01:15:01 – The End
Lt. Hulu took off his tunic and, bare-chested, began fencing with Dr. Macklemore on the bridge of the 15-Minute Federation. Hulu had a tendency to do this when he grew bored at his station, which was frequently. The helmsman was dueling with one of those collapseable plastic lightsabers, while the doctor used a bathroom plunger.
If Captain James C. Firewater knew that Lt. Hulu was using a Star Wars toy, he would’ve had a conniption fit. You just don’t cross fandoms that way.
However, the Captain wasn’t around. He had taken Commander Spork and Nurse Transept with him to the planet Risa. They were working out Spork’s pon farr issues. That really didn’t explain why Nurse Transept joined the two senior officers on the away mission. Maybe because she had been working on Risa when Capt. Firewater offered her the position on the ship. We had all heard the rumors that she still sometimes took at shift there for some extra money.
With Firewater and Spork both away, Chief Engineer MacDonald had the conn. Fifteen minutes into his command, he discovered that our dilithium supplies were running low, so he took his own personal shuttle to the planet Cosco to purchase more K-cups. The chain of command gets sketchy after MacDonald, so no one was really left in charge.
Hence, Lt. Hulu’s half-naked fencing with Macklemore. An excited Ensign Shecky Pavlov ran around in circles and barked at the two men. Hulu had better fighting form, but the doctor was winning more points, having whacked the helmsman with the business end of the plumber’s helper more times than anyone could count. Hulu was probably going to end up with a serious case of pink eye.
Times like this, we all can understand the impulse to activate the ship’s self-destruct sequence.
Welcome to Chapter 6 of The Search for Spock Edition of the 15-Minute Federation.
We had reached the one hour, fifteen minute mark at the end of our last chapter. Captain James T. Kirk—Admiral Kirk, if you insist—had just tricked the Klingons into boarding the USS Enterprise, just as its self-destruction sequence reached its conclusion. Of course, our stalwart Starfleet officers weren’t committing suicide. On Kirk’s orders, they had all beamed down to the Genesis planet, which was having a few problems of its own. From the planet surface, they watch the death throes of the Enterprise, as it streaks comet-like down from the skies.
“My god, Bones,” Kirk says. “What have I done?”
“What you had to do,” McCoy responds. “What you always do. Turn death into a fighting chance to live.”
Sulu points out that the planet core readings are unstable, and changing rapidly. Maybe this was his way of saying that they weren’t saved yet. He is able to pinpoint life signs on the planet surface, leading our team to the location of Lt. Saavik, the Spock clone, and the recently departed Dr. David Marcus, who was the son Kirk almost never met.
The remaining Klingons guarding Saavik and the others are quickly eliminated as Kirk and team arrive, phasers a-blazing. Kirk looks down on the body of his son the doctor. Saavik says that he gave his life to save her and Spock.
McCoy examines the Spock clone. His tricorder tells him that Spock II is aging rapidly. All of his genetic functions, in fact, are highly accelerated. Kirk asks about the clone’s mind, and McCoy refers to it as “a void.”
“It seems, Admiral,” says McCoy, “that I’ve got all his marbles.”
Saavik adds that the only thing that will save Spock is to get him off the planet. His rapid aging is somehow connected to the planet upheavals going on around them.
Kirk, who just blew up his ride, is now tasked with coming up with a way to get them off the dying planet Krypton. I mean, Alderaan. No, the Genesis planet. Yeah, yeah. That’s it.
Kirk uses one of the Klingon communicaters to call an Uber. No, instead he calls his current mortal foe Commander Kruge, who sounds a whole lot like Rev. Jim Ignatowski on Taxi. Kruge has a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, you see, and Jim Kirk needs a ride. With no other weapon left at his disposal, he uses the wits that make him a grandmaster 3D-chess and expert poker player, and he convinces Kruge that he has the secrets to the Genesis device.
Kruge beams down to the surface of the dying planet. He beams everyone but Kirk and Spock up to the Klingon ship. Kruge says he wants the secrets to Genesis, but his actions say that he just wants to fight. He seems okay with both him and Kirk dying as Genesis finishes destroying itself.
