Original Theatrical Release Date: November 26, 1986
So the The Shat has been bitching about how Paramount hasn't announced any kind of 50th anniversary thing for Star Trek yet (and they haven't asked him to do anything, which he seems super butthurt about), but while everyone has been looking in his direction, the US Postal Service has rolled out some stamps for that very occasion! Score! Another reason to send some snail mail to your friend, or to opt out of online bill paying. (I know you won't do that, because it's too damn easy to pay shit online. Just get a penpal or something, okay?)
Here's the deets:
Also, they're gonna roll out stamps about Pluto, because FUCK YEAH, PLUTO!
So I put the DVD in and tell it what language I want for the subtitles, and after the set-up page, I get this:
Just in case you're not in the know here, the filmmakers are referring to the Challenger shuttle that exploded exactly eleven months earlier, killing all seven crew members aboard. Director Leonard Nimoy had said that he wanted to make movie #4 lighter than the first three, who main topics had been kind of heavy. So they started out by giving us the feels. Yaaaay.
It's a sweet dedication, but it gives me a weird bittersweet feeling, as my teacher at the time was super-excited about the launch, and we had been listening to it live on the radio in the classroom when the shuttle exploded. It's a strange memory, sad and confusing.
...let's move on, okay?
The opening music for this movie is great. Fun and bouncy and kind of epic, a full orchestration.
Like the first film, we're gonna jump right into the action with some kind of cylindrical ship flying through a nebula and giving off a high-pitched signal. It's picked up by the USS Saratoga, and -
Holy shit! POC female captain! POC female captain!
That's Madge Sinclair, and you probably know her, even if you think you don't. She played Bell in "Roots," and (with James Earl Jones) played Queen Aoleon in "Coming to America." Later (again, with James Earl Jones) she voiced Sarabi, mother of Simba in "The Lion King." And a big fat Command Gold Star to you if you recognize her as playing Captain LaForge, Geordi's mother on TNG.
I know some people are reading this and thinking, "So what? A black chick as captain isn't that big a deal." But perspective, friends: this movie came out a scant 20 years after Paramount nixed the idea of a female in charge (Majel Barrett's Number One), and Gene Rod was forced to pitch a fit to keep Uhura on the bridge. It'll be another six years before we get a POC main character captain (Sisko on DS9) and another nine before we get a main character female captain (Janeway on Voyager). Granted, the captain of the Saratoga has a very small part in this film, but representation matters. Little girls and POC kids were sitting up in their theater seats asking, "Wait, I can captain a starship someday?"
Fuck yeah, you can. You go, little kids. And you too, Saratoga captain.
Anyway, the captain reports back to Starfleet that they're tracking this probe thing out in the neutral Zone, and that it hasn't responded to their hails, but it's headed for Earth, so hey, head's up.
We switch over to a delegation room at Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco. Footage from ST3 is playing on a screen, only it has Klingon markings at the bottom to indicate that somehow, the Klingons have procured footage from the now-destroyed Enterprise, and are using it for their own purposes. Do I want to get into why that sounds difficult, if not downright impossible? Nope. Instead, we'll go into why the Klingons are showing this footage at Starfleet: they're fucking pissed as hell at Kirk.
Also, look! There in the front row - it's a Caitian! One of M'Ress' people! Sweet!
Anyway, let's get back to that cool political thing that the Klingons are starting.
The Klingons have some half-truths and misunderstandings concerning the story, but their basic beef with Kirk is that he told Kruge to beam his men over to the E, then he set the self-destruct mechanism and beam himself the fuck off the ship. He then stole Kruge's ship. Frankly, they have a right to be angry. That was a pretty douchey move by Kirk.
They have some tinfoil hat conspiracy about the Genesis device being used to take over the Klingon Empire, and they want Kirk extradited so he can stand trial on Qo'nos.
"Bitch, what the hell kind of bug is up your ass now?" asks a voice from the back of the room.
Awwww, yeah! It's Sarek, y'all!
