Star Trek: The Original Series
"The Galileo Seven"
Air date: 1/5/1967
Teleplay by Oliver Crawford and S. Bar-David
Story by Oliver Crawford
Directed by Robert Gist
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
A shuttlecraft carrying a research team, commanded by Spock, is lost in an ion storm, rendering sensors useless. The shuttle is forced to crash-land on a hostile planet populated by large, violent creatures that would like nothing better than to kill Spock's team one by one. Meanwhile, the Enterprise conducts a desperate search for the team (sans sensors, it's a needle in a haystack), with time running out. Before long Kirk will be forced to abandon the search and proceed to a threatened colony in need of medical supplies.
So at last, here's a full-fledged character analysis of Mr. Spock. "The Galileo Seven" certainly isn't a standout science fiction outing, but so what? History has shown us that Trek's evolution was one that put emphasis on its dialog and characters rather than in revolutionary sci-fi premises. And this episode, the original Shuttle Crash outing (Voyager writers take note), is a perfect example of what makes Trek so enduring. The simplicity of having Spock and six other crew members stranded on a planet gives us plenty of time to study "Spock's first command." It's fulfilling to watch Spock engage in a logical approach to a survival situation—so logical and lacking in emotional intuition that the rest of his team nearly turns on him.
Of particular interest is the way his logic is so sensible if you think it through, yet it still doesn't work in practice. The most brilliant line: "Strange—step by step I've made the correct and logical decisions, and yet two men have died." Spock seems trapped in a paradox where succumbing to emotion may be the only solution—which it is, as evidenced by an act of desperation that he ultimately takes ... an act that itself could be rationalized as a logical one given the limited options. A most clever story.
Previous episode: Shore Leave
Next episode: The Squire of Gothos
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68 comments on this post
Fri, Apr 27, 2012, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 2:05am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
In fact, clips from this episode were used in the wonderful talk "The Straw Vulcan" by Julia Galef, about misrepresentations of rationality: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLgNZ9aTEwc
On a (fairly) minor note, I have to say that the character of Commissioner Ferris was highly annoying and unbelievable. The man really has nothing better to do than hang around on the bridge and gleefully count down until Kirk has to abandon his search? Not long into the episode, I was hoping they would use him as a guinea pig to test if the transporters were working properly again.
Thu, Aug 29, 2013, 12:51am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 19, 2014, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Spock's failure to account for emotional (and inspirational) needs of his crew was highly illogical, as was the way that he chose to "impress" the indigenous species. Just because Spock is supposedly logical and non-emotional, it doesn't mean that he's unable to factor in that others can be different from him. Spock's portrayal is more akin to someone who is borderline autistic. There's also a supremely silly notion that igniting the fuel is somehow "illogical" and "emotional", and that only by embracing his humanity was he able to save his men when it's obvious that the decision was in fact the only logical alternative left.
I really hate all the veiled racism (or is it speciesism?) often present it Trek where only human way is the right way and all the alien have to be benevolently enlightened by our heroes.
On the other hand, McCoy, Boma, and others who crash-landed were insufferable and borderline mutinous, second-guessing every single thing Spock does, no matter how rational. For example, they are appalled by the suggestion that it may be needed to leave someone behind, when that was in fact the only possible solution (before two guys conveniently died). How else would the shuttle hope to reach orbit? It was hilarious how belligerent everyone was once the first guy was killed - even McCoy, a doctor, voted to go in and just kill the bunch of those man-apes and they all looked at Spock as if he was a crazy robot for suggesting that they look for a more peaceful solution to the problem.
Galileo Seven is one mess of an episode with both sides behaving ludicrously and unprofessionally. In fact, Scotty was the only one with half a brain.
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Indeed, Spock has spent so much time bolstering his somewhat contemptuous attitude toward human values that it would be something of a betrayal of himself if he were able to immediately reverse course and start factoring in his crew's inspirational needs. I think it's also somewhat clear that Spock really is overwhelmed by the situation, by the rapid deterioration of the situation, and by his decreasing handle on his crew; however, for him to become a more Kirkesque inspirational leader would not only be somewhat dishonest, I think it would just not work. They would see through him right away.
A moment I find instructive is when Spock goes to find Gaetano and says that he has a "scientific curiosity" in what happened to him. He passes his phaser to McCoy and Boma and says to take it in case he doesn't return. McCoy and Boma stare at him in disbelief, and McCoy admits that he doesn't understand why Spock is going to risk his neck to find Gaetano when, if he finds him alive, he might just tell him to stay there anyway. Spock "should not" abandon his crew when they need them, when it might well risk his life; I think it goes counter to the logical organization that Spock seems to want, for him to risk leaving the crew without a leader. However, in the process, he does go and get Gaetano's body, and the away team crew are glad to have resolution on Gaetano's fate, even if it sparks another outraged debate on whether he should be buried or not. It is good for the crew to know what happened to Gaetano so that there is no question of whether or not they are leaving a living man behind.
I can't tell for sure whether Spock goes to find Gaetano because he is himself concerned about him, or because he suspects the crew will be concerned about him. If it's the former, I think it's Spock's emotional (human) side peaking through, his concern about the people who died under his command. And in this case, I think he is rationalizing his reason for going to find him as "scientific curiosity" because he does not believe he should be dwelling on the fruits of his command decision. If it's the latter, I think Spock may well have stated that he is going to find Gaetano for scientific curiosity as a way of even maintaining his "cover": Spock consistently, stubbornly denies that there is an emotional component to his actions when he can help it. I think it's worth wondering why that is. I think that this was a tactical miscalculation on Spock's part, either way -- whether it was a rationalization, or deliberate misrepresentation. (It was not a *lie*, because I think Spock did have genuine scientific curiosity, but I really do not believe that was his primary reason.)
Similarly, I don't think it actually is the case that Spock genuinely could not imagine how those apelike beings would react to the display of force because he couldn't understand irrationality. I think it's possible that's a component of it. But mostly, I think Spock (correctly, to my mind) made the risk-benefit analysis that they had a good chance of keeping the apelike beings away without killing any of them, and took that option over the option which had a greater chance of success for keeping the apes away but which led to lives lost. Spock's risk-benefit calculation looks much different from McCoy et al.'s because he values non-human lives more. It also probably is true that, being less bloodthirsty than the others on the team, he tends to expect bloodthirst less than others do.
The episode to me is about Spock's poor PR -- he is unable to communicate with his human crew, because he is unwilling to admit that emotions have value, and further because he is unwilling to lie. I think that Spock's unwillingness to admit value in emotion is actually a very complicated subject, and one on which I don't think Spock actually *is* fully rational. This is the guy who admitted in "The Naked Time" that when he felt friendship for Kirk, he felt ashamed; I don't think that's a very logical, rational position. Given that Spock *does* feel emotions, it would be logical to accept them at least on some level, so that he does not end up letting emotions cloud his judgment because he is too busy denying their existence. I think in this episode, Spock's refusal to deal with the crew's emotional demands is related to Spock's inability to tap into his own emotions or deal with them when he does, which in turn is related to the intensity of Vulcan emotions.