That’s not what happens, though. Kirk flat out murders Kruge, dropping him into red-hot lava. Sure, both of the ship commanders were trying to seriously hurt one another, and you might argue that the killing of Kruge was ultimately self-defense. But, the fact remains that there, at the end, Kirk kicked Kruge until he fell into the lava and was killed.
Kirk exacted some Biblical revenge upon the individual responsible for the death of his only son (that we know of). I’m okay with that. Still, call it what it is: Murder.
Kirk uses the communicator to contact the acting captain on board the Bird-of-Prey, convincing the hapless Maltz to beam him and Spock on board by pretending to be the dead Kruge. Kirk easily overpowers the last remaining Klingon as the rest of his bridge crew tries to figure out how to drive the alien vessel. They have to break out of their orbit or they’ll be destroyed along with the Genesis planet.
Our favorite bridge crew seems to be leaping from one hot frying pan to another in this long action sequence. Escaping from an exploding ship, then from an exploding planet, and now in another ship that will blow up if they don’t figure out how to drive it.
They do, by the way. Figure out how to drive the Bird-of-Prey, I mean, which soon leaves orbit. The planet finishes blowing itself up as our Starfleet crew set a course for Vulcan. We almost have Spock back, at the right age, but he is currently tabula rasa. We’ve got to get our Spock out of McCoy’s head and into his new body.
“Goodbye, David,” Kirk says to his dead son, trying to milk every ounce of melodrama from the moment.
A scene follows in which Dr. McCoy attempts to communicate with the unconscious Spock clone. Although the two had always been rivals, there was also a strong bond of friendship between them. In this scene, McCoy tells his unconscious and only recently-dead crewmate that he’s not sure he could handle losing him again. Very sweet.
Anyway, our renegade Starfleet team arrives at Vulcan in their new ride, a sleek green foreign job. Spock’s father Sarek is there, also. A Vulcan priestess performs a mind meld with the unconscious Spock clone and McCoy, after warning the doctor that the danger was as great to him as to Spock.
Bottom line time. It works. Spock’s katra is forcibly removed from McCoy’s head and put into the empty mind of the Spock clone. Leonard Nimoy, whose dissatisfaction with the role of Spock was a huge factor in the decision to kill the character off in the first place, found a way to bring him back to life and become a big-time feature director in the bargain.
But, is it really Spock? It’s like that old “grandfather’s ax” conundrum. Is it really the same ax after you’ve replaced every part of it? Is this really Spock or just a good copy that must be at least slightly inferior to the original? Our Spock is still really dead, right?
Some self-appointed Trek-sperts have suggested that a person “dies” every time he uses a matter transporter to travel. If that’s true, then my minor philisophical dilemma is about as substantial as a fart in the wind. Spock is back. That’s all we need to know.
We know Spock is back because of the following exchange, as Spock, in a white hooded robe, is escorted from the temple after the successful mind meld. He stops before Jim Kirk.
“My father says you have been my friend,” Spock says. “You came back for me.”
“You would have done the same for me.”
“Why would you do this?”
“Because the needs of the one, “ Kirk says, “outweigh the needs of the many.”
Spock responds, “I have been . . .and ever shall be . . . your friend.”
“Yes! Yes, Spock.”
“The ship—” Spock says. “Out of danger?”
We’re revisiting Spock’s previous death scene, of course. An iconic film moment that filmmakers are still trying to reproduce, with some mixed results.
“You saved the ship,” Kirk says. “You saved us all. Don’t you remember?”
“Jim,” Spock says. “Your name is Jim.”
And that’s how we know Spock is back. He’s not all the way back, of course. His story continues in the next movie. The general consensus at the 15-Minute Federation is that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is not a true sequel to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It is, however, the first film in a trilogy, which includes Search for Spock and concludes with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Which is where our voyage is taking us next.
Until next movie . . . HR Insists that We Celebrate Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations at the 15-Minute Federation . . .Live Long and Prosper.