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The Paradise Syndrome

Favorite Overall Trek Series/Movie  

205 members have voted

  1. 1. What is your overall favorite Star Trek series?

    • Star Trek: Enterprise
      16
    • Star Trek: The Original Series
      50
    • Star Trek: The Animated Series
      0
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation
      55
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
      50
    • Star Trek: Voyager
      34
  2. 2. What is your overall favorite Star Trek movie?

    • Star Trek - I: The Motion Picture
      10
    • Star Trek - II: The Wrath of Khan
      41
    • Star Trek - III: The Search for Spock
      7
    • Star Trek - IV: The Voyage Home
      22
    • Star Trek - V: The Final Frontier
      4
    • Star Trek - VI: The Undiscovered Country
      28
    • Star Trek - VII: Generations
      11
    • Star Trek - VIII: First Contact
      64
    • Star Trek - IX: Insurrection
      7
    • Star Trek - X: Nemesis
      11


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Voyager   

The Paradise Syndrome

TOS Season 3, Episode 3

WRITTEN BY

Margaret Armen

DIRECTED BY

Jud Taylor

First Aired Oct 4, 1968

Stardate 4842.6

When an asteroid threatens to destroy a primitive civilization, Captain Kirk is stricken with amnesia and mistaken for a God by the natives. Calling himself "Kirok", the only thing he can remember of his real life, he takes a wife named Miramanee who soon caries his child.

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This is my second favourite episode. I love Miramanee and I'm glad that this episode explains why there are so many humans around on other planets.

Gets a 10.

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Yeah, even I, your average "het? meh" - person, likes Kirk and Miramanee. They're just cute together. What a shame that she had to die. :( The episode gets an 8 from me. :)

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Voyager   

It's because she wasn't infatuated with him. She simply married him because he was the medicine chief. She also stood up for herself against Salish.

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Always liked this episode, as it's another that features Spock in command of the Enterprise. I've long maintained that Spock deserved a command of his own, and don't believe that his commanding the Enterprise while it was assigned to Starfleet Academy counts as such.

--Captain Sisko

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Abena   

When a girl falls in love, is married, pregnant, and killed all in 50 minutes, you know Kirk is behind it all.

I thought this episode was okay. The fact that Spock was in command was a mega-booster.

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Voyager   
When a girl falls in love, is married, pregnant, and killed all in 50 minutes, you know Kirk is behind it all.

I thought this episode was okay. The fact that Spock was in command was a mega-booster.

hahaha, so true.

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Goei   

Kirk gets smacked on the head and thinks he's Native American. Some fun and heartbreak, especially the ending where Kirk loses Miramanee :confused:

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Abena   

Saw this episode again today. I didn't realize how many TOS episodes involve them encountering planets that "are most exactly like earth" even though, as Spock always says, the probability of that happening is almost astronomical. It shows a lack of creativity on the of the writers. This must have happened five or six times already

I can't help but thinking that Picard would have let the asteroid smash into the planet so as not to violate the Prime Directive. That's why I favor Kirk over Picard, the heartless monster.

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Benedict   

I confess to being surprised at the above comments, I thought people would land on Kirk something fierce. :)

I haven't seen it since I was a wee bairn, as Scotty would say, and I remember being upset when Miramanee died. Indeed watching it tonight...I don't know whether its my own mental state but I found myself being affected by it all. It was touching to see Kirk fall for this woman who possessed a bewitching beauty and innocence. Shatner seemed alright in the episode (even the "I'm KIROK!" moment which might have been affected by the windmachine things). There was a love story in this episode. It wasn't Kirk chasing skirt, it was him or a form of him that was falling in love.

But also the moments on the Enterprise. Everyone seemingly against Spock at first for his orders that burn out the ship. I wonder if Spock when McCoy was barracking him in the cabin wanted to stand and shout: "I was doing what I felt was right! Don't you think I care what happens to Jim?"

The stuff about the Preservers is fascinating (I know Shatner tried to tackle it) and a neat way of explaining why everyone is human that the Enterprise encounters. I wished they'd done that in the original Galactica.