"If you're gonna accuse Kirk of being nefarious, at least fill in the details," he says, stepping up to the Klingon ambassador. "The Genesis device isn't some dumb weapon, and Kruge was coming after it way before Kirk killed his crew. Actually asshole, if you want to get technical, Kruge killed first. He killed David."
The ambassador calls Vulcans "the puppets of the Federation," but says that Kruge did indeed kill David first. Sarek tells the federation president that he's here to speak on the behalf of the accused, but the president tells both of them that the hearing is over, and there's no need to argue. They're charging Kirk with nine violations of Starfleet regulations.
This does not sit well with the Klingon ambassador, as he really wanted extradition, and he feels like Kirk will get a slap on the wrist. (Frankly, I do too.) He yells that there will be no peace as long as Kirk lives, then he and his aides stalk out of the room. Somebody shouts "you pompous ass!" at him as he leaves, which is pretty funny.
|Sarek is done with your shit.|
Meanwhile, back on the Kolinahr Ranch:
Kirk's Log 8390: "Been here three months. Bones has given our stolen Klingon ship a name."
|I love you, Bones.|
"We've decided to go back to Earth and face up to whatever punishment they want to slap us with."
Kirk lines his crew up and they all agree to go back, then break off to return to stations and prepare for the trip. He asks Scotty how long it will take before they can get under way, and Scotty gets a pretty funny line here:
"About a day, sir. Damage control is easy. It's reading Klingon that's hard."
Bones bitches about having to go home in a Klingon ship, and Kirk reminds him that the cloaking device onboard is valuable.
Kirk sees Spock standing on a ledge, watching them, and there's a nice transition here where we follow Spock back inside.
He's doing testing on himself, presumably not only to sharpen his wits, but also to test to see if he can multitask, given that he's working five panels at once.
Every answer he gives is announced to be correct, but then it asks "How do you feel?" and he comes up stumped. When he gives no answer, all of the screens ask the same question.
"I do not understand the question," he tells the computer.
A female voice asks what's wrong, and you guys, it's Amanda!
Amanda Fucking Greyson!
And damn, does she look fabulous in that Vulcan couture! She's done all in soft, dove grey fabrics and shawls, and there's no trace of the ugly-ass stuff she wore in "Journey to Babel." not only does she look lovely, but she does the Mom thing really well here.
"I do not understand the question, Mother," Spock explains. He's a grown-up, but his choice of words here is both Vulcan and slightly child-like. He is still becoming comfortable with himself.
She gently explains that the computer has taken into account that he is half-human, and has asked him about his emotions.
She says that, as her son, he will have emotions and should look into how to deal with them. He replies that if she finds that important, he will put effort into it, but he can't right now, because he has to go to Earth to testify. She asks if he's doing it out of a sense of friendship. When he replies that he's doing it because he was there, she points out that his friends brought him back to life and rescued him out of friendship.
"Humans are illogical," he states, somewhat confused.
"They are indeed," she smiles.
ZOD DAMMIT, HAVE I TOLD YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS WOMAN?
Here is a woman who both lives with, and loves, two Vulcans. She knows that the simple acknowledgement of "they are, indeed" is all that a confused Vulcan requires. This is a woman who has married one Vulcan, raised another, puts up with their shit daily, and all she asks in return is that they acknowledge that sometimes, humans don't suck. They are merely different. Sarek gets it. Spock gets it. They get it because they love her in return. This family is brilliant, and their parts were brilliantly cast and understood by the actors that portrayed them.
|*head explodes from the adorable*|
We go back to the Saratoga, which is flying a bit too close to the probe-thingy, and the amplification of the call it's sending out is high enough to fry the ship's systems. They lose contact with Starfleet. And I'm sure that they don't want me to say it, but the part of the probe that is sending out the call looks like a penis. A penis with a round, glowy head. But the probe itself appears to be some kind of stone pillar, so it's like a giant rock penis...with a penis.