Relatedly, while Spock *knows* that Kirk is an illogical human, he also does have respect for him...which in turn makes it hard for him to really believe that Kirk would do something genuinely illogical and foolish. I think part of the package of Spock's disbelief that the Enterprise would be coming for them is the fact that Kirk *absolutely should not* be endangering the New Paris colony. And that is part of what makes his final action even more desperate. On some level, in order to take the chance of the Enterprise seeing them, he has to convince himself that his mentor, whom he respects, will behave illogically. From a purely logical perspective, there is no contradiction here -- Kirk just acts as Kirk will -- but I think Spock has difficulty reconciling Kirk's emotionalism and Spock's total respect for the man, in such a way that I think it would cloud his judgment enough that it's hard for him to think 100% logically around this point.
When Spock makes that desperate action at the very end, I think it was in some sense an emotional decision. It was the only option left, yes, but the chance of it succeeding was so infinitesimal that I think Spock really believes that it would be much more logical to live for 45 more minutes than to live for 6 more with the slight chance of rescue. What is really happening is that there are competing logical imperatives, one which states that every second of life lived is worthwhile, and one which states that any chance at long-term survival, no matter how slight, must be taken. How do you do that cost-benefit calculation?
Spock is a fascinating character, seldom more so than in this episode -- but I think it's important that it's not *just* because he's a logical guy, but because he tries to be a perfectly logical guy, while he is also dealing with strong emotions brimming under the surface, which in turn affect the kinds of logical thinking he does.
I have some thoughts on the crew's increasingly mutinous attitude, but I'll have to save it for another time.
Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
I actually do think there is some racial component to the way the goldshirts and especially Boma react to Spock. The way I look at it is that the crew clearly was not all that used to non-humans as part of the crew and command structure, in the case of Boma and the goldshirts. We see this type of fairly blatant racism in "Balance of Terror," too. However, some of it is that the crew is in a life-and-death situation and they simply don't trust their science officer to get them out of it. Spock *is* the ship's first officer and so should be trusted, but Starfleet also encourages critical thinking. I think Boma et al. also anticipate that they can say whatever they want to Spock *because* he's a logical Vulcan and is not going to get angry at them; it's very unprofessional, but some of the usual things leading to holding back from criticism of a superior officer really is the threat of punishment, or the threat of making the superior officer angry and throwing them off their game. These are not really in play here, and Spock fails to inspire them, and fails to inspire confidence that he is able to make good command decisions (as opposed to science officer decisions), and this concern about Spock's greenness as an officer combined with their racist concern about the greenness of Spock's blood eventually get them really heavily opposed to him.
Along those lines, I don't think that Boma et al. are *really* that angry just about the fact that Spock is saying someone will have to be left behind. Boma suggests they draw lots to see who makes it off the planet, for example, and it seems as if he would be "happy" with that result. I think the officers are very concerned that Spock is going to make decisions without sufficient regard for the value of the lives of the people in the party. They are consistently appalled at Spock's ostensible lack of concern because they are afraid they're going to die, and they have a vague sense that their superior caring more about their fate would make them more likely to survive.
McCoy is a slightly distinct case, though, because while Spock is unambiguously his superior officer, McCoy's position as Chief Medical Officer puts him slightly outside the chain of command structure, and he's used to not only having the captain's ear but giving him a hard time whenever he disagrees with one of his decisions. There's a similar dynamic on TNG, where both Crusher and Pulaski have few qualms about telling Picard they strongly disagree with him in a way that no one besides Riker does, but it is not really taken or shown to be an affront to Picard's command (except in "Unnatural Selection," I guess) because they don't have any particular place on the command structure; Crusher has bridge officer certification, but it's used only rarely at the end of the series. McCoy is hotheaded and his adversarial with Spock throughout the series, but part of the deal is that it's a two-way street, and as Kirk basically even says in "The Immunity Syndrome" he sees McCoy as a good counterbalance to Spock.
On the Enterprise, when McCoy ribs Spock, it doesn't actually do any real harm. Spock doesn't care, or if he does care McCoy doesn't believe he does. He can criticize Spock, or Kirk, all he wants, but the crew is going to follow Kirk regardless, and Spock is going to continue doing his job, and Kirk is not going to let McCoy prevent him from following Spock's recommendations if they are right. On the landing party, however, Kirk's absence suddenly shifts the balance of power much more heavily in McCoy's favour, in a way that I don't think he actually anticipates. Criticizing Spock on the Enterprise has no significant negative effects, but on the landing party, openly criticizing Spock helps give Boma et al. a stronger belief that Spock is not a legitimate commander, and starts to put them more and more in a frame of mind where they want to rebel against Spock's authority. I think McCoy even realizes this eventually, which is part of why he backs down as the episode goes on -- backing down after telling Boma that he doesn't know what to make of Spock going after Gaetano and telling Boma that they won't get out of there if they don't bring their phasers back to the ship, and later telling Boma that's way over the line when Boma says that he would even go back to bury *Spock*.
Scotty is a consummate professional throughout the episode, and I think in some respects this is because, unlike mostly everyone else in the landing party save Spock himself, he was *busy*. I think this is part of the point being made here, too -- the rest of the landing party eventually turn on Spock because they feel powerless against the situation they are in, and don't really have much of anywhere to direct their energies.
Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 2:01am (UTC -5)
Mon, May 12, 2014, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 12, 2015, 6:09am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 23, 2015, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
Spock makes a big deal about respecting these ape-like creatures, and that's fine. But did they somehow only bring phasers that kill? What about the "stun" setting? Those creatures would have been slow to return after having been stunned once. And Spock's order to fire to scare the creatures? How does THAT make any sense? These creatures had no prior experience with phasers. They would have no reason to suppose that beam of light and whirring sound was something to be feared. Spock claims to have made the "correct logical decision, yet two men have died". But I think it would have been more logical for these men to have stayed closer to the shuttlecraft, and kept the creatures away with painful but non-lethal blasts of phasers on stun, until repairs could be effected. And, knowing that even if the enterprise had to leave to complete its mission, it would eventually return, someone should have asked: how are our provisions for food and water? How long can we last if we just sat tight and waited for the storm to clear, each one of us taking a turn outside with a phaser (on stun) to keep the creatures away?
Lastly, when Uhura reports that five people just beamed aboard, alive and well, everyone seems to have relaxed. Three of the original seven were close friends of Kirk, and the high ranking officers on the ship. Wouldn't Kirk have asked - who did we lose?
