to their ship.
Bones rushes forward to check the bodies and determines that they were hit with a phaser on stun at close range. Scotty confirms that he uniforms he found belonged to these men, Burke and Samno.
"First rule of assassination, " says Kirk, "is to assassinate the assassins."
He and Spock step off to whisper in a corner together.
"Why weren't they vaporized?" asks Bones.
"It would set off the alarm," Chekov replies.
So they set a trap.
Over the PA, Uhura requests that a court reporter come to sick bay to take statements from Yeomen Burke and Samno.
Someone walks carefully into a darkened sick bay, there to kill off the yeomen they thought they had killed before. Two bodies, covered in ship blankets, are lying on biobeds. When the person approaches one body, the body reaches up and turns on the light.
It is Spock.
And the person with the phaser is...
"Logically, you have to shoot me," Spock tells her.
"I'd rather not shoot you," she falters.
"Yeah, I'd rather you didn't as well," says Kirk, springing from the other bed.
Spock knocks her phaser across the room.
Bones steps from the shadows. "I think we're done here."
They interrogate her on the bridge, with a full crew complement watching. Valeris is defiant, telling Spock that she tried to warn him at the beginning of the voyage, and that she isn't the one who betrayed the Federation, that it was them.
Honey, did you just try to gaslight the Enterprise crew?
She monologues about how Klingons are untrustworthy, and how Kirk believes that they should die, and how trustworthy can they be, if they conspired to kill their own chancellor?
"Who is "we"?" asks Spock.
"Everyone who stands to lose something from peace."
"GIVE US THEIR NAMES," he replies, annoyed.
"I don't remember," she answers, and turns her back to the lot of them.
Nope. Not what Spock wanted to hear. He walks up to her and spins her roughly around to face him. Then he forces her into a non-consensual mind meld, and I'm sure you know how I feel about that shit.
They say the names out loud together, as they are uncovered:
No surprise there.
"The Romulan Ambassador, Nanclus."
Wow, didn't see that coming.
"Where is the peace conference?" asks Kirk.
Spock does a two-handed meld, and Valeris starts screaming and crying, and seriously Star Trek, this is really not okay.
After a moment, Spock lets go: she doesn't know.
They decide that the Excelsior probably knows, and surprise! they do. They call Sulu.
"You realize even talking to me could get you into trouble?" Kirk asks Sulu.
"Sorry, communications are breaking up?" Sulu replies. "Anyway, the conference is at Camp Khitomer, near the Romulan border. It starts today."
"We're kind of screwed," Kirk tells him. "They have a cloaked Bird of Prey that can fire weapons. Think they're gonna try another assassination."
"How many like that?" asks Sulu.
Kirk prods Valeris, and she admits that it's just a prototype.
"I can rush," Sulu warns, "but I probably can't get there in time."
Later, Kirk goes to Spock's quarters. They talk about their own prejudices - Kirk wasn't willing to give the Klingons a chance because of David's death; Spock trusted Valeris based on her accomplishments as a Vulcan.
"Have we outlived our usefulness?" Spock asks.
"I think everyone's a little human," jokes Kirk.
Camp Khitomer is actually pretty cool-looking. I wonder how much of that is matte painting?
The Federation president opens the peace conference. Azetbur is there, as is Cartwright, who eyes some triangular decoration on the wall.
A Bird of Prey, now known to be Chang's ship, and also the prototype that can fire weapons while cloaked, rushes toward Khitomer. The Enterprise does as well.
We see a lot of very nervous crewmembers on board the Enterprise. They won't know if they've found the cloaked ship until there's a radiation burst, and by that point, it'll be too late.
They arrive at Camp Khitomer. No Bird of Prey in sight.
"Heeeey, Kirk," comes Chang's voice over the comm system. "I can see you, can you see me?"
Uhura starts hitting buttons frantically, trying to pinpoint where the voice is coming from.
"This is how it should be, right?" Chang continues. "We can't be friends, we're enemies. We should keep being enemies."
The Bird of Prey fires on the E, which rocks in space.
Kirk orders the E to back up. And there's a pause.
"What's he doing?" asks Kirk.
"Trying to figure out why you backed up," Spock guesses.