Starfleet's feathers are ruffled. Apparently, the penis-probe is giving off an insane amount of an energy that no one recognizes, and it's causing destruction wherever it goes. An admiral tells the president that two Klingon vessels have been destroyed, and they watch a captain's log entry from the USS Yorktown, which they've lost contact with.
|Dude, Indian captain: YAS.|
Kirk readies the HMS Klingon Bounty for its flight to Earth. Everyone individually reports that they are prepared to leave, and Scotty cheerfully tells Kirk that he replaced the food replicator systems with Terran selections.
Saavik is staying behind on Vulcan. They don't say why she isn't going with them, but remember the nixed idea about her being knocked up with Spock's kid? That's why she wasn't going. But since they don't give another reason, I'm just gonna claim that it's because she decided to take an extended leave to brush up on her kolinahr studies and visit with her family. Truthfully, IRL, Saavik doesn't really have anything to do with the plot of this film, and they weren't certain with to do with her, so they just had her stay behind. She didn't really need to leave, because she had no reason to be court-martialed like the others. They committed all of that crap before they arrived on Genesis. She technically helped them steal the Klingon cruiser, but let's not split hairs. Saavik gets written up, everyone else gets drummed out.
Anyway, as part of her goodbye, Saavik claims that she didn't get a chance to tell Kirk about his son. This is actually crap, as I recall her doing this in movie #3, but she tells him again that he saved her and Spock.
Spock comes in as she is leaving. There's an awkward moment where they meet face-to-face, and she tells him that she hopes his journey is free from incident.
Bahahaha, have you met Kirk, Saavik? Dude cannot get from Point A to Point B without causing an interstellar incident, beaming tribbles onto an enemy ship, or seducing some hot alien.
Spock addresses Kirk as "admiral" and Kirk tries to get him to call him "Jim." Spock replies that it's inappropriate, and apologizes for his uniform going missing. He hops over to the science station. Bones briefly complains to Kirk that Spock is still a few marbles short of a bag, but Kirk shrugs it off.
Then there's an awesome shot of the cruiser leaving Vulcan while Saavik and Amanda look on.
We cut back to the penis-probe, which has completely shut down the spacedock and all of the ships within it. It pauses in orbit of Earth and broadcasts that high-pitched noise again. The probe changes the weather patterns on Earth, drawing moisture from the oceans up into the clouds.
And yet, nobody seems to be remarking on its penis-like qualities. It's the opposite of that "just a little prick" gag on Austin Powers 2.
So they're enroute to Earth, but Chekov reports no Federation vessels anywhere nearby. Kirk is unnerved. He asks Uhura what communications are like, and she replies that it's hella busy. She's picking up tons of stuff, but it doesn't sound normal.
Bones slides in next to Spock. "Hey. Glad I'm not in your head anymore."
"Uh-huh," says Spock.
Bones tries and fails to engage him in a discussion about death. "Come on, yo. What's it like to die?"
"We don't have a common frame of reference," Spock replies.
"Dude, I have to die before we can discuss what dying feels like?" Bones is aghast.
"Pretty much," says Spock. "Can't chat now. Getting a bunch of distress calls."
Bones walks away grouchy. You can tell he really wants to get into it with Spock, argue and trade some racist barbs. He probably figures that Spockoy is not Spockoy unless they're bitching at one another.
Back on Earth, Starfleet has determined that they are quickly becoming fucked six ways from Sunday. The screechy penis-probe has essentially covered most of the planet in clouds and is creating hurricanes. Locations from all over are calling in to report lost power. The admiral notes that they can't survive without the sun.
Sarek enters, and the president tells him that he's kind of trapped with them on Earth. Sarek suggests that they send up an SOS while they can. The president agrees.
Out in space, the Bounty picks up the SOS. The president tells anyone nearby to avoid Earth like the plague, because some transmission-thingy is fucking up all of the shit and taking out ships with it. They have no idea what the message says, so they have no idea how to answer it and keep it from destroying the planet.
Kirk looks distressed. He asks Uhura to play the probe's message, and she puts it on speakers. Then he asks Spock's opinion.
"Um, whoever it is is way smart, but they don't realize that their message is being destructive in that way. I don't think they're hostile. I also don't think the message is meant for humans."
"Who the fuck else would they be calling?" demands Bones.
