Star Trek: The Original Series – Amok Time
Being a Vulcan is a lot of work. They are expected to stay cool under pressure, calculate pi to three hundred places, and put up with William Shatner’s over-exaggerated acting skills.
Amok time is one of those episodes that takes it a step further and introduces us to a side of Spock that some of us probably didn’t really need to know about. Yet, Theodore Sturgeon (a writer for the series) woke up one morning and decided that he needed to write a forty minute episode about Spock’s sex life. I guess boldly going where no man had gone before just wasn’t cutting it.
The first twenty minutes we’re left in suspense trying to figure out why Spock was flipping out on members of the crew. Why did he throw a bowl of soup at the woman who secretly loves him? Is he under alien influence? Did he somehow switch with an evil Spock from a parallel universe? Was he tired of being half human and cold soup finally sent him over the edge?
“If I told you once I told you a thousand times…NO GOD DAMN PARSLEY!!!”
Nope. It turns out he’s just frustrated, if you know what I mean. A Vulcan male is bonded / promised to a Vulcan female early in life so that later on when he feels the need to mate he can return to his home planet and…well…seeing as how this was the sixties and the show roughly PG, this is the part where the end credits would roll. Every seven years, Vulcan males are afflicted with the “Pon farr”, a madness which drives them home to the female they were promised to as children to procreate. This madness causes the male to act irrationally until the “problem is solved.”
“Spock, you mixed the reds with the whites again.”
When they finally get Spock to Vulcan we’re greeted to a long, drawn out ceremony that introduces a powerful figure of Vulcan named T’Pau and Spock’s beloved T’Pring, via the repeated shaking of bells strapped to a washboard.
This painful contraption is guaranteed to annoy you within ten minutes or your money back.
The next part was always my favorite when I was a kid. It turned out T’Pring didn’t want Spock so the alternative was for Spock to fight to the death with whomever she wished her champion to be. Instead of risking the man she really wanted, she picked Kirk. The fight scene that ensued may stir your memory a bit if you ever watched the movie Cable Guy. Remember the scene where Jim Carrey brought Matthew Broderick to Medieval Times? No? Click here.
Kirk and Spock’s “epic” battle turned out to be something similar to that. I won’t spoil how it ends in the odd chance you actually planned to watch Amok Time for the very first time. I’m very considerate in not revealing forty year old spoilers, that’s just how I roll.
Seven years? I’d be pissed too.
Regardless of how boring the episode may have been at times, the introduction of the Pon farr led to a few minor plot lines developed in future episodes (Star Trek Voyager: Blood Fever, Body and Soul) and in one of the movies (Star Trek III: The Search For Spock). Luckily, you won’t have to wait seven years for my next Star Trek article. You can act relieved now.