Nov 5, 2019
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), a recap (part 8 of 10)
NOTE: This article is a work in progress.
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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: The Enterprise entered the evil cloud and got a bit too close to the Great Sphincter. Lt. Ilia was abducted by the intruder, which left a robot “probe” lookalike in her place, sort of like a… changeling?
And with that, it’s back to the TOS theme being played under another captain’s log. Kirk says they’re now four hours away from Earth, and trying to “revive Ilia memory patterns within the alien probe”. Decker is taking the Ilia-probe on a tour of the ship, and he brings her to the rec room to show her a wall of drawings of ships while saying, “All those vessels were called Enterprise,” and among them are an old sailing ship, the WWII aircraft carrier, the Space Shuttle which never actually flew in space, and a futuristic ship with a ringed design. Of course, the NX-01 is nowhere to be seen, because it wasn’t thought of back then, though I do remember some hardcore Trekkies being up in arms that Enterprise the TV show didn’t take place on the ring ship seen in this shot.
Kirk and McCoy are closely watching all this unfold on the viewscreen in Kirk’s quarters, and Kirk is even enjoying a cup of joe while he watches.
Decker shows Ilia-probe some of the “games” that are played by the “carbon units” on the ship, and grabs a remote and makes parts of the floor randomly light up. Decker wonders what kind of “recreation” the crew of Ilia-probe’s ship enjoys. She replies, “The words ‘recreation’… and ‘enjoy’… have no meaning to my programming.” Well, she must be a blast at parties.
Decker walks over to a board game and says Ilia in particular used to love this game, and McCoy watches this and helpfully chimes in that this is good, because he’s using “audio-visual association”. Thanks, Doc, you’re really putting that medical degree to good use. The game in question seems to involve putting your hand on a metal plate, which causes crystals to move up and down, or… something, but it doesn’t matter, because as soon as Ilia-probe touches a plate, the orchestra swoops in with “Ilia’s Theme” while Decker and Ilia-probe stare at each other longingly. Ilia-probe looks almost emotional for a moment, and then her expression slips back to Resting Bot Face with another bwoonnggg from the Blaster Beam.
Ilia says, “This device serves no purpose,” and walks away. Come on, that’s kind of harsh; Decker does lots of useful stuff around the ship.