"Don't be arrogant," says Spock. "Other things live on that planet besides freaking humans, you know. The president's message said it was aimed at the oceans."
Kirk thinks for a minute, then asks Uhura to basically filter the transmission as though it were being heard underwater. She plays it back.
"Yep," says Spock. "That's whale song, yo. Too bad you guys let the humpback whale go extinct, because that's who would have answered back."
"That's dumb," says Bones. "Who would send a probe across the galaxy to say "howdy" to some whales?"
"Whales are way older than humans," Spock points out. "Maybe the message is, why haven't we heard back from you?"
"Can we reply back in whale song?" Kirk asks
"No. We can make the sounds, but we don't freaking speak whale," Spock points out. "And whales are from Earth, so we can't just go out to some space-whale night club on some other planet and pick us up some humpbacks to answer the call. Super-screwed here."
"Okay," says Kirk. "Let's do the time warp again."
We go back to Starfleet headquarters, where they've declared red alert and everyone is running around like headless chickens. An irate Christine is yelling at someone over the comm about shutting off power to her medical facilities.
Then, because this fandom loves them some nostalgia, we catch a glimpse of Rand nearby, doing the same.
Ops guys rush in to shore up the thick plate glass windows against the gale-force winds outside.
Kirk goes down to engineering and asks Scotty how big the bay is that they're standing in.
"About 60 feet."
"Can you enclose it to hold water?"
"Yeah. You wanna take a swim?"
"Off the deep end," interjects Bones.
You're awesome, Bones.
"We need to find some humpbacks," Kirk tells Scotty.
"Humpbacked people?" Scotty asks.
"Naw, man. Whales."
Scotty is probably wondering what kinds of drugs Kirk is on. Bones most likely is as well.
Bones tells Kirk that he's batshit crazy on their way back to the bridge.
"We've done time-travel before," Kirk points out.
"Yeah, with that slingshot thing that doesn't actually work IRL," says Bones. "You wanna do that, go back in time, pick up some whales, bring 'em back using that same dumb slingshot thing, and hope they say Go away, probe?"
"Yeah, why not?" asks Kirk.
"You're high," snaps Bones.
Bones saying the plan out loud brings up a question I have: How do you know which way you'll travel when you do that stupid slingshot thing? Like, with a TARDIS or a DeLorean, you have controls. You can tell them when you want to go. But with this slingshot thing, is there a set way to do it? There has to be. Clockwise for future, counterclockwise for past? Do they just assume? What if they went back in time, tried to go forward again, but just ended up going further into the past? What if it just kept throwing them further and further back, with no way to go forward again? Then you'd end up stuck in the Dark Ages with an alien spaceship and some whales, and no way to get home. I suppose if they managed to stop around the time of the Salem Witch Trials they could contact those aliens and somehow get home, but they'd have to land and hope to Zod that they'd have enough energy to keep the cloaking device on, lest they all be burned at the stake for witchcraft as well.
Shit. I've spiraled into madness, you guys. Space madness. Kirk has successfully baffled me with his bullshit.
Kirk calls Starfleet headquarters.
"Whut up, yo? So we figured out that the probe is looking for an extinct species of whale, so we're gonna go back in time and get some. It probs won't work, but what the hell, you know? You were gonna court-martial our asses, anyway."
I hope Rand is making that face. Rand Face.
Anyway, before they can tell Kirk that his plan holds no water, they lose the transmission and the window behind them bursts inward, spraying everyone with hurricane rain.
Kirk asks Spock if he's done with his calculations.
"Yeah, but I had to program some stuff from memory. Important stuff. Like, we could totally fail if I misremembered something."
Bones, who is already sick of this crap, quotes Hamlet, which Spock correctly identifies.
They go to stations. Sulu takes them to warp. Early on, the ship shakes and lose stuff falls off the stations. You know how I know this movie has a bigger budget than the show? The film can afford to build this ship set in such a way that, when the ship shakes, the set shakes. No one is jiggling in their chair while the camera guy shakes the camera. They grab their stations for stability, but it's obviously not faked.