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 9:16pm (UTC -5)
In any case, for an episode focusing primarily on Spock, it did alright. I've noticed an incredible amount of unprofessionalism among the Enterprise crew so far, and it was a bit depressing to see the same old junior officers yelling at the first officer of the ship. Seriously, Kirk needs to get some discipline on board; there's no way a real naval command would tolerate such insubordination. I guess subtlety wasn't the strong suit of 60s TV, but I wish the other junior officers could show their reservations towards Spock without being so defiant.
As for Spock's first command, it was reasonable enough. It did seem strange, though, that these are things he has never experienced before. He's clearly been around humans for a long time. Why does he not predict human responses? Wouldn't that be the logical thing to do? Why is he so convinced that primitive aliens that he never met before would behave in a specific, logical matter? That's not logic! That is putting one's own biases onto others and making rash assumptions; not logical at all. Now, was that the point of the episode, that Spock's reasoning was flawed? No, the episode tried to say that pure logic is not the answer... but which is destroyed since Spock was being egotistical in his thinking rather than logical.
So why did Spock make so many errors in his first command? Why was he so out of touch? I don't know, and it's frustrating. The central premise is cut down entirely due the writers not really understanding rationality in the first place.
But, ignoring all that, it is interesting, and I think William's discussion goes a long way towards explaining why. Spock seems more comfortable being the science officer than being in command; it's possible he never really wanted to be in the first place but simply gets promoted over time (this also shows in Mirror Mirror). He is quickly thrust into a situation that is spiraling out of control, and he is effective in working through the technical problems. It's just dealing with the crew, a crew practically insubordinate, that throws him off his game. And dealing with these creatures, he tries to save their lives rather than just killing them and it backfires. The crew demands he give a eulogy to the first dead officer when he has other things to do and McCoy is perfectly capable of providing that eulogy. So we can see that Spock isn't quite ready for command, even though he's technically ready. He just needs to get a better handle on the human situation. And in fairness, people need to get a better handle for dealing with him too. In the end, he still managed to save the rest of the Galileo crew from a hostile situation, so it wasn't a complete failure.
Fri, Aug 5, 2016, 12:21am (UTC -5)
Based on what Bones says this is Spock's first solo command with no senior officer present. Spock has no doubt been in command in the off-shift while the Captain was off-duty, or led away missions with the Captain monitoring from the bridge, but this is his first ever unsupervised command. I also somewhat get the impression that it should have come sooner but perhaps as you say Spock declined the chance, preferring to not have to deal extensively with emotional humans. It should be noted in this context that Kirk almost certainly qualified as 'Vulcan' in Spock's eyes on account of his impeccable logic in tactical situations, to say nothing of Spock's complete inability to defeat Kirk at 3D chess, a game of pure logic and skill.
I think part of your frustration with the episode ironically mirrors the crew's frustration with Spock's command style in it. Spock's problem in this command seems to reflect not his failure to use proper logic (e.g. making irrational egoistic choices) but rather his Vulcan-taught notion that Vulcan logic is "correct" and therefore any intelligent being will behave in the predicted fashion. It's not that Spock's choices were 'wrong', per se, but that they were made with such certainty. I don't at all see it as a 'mistake' to try to avoid killing the creatures, just as I don't see it as a 'mistake' tactically to try to minimize losses and stay in the shuttle. Arguably he never should have sent out the search party, but then again that was before they knew the creatures were using organized tactics. Also worth mentioning is that Spock wasn't prepared for the possibility of making 'correct' choices and still losing, which is something covered in STII:WoK, but which obviously hadn't been written yet. Picard even makes a nice speech on this topic to Data in "Peak Performance", but in any case here we see Spock unable to cope with logic failing him. It turns out that his officers didn't care about whether he made the 1st best, 2nd best, or worst choice; they cared that he did so without compassion for them, and on that issue they were right. They were wrong, mind you, to expect that of him, which was their failing, and he was wrong to think it didn't matter, which was his. It was a pure culture clash, and it came at exactly the wrong time with a lot at stake. The bottom line here is that officers are not utensils to be merely used 'efficiently' like tricorders. They're living beings and need to be given consideration as being intrinsically worth something. That's something a command-level officer really does need to learn, and as a Vulcan I might imagine that Spock was raise to see his crew as resources to be deployed and not much more, with their 'feelings' mainly being a hindrance.
I love this episode, personally, and I love how it gives us a contrast to the Spock of ST1-6 and then TNG, where he ultimately decided to devote his life *entirely* to a missions of mercy out of compassion for oppressed people (The Klingons in ST6, and then the Romulans in "Unification").
Fri, Aug 5, 2016, 11:34am (UTC -5)
This is a favourite of mine too (and I think it's too bad that Jammer eventually said that he overrated the ep, though I forget where he said that).
Sat, Aug 6, 2016, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Likewise, I agree that Spock would prefer to live in a world where everyone acts rationally and without letting their emotions get in the way of a stressful situation. But he's been around humans long enough that I thought he should know better by now. I don't mind the fact that he made mistakes in his command, but it was just the fact that he seemed incapable of recognizing why they were mistakes. And for the record, I thought Data's pouting in Peak Performance was a bit overboard for me too.
Essentially, based on the premise, I was hoping for a great episode, but at least to me it only ended up a good episode instead.
I do like the idea that Spock learned something about human loyalty and that his emergency flare he sent up at the end was due to a better understanding of Kirk's loyalty rather than just a shot in the dark, though.
Sat, Aug 6, 2016, 3:18pm (UTC -5)
I actually think Spock is really quite insecure at this stage. There's a certain masochism in deciding to work with mostly humans when he disdains the human part of himself. By the time we get to the movies and Unification, I think Spock is much more comfortable with himself. I agree that it is a little over the top how *much* he fails to take into account that those around him will not behave according to a logical code, but I think it is hard for Spock at this stage to take the time to consider what the "non-logical" response to the situation would be because he is afraid of even accessing those parts of himself.
Sat, Nov 26, 2016, 2:53am (UTC -5)
I cannot abide Spock's observation that he "is frequently appalled by the low regard Earth men have for life." I cannot abide it morally, and I cannot abide it logically. As a matter of fact, Mr. Spock, this "Earth man" - and to varying degrees, every other "Earth man" he has ever personally known - has very high regard for life. So high, in fact, that he is not inclined to tolerate those imminently determined to needlessly, frivolously snuff it out. Would it be better, then, to leave the violent to practice their violence unmolested, rather than engage in a measured and rational application of force that is carefully engineered to silence thoughtless savagery? Are not the needs of the peaceful and rational many better served by the latter course, and for that matter, are we to be so unthinkingly devoted to your brand of Christian-style (in the New Testament biblical sense) total pacifism even in the face of deadly assault that we should permit the murder of ourselves and our comrades?