The ending is a bit odd or out of place for a TOS episode. It quite firmly ends on a dour, sad note and it just leaves you silent. Like Edith Keeler, I suspect Kirk will never forget Miramanee.

9.

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Voyager   

I confess to being surprised at the above comments, I thought people would land on Kirk something fierce. :)

For me I don't have a problem with Kirk falling in love. My problem is that he just has so many meaningless flings. This one happened over a period of time and is genuine.

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Benedict   

I confess to being surprised at the above comments, I thought people would land on Kirk something fierce. :)

For me I don't have a problem with Kirk falling in love. My problem is that he just has so many meaningless flings. This one happened over a period of time and is genuine.

I meant Kirk in general :) Kirk's many flings, well...the boy's a fool.

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Dillkid   

This is a really good one, I really felt sorry for the previous medicine chief that was supposed to marry the girl though. The sideburns that Kirk grew were a site to see. I love the touch that they gave to this episode by it not all being over in a day or so, it was 2 or 3 months long. I think this deserves a 7.

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Star Trek TOS, "The Paradise Syndrome" 

The_Paradise_Syndrome_012.JPG

Such an atypical ST in so many ways; there are many things about this episode that I really like (the music is truly unique for ST) and a few I don't (Kirk oddly staged hugging of himself at the obelisk is just not right).  Anyway, here are the many things I both liked and disliked about this truly atypical ST episode:

*  The music.  
Lots of quasi-native American music.  Some of it, when taken out of context (when I listen to it on the soundtrack), is quite beautiful.  The music when Kirk is back at the obelisk trying to get inside almost reminds me oddly of a Japanese dragon-dance song (the kind of music I used to hear in Little Tokyo, L.A. at New Year's).  Dynamic and interesting use of drums, cymbals and woodwinds.   MAJOR kudos to Gerald Fried.   This is one of the most atypical soundtracks in all of TOS. 

*  A story that takes place over two months (!).   
This would've made a decent two-parter given the fact that the story takes place over two months, but I think an hour is somehow just right.  Two parts would've arguably made Kirk's love for Miramanee more believable, but the Enterprise story of slowly backtracking the asteroid would've dragged.   Kirk grows out his sideburns!  Spock doesn't sleep for weeks!  Kirk gets married and becomes a would-be father.  Length might've helped the romance, but the story was best served with brevity. 

*  Kirk gets MARRIED!   Holy crap!  In that regard, this is the "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" of Star Trek; the perennial devil-may-care bachelor gets hitched!  But....

The_Paradise_Syndrome_160.JPG

*  .... sadly, Miramanee (Sabrina Scharf) is no Edith Keeler (or even TWOK's Carol Marcus).   
Miramanee is a shallow, stereotypical version of a native American woman (worshiping a white 'god' who comes 'from the sky').   More suited to a '70s margarine commercial than a real living, breathing woman.   She's good natured, but her worship of Kirk (nee: Kirok) is too one-sided to make this anything resembling a real romance (unlike Edith Keeler, who had her own life long before Jim Kirk stepped into it).    I would've loved to see Kirk get hitched to a woman who is his EQUAL, not a groupie.   This single thing is the most disappointing aspect of an otherwise atypical and interesting ST episode.

The_Paradise_Syndrome_176.JPG

*  Loved Salish (Rudy Solari); the doubtful (and spurned) former medicine chief of the tribe. 
This is the kind of guy whose doubt of Kirk as a god should've been ENCOURAGED.   In fact, Picard (in TNG's "Who Watches the Watchers?") once took an ARROW in his hide to prove his mortality.   But what does Kirk do?  He lets these people willfully worship him as a god because he helps revive a drowned boy (using what he admits was 'a simple technique').   I realize Kirk was an amnesiac in the episode, but I think the question of allowing one's self to be worshipped as a god (when he KNOWS he's not) is an ethical one, not reliant upon memory.   Salish was perfectly within his right to question and doubt this 'imposter' who seemingly THRIVED on the worship that was dished out to him.   Good on YOU, Salish.  Keep on doubting...