The Bird of Prey fires again.
At the conference, Cartwright is sweating bullets. Like, enough that it's noticeable. And he keeps looking at that triangular wall decoration. I know we need to make it obvious that an assassination is about to go down, but this is a secret conference, and it was made secret after an assassination. They should have hella security, and that security should be watching Cartwright at this point. He's like, TOO nervous.
Azetbur has taken the president's place at the podium, and speaking of her father's legacy. Another Klingon looks around, then gets up and walks down a corridor holding a suitcase of some kind. Do they not even have "security theater" here, where it looks like they have hella security, but it's largely ineffective? Why is this guy allowed to just walk around with a mysterious case at a tenuous peace conference?
The Bird of Prey fires again. The E is not doing very well in this fight. Explosions go off under the stations on the bridge, and the senior officers try to determine how to find a black cat in the dark.
"It runs on fuel," suggests Spock.
"Maybe it has a tailpipe," says Uhura. "We are carrying a bunch of science equipment meant to experiment in gaseous anomalies."
"You wanna help me do surgery on a torpedo?" Spock asks Bones.
They hurry off to the torpedo bays.
At the peace conference, the Klingon with the case has gone somewhere where there is a pane of frosted glass between himself and the conference. He cuts a hole in the glass and can see the conference inside the room.
The Excelsior arrives at the side of the limping Enterprise, which amuses Chang. He blows a hole in that ship, then another straight through the hull of the Enterprise. The whole time, he's quoting Shakespeare over the PA system. These scenes are spliced together with the Klingon at the peace conference assembling some kind of weapon, and Bones and Spock reconfiguring a torpedo.
"I'd pay him actual money to shut the hell up," Bones says of Chang quoting Shakespeare.
They load the torpedo and fire it.
On his viewscreen, Chang watches the torpedo seek out the general area of the "tailpipe" of the Bird of Prey. When it goes off, it lights up the ship like a fucking Christmas tree. And our two Federation ships simply fire on it like Space Invaders until it blows up.
The Klingon assassin lines up his shit through the hole in the glass. He's going for the Federation president, who is at the podium speaking again.
The Enterprise OG crew beam into the back of the conference room. Kirk sends Scotty to find the assassin, and then, lacking all chill, they force their way into the peace conference, yelling. The assassin fires. Kirk dives for the president and takes him down.
"Kirk, Enterprise," he says. (I wonder if he meant to beam the president up just then, but he didn't. So I don't know why he yelled that. Is... is he introducing himself?)
Klingons surround Azetbur. We see through the assassin's scope that he's looking for a new target, but the key people to kill are being locked up tight among others. Bones grabs Nanclus, holding him at phaser-point.
Cartwright steps forward. "Arrest them!"
"Arrest yourself," comes Spock's voice. He steps forward with Valeris in tow. "We have a full confession."
Upstairs, Scotty has found the Klingon assassin. What's the best way to keep him from shooting someone? Why, get a running start, and push him through the glass, that's how. Dude explodes out of the front of that triangular decoration on the wall and hits the floor like a Hefty bag full of soup. Cartwright takes the brief pause in his being accused of conspiracy to turn and run.
But look who's beamed in just now, right in front of Cartwright?
Azetbur pushes through her guards. "What the absolute fuck?"
Kirk gets off the president. "Some people are really, really afraid of change."
Which is... true, but not an actual explanation of what just happened.
Azetbur looks around and smiles at Kirk. "You've restored my father's faith."
"And you've restored my son's," he replies.
Did... did I miss something? David had faith that was taken away? To my recollection, his main encounter with Klingons was when they tried to take Project Genesis, and he admitted that it was no good. Then they killed him to get what they thought would be a good weapon.
Did Kirk just say that because it sounds like it ties things up nicely?
Then, I shit you not, everyone claps. And several members of the OG Enterprise crew step forward with him on the dais. Where the fuck is Cartwright if Sulu is standing next to Kirk?
The OG crew goes back to the bridge of the E, talking about how they saved civilization again, but the good news is, they aren't being arrested or charged.
Sulu and the Excelsior call to exchange goodbyes. Kirk thanks Sulu for his help, and the ships part ways.
"So this is goodbye," says Chekov.
