Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where I Discuss Star Trek: The Galileo Seven

This article was first posted on September 27, 2010. It is presented in its entirety with some minor changes.

The Galileo Seven is an odd episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It's basically a disaster movie. With Spock in the role of the plucky hero who leads everyone to safety. His turn as leader is hindered by the fact that for some unfathomable reason, he has lost all of the emotional sensitivity that he exhibited in the previous episodes. Not only has he lost his emotional sensitivity, he has turned into a Forrest Gump of emotional sensitivity, unintentionally alienating everyone around him. It doesn't help that everyone around him, with the exception of Scotty, seems to have collectively taken leave of their senses.

For most of The Galileo Seven, we are presented with Spock making what are basically very sound, rational decisions given the situation the eponymous seven Enterprise crewmembers are in, and everyone else, with the exception of Scotty, who spends most of this episode with his head under the hood of the stricken shuttlecraft Galileo, objecting to the choices that he makes, mainly, it seems, out of spite. It's as if being stranded on Taurus II has resulted in everyone binning themselves into one of two categories: Persons principally driven by their id or persons principally driven by their ego...with almost everyone almost gleefully giving themselves over to their id.

Irrationality abounds in this episode. Not only that, but it's trumpeted as something to be proud of, something that makes us human.

Following this strange logic, the residents of the local asylum would be the ideal exemplars of all that is human. I would argue the contrary, that what makes us human is our rationality or at least our capacity for such. In which case Mr. Spock would appear to be the most human of all the characters in this episode. How deliciously ironic that someone who constantly struggles to suppress his humanity turns out to be the most human of them all. A foreshadowing of Kirk's eulogy at the end of The Wrath of Khan?

Or maybe I'm reading too deeply into an episode which is, at the end of the day, basically a disaster movie.

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