Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), a recap (part 7 of 10)

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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: If you want to know what the last installment was like, give yourself a mild concussion and stare in wonder at all the lights and colors that dance before your eyes.

Another alarm sounds, and this time, the Enterprise has been seized by a tractor beam. Kirk calls Scotty for emergency power, but Spock says they won’t be able to break free, because I guess even emergency power won’t be enough to do the trick. So Kirk allows the ship to be pulled further into the alien vessel, and it passes through some sort of giant hexagonal opening. And this is when Ilia’s replacement shows up, and it’s “Chief DiFalco”, who’s played by Marcy Lafferty, who happened to be William Shatner’s wife at the time (she conspicuously shows up in bit parts in several of Bill’s movies/shows, including T.J. Hooker, Airplane II, and Kingdom of the Spiders). She too is taken aback at what’s on the viewscreen before taking Ilia’s station.

Truly, her finest role since “Slutty Motel Clerk” in Impulse.

McCoy shows up on the bridge, again for no reason. Meanwhile, Decker has at some point instructed Uhura to ready a “drone” to be sent back to Starfleet with everything they’ve recorded so far, but Decker says to hold off for now, because the drone won’t make it very far as long as the ship is being held in a tractor beam. The Enterprise gets pulled into the hexagonal opening and sees… surprise! More abstract alien landscapes.

Just when you thought it was over, it’s really not.

Decker must be experiencing some bad LSD flashbacks this time around, because he recommends firing phasers at the source of the tractor beam. Spock says that “any show of resistance would be futile, Captain.” And no, this has nothing to do with the Borg; I don’t care about any Star Trek novels that Shatner later “wrote” tying them together, it’s a complete coincidence. But this does make Decker wonder why Spock doesn’t even want to try breaking free. Kirk and McCoy look at each other, calling back to their earlier suspicions about Spock’s motives, though none of this ever comes to anything. And frankly, Spock is totally in the right here; even if the Enterprise did break free, I’m pretty sure Intruder would have no problem tracking down and destroying the ship in the half-day it would take them to escape from the cloud.

And then it’s back to… yes, the Enterprise cruising through more alien structures, and everyone staring at the viewscreen. And then McCoy, without having said a single word to anyone, turns around and leaves the bridge. What the hell is this guy doing? It’s like he’s just bored and wandering aimlessly around the ship looking for somebody, anybody to talk to.

The Enterprise passes by big cylindrical structures and Decker wonders why the intruder brought the Enterprise inside, and Spock says it’s due to its “insatiable curiosity”. Oh, sure. Curiosity about whether they’ve got any more hot bald chicks onboard.

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

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  • Tyler Peterson

    I never made this connection before, but between the movie’s glacial pace, the implacable alien superintelligence, and the human-shaped “probe”…I really think they might have been trying to rip off Solaris.