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The Best Line Ever Written In All Of Star Trek

3 Dec

December 3, 2018

Back in 2015 I introduced you to The Worst Line Ever Written In All Of Star Wars (“space diapers.”)

Today I’d like to introduce you to The Best Line Ever Written In All Of Star Trek. And appropriately, it comes from The Best Film Ever Made In All Of Star Trek, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

(I’ll skip the spoiler warning as I’ll assume that you already know that Spock dies at the end. )

During the climactic battle with Khan, The Enterprise’s engines have been disabled and warp drive is offline. Khan, in his final act of defiance (“From hell’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee”) has activated the Genesis device, which will wipe out anything it’s energy touches.

There’s some terrific writing in this scene, as the sense of impending doom is palpable. The Enterprise, flying as fast as it can, is swiftly being overtaken by the detonation and it is only a matter of minutes before everyone on the ship dies. This is driven home by Mr. Sulu, who was always  one of the more positive members of the crew. “We’re not going to make it, are we?”

Sulu looks at Captain Kirk, heroic and unstoppable, who during the course of the film discussed the many ways he’s beaten the unbeatable. Kirk, completely uncharacteristically, is sitting with his arms tightly folded across his chest, and simply looks at his son, David, a scientist behind the Genesis device.

David quietly shakes his head no.

There is doom, there is dread, and there is Mr. Scott, to whom Kirk had earlier said “Scotty, I need warp speed in three minutes or we’re all dead.”

It is a perfect Star Trek line, one we’ve heard dozens of times in the TV series. Scotty is a miracle worker. He’ll get the engines back online. He’s done exactly that in situations as bad as these many times over. It’s almost a joke. So when Captain Kirk tells Scotty he needs warp speed in three minutes, he’s pretty sure he’ll have them back in two.

But he won’t. And we know he won’t, because down in engineering Scotty is barely conscious and being treated by Dr. McCoy. We know but Kirk doesn’t. But Spock does. It is Spock who saves the ship, who sacrifices his own life. (“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.”)

But Jim Kirk doesn’t know it. So when the engines come online, the ship goes to warp speed and everyone escapes certain doom, Kirk says the best line written in all of Star Trek:

“Bless you Scotty.”

Because we know it wasn’t Scotty. We know it was Spock. We know he’s dying, probably already dead. We see his empty chair on the bridge but Kirk hasn’t seen it yet. In the moment Kirk is blessing his miracle working engineer, we the fans are already mourning his best friend’s death. The line, delivered so thankfully by Kirk, is actually painful to us watching the film.

Alfred Hitchcock defines suspense as, in a nutshell, the audience knowing something bad that the characters do not. It is us seeing the bomb under the table while the couple slowly drinks their morning coffee, oblivious to the countdown. It is good writing. And it is also good writing with us knowing Spock has died while Kirk is praising the wrong man for saving the ship.

But Kirk soon finds out, and it’s when he calls engineering to congratulate Scotty, only to hear Dr. McCoy grimly say, in what is the second best line written in all of Star Trek, “Jim… I think you better get down here.” Followed by “Better hurry.” Kirk looks at Spock’s empty chair, and he knows.

The whole ending of the film, leading up to Spock’s death, is dark and portentous. It is heavy and funerary in a way Star Trek has never gone before. This one film is full of fantastically quotable lines, from the campy “Khaaaaaan!” to the subtle “how we face death is at least as important as how we face life. ” Star Trek II is well-written in the same way every single Star Trek film since 2009 has not been

“Bless you Scotty.” The best line in all of Star Trek. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, written by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer.


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Retail Re-tales

29 Nov

November 29, 2018

With Black Friday behind us, I certainly hope you all got your, um, whatever the big thing is this year. As far as I can tell, there is no big hot toy or must have item this season. And that’s a real shame. I’m old enough to remember when people were stabbing each other in the backs to get a Cabbage Patch doll or Colecovision. Shopping today just isn’t the same without the threat of premeditated homicide in the checkout line.

But I am old enough to remember back in the 90’s when the retail industry got together and tried to change the image of Black Friday.

For some reason, probably the threat of premeditated homicide I mentioned above, the Big Retail Companies™ felt that Black Friday had a negative connotation. Long lines, crowds, sold out items, murder, etc, so they tried to change the name. Now back then retail was a different beast than we have now. People weren’t shopping online like today, and the stores were different too. People bought clothes at places like Chess King and Merry-Go-Round and shopped in huge department stores like Bamberger’s and Korvette’s. Where are these titans of industry today? Long gone and buried. And it’s no surprise given that these are the folks who tried to change the name of Black Friday to Green Friday.

BAM!-Berger’s!

Yup, Green Friday.

Today that sounds like an environmental message: Go Green This Friday With Recycled Shoelaces! Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Flying Pantsless This Friday! and yes, it sounded that way back in the 90’s too. But they weren’t thinking of green grass, but of green money. All the green green cash that would be flooding their registers. So to stop people from thinking about long lines and stab wounds, they tried to get people to associate the day after Thanksgiving with Green Friday.

And you know what?

Nobody gave a damn.

And that is why we still call it Black Friday today.

Ah, tradition.

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