The_Paradise_Syndrome_186.JPG

*  Spock's subplot (and obsession with the obelisk) is a nice subplot.   Once again; Spock is living proof that brains are far more valuable than brawn.  And that HE is the reason Star Trek is Star Trek.  He does a good job as acting captain, too (just as he did in "Tholian Web" and other episodes when he is in command; except "Galileo Seven", but that was his first time).

The_Paradise_Syndrome_216.JPG

*  McCoy at his best.  
The Spock subplot also gives McCoy some nice moments to show much he truly cares for his Vulcan verbal sparring partner.   So concerned McCoy is for Spock's health that he has to threaten him with security guards just to get him to rest a bit (which Spock dutifully ignores once McCoy leaves...).  This episode reminds me of the scene in Tholian Web when McCoy looks to Spock and says, "I am sorry... it does hurt, doesn't it?"

*  Scotty and his "bairns... (his) poor bairns."   Our favorite Aberdeen-born engineer steals that scene and tucks it in his back pocket!  

The_Paradise_Syndrome_154.JPG

*  This is also the ONLY episode of the 3rd season that was shot on location outside of the studio; which was good on multiple levels.  First, the outdoor locations in the mountains above Los Angeles, are gorgeous.  Secondly,  I can't see this episode shot on indoor soundstages when it's supposed to be a human notion of 'paradise' (it didn't work in S2's "The Apple"; which looked more like an episode of "Gilligan's Island" than a paradisal planet). 

* The obelisk is a really cool set piece.  It looks a lot more expensive than it probably was to make.    Also reminds me of "2001: A Space Odyssey"'s monolith.   Alien and forbidding.   Nicely done!

* No native American actors were used to play native Americans.  Typical practice in 1968 (like a Mexican American playing a Sikh); kind of unforgivable today (but still done, sadly... Johnny Depp as Tonto in "Lone Ranger", for example).

In short, the music, the location photography and the subplots save what could be seen as a slightly embarrassing (and kinda racist?) episode.   It's nowhere near as blatantly racist as say, TNG's "Code of Honor" (as Michael Dorn called it, "Planet of the Black People"), but its depiction of native Americans as a bunch of fearful, ignorant, white-worshiping simpletons is more than a little embarrassing.   Without getting too political, let me say this episode is NO "Dances With Wolves."   But, considering it was made in 1968?  It was progress for the times.  

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Corylea   

Interesting.  You think Kirk KNEW he wasn't a god?  The impression I got was that Kirk had no idea who or what he was, so he looked to the people around him to try to figure out the situation.  The people around him kept claiming that he was a god and talking about the obelisk as if were normal for it to disgorge a god.  I think what little bit of Kirk is left tells him that 1) he's supposed to be obeyed and 2) he's from the sky, both of which fit right in with what everybody's telling him.

I think it would be very easy to interpret this episode as racist, and I think it sort of is, but I think it's also important to remember that they don't see Kirk as a god because he's white; they see him as a god because he came out of the obelisk.  If the gods are polka-dotted, it's not really our business; what matters is if they can stop the %$#@ asteroid.

 

Spock is Superman, but one who wears his Clark Kent disguise all the time. :-D  We'd heard in "Amok Time" that Spock could go without eating anything at all for three days, and rather than being alarmed, Kirk brushed that off with, "That just sounds like Mr. Spock in one of his contemplative phases."  Now we hear that Spock can go without eating or sleeping much for TWO MONTHS!  Geeze, Louise, that Vulcan body must be fueled by a matter/antimatter engine. :P  And he can figure out the message on the obelisk without any external information?  He pulls "the Preservers" out of thin air.  I guess Kirk sometimes pulls inspired tactics out of thin air, but it looks like Spock has some thin air abilities of his own... :-)

 

I do feel a bit sorry for Spock, because he doesn't have Kirk's luck.  If Kirk tries a longshot, it works; if Spock tries a longshot, it fails.  If Kirk had tried to stress the ship to blast the asteroid, it would have worked.  Poor Spock; being second banana can be tough.

