Capitalizing on Mr. Spock's popularity, Star Trek opens its second season with a visit to his home planet to look at the culture that shaped him. It's a landmark episode that the producers knew from the beginning was vital to get right, because fans would take something away from it that would forever shape how they view Mr. Spock, for better or for worse. For writer Ted Sturgeon, following his own law that "nothing is always absolutely so" this makes his story all the more ambitious, with the script playing against expectations, showing Vulcans in their most sexualized and illogical state. Yet the daring risk pays off, with the idea providing a forum for Spock to turn his internal battle into a believable external conflict between him and Captain Kirk.
Fresh off a healthy raise, Nimoy throws himself into the unusual role with gusto, running Spock through more emotions in the second season opener than in the entire first season. While we see the first officer bear great sadness in "The Naked Time" and experience blissful joy in "This Side of Paradise", only Amok Time takes forces him to run the gamut, with anger, grief, and bewilderment added to the mix. Meanwhile, Shatner holds point, with the script generously keeping Kirk in the midst of most of the drama and putting the definitive stamp on Kirk/Spock friendship. (How far they've come since the pilot!) The Kirk/Spock fight to the death itself is undeniably the most memorable and best done fight of the original series. It's not the first between these two characters, but the environment, the way it's shot, and the lack of obvious stuntmen separate it from just about any other conflict the show has to offer. As a counterpoint, DeForest Kelley (finally part of the opening credits) gives an understated performance that illustrates the underlying friendship between McCoy and Spock.
Yet it's Guest star Celia Lovsky (T'Pau), using her Austrian accent and impressive stage presence to create an incomparable Vulcan monarch, who sets the stage for Nimoy's finest moment in the episode. With the first Vulcan hand salute and the first mention of "live long and prosper", the two actors (who resemble each other in appearance) define the Vulcan culture in the way that's still the template all these years later.
With a script that has a literary quality, complete with timeless homilies ("After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting"), and an all new musical score by Gerald Fried that's hands-down the best of the original series, the elements come together to form a mythic quality television is not known for. Director Joe Pevney ("City on the Edge of Forever") even employs some hand held camera shots to truly set the episode apart from the regular Star Trek offering.
Amok Time would prove to be the only visit to the surface of Vulcan in the original series, making it all the more special. (It's also the only time the expensive costumes for the ceremony are used). T'Pau herself, played by a different actress, appears as her younger self in a three parter featured in the fourth season of Enterprise ("The Forge", "Awakening", and "Kir'Shara").
Remastered: Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of changes for this one, but what little has been redone goes a long way. In addition to new shots of the Enterprise and a more realistic version of Vulcan (replacing a red tinted version of the "Operation--Annihilate" planet), CBS Digital adds a homely background to a picture of T'Pring that Spock looks at in his quarters. More notable, however, is what they've done with the Vulcan surface. With the episode including no location shooting, this was all originally shot on a (small) stage with a red cyclorama sky. Ideally, the CBS team would add clouds, architecture, or... something... to make it look more real. In this case, however, there are so many shots with the sky, some with hand-held cameras, that redoing it would blow the budget out of the water. So instead, the team replaces a live-action shot of Kirk, McCoy, and Spock walking to the arena with two CGI shots that show the (very small) characters walking to the arena (via a bridge) through a gorgeous Vulcan landscape, courtesy of two digital matte paintings. With the Vulcan city of Shi'Kahr (introduced in the animated episode "Yesteryear") in the distance and geology that's reminiscent of Vulcan's appearances in the feature films, it ties "Amok Time" into Trek's future. More importantly, it establishes the arena as being a highly elevated area with a sheer drop off each side, an idea that carries through the remainder of the episode, explaining why the characters stay in such a small area and why the sky is so featureless, with no architecture or geologic forms to break it up.
"Spock" (Leonard Nimoy) is showing strange, erratic behavior and "Capt. Kirk" (William Shatner) asks "Dr. McCoy" (DeForest Kelly) to examine the First Officer. "McCoy" learns in his examination that "Spock" MUST return to his homeplanet "Vulcan" within eight days (maximum) or he will die. However, "Spock" refuses to explain why he must return to his homeworld and why it threatens his life at first. He eventually explains that he is suffering from "Pon Farr" and must mate with his mate that was picked for him when he was a child or he will die.
"Kirk" jeopardizes his career, and orders the Enterprise divert from their current mission to bring "Spock" to his native world.