It occurs to me that Mr. Spock would likely base his argument on the supposition that all sentient life is of equal value, and hence it is illogical from a cost-benefit standpoint to sacrifice one even to protect another. But this reasoning is fallacious in that it fails to account for any culpability in the actions freely taken by those lives. If a thinking creature chooses to use violence against another, why is it morally questionable at all for the offended creature to use any means to protect itself, let alone to remove the capacity of a deadly life form to be needlessly deadly to anyone else? Frankly, I have more sympathy for a predatory animal, which perhaps cannot control its own overpowering instincts to attack and to kill. And though I would regret it, I still would use force if necessary to protect myself or others from a dumb but violent animal that may have realistically had no choice in its actions. Should I behave any differently toward an intelligent animal that knew full well it could choose to attack me or let me be, and consciously selected door #1?
I am also baffled here by Spock's belief that a mere display of phaser technology should be sufficient to frighten the aggressors into docility. These beings have no earthly (if you'll pardon the term) idea what a phaser is. By firing one non-lethally in front of them, all you're likely to do is lead them to the conclusion that "these sky people have invaded our territory, and after we killed one of them, all they can do about it is flash pretty lights around. Let's finish them off!" Much better, I submit, to vaporize a few of them, and leave the survivors to mull "these sky people can shoot lightning at will that makes our friends disappear forever. Maybe we should leave them alone."
Very little of Spock's behavior here is morally defensible, and I dare say even less of it is logical. Very disappointed in a character I normally relate to highly, and in Star Trek for persistently suggesting that I should hang myself for the first savage aggressor that might wish me harm.
Sat, Nov 26, 2016, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Go down to a planet armed with 23rd century technology and phasers, and your idea of "morally defensible" is to murder some of the local life forms in order to teach them what phasers can do? Uh huh. We're not talking about equals, we're talking about using advanced technology to kill primitive creatures that are possibly just defending their home. Assuming they are sentient, it would already have been a violation of the Prime Directive to even land there, and the directive states that the entire crew should sacrifice itself rather than violate it.
There's no need to wonder at Spock's morality. Perhaps it would be more a propos to wonder whether his description of human regard for life may not have been more accurate than you want to admit.
Sat, Nov 26, 2016, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
I'm afraid you're misstating the facts of my advocated course of action. All murder may be killing, but not all killing is murder. If we are having a civilized conversation, and you pull out a gun and shoot me in the head for no reason, you have murdered me. That is an indefensible crime and you will likely face a lengthy prison sentence (or worse) for committing it. If, on the other hand, upon laying eyes on you I immediately begin throwing pointy spears at you in an obvious attempt to kill you, and you then pull out your gun and shoot me in a desperate bid to make me stop, the situation is different. As in, First Degree Murder vs. Justifiable Homicide different. Now you have done nothing but defend yourself from a spear-wielding maniac, and self-defense is not a crime - legally or, in my opinion, morally. Further, if anyone should later take to an online message board to defend my case and argue that I was murdered because an advanced 21st century firearm was used to meet the threat of primitive stone-age spears, the ready counter is to humbly point out that if I didn't want hot bullets penetrating my brain, I at all times leading up to that had the option to, you know - NOT throw deadly weapons at you.
As for the Prime Directive, I barely consider that point worth raising, considering how frequently and flagrantly the Directive is abused, especially on TOS. Regardless, however, as you pointed out, the doctrine had already been offended by the crew's even landing there. The damage to Giant Apean cultural development was done. I don't see that defending themselves from needlessly violent creatures who couldn't even be bothered to attempt communication would have made things appreciably worse. Either way, thousands of years from now, Giant Ape Giorgio Tsoukalos is going to remark "I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens" when discussing ancient stories about a metal box falling from the sky and people shooting light coming out of it. Sorry.
Sun, Nov 27, 2016, 12:45am (UTC -5)
Why are you comparing a fellow human being who's been taught human values throwing a spear at you to potentially non-sentient life forms who are living on an alien world that the Starfleet people had accidentally invaded? Landing on their planet uninvited with vastly superior firepower and killing them nonchalantly would be murder, yes. Claiming self-defence when a blatantly inferior force is threatening you sort of sounds like a cheap excuse to take the easy way out and kill rather than incur some risk to yourself.
Spock's decision not to harm the aliens wasn't merely a tactical decision as to the best course of calming the aliens down. It also took into account various factors including the sanctity of life and the unknown level of sophistication of the creatures. Even if Spock had known for a fact that his plan had a good chance of failure it may still have been the logical choice given that it had the best net outcome in terms of least harm done. He may be only half-Vulcan but he was still raised by a race believing primarily in peace and diversity, so yeah, avoiding killing would be a high priority for him. Notice how Spock tends to try to use the neck pinch rather than employ more brutal violence against people? I doubt it's because it's always more effective; I imagine it's often less effective than brute force. But it has the virtue of not harming the subject of it while still immobilizing them.
When faced with imminent danger and no hope of peace of course Spock does entertain the notion of direct violence against the creatures, and yet his plan of electrocuting them to scare them off does work as well. I think there's a lot of merit in this episode to inspecting the *reasons* the crew were upset with Spock. A few of the reasons were valid, and some were definitely not. I can understand why it was hard for them to understand Spock's desire to not harm the creatures, but all the same I think Spock's position there is to be greatly admired. If only people in our world were willing to risk their own lives to preserve the lives of others as readily as Spock is.
Thank you for reminding me of one more reason he is a great character.
Tue, Jan 31, 2017, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
Spock does start out as a bit of a jerk with his comments just after the shuttle crash lands (he'll be a jerk in "That Which Survives" in a similar manner in Season III) and doesn't establish a good basis for command with the emotional humans. This leads to the insubordination, which is also due to being in a life and death situation.
The most junior officers are very unprofessional - notably Boma. It's another test for Spock's command, which he tells McCoy is not his objective despite the doctor's prodding.
One thing is that in a difficult situation, the one you want on your team is Scotty. He just gets things done quietly and effectively -- although it is a stretch to think a few phasers could send a shuttlecraft into orbit.
It's a good story and ending that works out cleverly. For me, 3.5/4 stars.
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Spock's choices were reasonable and aimed largely at maximizing survival chance while maintaining the basic moral code of not committing unnecessary murder. The hopeless attitude of the people serving under him was disgraceful. If I were Spock, Boman would be getting at least an official reprimand and never permitted on an away mission again.
I get the point of the show was to test Spock in a survival-command situation but the deeply unprofessional behavior of the people under his command felt out of place.
Probably the best line was Spock's reflection that despite choosing logically two members of the crew had died - that's an important thing to understand because you can make the best possible choices and still end up with bad things happening. But this lesson doesn't fit with the story, which seems to set up being emotional as somehow a better way of making decisions.
