Date: 09/14/2015 5:59 PM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
Thank you for this. I also have a little to add, in a good way. Kirk's 'I feel young' line at Wrath of Khan. There is a small peice of Watership Down, where Richard Adams notes that young children struggle to understand the finality of death. I like to take it in that light that he can't reconcile the finality of Spock's death in his mind (I'll send another reveiw with the quote, when I find it). It also fits with the returning here again peice just after.
Re Carol. The love was dead as a dodo on her side. The key point for me was when Kirk leaves to bridge after Bones calls, something is clearly wrong and he goes straight past her, but she doesn't turn to look at him at all, too focused on Genesis.
Thanks for this
Date: 01/13/2014 12:40 PM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
I read this analysis way back when I was brand new to K/S and I have to say, I love it every bit as much on re-reading as I did back then. More so, now, in fact, since I have a deeper understanding of TOS and the films, and there is so MUCH in this analysis that makes them so much richer. Also, when I was reading it again I realised just how much of my headcanon comes from your observations here! Love this - thank you!
Date: 02/08/2013 11:26 AM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
Amazing, amazing amazing meta and analysis ! Im totally sold with Kirk and Spock "officializing" their relationship beteen TMP and TsfS. Really amazing meta ! I hope you'll write more ! :D
Date: 10/20/2012 6:56 AM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
Of course the end of TWOK is odd but for the one plot change Nimoy creating ambiguity. A change of mind to permit Movie 3. For me it looks like a change of mind over Spock's final wishes for disposal. He didn't originally want to transfer his Katra but changed his mind. The final scene for me plays out as hesitation just before entering the chamber an impulse decision. Fast forward to Spock/McCoy and theashy did you leave me on genesis.
I Was puzzled about the fact Kirk instantly knew that he had to get Spock's body after the Katric transfer was known. He knew the two possibilities for Vulcan death ritual and he knew Spock had chosen originally not to separate body and soul. Sarek didn't tell him what to do HE KNEW.
Date: 05/24/2011 7:47 PM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
Hi again -
1. The objection is that once we have a show that is about our "Cosmic Adventure", the species and the ideal should become one and the same thing. In the Cosmos we are supposed to be those ideals, or something resembling the ideals which we imagine "down here", or are given to us in such information about the human species (not that we fully understand what those are). Otherwise we cannot make the "leap" to the stars. I maintain that SF shows can never fully portray the actual experience of living and walking among the stars, and therefore they are metaphorical and parallellistic. In order to "read" these shows, the human mind needs to use a special category of "suspension of disbelief", that relating to the construct of linear time, and to the assumption that "our" world is the "real" one, and that everything else originates here (on this frequency). Which, it doesn't...
2. I do not agree that the man has always been the "wise teacher". On the contrary, you can look up how all kings and such were sent away to be trained by wise women. It has not been that much of a millennary tradition, more like cycles, I would say. There have been times when the women were in charge, and confined men to a few roles. It's only a matter of consciousness, and what one accesses from the collective memory. Which, of course, can be geared up within a specific culture (ours), to only remember certain things that fit the agenda. But if you spend too much energy on counteracting the projected roles, and on being disturbed, it leaves very little energy and time to BE who you really want to be.
And as for these roles that appear in Star Trek, especially TOS, I read them as questions, more than answers. Just because a role is there, doesn't mean it is instructing women to be that role. It is asking women to look at themselves and ask "is this who I really am? wtf..." This show came during a time when everyone began to question the whole brainwashing and boxed-thinking. And at the end of the day, it remains only a show... it's drama, and VERY tongue-in-cheek. So the problems you describe arise from taking it too seriously, wanting a show to be a direct active force in society, and make direct statements about the perfect world. But it doesn't work that way - what I see it doing is precisely taking these projections, these assumptions that we have (about women, aliens, etc), and making them HUMAN - helping us relate to that reason people have for being what they are... and maybe even changing that situation, if we're not happy with it.
3. How can I explain this one? Personal experience/resonance with other bonded soulmates - not TOS or TNG, and no you cannot go find it... not like that. It's a lifetime commitment, which brings this knowledge to me (of which I realize it represents only a tiny part of a much larger whole). What I see in movies is pure recognition, on my part.