A panel blows near Uhura, and a crack forms in the wall, spewing steam. Sulu makes his turn. They shoot out the other side of the sun, and thus follows the most baffling scene in a film where people go back in time to kidnap whales.
I'm pretty sure this scene was written by the people who wrote "Bem" and that episode where they meet the devil. People on drugs. Really, really good drugs. And, especially because this sort of scene was not included in the previous time travel adventure they had, I'm convinced that it was written in here mostly as "Look how cool our special effects are! We have money for things now!"
How do I describe this scene?
The heads of the crew emerge half-formed as gelatinous goo from some kind of flat plane. They're all kind of talking at once.
I don't even know what to do with this.
And now, there's like whales, but not whales?
A naked mannequin is falling through space above Earth and into a bright light.
You guys, I have an art degree. I sat through four years of presentations of the weirdest shit on Earth, and I have to say... this could probably win some kind of award at a Time-Based Arts festival.
The mannequin falls into some water.
Kirk wakes up in his chair. I guess they all passed out? Sulu, in surprise, says that the braking thrusters have fired.
DUDE, WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED? DID YOU NOT EXPECT THAT, OR PROGRAM FOR IT? Did no one push the button? Y'all blacked out! If those thrusters hadn't come on, they would have been scraping you off the pavement of some city somewhere, but you guys have no idea how that happened? What the hell kind of operation is this?
They check out the screen and see that they're orbiting Earth, and Spock thinks, based on pollution levels, that they hit their target time frame. He also points out that the people of Earth can probably see them on radar.
"Oh, yeah," says Kirk. "Let's cloak and get our crap done."
Uhura reports that she can hear whale song.
Scotty calls Kirk down to engineering.
"So these Klingon dilithium crystals suck," he explains. "They didn't like us traveling back in time, so they're breaking down. We get like, 24 hours with the cloak, then we're visible and stuck here. We can't even get out of orbit, let alone go forward in time again."
"Oh," says Kirk. "How long until you can recrystallize them?"
Scotty snorts. "Who says that's possible?"
"So, hey," says Spock as they walk back to the bridge. "If we're in the 1980's, that means they're working with nuclear fission. Naval vessels use that. It's super-toxic, but we could make a container to hold it and then beam it out of the ships and into ours. We might be able to recrystallize the dilithium that way."
"Cool," says Kirk.
On the bridge, he divides up his team. Uhura and Chekov are in charge of stealing uranium, cuz that's a smart move during the Cold War. Bones, Scotty, and Sulu are going to build a whale tank in the back of the ship. And Kirk and Spock will get some alone time while they search for whales to kidnap.
Oh, but what to do about the fact that your boyfriend's an alien? You can't go with that rice picker accident story again. Oh! I know! You dress him in your finest Karate Kid cosplay!
Kirk gives a speech about flying under the radar with the humans they encounter, and Sulu lands the Bounty in Golden Gate Park.
There's a short, goofy scene where some garbage men are going about their jobs, chatting with one another, and the cloaked Bounty lands, causing crazy bursts of wind from seemingly nowhere. An empty metal trashcan rolls out onto the grass and is crushed flat before their eyes. The earth surrounding it sinks in as the Bounty's landing gear attempts to support the obviously heavy weight of the ship.
Like all good alien films, there's a bright light, and a staircase descends from out of thin air, at which point, beings emerge. The garbage collectors take off, with the general attitude of "fuckfuckfuckfuck" and "neither of us saw anything."
I'm left with two thoughts here:
1. I wish I owned a copy of "Flight of the Navigator."
2. Could they not have done a life-form scan before landing? Or at least checked their perimeter before getting off the ship? I mean, yeah. It ruins that funny part, but aren't these people heavily trained in the Prime Directive? Because if anything qualifies for PD treatment, it's the past version of your own civilization.
Uhura has located the whales nearby, somewhere in San Francisco, and she gives Kirk the coordinates as they exit the ship.
"Everyone remember where we parked," he calls as they walk away.
Dumbo. You parked in Dumbo.
