Spock's Eden

My all-time favourite Star Trek is from the original series, S03E20, The Way To Eden. In it, the Enterprise picks up a group of space hippies looking for a place they call Eden. While the crew deal with the dramas of space travel, this is the first show where certain realities of Federation life are questioned. Seriously. I used to ask all the time, Tommi, what is earth like when space and time can be traversed at will? What does replicated food taste like? If there’s no money, how then do people consume or keep Apple so rich? How much does the crew of Enterprise, all four-hundred or so, get it on with each other? I mean, do they date, flirt and have lots of mixed one-night stands? I was so disappointed in the TNG series where they all seemed to live on a ship like they would live in suburban hell #americant that I almost lost all my space cookies. But I digress. The thing about The Way To Eden was that the twenty-third century wasn’t as ideal as Roddenberry had made it out to be. That is, these hippies weren’t just out looking for a new place to hang-out and dance naked, but instead were looking for a way out of The Federation. Which meant, it wasn’t so perfect after all. But. Again. I digress. For this post, dear worst-reader, isn’t about not finding utopia. Instead it is about how the recent death of Leonard Nimoy reminded me of the black & white 13″ TV that was in my childhood room. I was also reminded of the clay and sticks I used to play with where I made a Phaser that really worked, pointy ears that I could never get to stick, a strange mix of wood and clay that I used to make a fully functional communicator and I even tried to staple together some cardboard and string to recreate that strange harp Spock plays in S03E20. Hey! I even had a blue t-shirt that I wore when I went outside to explore new worlds and seek out new civilisations. I knew all the kids in middle-school that couldn’t make the Vulcan #LLAP hand sign. And years later, after I had long forgotten those wonderful TV shows, I found myself back in the realm of The Federation with all the fantastic movies–except for Star Trek V – The Final Frontier, which was mis-directed by W. Shatner. Heck! I watched every TNG show, too. It took me a few years but I finally warmed up to Voyager. In each of these re-starts of the wonderful original, I loved it every time a new character mentioned Admiral Spock or Über-Admiral James T. Kirk and their well-studied manoeuvres or learned strategies and tactics. I thoroughly enjoyed all the TNG movies, too, and am still disappointed that there will be no Voyager film. And then came the re-start of Star Trek directed by J.J. Abrams. Boy was I skeptical when I heard about this. How can they make it any better than The Voyage Home or First Contact or, my all-time favourite, The Wrath of Khan? Yet there I sat in a cinema with my son who was always bored when I tried to get him to watch at least some of the original series. But that’s neither here nor there. I cried my eyes out at how Abrams made the connection between Kirk and Spock in his re-start. Even though the rest of the movie followed the atypical re-start formula of action above all else, the relationship between these two characters grabbed me. I was truly devastated when Spock died in The Wrath of Khan. I can’t write enough about how touched I was during that dying moment at the end of the movie. Such a banal scene yet so profound for anyone that admires this level of masterful entertainment and the way Shatner and Nimoy pulled it off. I also have to admit, the way they brought Spock back was über-cheesy in The Search For Spock. But in 2010, when I finally saw the re-start of Star Trek, I forgot everything that was cheesy, including William Shatner’s sometimes ridiculous acting. My only hope is that Spock in the re-starts will continue on as an equal to Kirk or, even better, set above him. Spock was/is everything Star Trek. I think even Gene Roddenberry once said that Spock is the soul of Star Trek. I couldn’t agree more. Nor can it be said enough that Leonard Nimoy did more than just play this character. Any decent actor can play a character. What Nimoy did was more. He created, embodied, facilitated this character and he did so by saying to hell with typecasting. The imagination of millions of people is better off because of Leonard Nimoy. RIP. Rant on. -t