Uhura turns from her station, and tells the others that they've been ordered back to space dock immediately... to be decommissioned.
Everyone pauses, and I know that I should be all emotional here, but... they're due for retirement in three months. And their ship is a hot mess. There are actual, physical holes in their hull. They're going to have to limp home as it is.
"If I were a human, I would say go to hell," remarks Spock.
Chekov, knowing they can't just hang out here, asks for a heading.
"Second star to the right, and straight on til morning," Kirk smiles.
Okay, trading the Bard for Barrie. And who knows what the hell Chekov types in, because what Kirk just told him is not a location.
The TOS cast gathers for a tableau, with the helmsman seat left empty to signify Sulu.
Kirk's Log 9529.1: "This is the final voyage for the Enterprise under my command. Others will take our place and our legacy and go where no man - and no one - has gone before."
The Enterprise flies off toward a star, and the end credits music plays while the cast's signatures appear one by one on screen.
Okay, so that's out last voyage with the full original cast. We'll see a few later on in cameos, but no more together. It's one last goodbye, but not a passing of the baton, which will come in the next film. Though it doesn't appear that they were necessarily working on Generations during the filming of movie 6, it seemed that Paramount had always intended movie 7 to be a baton-passing situation. Of the TOS cast, only Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov will appear in Generations.
And this film is pretty good. It holds up to the overall opinion that the even-numbered Star trek movies are the best ones, and if I'm going to put them order of which ones I enjoyed the most, I'd rank my favorite as The One With the Whales first, followed by Wrath of Khan next, and Undiscovered Country third. What can I say, I love that goofy-ass movie 4. It has the world's stupidest premise, but they made it work for them. But the things that I loved so well about WoK and Undiscovered Country were missing in movie 4: that of Kirk having to come to terms with himself. He's older, and his brash cowboy diplomacy doesn't work very well in a world that is less uncharted wilderness, and more suburban.
I do believe that Gene Rod being upset that this film is racist is correct... but it's necessary. People are trash. They just are. Sometimes, it's for shitty reasons, and sometimes it's for emotional reasons, but it exists. Roddenberry's dream of a world where there is no interpersonal conflict or money, or religion or racism sounds great, but that's not who we are. We're messy, and we do shitty things for shitty reasons. It honestly makes no sense for Kirk to be perfectly fine being buddies with the Klingons just because they said "okay, truce, we're broke." Kirk did not like Klingons from the outset, and certainly not after killing David. I know I give him a lot of shit for being broken up over the death of a guy he barely knew, but in truth, the thing he's most likely struggling with here is the loss of What Could Have Been. We've all experienced that. You feel robbed of the potential of something, even if it would have turned out badly.
They saying goes that you become more conservative as you become older, but I don't think that's true. I think that as we get older, we become tired of keeping up with things. We get complacent, and at some point, the decision is made to draw a line in the sand: "I'm not going to bother learning anything new beyond this point. Things are fine the way they are." Kirk believed that his attitude toward Klingons was just fine. He didn't like them, and blamed them all for David's death. Here, he is a bit behind Azetbur, who doesn't love the thought of peace with the Federation, but is smart enough to know that blaming the entire organization for Gorkon's death would not be wise. Once Kirk finally realizes that he is not only getting in his own way, but that of history, he is on the right track. He still needs to take action however, and I feel like as a species, we are still trying to figure out that we are getting in our own way before we too can make strides forward. We still struggle so much with Us vs Them, that we fail to see that there is no Them, only Us.
Characters I Really Liked:
Gorkon - Honestly, I think he already liked humans before this situation. He seemed several steps ahead of his countrymen, and had already begun the work of passing that along to his daughter when he died.
Azetbur - She's really abrasive, but ultimately knows that her father is right, and is willing to do the hard work.
Colonel Worf - Kind of surprising. Did he also like humans before defending them in court? Either way, he could have pulled some Bruce castor bullshit and didn't. he was a decent lawyer, and recognized that his clients were getting a biased trial.
You Annoy Me, Go Away:
Valeris - I hated her dumb haircut, her weird enthusiasm to be working with Kirk, and her turncoat crap. Am I annoyed that the villain (or one of them) turned out to be a Vulcan? No. I just straight-up didn't like her. She definitely didn't deserve to be on the receiving end of a non-consensual mind meld, though. Can we stop doing those, please?