Thu, Sep 14, 2017, 7:48pm (UTC -5)
Spock is, of course, a fine Science Officer in TOS, but he's not much of a First Officer. The traditional role of the First Officer is that of disciplinarian to the junior officers. We saw Riker fill that role rather well in The Lower Decks. The Captain was a distant figure to those Ensigns and Lieutenants; it was Riker who would chew you out when you screwed up.
Of course, the TOS Enterprise does seem pretty short on senior officers.
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty are the leading STEM officers on the ship, so it makes sense to me that they would either volunteer or be assigned to study the Quaesar. The Federation commissioner's authority to cut the rescue mission short is primarily a story device to create some added tension in the need to deliver the medical supplies. But I also like how stranding the three senior officers on the away mission leaves Sulu and Uhura to pick up all of their usual shipboard dialogue as Kirk deals with the search mission and commissioner; this is one of those great "ensemble pieces" where the whole main cast of regulars (minus Chekhov, who doesn't appear until Season 2) gets to shine all the way up until the goofy but endearing final laugh. That's what I love about the TOS cast: These are such fundamentally good and genuine people, unpretentious hardworking actors who lack the self-righteous speechifying of later Trek like TNG, and it shines through their characters in the way they are so relatable.
In "Galileo Seven," Leonard Nimoy is especially good playing Spock in his first command, never admitting he is wrong so much as observing that his decisions haven't panned out and the situation calls for a new sense of logic. To be fair, Scotty and the yeoman stay on his side quietly throughout the show, and it's a very nice scene near the end where McCoy -- who had been griping at Spock throughout the show -- suddenly joins Scotty in rebuking Lt. Boma when the latter goes too far in challenging Spock. Indeed, the notion that this episode presents "emotion over logic" may say more about the people viewing it than the episode itself, where Spock reasons things out -- it's even clear at the end that he doesn't panic, as he clearly tries the comm system before jettisoning the fuel -- and ultimately proves that his approach to command works even if two people lose their lives.
As Spock reasons it out, the decision to fire warning shots at the alien giants rather than risk killing them unnecessarily makes sense as one possible response, even though it turns out to be the wrong one because Spock minimizes the irrationality factor. Something can be logically valid and still not work, as Spock learns here, and it makes sense that he's learning it on his first command with a group of humans who get more emotionally engaged even as he gets more logically detached from the crisis at hand. In his early years, Spock is a classic example of someone with a high IQ who lacks the EQ (emotional intelligence) to relate easily to his human shipmates as their leader in a crisis, and yet here we see him rise to the challenge of adapting his logic to the situation and earning his subordinates' respect. Just a class act all around on this episode, with well-drawn character motives, and it's fascinating to watch as the prototypical Spock episode that explores, tests, and develops his principled commitment to logic. Great Trek here.
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
I also like the sash-like utility belts worn by the crew. I think I prefer these - which look like western gunslinger belts - to the standard black ones. Both are quite interesting designs, allowing communicators and phasers to simply "stick" onto Federatopm uniform via velcro hooks. Very minimalist, slick and cool.
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 20, 2017, 6:27am (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 9, 2018, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
It often plays like a cartoon, such as when the female crew member jumps off her seat and slides across the floor yelling "we're moving", and the commissioner guy is practically grinning when contact with the shuttle is lost.
The crew becomes severely insubordinate right after they land.
Boma's insistence on a funeral and Spock saying nice words at it when Spock and Scott are frantically trying to fix the ship is insane. Is that what Boma wants/expects if he dies? He doesn't want them to use every moment to save themselves?
McCoy's rank and position make his tangling with Spock more reasonable, but chatting with the junior officers about Spock not having a heart is extremely inappropriate.
And of course, dead horse, Spock dumping/lighting the fuel was entirely logical. It was a gamble, but not illogical considering sensors were not functional.
Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 8:39pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 19, 2018, 11:10pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
I forgot how vicious TOS was at murdering people; that ruthlessness hasn't carried across to any of the other Treks including DS9. Then again watching TOS today shows how much of a bubble it exists in. No other Trek shows bear any resemblance to it whatsoever with their monotone sets, staid acting and political correctness. Here we have a female officer getting talked over, Starfleet officers arguing for a killing spree, a superior officer being insulted because he's a Vulcan and a couple of meaningless deaths.
And yet Galileo Seven has old-school charm. The aliens are mysterious and used to scare the hell out of me. Why do people need an exhaustive cultural analysis of every alien out there - are your imaginations broken? Look what happens the more we come to understand terrifying aliens: Borg, Goa'uld, Wraith, all become increasingly de-fanged and end up looking like pantomime villains because we learn too much about them and the heroes defeat them too many times. Half-glimpsed, or unseen, is a damn sight scarier than having someone standing in front of the camera in full lighting. I wish Hollywood would learn this; Nosleep certainly has.
Bonus points to anyone who recognises the music in this episode. It's played in VOY: Scorpion pt1 when Chakotay leads an away team onto their first Borg Cube, right before they meet Species 8472. I seem to be the only person who ever noticed that!
Sat, Sep 22, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
And people criticise Archer and Janeway with a straight face!
Sun, Sep 23, 2018, 11:32am (UTC -5)
Also, aliens throwing gigantic pencils didn't really do it for me, however I enjoyed the escape plan and execution.
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
I also did not find it logical to leave a man alone as a guard--especially not in some poor-visibility canyon
And Spock talking about how long the creatures will take to attack, and assuming phaser fire would scare them is based not on logic, but intuition. There's no evidence to support his claims--and he's almost immediately proven wrong when a creature kills Katano anyway.
And then he completely abandons logic when he goes along with the crew's request to bury Katano. In a life-threatening situation, it's logical to bury a dead guy? Not so much.
I see what they were going for, but Spock's choice to burn the fuel to create a flare effect seemed completely logical to me. They were going to die in 45 minutes anyway--why not try to attract attention with the fuel burn, even though it shortened their survival time a bit? They were going to be dead either way--at least burning the fuel gave them a chance of being noticed.
It seems to me the writers didn't have much logic for this one. And the fuzzy cavemen were pretty lame adversaries.
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
Spock also far more cold than is necessary at times, yet the other guys were so scathing I still rooted for him.
Good episode, made interesting in hindsight in that it's described as Spock's first human emotional outburst but that's been thoroughly retconned with the latest Discovery episode having shown that it's far from it.
Also I really need to watch the original one again as wow so much CGI and it'd be interesting to compare.
Another sidenote - what's with the "transporter sound" effects on the planet? I thought that was only in The Cage with the singing plants.