I guess they've been walking all night, because it's daytime when we see them next, walking through the city. Kirk almost gets mowed over by a red taxi, and the guy leans out the window to yell at him, calling him a dumbass. the captain is temporarily non-plussed, then yells back, "Oh, yeah? Well, double dumbass on you!"
|OMG, a Winchell's! I haven't seen one of those in forever!|
They see a woman buying a newspaper from a machine ("Nuclear Arms Race!") and realize that they don't have any money, and that's going to be a problem. Kirk and Spock decide to remedy the situation. They find an antique shop nearby and Kirk sells his reading glasses, which are apparently 18th century. (How lucky for Bones that he managed to find 500-year-old reading glasses in Kirk's prescription.)
"Um, didn't Dr McCoy give those to you for your birthday?" Spock asks.
"Yeah, and he will again," Kirk replies cheerfully.
The antiques guy gives them a hundred bucks, and Kirk falters. "Is that a lot?"
The guy kind of shrugs good-naturedly.
Kirk hands out the money to his companions and they separate, each going off on their assigned tasks. Kirk asks Spock how they should go about finding whales in San Francisco, and Spock stops at a map of the city, talking about comparing coordinates and blah, blah, blah, when a bus rolls up.
They are briefly stymied when the bus driver tells them they can only ride the bus with exact change.
We switch over to Sulu, Scotty and Bones, who are discussing how to build a whale tank in a Klingon cruiser. Scotty says he can do it easily with transparent aluminum, but Sulu tells him that he's a bit too early for that. (Like, ten years too early. Transparent aluminum was invented in the late 90's, and even though it has another name, it's often refer to as "transparent aluminum because of this goofy-ass film.) They wonder aloud where they might get something similar, so of course they wander right in front of a giant Yellow Pages ad.
Uhura and Chekov have already figured that part out, and Chekov closes a phone book to tell Uhura that he found what they needed listed under "US Government." Dude, you're smart af, Chekov. Peeps do not give you enough credit.
Of course, I may have spoken too soon, as he and Uhura just start randomly stopping people on the street to ask them about "nuclear wessels" on the Naval Base at Alameda. Everybody, including a cop, just stares at them.
"Um, across the bay. In Alameda," responds one woman.
I don't think Walter Koenig could resist smirking at that.
The next scene is freaking fabulous. Spock and Kirk have obviously obtained exact change for the bus, but the bus they are riding also contains a punk with a huge boombox, on which he is loudly playing a song written for this film, entitled "I Hate You." Everyone else on the bus is clearly bothered by the fact that this rude-ass guy has no headphones. Kirk asks him politely to turn the music down, and the guy flips him off and turns it up.
So Spock pinches him. The other riders clap.
He then asks Kirk about Kirk adding swear words to his regular way of speaking.
"It's just the way they talk," Kirk explains. "You have to swear every other word or no one will pay attention to you."
The bus arrives at the Cetacean Institute, and their tour guide, Dr Gillian Taylor, explains that it's the only research institute in the world devoted to whales. How super-convenient for our heroes!
She gives some info to the group about how whales are mammals rather than fish, and tells them that they are not hostile, despite being aggressively hunted. She then shows them a graphic video of people hunting whales, and you know, harvesting them. Gross. She's clearly pissed off about the whole thing, and immediately gets on Spock's good side with her response to his statement that, "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."
Gillian takes the group outside, to the salt-water tank where the institute has two mature humpback whales, George and Gracie. She says they wandered into the bay as calves and have been brought up there. Kirk and Spock are feeling good, because now they can just show up at night after the institute is closed, and beam the whales onboard.
She takes them back inside to check out the tank from below, and tells the group that they are going to be releasing the whales back into the open ocean soon. The institute can't keep up with the costs of housing them. They go into the aquarium and Gillian talks about whale song some more. She isn't paying any attention when Spock swims up to mind-meld with Gracie.
Kirk has the most fabulous reaction ever.
Someone points out that Spock is in the tank, and Gillian rushes back upstairs, with Kirk at her heels, both of them ready to rip Spock a new one, but for different reasons.
