Plot and Character Assassination — Spock

JJ Abrahms Star Trek was a relaunch of the series and took a different look at the beloved universe. This change was to draw more people in than to cater to the fans of old. Perhaps this sort of change was needed, but looking at Spock, I felt this character was in conflict of what was known of Spock and how they were trying to appeal to the newer crowd.

This article looks at both movies done by JJ Abrahms, so if you haven’t seen either movie, now is the time to click off this page. I call into question if the new Spock represents the Spock that we all know and love.

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Spock in Star Trek represents deep analytical thinking. He was emotionless and had difficulty in being around humans but managed to gain respect of his crew, including that of Dr. McCoy. His relationship to McCoy was in connection to Kirk, and the three together remained a powerful team that few could tear apart.

But the Spock we grew to love and idolize, was introduced to us as an adult in Star Trek.  In fact, when looking at the new Star Trek timeline, Kirk became Captain of the Enterprise 7 years prior than in the prime timeline (prime representing the Original Star Trek). And even in the first timeline, Kirk was the youngest Captain in Starfleet history (meaning that the reboot Kirk beat his own record). So all the characters we knew in the first series and dramatically different in the film because they are younger, and the time was also changed.

The problem I address here is the fact that Spock is emotional in the films. Spock was very logical and emotionless. There are a few instances where he displayed emotion, such as Amok of Time he had a brief moment of seeing Kirk alive (to which Spock thought he killed him).

The first movie introduced a relationship between Spock and Uhura. Now the first novel of Star Trek done by Gene Roddenberry suggested this connection, so I don’t see the relationship out of the realm of possibility, but it does feel a bit forced.

In the first film, Spock does have an emotional outburst that was initiated by Kirk calling into question if he truly loved his mother. I am OK by this scene given that his planet had been destroyed and he saw his own mother die. More than that, Spock Prime mentioned to Kirk that he was emotionally compromised, and if he was, then clearly the adolescent Spock was. So it is a well developed scene.

The second movie, Spock exhibits signs of Survivors Guilt, in that he overwhelmed with the loss of his planet and Mother and part of him even accepts death when in the volcano. Uhura is offended by this, that Spock chose regulation than their own relationship. In this film, Spock displays emotions unseen in his character before.  Sadness, depression, guilt, remorse, rage, anger. So is this out of character for Spock?

Consider the change caused by Nero. We can assume that Spock Prime in the 7 year difference developed the proper logical maturity that is expected of all Vulcans and that due to the events of the first film, interfere with Spock’s maturity. By Vulcan standards, Spock is very immature. He puts on a tough front, but deep down inside he is crying.

So we can allow Spock to be emotional, to the point of feeling guilt and sorrow. But what about the anger and rage in hunting down Kahn? Is that acceptable? We expect Kirk to be emotionally irrational, but Spock?

The answer to these questions is yes, yes it is acceptable.  Now yes, Spock is suppose to be very logical and not given into emotions. We accept that he is giving into emotions due to Nero disrupting the timeline and causing him to become immature at his age. But there is a reason why Vulcan’s suppress their emotions to begin with. This fact is hinted at by Spock Prime during his mindmeld with Kirk. Vulcan emotions are a lot stronger and intense than humans. This is a fact known throughout all Star Trek. Their emotions become very dangerous to those around them.

So we’ve established that Spock is immature, and that he’s tapping into emotions and that Vulcan emotions are very powerful. With those facts in place, seeing him get emotional over Kirks death, transferring sorrow into hate and the need for vengeance against Kahn is reasonable.

To this end, I think JJ was winking at established fans a little here, that the clues were there for anyone to uncover, if you really looked at all the details. I’m still not a fan of the romance angle and that the story could be told without it. I will look at the film as a whole in another review.

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