Mon, Mar 18, 2019, 8:06am (UTC -5)
Spock's decision to go look for Gaetano doesn't strike me as especially human *or* Vulcan - it's a guy under his command, period. I would expect that from any Starfleet officer. What's really illogical and overly heroic is to leave the phaser behind. Scotty can only work with one phaser at a time, and what the hell was your plan going in there unarmed?ë
Anyway the final scene is great 20th century television. Kirk fails miserably in his attempt at a racist joke - all he can come up with as an insult is "you're a stubborn man" -, and then everyone is just laughing hysterically for like 20 minutes straight. As the camera pulls away Scotty can be seen laughing so hard he has to lean against the turbolift door. Meanwhile, two people are lying in their cold graves on a distant, barren planet, never to see Earth again. Oh well.
(By the way for me it's original effects all the way. That really takes me back to my childhood, and they are often surprisingly good. And yes, if anyone's asking, the blu-ray box set does give you that option.)
Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
The ending was kinda irritating, where Spock was being razzed for no real reason. That was an irritating aspect of the whole ep, actually. But it kinda works because the cast does have a certain chemistry.
An average ep overall.
Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 12:50am (UTC -5)
The other officers are bickering about emotions and command and humanity......Mr. Scott just quietly tells them, "We need to lose X amount of weight." No whining about how it needs to be done, or what that might entail as far as leaving personnel behind, just cold logical facts.
All the others are crying for a "decent burial," even though it would take time, and resources, and put people in jeopardy......Mr. Scott has no time for your emotional death rituals. He sees no logic in leaving his floorboard for even an instant, just get the job done, burial or no.
And it is his cool under pressure professional logical approach that even gives them a chance. Bravo, Mr. Scott, you'd make an excellent Vulcan.
Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
The High Commissioner was absolutely right when he said the investigation of the quasar was an unnecessary risk. It was.
I can't think of a more important mission than transporting emergency medical supplies.
The HC is treated as some kind of pompous ace-hole, but I think he was spot on from the start.
And let me add my voice to the chorus of people praising Mr. Scott. I'm really impressed with him in Season 1. I'm sorry that as time went on, he started being treated as comic relief.
Sun, May 5, 2019, 3:29am (UTC -5)
- The monsters are kind of a cool idea, but their spears look awfully goofy the way they bounce when they hit the ground and fly awkwardly through the air.
- I do like how they try and put the science in science fiction by making the obstacles to achieving lift-off and maintaining orbit major parts of the story. I wish the writers would have had the characters spend even more of the episode researching and enacting solutions to those problems.
- One thing this episode demonstrates to me is how well the Spock character works when serving as a foil and straight man to Kirk. As much as we love Spock, the character can easily become too dour and heavy in the absence of Kirk's rascally impetuousness. Trek is much more fun when the Spock and Kirk team get to play off of each other.
Tue, May 21, 2019, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
Solid one, but nothing that will stick in my mind for particularly long, I bet.
Sun, May 31, 2020, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
When his plan, which was based on limited information and assumptions fails, his brain seems to break down. In his mind he applied "logic" to the problem, so it "logically" couldn't fail.
He goes on and on about logic, when all it does is make him seem heartless and pompous to his subordinates. Not very logical.
Wed, Aug 26, 2020, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 19, 2020, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
Put me down for 2 1/2 stars for “Galileo Seven.”
Why do I prefer “Ensigns” to “Galileo”? Glad you asked.
First, as annoying as the Sheliak were, they were nothing compared to the superbly annoying Galactic High Commissioner la-di-fucking-da Ferris. Tête à claques, if there ever was one.
Second, and at the risk of inviting the ire of the entire TOS gang, Picard did a far better job dealing with the bureaucratic Sheliak than Kirk did dealing with Ferris.
Third, the irrationality of the people on the planet itself made a lot more sense with isolated civilians in “Ensigns” than with trained StarFleet officers in “Galileo”. That said, I have to disagree with @Skeptical here: as I pointed out in my review of "Where No Man Has Gone Before”, the actors playing Bones and Scotty had served in WW II, as did Gene, and Nimoy had been in the reserves. These people knew intimately how common a breakdown in discipline is with men - even men in uniform. That too is a fact of command that an officer must take into account.
I agree with @Chilledfish, Lt. Cmdr. Spock was clearly not ready for command. No wonder, then, that in the decade-plus he served under captains Pike and Kirk on the Enterprise heretofore, he had never once been put in charge of an away mission.
Fourth, while TNG had the benefit of the Prime Directive, on TOS, “Galileo” seems to be the first time our crew has to deal with a primitive life form.
We’re used to dealing with powerful entities starting with Charlie X, or with peers, as in Balance of Terror. But here, 16 episodes in, is the first real interaction with a primitive sentient non-warp capable species. And no one seems the least bit bothered about the Prime Directive. It certainly would have made Spock’s job easier explaining to the men his decision to avoid fighting. I guess that’s why people like Spock and Galactic High Commissioner la-di-fucking-da Ferris love rules - it gives them something to quote, rather than engaging in dialogue.
Fifth, what is this???
I mean I love that the panties match the skirt, but seriously??
Star Trek has a reputation for red-shirt of the week. But I’m beginning to think it should actually have a reputation for red-SKIRT of the week! Lacking Yeoman Rand, they even slapped on a little extra makeup on Uhura - to a very pleasing effect. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we don’t see Uhura in gold ever again, do we?
Look, Spock is a gem. He, Kirk, and Bones, are the glue and the soul that kept the franchise alive for its first 20 years. But just because “Galileo” was a very important episode in the development of Spock as an officer and as a person, doesn’t mean we have to start handing out stars like they are going out of style.
The writers may have, step by step, included the correct and logical elements. Yet the end result was not actually ideal.
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 3:43am (UTC -5)
My thoughts on all of these issues are not too different from my initial impressions when I was a kid. In all areas my take is that Spock is right, but being right isn't enough. Throughout the episode we see Spock make rational calculations and follow through on them; and yet he fails. Picard would tell Data that making mistakes and yet losing is part of life. Galileo 7 is when we really see that lesson in play. We also see the human vice of blaming people for failing, rather than trying to help them do better. Spock is an alien, still not respected enough for them to get past it. There is bigotry in this episode, and part of it is based on the fact that Vulcan culture and thinking is actually different from that of humans. The crew can't handle it, and I think the episode is pretty clear that they're being irrational and acting on fear. Their bigotry in a way causes Spock's mistakes to be amplified, because what could have been a few setbacks turning into a bonding experience, it instead turns to infighting almost like Lord of the Flies.
