So this is probably my favourite episode so far, mostly because it’s FULL OF SPACE DIPLOMACY.
It’s also the first appearance of several Grand Trek Traditions, like Complaining about Dress Uniforms, and contains this scene, where Spock shows Bones how to do the Vulcan salute:
I have no words. It’s too cute.
The Enterprise is ferrying a ship full of ambassadors to a summit on Codename Babel, where an important vote will take place: the admission of Dilithium-rich Coridan into the Federation. This is already a tense enough road trip – rife with sniping ambassadors and suspicions and accusations and ulterior motives – before the Enterprise swings by Vulcan to pick up their ambassador, Sarek, and his wife, Amanda… who happen to be Spock’s semi-estranged parents. That is: he’s kind of estranged from his dad but his mother mostly wants to know why he doesn’t visit more often. For Spock’s friends on the crew, this is literally the best thing that’s ever happened in space.
Is it Generic-Future-Winter-Holiday already?? I’ve been a VERY GOOD BOY.
The episode from this moment on is split more or less evenly into two parts: the Vulcan family drama surrounding Spock and his father working out some of their differences, and the murder mystery that ensues when the Tellarite ambassador (who Sarek stops just short of flat-out accusing of being involved in illegal mining on Coridan) turns up dead, and Sarek is the main suspect. No prizes for guessing which part we enjoyed more.
Of course, this is a D.C. Fontana episode, so we’re already predisposed to love it. Tons of Vulcan-general and Spock-specific backstory, heaps of family-of-choice moments when Spock’s friends step in to stop him from doing something stupid he’ll regret forever, and several genuinely funny moments between Amanda and Kirk, who can’t believe he’s met another human being capable of out-sassing him and is obviously loving it.
Kirk has found a new sass-mentor.
The heaping helping of Space Diplomacy, the window into the state of political affairs in the Federation, and a scene that seems to have been devised just to give Trek’s costume designers an excuse to showcase half a dozen new alien species, are just the cherry on top.
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[From The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]
All hail Amanda Grayson, Galactic sass-master.
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