Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) (part 7 of 13)

Cut to Kirk, Spock, and the Unknown Marines galloping toward Paradise City. It’s hard to tell, but it looks like they’ve done themselves up in the morons’ face-scarves and rags. Bad Teeth Guy mistakes them for the lookout patrol, and orders the gate opened for them. As they come through, Kirk “cleverly” calls out to close the gate, yelling that there are Federation soldiers right behind them. Bad Teeth Guy, the dope, believes him, and the idiots guarding the gate turn around to look for the “Federation soldiers”.

Kirk asks Spock where they should head to now, but Spock is busy scanning for the hostages and replies, “Hold your horse, Captain!” Okay, enough with the “jokes”. Did Akiva Goldsman have anything to do with this script? I’ll never understand why screenwriters think that saturating your dialogue with unfunny puns is the way to write comedy.

Just as Spock identifies the cantina as the location of the hostages, Bad Teeth Guy figures out something’s wrong. He turns a bright light onto the plaza, exposing the newcomers as strangers. A big brawl ensues. The noise carries inside, where Not-Connery demands to know what’s going on.

On the viewscreen, Chekov bluffs unconvincingly that Not-Connery is under attack by superior Federation forces. But Not-Connery yells that Chekov is a fool (no comment—you get a free pass on that one, Pavel) and says he didn’t want bloodshed.

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Outside, the fight continues. Most of it is not worth recapping, but the highlight is definitely the bit where Spock is nonchalantly standing next to his horse, and one of the morons tries to steal it, so Spock does the Vulcan Nerve Pinch on the horse, making it collapse to the ground and throw the moron aside. Yeah.

Caption contributed by scootermark

”There now, horsey, this should relax your—damn it! Paralyzed another one.”

Kirk calls up to Uhura on the shuttle, and tells her to “come on down.” (You are the next contestant on… The Future Sucks!) Meanwhile, he makes it into the darkened cantina, looking for the hostages. Suddenly, he’s jumped by the triple-breasted cat-woman, with lots of feline screams and growls dubbed in.

As he tries to wrestle her off him, he bumps her butt against a console, turning on the Paradise City Infomercials from Hell Channel. Some guy with bad hair is pitching “your own home” with “easy Federation financing”. Wow, you have to pay to live in this hellhole? The best part is at the end, where the huckster enthuses, “Beam on down!”

Finally, Kirk tosses the cat-woman into a big tub of water, which seems to… kill her? I know cats don’t like water, but—huh?

Spock strolls in and stares at the cat-woman’s body in disbelief, just like I’m doing now. The hostages emerge from the back room, and Kirk is glad to see them, until they suddenly point big guns at Kirk and Spock, and politely ask for their weapons. Zoinks!

Cut to Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and McCoy—McCoy? What the hell? What’s he doing on a military rescue op?—as they’re paraded before a huge jeering crowd of morons, with the Unknown Marines trailing behind them. This is the last we’ll see of them, by the way. Farewell, Unknown Marines, we hardly knew ye. And I mean that literally. Who are you people?

Not-Connery is standing on the gangway of the shuttlecraft, congratulating his army of idiots on a job well done. Then he spots Spock and gets a huge grin, and goes over and grabs him by the shoulders (a move that, at least when a female is involved, is normally known as the Kirk Maneuver).

Kirk eyes them, clearly realizing that Spock and Not-Connery have a history. Which is, uh, something he knew already, from back in the observation lounge. Also during this, Uhura has a hilarious, wide-eyed, amazed look. Spock has friends? Don’t that beat all! Of course, I think she’s supposed to be astonished at the sight of a grinning Vulcan, but our director, once again, has failed to make that clear.

Not-Connery tries to chat up his old friend Spock. He says, “It’s me… Sybok!” at long last giving this character a name. But Spock just tells him gruffly that he’s under arrest. And Nimoy has a nice acting moment here, as Spock visibly has to force himself to be stern with Sybok.

