We’ve all seen that little clip of Kirk on the bridge, holding his hands up in surrender, and the next scene is that same shot, where the crew is standing around waiting to see what he’ll do next.
Kirk’s going to die.
And you know what?
That was the most exciting moment in Star Trek history.
And it happened a little while before Kirk actually died.
(You know what, Kirk wasn’t actually that brave.)
This episode was filmed in March 1965.
It featured a scene that, while it was a lot less dramatic than it is now, was still pretty good.
The scene in question was this one.
Kirk is alone in his quarters, waiting for a mission to be called.
He sits down in the captain’s chair, looking out the window and staring out at the stars.
Kirk says to Spock, “I am sorry, Captain, but I cannot keep standing here for your order.”
Spock replies, “Captain, you are not alone.”
Kirk doesn’t say a word.
And Spock just stares at Kirk, silently, for a few seconds, until Kirk finally answers.
Then he turns around and leaves.
Kirk sits alone in the crew quarters, and we’re left with this: “Kirk is alone.
Spock is alone.”
Spock had no idea that Kirk would actually die.
But what about the rest of the crew?
What if he didn’t?
In the film, we get to see this scene a few more times, as the film’s credits roll.
We see Spock, again, standing on the captain and the bridge.
He looks down at Kirk and smiles.
But in the final cut of the film we get a much more emotional scene: We see Kirk’s face, a little pained, and then, to the left, we see Spock’s.
He turns and says, “Kirks death is my fault.
I didn’t understand it.”
Kirk responds, “Then you’re wrong.”
Spock continues, “You know why?
Because you’re a fool.
You’re a coward.”
Kirk smiles and goes back to watching the stars, and that’s when the real fun starts.
What if Spock’s Spock?
Kirk had his chance to be Spock, but he chose to be Kirk.
He was Spock.
And that’s not to say that the original cast were perfect.
For one thing, George Takei was not, as he would later say, “just a good actor,” as the writers put it, but a “good enough” one.
Takei had some serious acting chops.
He’s probably best known for his portrayal of Captain Kirk in Star Wars, where he played the voice of the character.
He would go on to voice Chewbacca in Star Fox and even voiced Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise.
He even got to reprise his role in the TV show Firefly, which, despite a couple of minor bumps, was a solid show.
So what about Kirk?
It’s easy to see why Takei wanted Kirk to be a hero.
After all, the character had saved his ship from being blown up by a virus.
Takeis performance was so convincing, so emotional, and yet so believable that Kirk could easily be Kirk’s equal, right up until the very end.
But the real reason why Kirk became a hero is because of the writers.
In the original draft, Kirk is the most powerful man on the planet.
He has the authority to order all the actions on Earth, from the execution of the assassination of General Janeway to the capture of Captain Picard.
(In fact, Kirk was the only member of the original crew to survive the first few episodes.)
But, of course, Kirk has no authority to act without the approval of his captain.
And when the time comes to execute an order, Kirk’s orders are going to go to the people he wants to execute.
So, what does Kirk do?
He calls his lieutenant.
He tells his officers to fire.
Then, he calls his superiors.
Then… he calls the whole damn Enterprise, because that’s what he wants.
This was how Kirk planned his entire mission to save the world.
But this wasn’t the first time Kirk had done that.
We already know Kirk’s been doing it since before the first movie, with all of his “brave” moments, so what happened to the idea that “bravo” was just something that we had to have?
It just wasn’t true.
The way the original script had it, Kirk had been doing that since the very beginning of the movie.
That is, until he was betrayed by his lieutenant, Scotty, in the very first episode of the show.
Now, this was a major change.
In Star Trek: The Original Series, Kirk wanted to use the “blunder” element to his advantage.
In fact, he was so proud of his performance in the pilot that he gave Scotty the command of