Saturday, 11 May 2013

TOS - P2 - Where No Man Has Gone Before

Star TRek - Where no man has gone before
These foggy contact lenses are really cool.
It even makes me feel like god
But it makes you look like fairy to me
Captain Kirk has replaced Captain Pike in the Enterprise in the 1st pilot episode. Scotty and Sulu had came on board the show. But Sulu was part of the science team working down below. He wasn't being seen much after reporting at the bridge.

It's a good thing that the USS Enterprise looks like a combo of a rocket and a flying saucer. It's actually something of a flying saucer powered by a pair of rockets. In the early days before Star Trek, many of the sci-fi movies showed mankind travelling to outer space in rockets.

 If it's a spaceship, then the command structure should resemble naval command. With the idea of rocket, the command structure would probably link to an airforce instead. And it's not just any ship, but an aircraft carrier. The name USS Enterprise is taken from an aircraft carrier.

The similarities of the names of Captain James Kirk and the famous English Captain James Cook are more than coincidental. Like Captain Kirk, Captain Cook was an explorer rather than military officer, who discovered Australia, a new continent (for the European). That's the kind of role Captain Kirk would be playing in TOS - discovering new frontiers and new civilisations, and to boldly go "where no men has gone before". Captain Cook commanded the ship that bore the name HMS Endeavour, and Captain Kirk USS Enterprise. Bear in mind that  "endeavour" is another word for "enterprise". Another coincidence?

I can think of why the name "Enterprise" was chosen over "Endeavour" for 2 reasons. First, using "Endeavour" would be too obvious, and second, there's an actual US aircraft carrier named USS Enterprise.

Please read episode 1.2 "Charlie X" before reading review for this episode. This is because I watched, and wrote the review for episode 1.2 before watching this pilot episode.

These 2 episodes in questions (this and episode 1.2) deal with the same topic of the danger when an individual is given too much power. In fact, there aren't much different at all between the 2 episodes, thematically.

Bear in mind that most audience missed out the pilot episode. So this was a way to revisit this all too important and most concerned topic in the 1960s in episode 1.2.

As I discussed in episode 1.2, in a climate of the recent aftermath of WW2, followed by Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, the anxiety of nuclear Holocaust shrouded the minds of the 1960s. That arsenal of nuclear warheads could literally bring an apocalyptic end to planet earth.

We lived in a world with destructive power that could almost equal to gods (represented by the mighty power possessed by Gary Mitchell in this episode), yet we (represented by Gary Mitchell himself) hadn't the maturity to control such power. He's egotistical and arrogant.  We're still hampered by human emotions (we're no Vulcan). This power has gone over Mitchell's head, and thought of himself as infallible, in fact, as god. He makes Captain Kirk kneels before him.

"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupt absolutely", Captain Kirk cites the famous quote. This lies the very crux of the crisis. It's an allusion to the recent dictators of the 3 Axis Powers in WW2, as well as the contemporary dictators of the 1960s of the Eastern Bloc, especially former Soviet, and to the lesser extent, Mao.

The only military doctrine to ensure peace is MAD - mutually Assured Destruction, which is a pretty mad strategy. And indeed the 2 characters in this episode - Mitchell and Dr. Dehner - have a different view in dealing with the power, and locks themselves in mutual destruction. The Cuban Missile Crisis came very close to this mutual destruction scenario between Uncle Sam and the Polar Bear in real life.

The title of the episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" refers to the attainment of power that no man has achieved before, and that's also the case of mankind's present possession of this nuclear arsenal. We have never given so much power before.

It was this episode that won NBC over, and agreed to sign up to air the Star Trek series. Few people lived in the 1960s didn't understand or concern about the message of this episode.



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