Star Trek
Star Trek, The Original Series: “Amok Time”

Episode Report Card
Keckler: A | Grade It Now!
Subvulcanean Homesick Blues
The two men stand facing each other, arms behind their backs. Spock broods away from Kirk's gaze and tells his Captain that his little problem "has something to do with biology." Is he talking about the Golgi Complex? Kirk didn't hear him, so Spock repeats, "BIOLOGY." Kirk walks over to Spock and stands next to him. "What kind of biology?" Kirk asks. "Vulcan biology," Spock says, taking great interest in the ceiling. "You mean the biology of Vulcans?" Kirk asks. No, genius, he means fifth-period biology -- of course he means the biology of Vulcans! "Biology as in...reproduction?" Kirk asks. Spock nods and examines the tops of his boots. Oh, it's uncomfortable. "Well," Kirk says, "there's nothing to be embarrassed about, Mr. Spock, it happens to the birds and the bees." And to you every Tuesday and Thursday. "The birds and the bees are not Vulcans, Captain!" Spock huffs, and turns towards his bed. "If they were," he continues, "if any creature as proudly logical as us were to have their logic ripped from them as this time does to us..." Spock sighs and looks down. He asks Kirk if he's ever wondered how Vulcans choose their mates. Well, it's my guess that Kirk's been too wrapped up in choosing his own mates to think of anyone else's coupling procedures. "I guess the rest of us assumed that it's done quite logically," Kirk hazards. "No," Spock says, circling Kirk and dropping into his chair. "No," he repeats. Spock explains that they "shield it with ritual and customs shrouded in antiquity." He sniffs that humans have no conception of what goes on behind closed doors when the Vulcans let their hair down. "It strips our minds from us. It brings a madness which rips away our veneer of civilization…it is the pohn fahrr [sic]...the time of mating," Spock tells him. Kirk sits down as Spock relates some Mother Nature precedents for this affliction. The one that makes me giggle is when he talks about salmon needing to go back to the stream in which they were born in order to spawn. "Or die in trying," Spock rasps. Kirk reminds Spock that he's not a fish. And now I can't get the sight of Spock pulling a Leslie Nielson in Wrongfully Accused and swimming upstream out of my head. "No," Spock agrees. "Nor am I a man. I'm a Vulcan. I'd hoped I would be spared this." "Aw, come on, Spock -- you always remember your first pon farr. It's such a special time," Mathra encourages him. "But the ancient drives are too strong. Eventually they catch up with us, and we are driven by forces we cannot control. To return home and take a wife. Or die." That's all Kirk needs to hear; he fully understands how one could die without sex. He gets up and walks around. Spock has his head bent in shame -- or exhaustion; hard to tell which with these moody Vulcans -- and Kirk tells him he hasn't heard a word he's said and he'll get him to Vulcan somehow. Just pop him in a sh'pod and point him toward his homeworld -- what's the big? Now, not to be too Comic Book Guy, but where did the "every seven years during their adult life" part of the rules of pon farr come in? Spock never says it in my uncut episode. We know Saavik says it in The Search for Spock, so is that the first and defining time?

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