4. Nope, I didn't mean that he wasn't that sure about loving Edith... I meant that being totally sure doesn't automatically create substance (belief=ILLUSION). Kirk plays the inadvertent role of Creator god or founding Hero ("trust me, I shall lead you"), but WE are shown his "I am no god" side, and much more "in" information besides. The characters do not always see this side, they can relate only to the role as it needs to be at that time. But to truly connect with him, the audience needs to see past that role, and realize that when it comes to love, he is not always that aware. Even that he might be missing the point. (This is very similar to the women's roles: I just do not relate to Kirk as an ideal, although I can see why it is very easy for him to be one: he PROJECTS that certainty in order for people to find it within themselves).
5. Couldn't disagree more. Platonic WAS erotic. The records were just mistranslated, but he talked about eros not agape, and it came out as "love" instead of the more appropriate "desire". However, it's the same principle of the ultimate driving force. Nothing lustful about it however, I think people are put off by their fear that this means some kind of "base impulses" or whatever. But this fear only comes with the false separation from the highest energy source. And the Descent into the Underworld IS inherently brought on by eros... since it is brought on by the desire to be whole. (We moderns overcomplicate things due to our overspecialization. I know we cannot disregard the present haze surrounding what is "originally" meant, but we have to be constructive about it, not load ourselves with borrowed worries upon worries).
1 & 2. I think we might have to agree to disagree on these. I understand what you're saying, but I still feel the way that I do about them.
3. Ah, that makes sense. I confess to having no personal experience with soulmates. I was thinking entirely about an in-universe context.
4. I see what you mean now, and yes, I agree with that.
5. I think I'll have to defer to your knowledge here; I have not studied these things particularly in depth, and my understanding is only cursory. And while I do agree that we coderns overcomplicate things due to our overspecialization, I don't think modern context can be completely ignored and therefore we do have to work within that ovespecialization even as we keep in mind what we are doing. The Descent to the Underworld, and Kirk and Spock's place within that mytheme, is, definitely, about the desire to be whole. My intention was, however, to make an argument about the modern context in which most of fandom lives. I do enjoy some academic-style geekery in my fandom life, but I also enjoy the more superficial discussions of pairings and evidence for those pairings, and that was a big part of my intention for this essay.
Date: 04/26/2011 11:09 PM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
1. You know what is really funny? A couple of years ago, I thought to write a short fic to explain, from Kirk's pov, why he used the word 'human' in that instance and in TFF ("God is in the human heart"). I thought to have Spock ask this question, involving his identity, and his curiosity whether Kirk was being ethnocentric. That fic never came to pass, but I haven't given up thinking about the question.
You expressed things well - I only meant to say I disagreed with the need to look for a different word for the *ideal*. Perhaps we need a better word for our species, instead (I recall we are called Mankind, even if it pisses women off, but the word Man is from Egyptian and means "Star" or "Lightbody" - so again, another ideal). As for Jim, during Spock's funeral, he does mean that Spock was more human - than even himself. And his voice cracks. So he is referrring to having found this ideal that he was looking for. He doesn't sound like "See Spock? You were human after all. HA!" at all.
I agree that we need to see things in-universe, too. It does piss me off when people only project the esoteric stuff. But at the same time, the in-universe is so unplausible (at least in TOS) that I do have to see it as a sort of play - like Shakespeare. And the producers are always aware of the connotations that resonate with the public - they didn't create a totally separate universe. But come on: we go out into Space and yet maintain the exact same consciousness as 20th-century? That's the biggest flaw in SciFi and I don't see how it can be surpassed...
But yes, Jim was the only one to ever accept both of Spock's halves, accept Spock as a whole, so it seems a bit inconsistent to have that in there - almost like the writers forget their own canon universe. But perhaps it was deliberate, in this fashion.
