Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) (part 12 of 13)
Spock asks the same question Kirk did, and no surprise, gets the same answer. Except, in this case the money was really running low, because we don’t even see the lightning bolts hit Spock. Instead, they just cut to him falling to the ground. God asks menacingly if McCoy doubts him too, and McCoy says that he doubts any god who causes pain for his own pleasure. McCoy would have made a lousy ancient Greek, then.
Before God can toast McCoy, though, Sybok frantically intercedes, claiming the God of Mill Wah Kee would not do this. But God says that, basically, the visions and stuff were all in his head. God then starts unwisely spilling his backstory, about how he’s been imprisoned here for an eternity. No kidding? That’s what this movie feels like for me, too!
Spock tries to clue Sybok in about how this guy obviously isn’t the God of Mill Wah Kee, but Sybok is confused, and demands that God reveal himself. We zoom in on God’s left pupil to see a purple, solarized image of—Sybok, laughing diabolically [?]. Wait, so Sybok’s evil, false god is really… himself? I guess this is the being’s way of telling Sybok that it was his own stupid faith that got him into this mess. The uptight, stick-up-the-butt Vulcans who ostracized him, Kirk wanting to kill him the minute he got the chance—they were right all along! He led himself down the garden path, and now everyone’s screwed. Good job getting everyone killed, loser!
But you really feel bad for Sybok here, because his whole world just went to hell, literally, and Luckinbill is doing a good job showing him desperately scrambling for something, anything to cling to, while the being cruelly taunts him. Sybok-God threatens to make Kirk, Spock, and (McCoy) die horribly, unless Sybok brings the ship closer so he can “join” with it, which sounds kinda dirty somehow.
Sybok turns and walks back to Kirk, asking what he’s done, but Kirk ignores him and hails the Lemonprise, telling them to “Listen carefully.” He then gives no instructions, because the next shot shows him watching Sybok talk to Spock. Maybe Kirk realized everyone on the ship is watching the movie, and no one’s listening to the comm anyway.
Sybok cops to screwing everyone over, and asks his brother’s forgiveness. He gives the Vulcan hand-sign, and Spock follows suit, but instead of intoning, “Live long and prosper,” or “Good luck,” he presses his hand against Spock’s. Okay, that’s new. He then turns and shouts to Sybok-God, “I couldn’t help but notice your pain!” No way! That’s right, everybody, Sybok is gonna mindzonk God!
Sybok urges the being to share his pain, and jumps into the light beam. The next shot shows Sybok and Sybok-God fighting inside the beam of light, looking all solarized and color-reversed, and they’re actually in the famous Superhero Death Grapple Pose. Unfortunately, that means this shot is a total crib from the end of another classic Trek episode, ”The Alternative Factor” (The One with the Guy with the Goofy Beard).
Following Kirk’s unheard orders, Chekov fires a lime-green inkblot at Kirk’s position. Later, at the inquest, Chekov will claim he was firing on the false-God being, but we all know what was really going through his mind.
Kirk, Spock, and (McCoy) dive out of the way just in time. So, a photon torpedo—the Lemonprise’s biggest weapon, the storied destroyer of enemy ships—is something you can escape by running a few feet away and jumping behind a rock? Duck-and-cover works for photon torpedoes? I… don’t think so. Maybe the God-being absorbed all the energy from the explosion or something. Well, that was nice of him.
Kirk and Company run for the shuttle, but the God-being is pretty pissed at being blown up, and won’t let them take off. Kirk hails Scotty, who says that the transporters are only working well enough to beam up two of them. And this scene is entirely in keeping with Scotty’s Law, established in the previous movie and elsewhere, which states that a malfunctioning transporter can always take exactly one less than the total number of people trying to beam up.
Kirk orders Spock and (McCoy) beamed up, which happens instantly. As he fades out, McCoy sputters, “Now, wait just a goddamn minute!” as if he thought it would play out any other way. Kirk, having now heroically abandoned himself to the God-being’s wrath, listens as the false god indulges in some furious moaning.
Spock orders Scotty to beam up the Captain, but Klaa chooses this moment to fire on the unprotected Lemonprise. And the way this is cut together, it’s like the Klingons fired directly on the transporter room, causing lots of sparks and explosions that pretty much tell us Kirk’s screwed. (Translation: there was no money for an effects shot of the Lemonprise itself getting hit.)
On the bridge, Klaa is on the viewscreen, and he tells the just-arrived Spock that he’ll spare their lives in exchange for the “renegade James T. Kirk.” (It’s been previously established that the Klingons want to try Kirk for destroying one of their ships in Star Trek III, and this actually does happen in the next movie.) Spock goes over to General Korrd, asking for his assistance.
Spock: You are his superior officer.
Korrd: I am a foolish old man.
Spock: Damn you, sir, you will try!
How is it that Leonard Nimoy gets both awesome lines like this and inane palaver about marshmelons, all in the same movie?