Captain’s Log Supplemental:
With the long lay-in time required to exchange our ship’s carbon filters and take on new raw materials for the synthesizers, many of the crew and officers took a much-needed break. While short of an authorized “shore leave” entertainment options were available to most decks in the form of stage shows, concerts…and in some cases archaic “classic films” were available in-cabin and in selected group media centers. I was pleased with the effect on morale, and was tickled to witness the following exchange between First Officer Spock and Chief Medical Officer McCoy at the conclusion of the classic “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.” I knew that it was one of Bones’ sentimental favorites and was curious to see how this…debate…played out.
SPOCK: Doctor, I was merely suggesting–
McCOY: Jim! Thank God! Would you kindly explain to this pig-headed, high-browed critic that “Jedi” was the high-water mark for this film series?
ME: I assume Spock is countering that “Empire” was superior, yes?
McCOY: But of course! ‘Cause that’s what all highfalutin’ high-brow critics do! Belittle the happy ending in favor of the dark interlude episode, because it can’t be good AND happy, now can it?
SPOCK: Doctor, you misinterpret my conclusions. In fact, I believe that if you look at the data, one of the more positive examples of foreshadowing this “happy ending” of which you speak, takes place right in the middle of “The Empire Strikes Back.” I would argue that the resolution of the series is a foregone conclusion after that apex.
McCOY: See?!? He’s even using that damned critic language! Spell it out for me, Spock, for I am a lowly country doctor and uneducated on the grand cinematic traditions like you apparently are.
SPOCK: Flattery, good doctor, will get you nowhere.
ME: Okay, now I’m curious. To what moment are you referring, Spock?
SPOCK: The vision which presents itself to young Master Skywalker while training on Dagobah.
McCOY: You mean where he sees Vader? That’s the high point? Jim, I’m taking him to sick bay. Obviously he has Rigellian fever.
SPOCK: I assure you that my faculties are intact.
ME: I know the scene. Luke goes into the cave and sees a vision of Darth Vader. They battle, and Vader is decapitated.
McCOY: Yes, and then the facemask is blown off and we see Luke’s face underneath! How, pray tell, is that supposed to be a positive, Spock?
SPOCK: Because, Dr. McCoy, it presents a hopeful vision of the fate that is to befall Anakin Skywalker.
ME: I don’t follow. You’re saying that it’s…a good thing that Luke is going to kill Vader? Seems a little harsh.
McCOY: Or is the big happy moment the one where Luke realizes he’s on a path to darkness? Is that what the critic in you is clamoring for?
SPOCK: On the contrary. I must admit to having only the faintest understanding of the human emotional spectrum, but I am considerably confused as to why one would assume that this vision is a negative.
McCOY: Because, you heartless maniac! Darth Vader is Luke’s father and he sees what he’s about to become!
SPOCK: Nonsense. At this point in the narrative, Luke has no idea that Vader is his father.
ME: Go on.
SPOCK: Luke sees Darth Vader in his vision and immediately adopts an aggressive stance.
McCOY: Because that’s what you DO when confronting a Sith Lord!
SPOCK: Place yourself in young Luke’s position. Training in Yoda’s “back yard.” When suddenly, the second-in-command of the Empire itself is before you, almost as if invited. Vader’s saber not yet deployed. While Luke is emotional and rash, it’s not unlikely that he would act first. However, Vader offers only token resistance.
McCOY: It’s a vision, you stubborn ass! It’s not real!
SPOCK: And yet you believe it prophetic.
McCOY: Because it is!
SPOCK: And I concur, doctor. But your interpretation of the forecast events is illogical.
ME: Explain. I want to hear this.
SPOCK: It is human nature to assume the worst. I propose that given the available data, that is: Vader’s reluctance to engage, the ease with which he is dispatched, and the fact that Luke has acted in a foolhardy but not remotely evil or even angry manner means something entirely different.
McCOY: Spit it out, already.
SPOCK: Gentlemen, the vision is provided to show Luke that there is, in fact, a good person inside of Darth Vader. In fact, it is a subtle clue as to Luke’s parentage as well. Vader looks like Luke because they are of the same genetic code. The “unmasking” also parallels the scene in Dr. McCoy’s beloved “Return of the Jedi” where Vader does, in fact, unmask himself to look upon his son.
ME: Interesting. So the whole vision was to show Luke that he could save his father, Lord Vader, instead of killing him?
SPOCK: Precisely, although Luke was, at the time, unaware of his father’s identity.
McCOY: Well, you WOULD think that way! It doesn’t…I still don’t like it. Jim, tell him he’s off his rocker.
ME: Sorry, bones. I’m not sure that’s what the filmmakers had in mind, but…it’s a pretty good theory.
McCOY: But Yoda warns Luke that it’s a place of evil!
SPOCK: In an otherwise unspoiled planet rich with innocent life forms and, as far as can be observed, only two sentient beings and one droid.
McCOY: But evil is still evil, damn it!
SPOCK: Consider that Yoda warns that Luke will find “only what he takes with him” and advises that weapons will not be necessary.
McCOY: Fantastic. A word of warning: I will NOT be watching “The Usual Suspects” with either of you!
With that, Doctor McCoy took his leave of us. I turned to Spock.
ME: So you really believe that theory?
SPOCK: Absolutely, Captain.
ME: And you wouldn’t have mentioned it just to mess with Bones? You know he’s going to mull this over for some time.
SPOCK: Food for thought, Jim. It is wise to consider all perspectives.
ME: Yes, but it is unwise to upset the man who’s going to administer our vaccines before we beam down to Tyson-4.
SPOCK: Understood, Captain.