2. If you look back to the statement that love is the underlying force in all the Universe, then the women's role suddenly gets a different slant. What you see as a type of submission is actually a pretense, while they still call all the shots. And those examples you mention are still covert images of romance (Patterns of Force? come on... just like Kirk and Spock being chained up!). Besides, men are actually genetic woman-templates. What is really progressive in ST is that they were willing to actually show all these things like seduction and therefore alert any viewers to its existence. Besides, it is never that clear-cut when Kirk is using someone - usually he's drawn to them before he remembers his "duty" (i.e. marriage to the Enterprise*cough*Spock), and his purpose is always one of education/discipline. So the women are not yet fully "wise", as it were. Do we all have to know everything in advance? If we learn gradually, does it take away from our awesomeness? I think not. (Again, I don't perceive this as a universalizing statement about women, only that such truly realized characters are scarce, and that is just a truth - there are very few. All the more awesome! But if I had a choice, I would like to experience Kirk's seduction attempts rather than his out-of-practice crazyness. Why? Because when he tries to seduce someone, he is actually in contact with the glowing feeling he gets from Spock/from within - and he tries to send that to the seductee, while attaching his own purposes. What happens is that the glowing feeling actually exposes the manipulation a lot faster! Hence, "education").
3. I wanted to tell you, the bond of soulmates does survive death. Its strength does depend on how deepened it got before death occurs, but nothing can really break it, it can only be the partners' decision to not access it which sort of blocks it, if it is too painful or there are serious concerns about it not being beneficial (being draining, obsessive, etc).
4. Edith Keeler - we're meant to BELIEVE Kirk? Lol... Quote: "I think I'm in love". Classic case of illusion/projection of what he thinks he sees. All these people are there to jolt him into realizing what it is he wants, but until he brings himself to access it, he gets "thinking" and "believing". And true to the tragedy style, these forms all get shattered - in various ways. It's worrying that all his actual loves must die. It means the illusion was that strong. But also that there is something stronger.
5. The Descent into the Underworld: yep, it is inherently romantic, even if the characters do not *appear* to be married. "Mother" in the ancient sense meant the guy's religious teacher. Dante has a mid-life crisis, but ultimately stands with Beatrice. Inanna of Sumer did it for knowledge too, but the problem is with the effects on Tammuz as this is what brings about her true enlightenment. And don't even get me started on The Lord of the Rings! "Romantic" in the original sense means a love that encompasses the whole, person, nature and God.
6. The Nexus, silly little contraption. MAYBE everything Picard encounters in it is his own projection, what he thinks he knows about Kirk. The movie is from Picard's pov.
Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. You have a lot of interesting points, and some of them I really had to think about.
1. I'm not sure I really understand your objection, if you're willing to find a better word for our species instead. (Though I would still object to "mankind". Whatever its origins, the word "man" has evolved to mean something very specific. The origins of a word are important, but I don't think current connotations can be completely discounted.) My difficulty is with the conflation of the word for our species with the word for our ideal (though only in a science fiction context, where there are other intelligent species -- I have no objections to "human" being used as an ideal in a real world context), so changing either word would make me feel easier.
So yeah, I don't think that Kirk was saying "See, Spock, you were human after all" at all. Or at least, that's not what he *meant*. But I don't think that Spock, for instance, coming as he does from an alien culture, would consider the *word* "human" to express that ideal. And certainly it's a problem that any contemporary science fiction is going to reflect contemporary consciousness, but it's a rare story that can transcend that, so it doesn't tend to bother me.
2. I get what you're saying, and I agree to an extent, but I still have my issues with women's roles. The thing is that there are always several layers to this kind of analysis, and love as the underlying force in the universe might be one of the deeper layers, but that doesn't mean that the more surface layers mean nothing. I can still be disturbed by the surface protrayal while seeing the underlying meanings.
So yes, I still don't like that women's roles are almost entirely confined to love, even if it is the underlying force in the universe and implicitly gives them a great deal of subtextual power. That's a reason to appreciate it somewhat more, but still not entirely, because the specific roles of women in fiction cannot be entirely divorced from historical context. Men as genetic women-templates is an interesting point, but it does not completely discount the historical context of gender relations for millennia. Traditionally, women have been confined to the domestic sphere -- to being wives, mothers, lovers, the "emotional" sex, the ingenue to the wise male teacher. Modern women break out of that sphere, that expectation, more and more, but those traditional portrayals of women are still a problem even today when not moderated by women in other roles.
