Spock and the call of the wild. Originally broadcast on September 15, 1967 this is Amok Time.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3372.7
Spock begins suffering from Pon Farr and must return to his home planet to complete a mating ritual that occurs every Seven Years or he will die. However, his betrothed chooses to have Spock fight for her instead of accepting their marriage. She chooses Kirk as her champion hoping that Spock will leave and allow her to marry another Vulcan named Stonn. Kirk accepts not realizing that this is a fight to the death. Unknown to Spock, McCoy and Kirk work out a way to ‘kill’ Kirk in the fight without Spock actually commiting the deed. Spock ‘kills’ Kirk in the fight and, now free from his blood fever, releases T’Pring from her duty as his betrothed. Returning to the Enterprise fully expecting to be court-martialed, Spock is elated that his Captain is not dead and it was only a faint to allow Spock to fulfill his duties.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Amok Time is one of the first in this series that really build on the universe itself and is not just a one off episode. Adding on a significant layer to the Vulcan species by creating a cyclical event that require all Vulcans to return to their home planet to undergo the ritual of Pon Farr or die in the process. What is interesting about this particular episode is that it indicates that this is Spock’s first Pon Farr experience, implying that he had hoped to not have to go through it due to his human heritage. (Let’s hope they remember this during Strange New Worlds) It seems, however, that the Vulcan blood is much stronger than he thought. While this particular event is not something that is really revisited in this series itself, it is an event that ripples throughout the franchise and sets the seeds to the Logic based ritualistic culture that is Vulcan. This seed would go on to inform much of the other customs seen in this series as well as the feature films and beyond. Due to this, this episode is one that has become a key world building touchpoint for the franchise.
I do find it interesting that Vulcans, in their embrace of Logic, have continued their tradition of arranged marriages in order to avoid any chaos from feelings such a love and lust. However, the ritual of Pon Farr can also embrace that of violence which seems to negate the idea that Vulcan’s aren’t all that removed from their emotions. One of the things I LOVE about this episode is that it includes T’Pau who is considered a legend even to the likes of Kirk himself. This is one of the things that Enterprise did a great job in expanding, providing this character a much deeper backstory and connection to not only Spock, but to the forming of the Federation itself.
Overall, Amok Time is practically required viewing for anyone diving into the Star Trek franchise as it sets the stage for much of the Vulcan culture in the future. It’s a brilliant episode through and through, one that could possibly be one of, if not the, most important episode of the original series.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We once again see Christine Chapel show her love for Spock, although it is a love that can never be.
- We never see T’Pring or Stonn again, although it would be interesting to see them in their younger ages in the newer series.
- It is implied that Spock owns property on Vulcan, although we never actually see it.
- Spock slips a little at the end of the episode showing true joy in seeing Kirk alive.
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Late To The Game 2/16/2022
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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