Spock tries his hand at swearing by inserting "the hell" into weird places in his speech. He makes a good point, though: if he had not gotten permission from the whales to get their help, then the crew of the Bounty would be no better than the people who had hunted the whales to extinction.
Damn. I wish I was a marine biologist. I would get a big-ass tattoo of that quote with some whales.
Gillian threatens to call the cops if they don't get the fuck out of her institute.
Later, they are walking along the bay, and Kirk tells Spock that maybe he shouldn't swear, cuz, you know, he's not good at it. Also, he thinks that maybe instead of being totally honest, Spock could exaggerate sometimes. Spock is puzzled by all of this, so Kirk skips forward in the convo and asks about the whales. Spock is pretty sure that the whales are going to help them.
Back at the institute, Gillian is talking to the whales. She's approached by a coworker, Bob, who asks about the weirdos who were in earlier. She shrugs it off, and admits that she's really torn about the whales leaving. He tells her that there's an equal chance of survival for them, whether they stay at the institute or are released back out into the wild. Then he makes the mistake of telling her that they aren't humans, and there's no assurance of their intelligence, and she yells at him that her "compassion for someone is not limited to my estimate of their intelligence."
Damn straight, honey! You tell 'em!
Team Two, Chekov and Uhura, have apparently found Alameda and the Naval Base. They crawl along the shoreline (which doesn't seem possible, given that it's the US military), and pause to get the coordinates of the nuclear reactor inside.
Chekov excitedly calls Kirk to report in. "Admiral! We found the ship! And -- it's the Enterprise!"
Of course it is.
He also thinks this will be a pretty straight-forward mission. Pavel, how many missions have you done with Kirk where everything went according to plan? Two? And a half?
Kirk and Spock are walking near the bay when Gillian pulls up in the most busted truck ever. It's like they located the oldest, clunkiest truck in San Francisco and paid the owner five dollars a day to rent it and slap some whale stickers on the back. Kirk decides to talk to her and find out when the whales are being moved, so they can steal them before that time.
"Please forgive my friend," says Kirk. "During the sixties, he spent too much time in Berkely doing LDS."
I wonder how many people accidentally choked on their popcorn at that possibly unintended joke. Spock spent a lot of time... in Berkely... doing Mormons.
Gillian is clearly taking everything he says with a shaker of salt.
She offers these two weirdos a ride, but also mentions that if they try anything funny, she'll knock their brains out with a tire iron. They get in, and Kirk asks what will happen when they release the whales into the wild. She hesitates, then admits they will possibly be at the mercy of whale hunters. But then she brings up the fact that Spock used the past tense when referring to the extinction of humpbacks. Kirk tries to play it off like Spock was talking about what will happen, but she doesn't buy it.
"Is it time for a colorful metaphor?" Spock asks Kirk.
Yes, Spock. Now would be a good time to mutter "fuck" very quietly.
She asks if they're from the military (she heard Spock call Kirk "admiral"), but he assures her that they're not.
"Gracie is pregnant," Spock announces, pretty much from nowhere.
Gillian slams on the brakes.
"Seriously, who the fuck are you?"
"Um..." says Kirk. "Not the military, but we can help you. We should have dinner."
Good Lord, Lothario Kirk is back. Phaser me now.
Scotty and Bones arrive at a plexiglass plant, and Bones wheedles his way into a tour by telling the supervisor that "Professor" Scott has come all the way from Edinburgh to study their manufacturing techniques, but convinces the poor guy that there was some kind of mix up, and an appointment had not be set on the plant's part. Scotty starts dickishly yelling about how he came all this way, but Bones "calms" him by saying that the supervisor, Dr Nichols, has offered to give them a tour.
I like Dr Nichols. They're screwing with him, but he's friendly and kind of nerdy, and he's wearing a giant button that says "I quit smoking," which is charming as hell.
Post-tour, Scotty and Bones goes back to Nichols' office to talk shop. Scotty asks Nichols how thick the Plexiglass would need to be on a tank that he's building, and Nichols tells him 6 inches. Scotty says he can give Nichols the formula for for a material that would do the same job, but only be one inch thick. Nichols is pretty sure that Scotty is screwing with him.