I want to make it clear that I don't object to women being wives, mothers, lovers, etc. Those are all aspects of who women are, and removing them completely would dminish us. My issue is that men are generally given more diverse roles than women are. I want women in fiction to have as great a diversity, even if it means that some individual women do not symbolize love and that underlying universal force. This is, of course, very subjective, but I personally would rather that women had greater equality with men than that they all represent the underlying force in the universe.
3. Really? Where does that come from? I believe you, but like I said, I've only seen TOS, the movies, and half of TNG, so I'd like to know your source so I can go find it.
4. Yes, Kirk does express it with a degere of uncertainty, but that's still a greater depth of feeling than we see him express for almost any other woman. And Kirk *is* an emotional authority throughout the series -- how many times does he explain love to someone, in a way that's supposed to be trusted? Throughout the series, his views and explanations of emotion are given in such a way that characters and audience are meant to trust him to be right. Even if he only says that he believes he's in love with her, I trust him to have some degree of accuracy -- and it's still more than he gives almost anyone else.
5. Well yes, romantic in the orignial sense. I meant more in the modern sense, though. I meant "romantic" more in the sense of eros (and not the Platonic version), rather than philia or agape (though I do think those are aspects of the K/S relationship as well as eros). The Descent into the Underworld is inherently romantic in the original sense, but it doesn't inherently come from eros, and I brought up Orpheus and Eurydice because that is the aspect of their relationship that their story brings to the tradition.
6. Yet another more believable explanation for the Nexus than taking it at face value! :p
Date: 04/24/2011 1:25 PM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
Oh wow - thank you so much for this! It's probably the most in depth movie/KirkSpock analysis so far and I loved every line of it. Particularly pleasing was the way that you considered the minor details (such as Spock's funeral, Sybok's visions on the observation deck) that most people don't bother with but are actually rather important (in my opinion anyway!). I especially liked your analysis of TMP, because I'm sick of hearing about how rubbish it is from fans - I think it's a GREAT film and you put across the reasons why very coherently indeed. All of your analyses were good, although I was perhaps a little disappointed with TUC. It seemed a bit too brief compared to the others (but maybe I'm being unfair - it's my favourite out of the 7 despite its flaws) but I think what you said about it was correct and to the point.
Well done on this - it's a great piece of work and next time I try to convince my parents that K/S is logical (which is hard work) I will definitely show them this article!
I'm glad you enjoyed it! There are just so many things that point to K/S in these movies, but a lot of them are subtle and there are plenty I haven't seen anyone talk about. Most people haven't done structural analyses, for instance, but obviously I find that kind of thing both interesting in general and rewarding from a K/S standpoint.
As for TUC... *sigh* I wrote the bulk of this essay in a week, and of course TUC was at the end of it and I sort of felt like I was running out of things to say. But I kept revising it over the next month, and I never found much more to say about TUC, even when I tried to think of things. I'm sure there's stuff there that I missed, but I think I might have to watch it again to find that stuff, and I don't really want to do that since I like only Generations less than I like TUC. :p
Date: 04/22/2011 9:15 PM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
I LOVE English geekery! Thank you so much for applying it to the Star Trek movies.
I also tend to analyze my own thoughts when I write (and I recognize the essence of the process you describe, about the evolution of your knowledge), which is why I could relate. I still wish you had kept it a *bit* simpler, so that everyone can follow your arguments which are very valid. Right now I realize I should have taken notes in order to remember what I want to send feedback on. :|
I do remember some of it: I agree about structure parallellism, it rocks. I don't agree with what you wrote about the following topics (though I have encountered your opinion in other places):
1. Spock's "Human" Soul. I think it would be nice to write about how Star Trek treats religion, because this is a huge part of the argument. It would also be interesting to look into the real sources of Star Trek, although this might prove a thorny endeavour. In short: there is a surface meaning, and a deeper (some would say esoteric) meaning. The esoteric meaning is that Star Trek "kills idols", mainly with Kirk as its champion. The "human" in this sense does not refer to our species as supposed pinnacle of achievement - although I do like the interpretation about it being the closest word we have for another essence, etc. It's an ideal we have for ourselves.
