littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.

The Spock Narrative

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I fell into the Star Trek fandom again. Inspired by this, because I felt there was a particularly absent Spock perspective on their relationship in original Spirk songs, as this is the second Spirk song I’ve heard and it was also from Kirk’s perspective. First is here.

As I’m not very musical, these are just lyrics. As there’s no music attached, you’ll just have to imagine.

You give me something I’ve never known before
And there is no logic in it
It’s hard to know what I need more
You dare me to lose you every minute

Can it be I trust you because you feel?
Maybe I’m just too addicted
Because I don’t think I could ever heal
When I see you stray, I am left strickened

If there’s shame in love, I don’t want to know
You take over my mind, you make me let go
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
I can’t see you

Whenever you touch me, my nerves alight
Mind over matter, I focus on you
I make sure to keep my body packed tight
Minds joined, I understand everything you do

Whenever you smile at me, I feel seen
Though I have no need for emotional security
Yours I will be and ever have been
I’d do anything to keep you in safety

If there’s shame in love, I don’t want to know
You take over my mind, you make me let go
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
Oh show me words I used to know
the man I was channelling Show me

I couldn’t stand it, the feelings inside
I must close off the pain, feeling so wrong
Let my hair grow long, need Vulcan to hide
I should have it known it all along

And there you were, so open and proud
Yet I couldn’t even look back at you
You had a way of getting through this cloud
I never knew what I was about to do

If there’s shame in love, I don’t want to know
You take over my mind, you make me let go
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
I can’t see you
Until this moment

This is my interpretation of their relationship, but there’s another perspective I need to explore. I recently saw The Spock Resonance from the most recent season of the Big Bang Theory, and I keep thinking about it. It isn’t as though I didn’t know Sheldon thought differently of Spock than I do, but given that his history with Spock and Star Trek runs far deeper than mine, it surprised me that the way he sees Spock would be so ignorant.

So the way Sheldon sees it, Spock lives in a world of pure logic, and perhaps this was an idealisation of Spock, whose logic he’s always admired. But he has also admitted in the past that he ships Kirk and Spock, so I wonder how he ships them. There is certainly enough evidence in the original series for both physical connection and, dare I say, emotional connection. There is certainly loyalty, and friendship; protectiveness and relief. Spock sticks as closely to Kirk as Kirk does to him, and he even smiles when he learns he didn’t kill Kirk on Vulcan in Amok Time from the second season. Perhaps Sheldon, understanding arguably less about narratives than I do, simply took this at face value, not recognising the contradiction between this emotional connection and Spock’s so-called pure logic. Perhaps he shipped it out of some need in him to share a connection with someone, even while his need for detachment through logic created a wall of denial of this side of himself. Both sides are a part of him, and yet he chooses only to see the dominant feeling, through a compulsion to protect himself from the chaos of feeling.

The most obvious and important part of this evidence of duality lies in Star Trek The Motion Picture, the first of the TOS films, and my favourite area of the Kirk/Spock canon. In my opinion, this film is second only to The Search for Spock in terms of film canon. After watching The Spock Resonance in season 9 of The Big Bang Theory, more than anything I’ve been tempted to give Sheldon my blow-by-blow of this movie; but given his just-as-fictional reality, I’ll do it here.

So the first we see of Spock, he’s in Gol undergoing Kolinahr. This parallels Sheldon towards Amy in The Spock Resonance, since after their season 9 breakup, Sheldon swears off women entirely. Although this is a trope in many men post-breakup, I think with Sheldon it carries more weight as he is more physically restrained than many other men, making him a more direct parallel with Spock here. I don’t know whether you could call whatever happened to Kirk and Spock leading up to this first scene a breakup, but what does become clear is that it was Kirk who drove him here. And you have to understand this was a long time coming; it goes way back to Spock’s admission in TOS that, “Jim, when I feel friendship for you, I’m ashamed.” Although when he served with Kirk on the Enterprise, he didn’t resist the little things like touches and looks, that shame continued through their relationship — again, this parallels Sheldon in an earlier season of BBT, when he says, “What has that little vixen done to me? Amy has altered my personality.” This background in both cases has led to Spock stopping the ritual, an action with no pure logic in it, but instead an emotional reaction. Spock reached out during the ritual to stop the necklace because he knew there was still something unresolved in his heart that brought dishonesty to the ritual; much the same way as Sheldon got a song stuck in his head in season 9 that eventually reminded him how much he loved Amy, leading him back to her.