As they arrive at "Vulcan," "Spock" asks "Kirk" and "McCoy" to accompany him to the planet surface as his guests. The three "beam down" to the planet where "Spock's" chosen mate, "T'Pring" (Arlene Martel) awaits. To "Kirk's" surprise, one of "Vulcan's" most respected leaders, "T'Pau" (the late Celia Lovsky) is to conduct the ceremony.
Trouble starts when "T'Pring" stops the ceremony to announce she wishes to marry a "Vulcan" named "Stonn" (Lawrence Montaigne). She envokes her right to have "Spock" fight for her, and, to every one's surprise, chooses "Kirk" to fight on her behalf instead of "Stonn."
However, the biggest surprise to "McCoy" and "Kirk" is that the fight, with hand-held weapons which have large blades at one end and a blunt object on the other, is to the death.
The episode, written by Theodore Sturgeon, was the Season Two premiere episode that had a memorable entry march and music with interesting costumes for the "Vulcan" wedding party which greets "Spock" and his guests in a set that might remind you of Stonehenge.
Both Arlene Martel and the late Celia Lovsky did good jobs both as a young (Martel) and elder (Lovsky) "Vulcan" females. Both are stoic as required as a "Vulcan". Lovsky stands out a bit more, as she talks with her Czech accent making her performance a little more memorable.
Another standout performance is done by Nimoy, who does a wonderful job portraying "Spock" as one who is trying to retain control while feeling the urge to return home like the bass must return to the stream it was born in to spawn. Shatner also does a good job as "Kirk," who puts his career, and neck, on the line to save his First Officer and close friend.
The episode lags in some places, and the fight scene seems to take up more time than it should, but they help with advancing the story to the surprise ending. The scenery is fairly boring, yet interesting as you can see hints of the "Vulcan" red-colored sky and the redish "rock" of the structures which surround the area for the wedding.
To sum things up, "Amok Time" is an interesting look into the "Vulcan" culture and biological needs.
Logic and stoicism take thebackseat when Spock's mating instincts kick in, transforming him into a short-tempered mammal and compelling him to return to his home planet of Vulcan. Kirk risks all to help his first officer and pal fulfill his carnal urges. Once on Vulcan, however, Spoc still can't get a break - he is forced to fight his captain and his friend, unto the death.
The suspense in the storyline works well, as does the revelation of a side of Spock not normally seen. The planet Vulcan, with its glittering pebbles and red sky, vaguely reminiscent of Vegas desert, is a great match for the hot-blooded plot. Then there's tiny little T'Pau, with her Euro-Vulcan accent and mix-up of old Engish grammar (saying "thee" instead of "thou", etc.), all ready to kill Kirk and McCoy if one of them steps out of line. But the burgeoning loyalty between the trio is the plasma that holds the whole episode together.
Episodehighlights include the ends of the deadly lirpas breaking off like pieces of rock candy from a stick; the Vulcan ceremonial stand-ins shaking the bells like they're a part of the Salvation Army at Christmas; and the men talking at the end about whether Spock actually got lucky.
Then there's poor Nurse Chapel. She expresses her undying love through a bowl of plomik soup, only to have it literally thrown back in her face. When Spock's hormones get the better of him, he makes a half-hearted pass at her, which she reproaches, before nearly doing a dance of sheer delight at his request to make him more plomik soup. Shortly afterwards, her momentary glee turns to dismayed shock at glimpsing Spock's much younger, hotter bride. By the end of the episode, she must be totally confounded, as Spock is unattached, returned to his duties, yetdiffusedof those alarmingly exciting recent impulses.
I loved the script. And it includes a touching moment that most people glaze over and don't talk about. In the turbo lift Spock invites Kirk to attend the ceremony. He then slowly turns to the doctor and says "I also request McCoy". I just absolutely loved the way he delivered the line with the pause and head turn toward McCoy. All the Vulcan lingo was great. "Kali fee"! "Kryka!", "Ponn Far", "Plak tow". Did you catch Nurse Chapel's expression when Spock said "That is T'Pring, my wife."? Priceless.
Spock is behaving very out of character, and requests that the Enterprise divert to planet Vulcan. It transpires that he must return home in order to perform the Vulcan mating ritual, or he will die. Not one of my Top 10 favourites, but a notable episode.
The second season kicks off with this notable episode (although "Catspaw" was the first episode of the season to be produced).
