Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), a recap (part 6 of 10)

Welcome back to my latest patron-only recap! The full recap is available to those who pledge just $1/month on the Agony Booth’s Patreon page.

Previously: Spock showed up at last and made himself science officer, leading to a heartwarming reunion where the guy was pretty near catatonic. There was some questioning of Spock’s motives between Kirk and McCoy that went nowhere, just in time for the Enterprise to make visual contact with the Maybe-Not-Evil Cloud.

On the bridge, Spock’s psychoanalysis of the intruder ends when an “incoming fire” alert sounds, and everyone mans their stations as Kirk finally orders shields up. A plasma ball emerges from the cloud, and it’s the same type that vaporized the Klingons. Instead of, you know, trying to evade the plasma ball in some way, Kirk wastes time asking Spock about its “composition”, and of course Spock doesn’t know, and then Kirk orders all decks to brace for impact. The plasma ball hits the Enterprise and then dissolves into green electrical arcs, which apparently means the Enterprise’s shields successfully resisted the attack. So, uh, maybe the Klingons ought to get more acquainted with Federation shield technology?

“We survived! Unfortunately, we’re all going to turn into the Hulk later.”

But the danger’s not over yet, because Scotty down in Engineering reports, “Systems overloading, Captain!” Electrical effects surround the warp core, sending everybody running for cover. And back on the bridge, electrical effects leap out of Chekov’s console, burning his arm and making him cry out in pain. And just like in TOS, if you have the chance to make Chekov scream, you really should go for it, because he’s quite the screamer. Chekov howls as his charred shirt sleeve smolders, and he falls to the deck while a very bored Kirk calls for a medic.

“C’mon, Lieutenant, walk it off.”

The green electrical discharge dissipates, and Sulu happily declares, “The new screens held!” Well, except for the part where your boy Chekov and half of the Engineering department got fried. Also, Scotty reports up from Engineering that “deflector power is down 70%”, so I’m not so sure how great those “new screens” really are in the long run. (Sulu’s line gets dropped in the director’s cut, which was probably a smart choice.)

And now Dr. Chapel is magically on the bridge, spraying down Chekov’s wounds with Lidocaine or something. In the director’s cut, we actually get a shot of Dr. Chapel coming out of the turbolift to attend to Chekov, which is good, but there’s more: Ilia comes over to say she can “stop his pain”. She closes her eyes and concentrates as she puts her hand on Chekov’s shoulder, and after a while, he’s sweating a little less profusely as he declares, “Thank you!”

“I can sense his pain! Oh wait, that’s the other useless sexy Enterprise crewmember…”

And after reading the corresponding scene in Roddenberry’s novelization, the implication is clear that Ilia used some of her super-sexual Deltan powers to make Chekov feel really, really good. So much for her vow of celibacy.

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Multi-Part Article: Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), a recap

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