 

Speaking of Spock's being the essence of Star Trek, have I posted a link to Norman Spinrad's essay on Spock here?  My memory isn't as good as it used to be, so I can't recall.  In any case, I love what Spinrad says about Spock.

 

I enjoyed reading your thoughts about this episode, Sehlat!  But then, I usually like your thoughts, and I usually like talking about TOS episodes, so the combination has to be stellar. ;-)

 

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Interesting.  You think Kirk KNEW he wasn't a god?  The impression I got was that Kirk had no idea who or what he was, so he looked to the people around him to try to figure out the situation.  The people around him kept claiming that he was a god and talking about the obelisk as if were normal for it to disgorge a god.  I think what little bit of Kirk is left tells him that 1) he's supposed to be obeyed and 2) he's from the sky, both of which fit right in with what everybody's telling him.

I think maybe Kirk's god-complex may have come from his being used to being 'in charge'; hence, when he saw these natives bowing and worshiping him, it felt oddly natural somehow.  But even with his memory zapped, I can't imagine he (or anyone!) would just 'assume' he was supernatural.    That's a very unnatural reaction.    He would feel hunger, tiredness, thirst, etc.   He would have constant reminders of his own mortal nature.  

If I were in Kirk's position and I had those vague feelings of being 'from the sky' and walking out of the obelisk's pedestal, I would think that I were being set up somehow because I would know (at the very least) that I were still just flesh and blood.   I can feel my own heart beating.  I would feel sweat from my brow.   Not to mention that if I were a god, I wouldn't have gaps in my memory... :P

I would assume that I were placed in that circumstance somehow for some unknown reason.

I enjoyed reading your thoughts about this episode, Sehlat!  But then, I usually like your thoughts, and I usually like talking about TOS episodes, so the combination has to be stellar. ;-)

Aw thanks!  Always nice to see you back on these boards, too! :)

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Corylea   

He would feel hunger, tiredness, thirst, etc.   He would have constant reminders of his own mortal nature. 

If I were in Kirk's position and I had those vague feelings of being 'from the sky' and walking out of the obelisk's pedestal, I would think that I were being set up somehow because I would know (at the very least) that I were still just flesh and blood.   I can feel my own heart beating.  I would feel sweat from my brow.  

You're assuming that gods aren't made of flesh.  And indeed, later in the episode, Salish makes it clear that he doesn't expect gods to be made of flesh, either.  But that's only one view of the nature of gods; some people make other assumptions.  The Greek gods were pretty damned fleshy in mythology (and of course "Who Mourns for Adonis" gives us a reason for that ;)), judging by Zeus' desire to have sex with any pretty girl who walks by.  And the rivalries and jealousies of the Greek gods always seemed very mortal in nature.  If those were the gods Kirk had in mind, the fact that he breathed and sweated wouldn't preclude his being a god.

I would never ASSUME I was a god.  But if I had no idea what I was, and a dozen people assured me that THEY knew what I was, well, isn't that how most children develop their identities?  Their parents and the world around them teach them what it is to be human and what sort of human they, in particular, are?  Certainly any therapist can tell you stories about siblings where one is dubbed "the smart one" and one is "the pretty one," even if the two siblings are almost indistinguishable.  And someone who's grown up with her sister as "the pretty one" usually finds it very difficult to believe in her own attractiveness, and someone who's grown up with a sibling as "the smart one" usually finds it hard to claim their own intelligence, even if the two siblings are nearly identical in both intelligence and attractiveness. 

Eventually, people learn to forge at least some of their own identity.  But at least part of who we are is pretty much always dependent on how others evaluate us.  Do you run fast or slowly?  It depends on how fast the people around you run.  Can you sing well or badly?  It depends on how the people around you sing.  Are you a good Vulcan, or is your human side showing too much?  How can you tell?

Are you a god?  I don't know, but the people around you seem to think you are.  Maybe they know?  After all, deference does feel natural, and it seems simple to you to breathe life into a boy, whereas the people around you think it's miraculous.