A Little On the Flat Side:
Martia - I liked her look, but she was a bit one-dimensional for me. She has no backstory - what was she in for? Was she actually just a plant, and lied about the pardon thing? She really only existed to show Kirk and Bones how to get out of the mines and beyond the magnetic shield. She was a tool for the Klingons, and the script kind of treated her that way.
- In the original story, the Klingon assassin turned out to be Colonel West in disguise. When he falls to his death in the peace conference, someone notices that his blood is red, and not the magenta of Klingon blood. It is then that they pull back his disguise, revealing the final conspirator. When Colonel West was removed from the story, the assassin simply became another Klingon, and no further examination of the body was done on camera.
- Christopher Plummer didn't love the forehead ridges and wigs that often adorn actors playing Klingons, and requested lighter make-up - he wanted to look a bit more human, and remarked later that he thought he looked like Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan. John Colicos, who played Kor on DS9, said: "I tried to get rid of my wig but they wouldn't go for it. I guess you have to be Christopher Plummer before they'll let you be a bald Klingon."
|Chang concept art|
- Chang's part in the conspiracy here was likened to that of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the man who plotted to kill Hitler in 1944. (The difference here is that Stauffenberg was trying to end a war, while Chang was attempting to start and prolong one.)
- The odd idea of a panel of weapons in the kitchen is actually backed up by a really early episode of TOS, where McCoy asks Rand how she was able to make coffee when the power went out, and she replied that she'd used a phaser to warm it. That raises like 5 more questions with that one answer, but whatever.
- Something that Martia says multiple times is "fendo pompsky." It's basically an expletive without a translation, and became a popular thing to say among the crew. They even had it embroidered inside of the crew jackets.
- The opening scene on Rura Penthe was heavily influenced by "Bridge on the River Kwai."
- Garry Marshall was directing a rom-com on a nearby soundstage, and in order to get a genuinely surprised reaction out of Al Pachino, he arranged to have Pachino open a door while filming to reveal Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley, in full Star Trek make-up, on the other side of the door. Only Pachino was visible on camera.
- The president's office in Paris is a re-dress on TNG's Ten Forward set. The doors still show the TNG-style insignia.
- The book that Uhura pages through while talking to the Klingons is labeled "Introduction to Klingon Grammer," instead of "grammar."
- Pfaltzgraff, maker of china sets, made 3000 sets of those Excelsior teacups. It seems the company made several different sets of Star Trek designs in the early 1990's, which you can only buy on the secondary market today. Another maker made 25 sets of the Excelsior cups in 2020 for San Diego Comicon, which sold out in 2 hours.
- Movies 2-5 used the opening Star Trek fanfare for their opening credits; but movie 1, this film, and the reboots do not.
- Kirk says during the dinner scene that an advantage of being "1000 lightyears from Starfleet Headquarters" was being able to drink Romulan ale. Based on calculations from the more-advanced Voyager getting home from the Delta Quadrant, being 1000 lightyears from Starfleet Headquarters meant that it should have taken the Enterprise more than a year to reach Earth.
- Christian Slater got his Star Trek cameo via his mother, who was a casting director. The script indicated that Rand was originally supposed to be the one to wake Sulu, but Slater was subbed in. Slater was apparently a huge Trek fan, and he told interviewer Graham Norton that the uniform he wore in this short scene had actually been the one that Shatner had worn during Wrath of Khan, and that he had stolen it from the set and taken it home. Director Nicholas Meyer said that he tried to film Slater in such a way that audiences would ask, "Wait... is that...?"
- So that joke I made about the security guys running into the galley wearing laser tag vests... I looked up the history of laser tag to see if this was another one of those things where Star Trek influenced real life, and the answer is... yes. But not via the vests. Laser tag guns were most likely based off of the infrared phaser toys released in conjunction with movie 1 in 1979. In 1982, George Carter III designed an arena-based laser tag game, an idea he got while watching Star Wars in 1977. As a further link, there is a kind of laser tag match called a Borg Match, wherein a team of players shares a pool of resources.