So Scotty sits down at this dude's tiny 1980's Mac, and verbally addresses it. When it doesn't respond, he tries again, using a tone reserved for adults talking to small children. Bones figures out the problem and hands Scotty the mouse. Scotty then proceeds to use it like a microphone.
Nichols finally tells him to use the keyboard, which Scotty balks at, but acquiesces. After some quick hunt-and-peck typing, the molecular structure for transparent aluminum pops up.
Scotty proposes a trade. Bones pulls him aside, and even though the good doctor has been pushing this agenda as well, he suddenly asks Scotty if this is an okay thing to do. Visions of the Prime Directive dance in his head.
"How do we know he didn't invent the thing?" Scotty counters, and that simple excuse is apparently enough, because Bones just smiles, and they go back to their negotiations.
Gillian and Kirk drop Spock off at the park. Gillian is weirded out that Spock just wants to hang out at the park rather than go get dinner, and when she demands to know how he knows that Gracie is pregnant - because nobody knows - he replies, "Gracie does." Gillian and Kirk drive away, and I guess she didn't bother to check her rearview, or see that Spock beams away onto the invisible ship in front of him.
Gonna end it here for this week, mostly because I've reached the mid-way point for this film, but also because the next scene is Lothario Kirk on his date with Gillian, and frankly, seeing New Kirk devolve back into Kirk Classic is painful.
- The scene where our boys are standing in front of the Yellow Pages ad, and a tiny Japanese woman opens the door to yell at a guy who just exited the same door, was supposed to contain a small time-travel joke in which the woman is actually yelling at a little boy, whom she calls Hikaru. The joke is that Sulu was supposed to realize that this kid was the ancestor whom he was named after. But the kid they hired to play little Hikaru wasn't cooperating, so they switched it up and the lady yells at some dude instead.
- The woman who tells Chekov and Uhura to check Alameda for the Alameda Naval Base was a woman whose car had been towed because of filming. When she showed up to get her car and discovered it gone, she signed on to be an extra to make money to get her car out of impound. Additionally, none of the extras in that scene had any lines. They were supposed to shrug or look oddly at Chekov and Uhura. This lady forgot, and replied. "I dunno. Check Alameda?" Director Nimoy thought the response was hilarious, and left it in.
- The punk on the bus with the boombox is associate producer Kirk Thatcher. He disliked the music that was supposed to be playing, and wrote the song "I Hate You" for that scene specifically.
- Spock pinching the punk was added in by Leonard Nimoy, who had encountered such a person on the street at one point, and thought, "If I were really Spock, I would pinch that guy's head off."
- Catherine Hicks, who plays Gillian, was not familiar with Star Trek. While director Nimoy gave her a bit of background during her audition, she elected not to watch any of the original material, to further give her an "outsider" feeling. In addition, she did quite a bit of research on whales, to give her performance a bit of a boost. The information she gathered inspired her to continue on in whale conservation.
- A number of ideas were batted around for the plot of this film before the actual idea was settled upon: Gene Rod wanted a time-travel story where the E crew goes back in time to prevent the assassination of JFK. But that was too heavy, and the audience would already be aware of how that film would end from the get-go. They considered a story about the E crew traveling to the jungles of Earth in search for a cure for a terrible disease, but again, Nimoy wanted a lighter film, and felt this was too heavy. He finally decided on whales after reading up on extinct species, and felt that whale song added a nice mystery.
This week's tea is (I think) another seasonal, because I haven't seen it any other time. Seasonal teas are great because I keep searching for stores for teas that I haven't tried that I think I might want a whole box of, and when seasonal teas crop up, it adds to the number of selections I can make.
To put it simply, Salted Caramel Tea is yummy.
It's a black base, and I didn't add any milk or dairy, so I'm baffled as to how this tea is creamy. Maybe it's the chicory? (Beeteedubs, I reviewed chicory before, and found it be gross on its own, but it isn't obvious here, so no worries about that.) I didn't have to add a lot of sugar, it was nicely sweet on its own.