The next time we see Spock, he has come aboard the Enterprise, probably after monitoring its activity going by his actions once aboard, as well as the timing. Here we come to another parallel within the film itself, that of the other Vulcan employed by Kirk, who I think he hired in part as a replacement for Spock. That’s why he appeared so shocked when Spock stepped onto the bridge: I don’t think Kirk ever expected to see him again. But in fact, that Vulcan officer was his excuse in, and I think Spock needed that. As Spock distracted himself from Kirk with his work, arriving without an excuse would have exposed him and whatever his true intentions were, when he likely didn’t know yet what he wanted to do beyond facing Kirk again. No matter how happy Kirk was to see Spock in either case, Spock needs duty first, before he can acknowledge anything approaching his feelings. This is similar to Sheldon too, as he briefly tried to replace Amy with a woman he would meet through craigslist, though he soon abandons her for fine details, probably at least in part indicating that he’s still too stuck on Amy to move on. But before he could go back to her, she first had to invite him in. Even when she did, like Spock, he was resistant at first, until he reached his revelation and finally returned to her.

I have read a theory that light and shadow factors into the TOS movie; the black clothing and shadows on Spock’s face when he boards the Enterprise contrasts sharply against the lack of shadows and white clothing in the hospital bed when Spock has his revelation about Kirk. There is also the parallel between Decker and Ilea, down to her vow of celibacy and last heartrending separation with Decker, which remains relevant to Kirk and Spock despite the fact we don’t know how they were separated. In fact, we don’t even know how Decker and Ilea were separated. Nostalgia is also used, with a brief shot of Spock in his familiar blue uniform between arriving and his first private conversation with Kirk, as well the line that follows in the next scene, “I need him” which was first said in Charlie X and directly contrasts Spock’s current, even mocking attitude of detachment. This is also repeated in the hospital room, and in both these occasions Kirk said this in white rooms, signalling unambiguous honesty, as well as vulnerability, using the light metaphor. This begins in the next scene, with only Spock, Kirk and McCoy present. Despite his intimate past with Kirk, and perhaps due to the post-conditions of Kolinahr, Spock stands as stiff as ever, and refuses to even sit down, as even that will make him feel vulnerable, as if his will is not his own; and Spock, especially in this moment, needs control over anything else. He is still afraid, still ashamed, of the connection they share. But Spock does sit down eventually, perhaps foreshadowing the outcome of this movie. Perhaps the closest equivalent in Sheldon’s relationship is his trip to the Aquarium with Amy, and the awkward conversation in the car, between Amy mirroring Kirk by trying to relax the situation, and Sheldon mirroring Spock by mocking the situation, by addressing the elephant in the room: Sheldon asks the questions friends don’t ask, just as Spock makes the stiff business-like bargains against Kirk’s personal of “I need you”.

As the movie continues, Spock continues to play the part of ship crewman, but even as they descend into the cloud towards V’Ger, Spock is already standing next to Kirk closer than the average crewman; observe Decker standing behind the barrier to the left, and Spock in front as Kirk’s right hand man. This may have been a brief, simple pretext to be next to the captain for a moment, as he’s soon back to his chair again. However, as Kirk moves the ship in closer to V’Ger, a pillar of lightning enters the bridge to tap into the computers. And here’s where it gets interesting, because there’s four main players in this next scene. Decker, Kirk’s parallel, tries to work on the computer. At Kirk’s commentary on the problem, Spock reacts by damaging the computer to cut off access. As a result, Spock’s parallel, Ilea, is attacked because of Decker and taken by V’Ger. So firstly, we have Kirk/Decker as instigators, then Spock/Ilea as defenders and in turn revenge victims. I have mentioned the woman from craigslist in BBT, but I haven’t mentioned Amy’s parallel, the British boyfriend. He may represent at least at least a subconscious desire to replace Sheldon, as he at least somewhat mirrors him in that he’s tall, as well as his unfortunate overt enthusiasm for Sheldon, which breaks through her desire for subtlety in his attributes. However, she is eventually able to dismiss even this in her desire to chase after Sheldon, up until the point he wins her back. These mirrors both show desire and loyalty in the main ships.