So why did Spock never command before? I suspect it's for the same reason Mirror Spock didn't: he didn't want to. He saw humans as basically illogical, and no doubt felt that trying to lead them would be like leading wild cats. Why do that, when he can rationally do his own job and protect the ship and its mission? Here is finally finds himself confronting the thing he believe - rightly - would happen: the humans would prefer illogical emotion to his cold calculations, and would rebel when they didn't understand. That's what happened, and he was right (in my head canon, at least). What flummoxed Spock is that when logical decisions were made, based on logical potential outcomes, it initially blew up in his face. He began to realize that he could not base logical calculations on illogical facts; the creatures were going to potentially act against their own self-interest, and this had to be factored in. Just as the human crew members might well act against their own self-interest. That Spock was baffled by the creatures' behavior is a mirror to his befuddlement as the crew's behavior. He knows they are illogical, and yet must make plans and calculations based on logic. So this is the dilemma he must sort out.
I think finally Spock does come to realize that he could base logical deductions on illogical assumptions; which in turn requires accepting that nonsense will happen, and taking it into account beforehand. Don't assume things go properly, but plan for them to be improper. This speaks to what Mal mentioned above, how the irrational crew members seem to stick out, since he was comparing them to the colonists in Ensigns of Command. But the difference I think is that in Ensigns they were making actually stupid decisions based on a foolish leader's pride. Whereas in Galileo Sever the crew have a real grievance, not just a stupid argument to make: the cold uncaring Vulcan doesn't care if they live or die, so they don't respect him. It is bigoted. But it is also logical; they are not entirely wrong. And when they begin getting upset, want to bury the dead, and all that, they are just as right as he is. This is a clash of priorities, of sentiments, and even of cultures. Spock would not imagine why a ritual would be more important than security patrols. They cannot imagine how any of them can go on without offering respect to the dead. It's illogical from a strategic standpoint, but not illogical from another point of view. Spock finally learns that other point of view.
"First, as annoying as the Sheliak were, they were nothing compared to the superbly annoying Galactic High Commissioner la-di-fucking-da Ferris. Tête à claques, if there ever was one.
Second, and at the risk of inviting the ire of the entire TOS gang, Picard did a far better job dealing with the bureaucratic Sheliak than Kirk did dealing with Ferris.'
This is, though, that Ferris was right. The ship's mission to pick up a few crew members really wasn't important as his need for the ship was. That much is a stone cold fact. So whereas the Sheliak stood to gain nothing of value from antagonizing the Federation, other than to flaunt that they could, Ferris wants to save lives and intends for the Enterprise to be used in the most efficient possible manner. Kirk risking that mission is illogical - by Spock's standard. But the episode is all about how the needs of the *group* may need to outweigh cold logical deduction; people may need irrational things, do irrational things, have irrational priorities; and this all has to be taken into account by a command that needs these people to believe in their mission. Ignore the dead in order to do more patrols, and you may have officers who don't believe the service has any honor. Leave your people to die on some planet, and you feel cheap and mercenary, even though technically it's the better call to leave. So the conscience, the emotional side, and even the fears, are *part* of the logic that goes into real thinking, as opposed to on-paper thinking. So while Ferris is the show's antagonist, he's not wrong. In a way he's Spock's mirror, both of them preferring correct mission priorities to being flexible and entertaining 'worse' choices that may have some messy human element in them. Spock finally comes over to Kirk's side by activating the emergency thrusters.
Many have pointed out, incidentally, that this move wasn't actually desperate, and that it was in fact the only logical choice left. So what Spock is accused of at the end may not hold water. I like to think that he *may* have been desperate, but it doesn't matter what really motivated that move. It was a gutsy move, not standard protocol, and not one where he could predict the outcome. It was messy. Maybe the ending is a show of Spock recognizing that a messy, hard-to-predict choice may actually be the most logical one in most cases. He certainly turns a corner in this one.
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 2:59pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 18, 2021, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
1. The aliens were hilariously appalling! They threw their - presumably valuable - spears around in a haphazard aimless way. They were supposed to be giants yet the one who killed the second crewman did a hilarious impression of Bela Lugosi, arms raised in Dracula fashion, yet was only the same size as the crewman. I think they could have given much more thought to the aliens.
2. In what was to become a regular trope on TOS, Kirk and McCoy sign off by taking the p*ss out of Spock, followed by the whole bridge. As a sole representative of an alien species on board a starship, you'd think he would be afforded more respect? I guess the actors on the bridge felt the same, their laughter was so forced and unnatural.
3. Women. By now women - with the honourable exception of Lieutenant "Hailing frequencies open" Uhura - are little more than ciphers, a glamorous succession of Yeobabes who appear on the bridge with reports for Kirk to sign. Ok, this is a few years until feminism really gets going with Womens Lib , Germaine Greer, et al, so I suppose we must just shrug and say "It's of its time". BUT WAIT... in the original pilot two years earlier, Pike's Number 2 is a woman - not only that, a very capable woman in a command position who holds down a great position of responsibility in The Cage.
So what happened between 1964 and 1966? How come women devolve from efficient command roles to be mere Yeobabes??
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Hard to fathom now, but that is how they thought back then.
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 7:37am (UTC -5)
By 1969 most people in the world had experienced a female leader of their government. Just off the top of my head, the two largest countries - India and China - both had female leaders when "The Galileo Seven" first aired.
In addition, Israel had the famous female leader Golda Meir, and Sri Lanka had the world's first democratically elected female leader.
I guess America is just not that into it's women ;)
It's a shame, cause Number One might have been a nice foil for Kirk and Bones. And Spock could have still been science officer! Maybe we'll get a little more of that in the upcoming Strange New Worlds?
Sat, May 8, 2021, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Good points, especially that the world by 1966 was taking women leaders seriously at last.
I think TOS missed a trick with getting rid of Number One. As a logic-based human she could have had some wonderful (unemotional) spats with Spock - each convinced that 'their' logic was correct.
Fri, May 28, 2021, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 30, 2021, 8:16am (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 22, 2022, 11:34am (UTC -5)
The annoying, insufferable Ferris--a “commissioner,” which is bureaucratic doublespeak for “prick”--has the right idea: Kirk, you’ve got an urgent delivery of medical supplies on your schedule, so why the hell are you fucking around and studying some quasar? Oh, because you have “standing orders” to do so? Would you be racing at top speed to defend a colony against some attacking Romulans only to stop dead in your tracks because, “Oh look, there’s a quasar over there,” you asshole? Also, and I might be reaching here, but if a plague is “out of control” on this colony, wouldn’t they be absolutely thrilled and relieved to receive their shipment three days early? So Kirk’s argument about “Fuck it, I got time!” is dubious as well. And as much as Ferris is a tool, he does give Kirk the time he needs down to the last second, when he was well within his rights, it seems, to exercise that clause he brought up and assume control of the ship at any time. I mean really, lives were at stake on that colony that needed the medicine.
Meanwhile, only a few of Spock's decisions down on the planet are based on "logic." The rest of them are based on his being a jackass.
