Mothra wrote:I looked into some of the behind-the-scenes stuff, and sure enough, "from the start" they "really wanted to do something big to introduce Kirk", and they had this idea to re-do Balance of Terror, copying all the same beats and camera angles and yadda yadda.
The most baffling thing about that is there's no reason for Kirk to be there
. Like, he just happens to show up where the Enterprise is during a pivotal moment from TOS, even though he's not the captain of the Enterprise?
The message was also very weird. It is either, "You are fated to die this way, it is your destiny to go into the beepy chair and Kirk's cosmic destiny is to command the Enterprise", which sucks, because it's the usual Chosen One shit, OR, it is "Pike wasn't the right man for the job here, and his risks taken toward peace were a mistake, and like the Battle of the Binary Stars, the Federation's unwillingness to act like their enemies and attack first will doom humanity". Both of those are some weak-ass ideas to build a finale around.
A third, but also weak, interpretation is that it's just butterfly effect shit -- that any deviation has the potential to massively alter the timeline just by sheer chance. (Nero blew up the Kelvin, now Spock is dating Uhura.)
That's unsatisfying too, and I think "we can't change the timeline because..." is an inherently unsatisfying premise, because it's trying to give an in-universe explanation for something whose real explanation is "we don't wanna." It's fiction; the result of any given behavior by the characters is going to be whatever the writers want it to be (and, in the case of a corporate-owned franchise like Star Trek, whatever the producers and network are willing to sign off on). These kinds of stories can have interesting character ramifications -- Star Trek loves it some no-win situations -- but from a story logic perspective, they always kick my suspension of disbelief right in the teeth. The characters can't alter the timeline because the writers or producers don't want to. That's it, that's the reason, any other explanation is a post-hoc justification and the audience knows it.
Then yeah, the "big armada shows up against the other big armada" thing from Picard happened again, which always sucks, and sure enough, it sucked here, because it was unearned.
I liked it better here because it was a bluff. Allowing that Kirk's being in this episode at all doesn't really make any sense, trying to bluff his way out is a very Kirk solution.
Kirk's actor is also pretty rough, but I can tell he's trying.
It seems like he's trying to use Shatner's cadence but tone down the overacting. I don't know that it really worked for me, but I doubt this is the last we'll see of him, so maybe he'll get a chance to grow into the role.
He does kinda look like what you'd get if you merged Shatner's and Pine's faces, so that's kinda funny.
For positives, everything looks great as always, particularly the Romulan plasma weapon whenever it hits something. I loved seeing Mathazar as a Romulan, and he did great, even if the story clanged for me. Ethan Peck once again nails it as a later, more stoic Spock, closer to TOS. In the behind-the-scenes thing I watched, Peck said he was trying to capture Nemoy's "monolithic" aspect to Spock in early TOS, and he does a great job. I also really liked seeing post-therapy La'an happy, that was a great touch, and a great change in attitude without changing the character at all. Felt very true.
Yeah, it's a good cast and crew and they all did good work. It looked great.