Sybok, not surprisingly, bursts into laughter, and all of the morons follow suit. Sybok even congratulates Spock on finally developing a sense of humor. But Spock, instead of taking advantage of the “in” he has with his kidnapper, sticks with the Mr. Uptight persona and insists the charges are serious.

Caption contributed by scootermark

”Hey, bro! Great to see you again! Thanks for letting me crash at your place, you won’t even notice me. Say, mind if I invite over a few dozen friends?” “Well—” “Thanks, bro, you’re the greatest!”

Sybok cuts him off and tells him he plans to steal his starship. Little does he know this is all part of Kirk’s plan to unload the Lemonprise onto some poor, unsuspecting sap. Just string him along, Spock, he’s about to take the bait…

Kirk deduces that this hostage crisis was about getting control of “my ship”, thus exposing the whole “Captain Chekov” thing as a ruse. Sybok very generously calls this a clever ploy before turning back to Spock, saying he’s been given “another chance” to join him. Kirk watches this intently, getting an inkling that Spock hasn’t completely leveled with him. I’ll bet he even knew all along what a marshmallow was!

Spock refuses the offer, so Sybok announces he’ll take the ship without his help, causing the assembled morons to erupt in a throaty roar.

Up in space, Scotty is staring at his scanner, watching the approaching Klingons getting closer. Also, the Klingons are staring at their own scanners, watching the Lemonprise get closer. It’s all as riveting as it sounds. That’s why nerds love science fiction. Watching people look at bad graphics on tiny monitors—it’s like computer camp all over again!

The Klingons cloak, signifying that they’re moving in to attack. Chekov orders shields raised and the ship to red alert. (This ship really needs a Riker. No one hollers “Shields up! Red alert!” like Riker.) Chekov hails Kirk’s shuttle, which is now approaching the ship, and recommends that they find “safe harbor” until the situation resolves. But I’m reasonably sure Kirk isn’t in the mood for a romantic tryst in a holographic Irish town. (Oh wait, that’s ”Fair Haven”. Nevermind.)

On the shuttle, however, Sybok insists that they will keep going. Kirk goes into a lengthy discussion about how a normal, tractor beam-assisted landing will create a 15-second window in which the temporarily shield-less Lemonprise will be vulnerable to Klingon attack. And Korrd the Klingon ambassador (even though he’s obviously now working for Sybok for reasons Kirk doesn’t yet understand) backs him up on this. It’s always useful to have a washed-up, mind-controlled Klingon general around, that’s what I always say.

Sybok demands that Kirk get them onto the ship, so Kirk hails Chekov and orders them to prepare for “Emergency Landing Plan B”. Chekov and Scotty have no idea what this means, so Kirk elaborates, “B! As in barricade!” That’s right, Kirk! To the barricades! Liberté! Égalité! Imbecilité!

Scotty, in a shot that’s ever so slightly out of focus, scoffs that he can’t be serious. And then this sets up the next sequence, in which Sulu flies the shuttle onto the Lemonprise shuttle deck without a tractor beam. Which, as Sulu smarmily tells Sybok, he’s never done before. Wait, you’ve never landed a shuttlecraft in a bay without help from a tractor beam before? What kind of a baby are you? Does baby need a tractor beam to cut his food up for him, too? Geez, what a wuss. (If I were George Takei, I’d hate Shatner just for making me do this scene, never mind Shatner blowing off his wedding and everything else that’s happened between them over the years.)

Sulu flies the shuttle into the bay at full speed, smacking it hard against the deck. The shuttle grinds along the deck, causing massive sparks, until it’s caught at the back of the bay by the “barricade”—actually, a big rubber net that looks like one of those black plastic fences they put up around toxic waste sites. Wow, if only they’d had one of these on the Southern Sun. Professor Spooner might still be alive.

Caption contributed by scootermark

”Okay, that does it, Doc! Next time, Einstein is totally not driving!”

The Klingons fire on the Lemonprise, but Chekov orders warp speed, and the ship zooms out of the way just in time. Man, Klaa, you had all the main characters right there in one shuttlecraft. You could have wiped them all out and ended the movie, and you totally whiffed it.

Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

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