The second season introduces Walter Koenig as Helmsman Chekov, who makes his first on-screen appearance in this story. He was brought it partly to try and win younger viewers, with his look based upon 'The Monkees' (which started the same year as 'Star Trek'); and he was made Russian to reflect their position in the 1960s space race.
Also with the second season, DeForest Kelley's name is added to the main credits, reflecting how he had grown to be a key character over the first season of the show.
Anyway, the story itself. The episode is notable for our first glimpse of Vulcan, and many of their customs. It marks the first appearance of the Vulcan hand gesture (suggested by Leonard Nimoy), as well as the first on-screen uttering of "Live long... and prosper".
Many of 'Star Trek's episodes mirror human conditions, and this story can be dubbed 'Spock hits puberty'! He certainly acts like an angry teenager, throwing food offered to him at the wall, and shouting a lot.
This is one of 'Star Trek's most famous episodes, with the fight between Spock and Kirk being the most memorable scene. It has also been spoofed a lot, such as in the movie 'The Cable Guy' (1996), and in the second season 'Futurama' episode 'Why Must a Crustacean Fall In Love'.
The story is okay, and has some interesting details, but I confess to finding it a bit dragged out, and my attention did start to wander in places.
This is one of the most iconic episodes of Original 'Star Trek', but I wouldn't necessarily class it as one of the very best. It certainly has some good moments and some nice details, but I'm afraid there are many that I like better.
Spock has to go through a mating ceremony. He orders the USS Enterprise to go to Vulcan. Second in command Spock then orders the Enterpise to go to Vulcan. Capatain Kirk finds out then sends the ship going back to the planet it was told to go to in the first place. He then finds out from McCoy that Spock will die if he doesn't go to Vulcan for the marriage cermony. They go back and Spocks soon to be wife doesn't chose him but chooses Kirk (instead of Stonn) who she is in love with). Spock and Kik are ordered to fight each other, the person who wins, by killing the other, marries here. Spock is a good fighter, Kirk is not very good at it because he is tired because of the strange air and altitude. In this fight Mccoy gives the captain a drug that makes him appear dead. Mccoy and the captain's body beam up to the ship where we find out he is not dead. Meanwhile Spock tells his wife to be she can marry Stonn and returns to ship where he find out the captain is alive and well. This was my favorite episode of all time. It showed how much Kirk and McCoy loved Spock and would do anything in there power to keep him from dieing.
Spock has to go through a mating ceremony. He orders the USS Enterprise to go to Vulcan. Commander Spock the orders it to go to Vulcan. Capatain finds out then sends the ship going back to the other planet. He then finds out from McCoy that Spock will die if he doesn't go back. They go back and Spocks wife doesn't chose him but chooses Kirk (instead of Stonn) who she is in love with). They have to get in a fight to win her. In this fight Mccoy gives the captain a drug that makes him appear dead. Mccoy and the captain's body beam up to the ship where we find out he is not dead. Meanwhile Spock tells his wife to be she can marry Stonn and returns to ship where he find out the captain is alive and well. This was my favorite episode of all time.
A hugely influential episode that STAR TREK fans remember because it offers the first sight of the Planet Vulcan and affords us the first bit of insight into Vulcan culture. It has been said by many that it’s inconsistent for Spock to speak of Pon Farr because of some sort of Vulcan equivalent of embarrassment, when Vulcans in the Next Gen shows speak of it freely. For me this is a minor matter. Rationalise it by considering that our Victorian ancestors were so embarrassed about sex that they covered the legs of their pianos, but by the 1960s, “free love” was all the rage. Or accept that it’s a continuity error … they do happen sometimes.
Nevertheless, this is a great episode that works brilliantly both as STAR TREK and as tv drama and it is probably only this great because it was written by “Shore Leave”’s Theodore Sturgeon, the sf writer to whom is attributed the truism “90% of everything is cr*p”.
Amok Time was the first tim we get to see Vulcan and learn about their cullture. The Vulcan language is also introduced in this episode. Leonard Nimoy`s performance of Spock was urbeliveable because we almost never see that side of him. In Spock`s rage he belives he killed Kirk, but Dr. McCoy took precautions to this and Kirk did not die. Spock shows the emotion of joy to see Kirk alive. This shows the friendship between them is stronger than Spock`s own will to suppress his emotions. Even though Spock didn't get any action the episode was still solid.
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