Of course, as Star Trek fans tend to do, we're probably over-thinking things. :P  They wanted an episode set in a pretty place, with some justification for Kirk to run around outside with a pretty woman and marry her, even though he'd never do so if he remembered the Enterprise.  It's a tribute to TOS that it still provokes so much thought even today, fifty years after it was made.

 

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He would feel hunger, tiredness, thirst, etc.   He would have constant reminders of his own mortal nature. 

If I were in Kirk's position and I had those vague feelings of being 'from the sky' and walking out of the obelisk's pedestal, I would think that I were being set up somehow because I would know (at the very least) that I were still just flesh and blood.   I can feel my own heart beating.  I would feel sweat from my brow.  

You're assuming that gods aren't made of flesh.  And indeed, later in the episode, Salish makes it clear that he doesn't expect gods to be made of flesh, either.  But that's only one view of the nature of gods; some people make other assumptions.  The Greek gods were pretty damned fleshy in mythology (and of course "Who Mourns for Adonis" gives us a reason for that ;)), judging by Zeus' desire to have sex with any pretty girl who walks by.  And the rivalries and jealousies of the Greek gods always seemed very mortal in nature.  If those were the gods Kirk had in mind, the fact that he breathed and sweated wouldn't preclude his being a god.

I would never ASSUME I was a god.  But if I had no idea what I was, and a dozen people assured me that THEY knew what I was, well, isn't that how most children develop their identities?  Their parents and the world around them teach them what it is to be human and what sort of human they, in particular, are?  Certainly any therapist can tell you stories about siblings where one is dubbed "the smart one" and one is "the pretty one," even if the two siblings are almost indistinguishable.  And someone who's grown up with her sister as "the pretty one" usually finds it very difficult to believe in her own attractiveness, and someone who's grown up with a sibling as "the smart one" usually finds it hard to claim their own intelligence, even if the two siblings are nearly identical in both intelligence and attractiveness. 

Eventually, people learn to forge at least some of their own identity.  But at least part of who we are is pretty much always dependent on how others evaluate us.  Do you run fast or slowly?  It depends on how fast the people around you run.  Can you sing well or badly?  It depends on how the people around you sing.  Are you a good Vulcan, or is your human side showing too much?  How can you tell?

Are you a god?  I don't know, but the people around you seem to think you are.  Maybe they know?  After all, deference does feel natural, and it seems simple to you to breathe life into a boy, whereas the people around you think it's miraculous.

Of course, as Star Trek fans tend to do, we're probably over-thinking things. :P  They wanted an episode set in a pretty place, with some justification for Kirk to run around outside with a pretty woman and marry her, even though he'd never do so if he remembered the Enterprise.  It's a tribute to TOS that it still provokes so much thought even today, fifty years after it was made.

^
As usual, your post provides a lot of brain fuel, my dear.  And yes, Salish's view of what constitutes a god is but ONE view (his).   Good point.   We tend to act as we are perceived by others.  If one is told they are royalty or high born, they might tend to act accordingly (even involuntarily).   

And to accentuate the positive, I really do like some of the more atypical things about the episode; for starters, Kirk getting married, the Enterprise limping along at impulse speeds for 59 days, and that really lovely score (the woodwinds and the drums, in particular).   I remember the first time I saw it, and all I could think was what an unusual episode it was; it was unlike all others (esp. in that third year).   And the locations used were gorgeous.   The only outdoor episode in all of S3; a very unique offering for the otherwise claustrophobic, indoor-set 3rd year. 

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This is one of my top-ranked favorite episodes of the series.  I would rate it a 9. Love the Native-American inspired music and theme, the beautiful woodsy location, the fascinating obelisk, and of course the love story between Kirk and Miramanee.  I'm a sucker for good love stories, and this ranks right beside that of Scotty and Mira.  The final scene is without a doubt the most poignant moment of the entire series IMO.  The music is so fitting as Kirk watches his beloved wife and the mother of his unborn child die in his arms.  Truly deep, emotional waters there....