The first crisis -- three crew members will have to be left behind because there would be too much weight on the shuttle to reach escape velocity, so the obvious solution is to SET UP A LOTTERY, as Boma correctly points out, to decide who will stay behind. See, that's the logical decision. But nope, Spock insists on making such choices himself by using some fucked up Communist value system to determine who sucks the most. It's really too bad that we never got to see this play out (as it conveniently just becomes a moot point that paves the way for bigger crises), because that would have led to some hilarious dialogue between Spock, McCoy, Boma and possibly even Scott.
The next crisis -- Giant apes are attacking our crew. The logical solution, as someone correctly points out, is to SHOOT THEM. But nope, Spock insists on not harming the creatures because his fucked up Hippie value system doesn't believe in eliminating threats to one's life. But that's command, and that's life in Starfleet. Even if your captain is a foolish wad who puts off a lifesaving delivery to study a space anomaly, or the leader of your landing party is a freak who doesn't care about you, you have to follow your orders like a storm trooper.
The final crisis -- Oops, it turns out some pipe on the shuttle was faulty and no matter what we do, we only have enough power for a 45 minute glory orbit around the planet before we all incinerate upon reentry. This is the only time Spock makes the "logical" decision. He burns out the remaining fuel to create a flare trail, putting their timeline of survival now at only a few minutes but giving the Enterprise, or any ship that happens to be out there, a chance to detect them, at least. It's absolutely correct: 45 minutes until certain doom, or 5 minutes until certain doom but with the slim possibility of rescue. At the end, Kirk takes the piss out of Spock and laughs at him for making this "emotional" decision, but the episode is winking at us--the correct, logical decision *was* the one that Kirk immediately frames as "emotional," so one thesis of the show is Humans Rule and Vulcans Suck, and I can absolutely get behind that.
Did Spock deserve the shellacking he got from the other crew members, mostly from McCoy but notably from Boma and Gaetano as well? Yes and No. McCoy is Spock's peer, practically his equal, and is snarky to him regularly. And, in a way he's the first officer here and his job is to be a sounding board and suggest alternatives. So he gets a pass, especially since he never once challenges Spock's command despite his objections. As far as Boma and Gaetano--well, ironically they are in the right, making all the correct points, but it's not their place to voice their discontent and insult their commanding officer to his face. This is ultimately pointless and self-defeating ("I'm tired of this machine!" Well Jesus H. God, it's the Brig for you, pal). That hot babe yeoman on the shuttle with them had the right idea--just sit there and look pretty.
(A nice, amusing touch -- Spock comes across Gaetano's dead body on the planet. But before he carries Gaetano back to the shuttle, he pauses for a moment and sighs over the situation, as if he's thinking he would really like nothing more than to just leave the dick there.)
And let's all clap for the ones who really show up with a brain this episode -- Uhura, who keeps cool and professional all throughout Kirk's and Ferris' bickering on the bridge, and more notably, Scott, who is on the ball with engineering prowess and hits on the idea of using their phasers to power the shuttle (a delicious bit of symbolism there; they're facing a certain attack by the ape-things and now they can't even shoot them--which just makes Spock look like an even bigger moron for not killing the apes when he had the chance). They're just lucky that Scott wasn't the one to bite the dust like Latimer or Gaetano, or they really would have been up shit's creek.
You've got to love "The Galileo Seven"--its ultimate message seems to be that the rank-and-file crew members are competent, logical and professional, and the people in charge of them are all just foolish, idealistic pricks.
Spock -- I have a certain scientific curiosity about what’s become of Mr. Gaetano.
My Grade: B+
Sat, Apr 23, 2022, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
Don’t put such a thing past Starfleet. I’m just saying.
Thu, Jul 28, 2022, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 4:59am (UTC -5)
))What's really illogical and overly heroic is to leave the phaser behind. Scotty can only work with one phaser at a time, and what the hell was your plan going in there unarmed?((
Spock surrendering his phaser implies he understands that he might very well not make it back. "Here, take my phaser! While satisfying my scientific curiosity about Gaetano, I'll probably get killed by the anthropoids."
Sun, Oct 2, 2022, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 2:25am (UTC -5)
The Enterprise needed to make a rendezvous. You don't want to be late, but there's likely no value in being early either.
Scotty is, as usual, brilliant.
Self defense. In what sense does the crew have better weapons? Both seem lethal. Spock in fact shoots a caveman, who drops his shield. You'd think the phasers would have the upper hand, but they seemed surprisingly ineffective. If we ignore the Prime Directive, self-defense seems perfectly reasonable here.
Now. My real observation.
I just finished reading "Dereliction of Duty", about LBJ, Robert McNamara, and the JCS leading the US into Vietnam in 1963 - 1965.
The book portrays McNamara as a technocrat, obsessed with data, and a belief that wars can be fought with precision and rationality. You don't actually have to harm the enemy, just show them that you are capable of harming them. If you "communicate" your superior capabilities to the enemy, they will act rationally and back down.
Spoiler alert: The NVA and VC didn't.
Is this a Vietnam War allegory, with Spock playing McNamara?
Spock's actions towards the cavemen -- and his bafflement when they react with anger -- seems to sum up McNamara's attitude toward use of military power in Vietnam.
Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 3:13am (UTC -5)
Here from a review that nicely summarizes the problems of this book
"Having drawn up a devastating indictment of Johnson and his principal civilian and military advisers, McMaster apparently believes he has explained the outcome of the Vietnam conflict. It was a war, he says, that was ''lost in Washington . . . even before the first American units were deployed.'' The notion that a war like that in Vietnam, which began 14 years before the election of Kennedy and continued for six years after the end of the Johnson Administration, can be satisfactorily explained by reference to decisions made in Washington during late 1964 and early 1965 would seem at best questionable. Yet it is a view held not only by McMaster but by many of the authors who have preceded him. This preoccupation with the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations and their decisions displays some of the same ethnocentrism, the same assumption of American omnipotence, for which McMaster pillories the leaders of that era. It largely leaves out of account the ideas, plans and actions of the Vietnamese. "
The "lessons" McMaster and others outlined lead the Americans into the Afghanistan quagmire where they again extremely underestimated their enemies and failed to accept the limits of their power.
The book fuels the believe that if the US had done a few things differently they could have won in Vietnam. Empires always need to explain away wars that they lost because their self perception is build on dominance and losing a war against a third world country is serious problem for that self-perception.
Is this an allegory for the Vietnam War? Well, portraying the enemies as cavemen who are just primitive and irrational would certainly be an amusingly telling portrayal of American views of the Vietnamese.
Mon, Jan 23, 2023, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 6, 2023, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 19, 2023, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 19, 2023, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
>Are we supposed to accept that some big apes are stronger than the engines?? "Holding it Down" LMAO
My answer to that is: It was the 1960s, cheesy campy sci-fi is to be expected.
Sun, Mar 19, 2023, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
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