V’Ger then drew the ship even closer to itself, and Spock didn’t seem at all resistant. In fact, since first contact with V’Ger, it seems Spock has had direct mental contact with the unit, allowing Spock to see and know more about it than the rest of the vessel. He probably knew how it thought, and this has probably attracted Spock to it. Because there’s the mission, and then there’s Spock’s personal thoughts and feelings. He wants to be as logical as possible, which he equates with morality through restraint, and even with these small emotions and inclinations, his thoughts aren’t on Kirk; he wants to be closer to V’Ger in order to attain this enlightenment through pure logic. So he finally steals a spacesuit and heads out to meet V’Ger. And as all this is happening, V’Ger’s probe/Ilea is moving in the opposite direction by discovering feeling through Decker, and thus higher meaning through that feeling. Up until now, Spock has had a kind of contact with V’Ger, but until meeting on the other side he didn’t have a strong enough connection to achieve his ends. But when he attempted a mind meld, he was filled with the empty thoughts he would have ended up with had he undergone Kolinahr, and he understands now why he couldn’t go through with it. When Sheldon and Amy were apart in season 9, both also headed into opposite directions, with Amy moving towards forming new connections with other men, and Sheldon moving towards detachment. Although Sheldon didn’t deal well with this separation, he clung to this detachment even when Amy admitted she wanted to be his girlfriend again. Like Spock, he did this on principle: the fact that he needed to be her friend reflects his need to cling to detachment and run from his feelings, just as Spock has always done especially by clinging to duty and business-like statements.

Then we get to the famous hospital scene, and McCoy is speculating Spock’s condition. At the words, “The power pouring through that mind meld must’ve been staggering,” Spock laughs. Because he knows, it wasn’t immense power, but its opposite. V’Ger doesn’t have the answers Spock thought it did, but questions. It understands far less than even Spock has achieved in his life. Even Spock has feelings for Kirk, has hopes, and V’Ger has none. This is not something to aspire to, but to avoid devolving into. When Sheldon goes mad trying to figure out the song in his head, he eventually figures out it’s because of Amy, because it reminds him of her. Like Spock’s mind meld, Sheldon undergoes a mental journey which leads to the revelation that compells him back to the one he loves. This leads to a final famous scene of their reunion, and a kiss that has lost all its stiffness, the equivalent to Kirk and Spock’s handholding.

In the very next scene, he underscores this by explaining that V’Ger is a child. This parallels much of Sheldon’s character, as Sheldon is often compared to a child, yet his connection to Amy, much like Spock’s connection to Kirk, makes him better. Sometimes he still fears his vulnerability through this connection, but both Spock and Sheldon eventually come to accept this love over that fear. When V’Ger merged with Decker, that new life, that ascendence provides the perfect metaphor of this.

There are plenty of weighted phrases from Spock that reflects his own feelings as well as the the original context they were spoken in. He says “curiosity,” as both an expression of V’Ger’s spirit as well as his own attitude towards the entity, says, “It knows only that it needs, Captain. But like so many of us, it does not know what,” reflecting both V’Ger’s current conflict and his own recent one, and “Unfortunately, it will have to deal with [human emotions] as well,” regarding both the new V’Ger and himself into the future. In this way, V’Ger serves as a parallel to Spock as well. And in many ways, there is a resonance to Sheldon too, as these quotes may all apply to his life as well. Although curiosity could easily be explained in many contexts, it is personal curiosity that matters here, and perhaps what kept him near Amy at the beginning at least. Not knowing what he needed probably kept him from discovering the truth about how not only Sheldon’s relationship, but how it changed him, until it was too late to stop it. And now that he does know, the last quote comes into play, in that no matter how he might wish to return to the safety of 2003, he has simply changed too much to go back. So perhaps these comparisons didn’t all happen in the same order, but we can see that there are many similarities between these two ships to link them, making them mirrors in different worlds. And perhaps the most important link of all between them is that they will always find their way back to each other.

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Author: littlewonder2

I'm 25, and I blog to improve my writing; I want to be good enough to be published. I also studied Japanese when I was younger. Luckily, I'll be able to continue those studies along with Creative Writing next year in University.

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