Amok Time

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"Amok Time"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 1
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Written by Theodore Sturgeon
Featured music Gerald Fried
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 034
Original air date September 15, 1967 (1967-09-15)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Amok Time" is the second season premiere episode of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek. It is episode #30, production #34, first broadcast on September 15, 1967, in the series' new time slot of 8:30 pm on Friday night, and repeated April 26, 1968. This was the first episode to feature regular cast member Walter Koenig, as the ship's navigator, Ensign Pavel Chekov, and also the first one to list DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy in the opening credits. It was written by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, scored by Gerald Fried, and directed by Joseph Pevney.

The episode features First Officer Spock returning to his homeworld for a brutal Vulcan mating ritual. It is the only episode of the series to depict scenes on the planet Vulcan.

Plot[edit]

Spock, the first officer of the Federation starship USS Enterprise, exhibits irrational behavior and requests that he be taken to his home planet, Vulcan. Captain James T. Kirk and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, having witnessed one of their friend's outbursts, agree and change course for Vulcan.

En route, Kirk receives orders from Starfleet to travel to Altair IV to represent the Federation at the inauguration ceremony for the planet's new president. Though Kirk instructs the crew to set course to Altair IV, Spock secretly changes course back to Vulcan. Kirk confronts Spock, who claims having no memory of ordering the course change. Kirk orders Spock to Sick Bay, where McCoy finds his blood chemistry is extremely active with a high hormonal count including unknown hormones, a condition that will kill him if not treated.

Spock is forced to explain that he is undergoing pon farr, a condition male Vulcans experience periodically through their adult life, and that he must mate or die. Kirk contacts Starfleet to request a diversion to Vulcan but is denied. Kirk disobeys orders and sets course for Vulcan at Warp 8, believing the life of his friend is more important than his career.

Arriving at Vulcan, Spock invites Kirk and McCoy to accompany him for the marriage ceremony. He explains that Vulcans are bonded as children as to fulfill the pon farr commitment ("more than a betrothal, less than a marriage"). T'Pring arrives with Stonn, a pureblood Vulcan with whom she has fallen in love. T'Pau, Spock's family matriarch (best known as the only person ever to refuse a seat on the Federation Council), prepares to conduct the ceremony, but T'Pring demands the koon-ut-kal-if-fee, her right to a physical challenge between Spock and a champion she will select. To everyone's surprise, she chooses Kirk. Spock begs T'Pau to forbid it as Kirk is unaware of Vulcan rituals; but T'Pau lets Kirk decide if he wishes to act as champion, with another champion to be selected if he refuses. Kirk elects to serve as T'Pring's champion, only to learn the challenge is a fight to the death.

The two first fight with the lirpa, a traditional Vulcan weapon. Kirk is challenged by Spock's strength and agility, even in the plak tow, the "blood fever," as well as the thinner atmosphere and higher heat of Vulcan. McCoy convinces T'Pau to allow him to inject Kirk with a tri-ox compound to offset the effects of the Vulcan atmosphere. The battle continues, with Spock finally garroting Kirk with another weapon, the Ahn'woon. McCoy rushes to Kirk's body and declares him dead, and requests immediate transport back to the Enterprise.

Spock gives up his claim on T'Pring, but not before confronting her on her choice of Kirk as her champion. She explains, in an impressive display of logic, that she feared losing Stonn. By choosing Kirk, she was assured that she would be rid of Spock forever regardless of the result of the battle. If Kirk won, he would not want her. If Spock won, he would release her for her presumption in demanding the koon-ut-kal-if-fee. Either way, she would have Stonn, who very much wished to be her consort.

Spock returns to the Enterprise but not before giving Stonn a warning. "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasant a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."[1]

Aboard the ship, Spock announces his intention to submit his resignation from Starfleet and submit himself for trial for killing Kirk, when he discovers Kirk is alive and well in Sickbay. McCoy explains that the injection he gave Kirk was a neuroparalyzer drug that merely simulated death. Spock apologies to Kirk, stating he lost all desire for T'Pring after he thought he killed him. Kirk learns that Starfleet has belatedly given them permission to travel to Vulcan at T'Pau's request, thus absolving Kirk for disobeying orders. Against the odds, all has turned out right for Spock, Kirk, and the Enterprise.

Reception[edit]

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A rating.[2]

Series significance[edit]

Gerald Fried's incidental music for the fight became a standard underscore for combat-scenes in season 2.[3][4] It was notably spoofed during the Medieval Times sequence in the Jim Carrey movie The Cable Guy,[5] in The Simpsons episodes "Deep Space Homer" and "The Day The Earth Stood Cool", in Get A Life episode "Dadicus" for fight scenes, the Warehouse 13 episode "Don't Hate the Player", and on Futurama as the national anthem of Dr. Zoidberg's home planet, Decapod 10, in the episode "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" (which was also a general parody of "Amok Time"). It was also spoofed by Eddie Murphy when he did a Star Trek sketch in his 1983 comedy film Delirious.[6]

Spock's Vulcan hand salute, repeated many times in later episodes, movies and series, is given for the first time when Spock greets T'Pau, as is the iconic Vulcan greeting, "Live long, and prosper."

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sturgeon, Theodore. "Amok Time," Star Trek, Episode 2/01. First aired September 15, 1967.
  2. ^ Handlen, Zack (May 1, 2009). ""Amok Time" / "Who Mourns For Adonais?"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ 'Star Trek' boldly going symphonic, Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved August 23, 2010
  4. ^ Music makes movies memorable, Canadian Online Explorer, June 11, 2000. Retrieved August 23, 2010
  5. ^ "A Loose Live Wire: Carrey's Mugging Turns 'The Cable Guy' into Farcical Turnoff", San Jose Mercury News, June 14, 1996
  6. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG2EP-iPUro

External links[edit]