Miramanee may lack the sophistication of other females Kirk has been involved with, but who says she must be sophisticated?  She is sweet, beautiful, as intelligent as any woman in her tribe--probably more so being the daughter of the chief--and she loves Kirk with all her heart.  There are far worse qualities to base love and marriage on.  Would Kirk have married her had he known who he was and where he was from?  Obviously not.  His career would not have allowed him to stay with her on her world, and she would have been woefully out of place in his.  They do, however, make a beautiful, loving couple for the reality in which they found themselves.

As for the rest of the story, one bizarre question is why the obelisk slab would be programed to open when Kirk says "Kirk to Enterprise".  The Preservers would had to have had godlike omniscience to have foresaw James T. Kirk arriving on the scene untold years in the future to save the people from impending disaster.  Perhaps as a super race they were omniscient. If so, it would explain that aspect of the story.  Spock makes the assumption the asteroid deflector has become defective, not knowing that Salish has been unable to operate it because his father had died before telling him "the secret of the temple".  What would be interesting to know is how the medicine chief would know whenever an asteroid is threatening the planet.  With that kind of knowledge he should be a Preserver or at least the tribal chiefain!

I love Dr. McCoy, but I do get tired of him busting Spock's chops every time things don't work according to plan.  Makes me wish Spock's human side would pop off just once: "Think you can run this starship?  Okay, have at it my friend" and just stroll back to his quarters whistling a Vulcan tune.  :P 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love Dr. McCoy, but I do get tired of him busting Spock's chops every time things don't work according to plan.  Makes me wish Spock's human side would pop off just once: "Think you can run this starship?  Okay, have at it my friend" and just stroll back to his quarters whistling a Vulcan tune.  

Non-canon, of course, but he does learn a hard lesson or two in "Doctor's Orders." I think it was actually some necessary character growth there. Easy to pass judgement when it's someone else in the seat.  

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Sim   

I love Dr. McCoy, but I do get tired of him busting Spock's chops every time things don't work according to plan.  Makes me wish Spock's human side would pop off just once: "Think you can run this starship?  Okay, have at it my friend" and just stroll back to his quarters whistling a Vulcan tune.  

Non-canon, of course, but he does learn a hard lesson or two in "Doctor's Orders." I think it was actually some necessary character growth there. Easy to pass judgement when it's someone else in the seat.  

That was a really fun novel. Loved this tree-people. :P

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I love Dr. McCoy, but I do get tired of him busting Spock's chops every time things don't work according to plan.  Makes me wish Spock's human side would pop off just once: "Think you can run this starship?  Okay, have at it my friend" and just stroll back to his quarters whistling a Vulcan tune.  

Non-canon, of course, but he does learn a hard lesson or two in "Doctor's Orders." I think it was actually some necessary character growth there. Easy to pass judgement when it's someone else in the seat.  

That was a really fun novel. Loved this tree-people. :P

I loved the scene when the comms cut out just as Kirk was going to turn command over to Spock and McCoy was basically, "C'mon, Spock, we both know what he was going to say."

Spock: Since we never actually heard the order....

Bones: Aw, crap.

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Sim   

I love Dr. McCoy, but I do get tired of him busting Spock's chops every time things don't work according to plan.  Makes me wish Spock's human side would pop off just once: "Think you can run this starship?  Okay, have at it my friend" and just stroll back to his quarters whistling a Vulcan tune.  

Non-canon, of course, but he does learn a hard lesson or two in "Doctor's Orders." I think it was actually some necessary character growth there. Easy to pass judgement when it's someone else in the seat.  

That was a really fun novel. Loved this tree-people. :P

I loved the scene when the comms cut out just as Kirk was going to turn command over to Spock and McCoy was basically, "C'mon, Spock, we both know what he was going to say."

Spock: Since we never actually heard the order....

Bones: Aw, crap.

I don't remember details from that novel, just that it was pretty damn entertaining. But Diane Duane is a master in her field of fan ficton turned to official releases, so I have no doubt she covered this situation perfectly. :D

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