But what are ideals? The word "human" here represents our connectedness across Races, something which "makes us all brothers". In Star Trek there are only hints about this deeper (older) substrate, all else being about more current "action" in the Universe. The characters encounter Games: illusions, made by "Aliens" (more powerful) through whose mask we need to see. Once Kirk & co. figure it out, we do too. The "Aliens" are therefore Masks for unknown drives and potentials within us, especially those linked with love and desire (for example: Apollo needed to be worshipped, those fast-moving humans questioned the need for serial partners, etc). But once we have understood it, the Unknown wears no more Masks. "Everyone is human" (we can refer this back to the word "OM" in Sanskrit). Kirk is simply saying that we all have needs and desires, no matter who we appear as. (And "appear" we do: I think the assumption whereby Aliens have to necessarily come by in Starships is just that... most of them come through the Subconscious).
But again, while this leans on the "ethnocentricity" interpretation, there are still things which we don't know about our true origins and about how this "existence" really works. In Star Trek there is the suggestion that all "humanoids" (including Vulcans, Klingons, etc) are in fact genetic descendants of the same Race. And if you look at all the symbols the series operates with/embeds, then you have to question things beyond appearances. (Again, not that there isn't arrogance in the "pinnacle" assumption - but that underlying substrate is not arrogance, just sensing something we cannot explain yet)
2. Star Trek and women. Wot. They are so varied and distinctive in the series. I've never felt offended at how they were portrayed, because I realize women can and do act that way - sometimes. But they came across as complex characters. The acting/fashions might be dated, but then so is the men's.
I'll write more if I remember some of my other reactions, k? :) Thanks again for posting.
1. I realize that "human" in the sense of how Kirk uses it during Spock's funeral, and in TUC, does not specifically refer to the species but to the ideal, which is why I have my brief sort-of tangent on the limitations of the English language in that we don't have better words to describe that ideal.
How I think about that line sort of depends on my perspective. If I think about it as a critic, I recognize that the point it expresses is about the ideal, and everything you said. But I also think about things from an in-universe perspective, and the thing that frustrates me from that point of view is more about identity. Spock may be half-human, but he does not identify as human. During the series, Spock is constantly trying to preserve his identity as a Vulcan from people who want him to be human. Spock has the right to identify himself however he wants and is comfortable with, and that is not human.
So, as I said, while I do think that Spock would understand the underlying meaning of Kirk's words, which are about the ideal of ourselves and our interconnectedness, I cannot ignore the expression of those words, which clash with Spock's personal identity. Does this make sense? Probably I didn't express it very well earlier. XD
2. On the whole, I find the potrayals of individual women satisfying -- they are indeed varied and distinctive. My frustration comes from two sources: the overall roles and the seduction scenes.
The thing is, most of the one-off women are there to be love interests of some sort. Within that role, they are varied and distinctive and do some pretty awesome things, but usually if a woman has any significant role in the episode, it's a role that has some connection to romance. Not all of them, certainly -- there's Daras in Patterns of Force, and Roberta in Assignment Earth. For the most part, though, they're love interests. That doesn't stop them from being awesome, but it is something I do find somewhat frustrating.
As for the seduction scenes -- Gillian Taylor is the only woman I can think of who Kirk fails to seduce. There might be more I'm just blanking on, and there are some like Lenore Karidian, who go along with the seduction for their own purposes, not because they find Kirk that seductive. But I do find many of the seduction scenes frustrating because it typically takes those women longer than I like to realize that Kirk is using them -- or to care that Kirk is using them. I'm sure this is subjective, but that's what I feel about those scenes.
Date: 04/21/2011 6:13 PM Title: Rynne Reviews Star Trek: The TOS-Era Movies
Bravo! You brought up several points I hadn't thought of, and voiced comments I've been making since I was 10 years old! I had a wonderful time reading your essay, and I feel I've learned (and laughed) a lot. Thank you for posting this!
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)