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Episode 85 – “Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country”

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We’re finally here, everyone: the last Original Series movie, and arguably the most substantive. Definitely the most 90s, and the most modern, in terms of storytelling.

Undiscovered Country was the first Trek movie that was ride-or-die Space Diplomacy, and as its central plot. It’s all about the first real peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, how it came about, and all the shit went down to make it happen.

The Klingon delegation and the senior staff of the Enterprise face each other awkwardly across a banquet table.
SPACE DIPLOMACYYYYYYYYY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like, seriously: that’s why everything happens. The Klingons have a terrible environmental disaster, and the fallout puts them in a position where they have no choice but to consider peace talks. Unfortunately, plenty of people on both sides fear what a true peace may bring. The Klingons fear being weakened and destroyed by both actual conquest and cultural imperialism (on the latter at least they might have a point), and certain elements in the Federation are, in a very un-Federation-like manner, lobbying hard for just, y’know, wiping the Klingons out while they’re down. If you’ve seen the previous two movies, you won’t be surprised to learn that Kirk is in the latter group, or at least thinks the peace talks, and welcoming Klingons into the Federation, is way too risky with not enough reward. But that’s too bad, because Spock, who’s been acting as a pseudo-ambassador to the Klingon Chancellor, just volunteered the entire Enterprise to escort Gorkon to the peace talks.

Spock and Kirk face each other from opposite ends of a conference table.
Look, I felt bad for a while but you seriously need to get over it now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naturally, almost the moment the Enterprise meets up with Gorkon’s ship, everything goes horribly, horribly wrong.

The Klingon Chancellor is assassinated, and Kirk and Bones are implicated. They get hauled off to a Klingon prison planet, leaving Spock, the Enterprise crew, and Captain Sulu aboard his shiny new ship the Excelsior (he finally got that promotion), to uncover the real conspirators against the peace, and rescue Kirk and Bones from Rura Penthe.

We all liked this one. It’s a great ride about overcoming prejudices, getting over your shit, and transcending your shitty past in the interest of pursuing a better future. And even in the middle of a murder-mystery-slash-interstellar-political-thriller, it still manages to call out everyone’s bad behaviours.

A+, Undiscovered Country – though to perfectly frank, I’d have awarded that grade for the Klingon cultural appropriation of Shakespeare alone.

Christopher Plummer as the Klingon General Chang
I have no proof of this but I always want to blame the “Shakespeare in the original Klingon” joke on a Christopher Plummer improv.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This officially marks the end of Original Series! We’re going to be taking a break for the summer, as there will not be a continuous week where all of us are not out of town. We’re also switching over to concurrent watching: we’ll be picking back up with the premiere of Discovery, which was announced this week to be premiering September 24th, 2017. And wouldn’t it be lovely if they actually made that date?

Either way, we’ll see you guys in September. Have a great summer!

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