I've got another one! First off I need to say that I've been heavily influenced by at least three other metas on Amok Time, and probably countless other discussions as well, so there's a slight lack of new ideas here. Still, watching the episode slowly, scene by scene, over and over, I did pick up on a few things that I hadn't noticed before. I don't have an overall point with this meta, except that Amok Time is really explicitly slashy, but that's something that everyone already knew anyway. I also had a bit of trouble deciding on the tone of this one – with some bits I'm just making fun of what's going on, then at other times I'm writing a whole paragraph of analysis on each line of dialogue. I've also got quite a few unanswered questions here which I'm hoping someone might have answers for. I dunno, I think that this episode is something that could probably be discussed forever, which is a good thing :)

Amok Time Synopsis

We open this episode with McCoy telling Kirk about Spock's strange behaviour lately – he seems nervous, and he hasn't eaten in 3 days. Then they catch Nurse Chapel on her way to Spock's quarters with some food. She sees them and turns in the other direction, but McCoy stops her. Kirk goes to leave now, but McCoy stops him too. Hmm, let's not dwell on what kind of message we're supposed to get from that. Does he have a reason for pointing out Nurse Chapel's crush on Spock to Kirk? Is it something that Kirk might be interested in knowing? Is it something that they maybe have in common or something? Hmm.

He lifts the lid from the plate and sees that it's Vulcan plomeek soup. He acts like a real jerk here, so condescending to poor Christine. Can't a girl pine for Spock in peace? She fumbles out an explanation, so he tells her to carry on (well gee, thanks for the permission, Dr McCoy). Then she goes to Spock's door as the two men watch. Probably knowing that she's now facing public rejection, Kirk makes to leave again, but McCoy stops him and continues telling him about Spock's unusual behaviour, that when he suggested that it was time for Spock's routine physical check-up, Spock replied "You will cease to pry into my personal matters, Doctor, or I shall certainly break your neck." Well hey, if he treated Spock anything like he treated Nurse Chapel, I can't say I blame him. I bet Christine wishes she'd said the same thing.

Next thing we see, Spock throws the plomeek soup out of the door, yelling "If I want anything from you, I'll ask for it!" In his very next breath, he asks Kirk for something. Hmm, now that's an interesting juxtaposition right there. He requests a shore leave to Vulcan. When Kirk asks gently what's going on, Spock gets huffy again. "I've made my request, Captain. All I require from you is that you answer it, yes or no!" Then he storms into his room and slams the door in Kirk's face, turning up his rock music really loud and screaming that he's NEVER COMING OUT, and that the Captain has TOTALLY RUINED HIS LIFE!!! Oh yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Spock has just entered puberty. Cue the opening credits.

Next thing we see, Kirk is in Spock's quarters (Hey, how did he get there? Spock just slammed the door on everyone. Well, I guess he can let Jim in, because Jim is the only one in the whole universe who gets Spock. Ah, young love…) Kirk ask Spock what's up (actually, his exact words are "Alright, Spock, let's have it", but that sends my mind to all the wrong places, so let's just go with what's up… then again, that makes me think of other things too…) Spock explains that it is undignified for a woman to play servant to a man that is not hers (But it's ok for a man to do that. It's ok for a man to, say, offer himself to another man as a stool? Or is that only ok if the other man is his?) Kirk says that he's more interested in knowing why Spock is requesting shore leave, since in all the years that he's known Spock, he's never requested leave (and he'd damn well better not start now. One minute he's asking for leave, and before you know it, health care, retirement benefits, oh the list goes on!) Spock indicates that he'd rather not tell Kirk, but Kirk continues to probe, asking if there's been a death in the family or something. When Spock says it's nothing like that, Kirk says that Spock can have his shore leave on Altair 6, which is where the Enterprise is heading. Spock says that he wants to go to Vulcan, and Kirk once again asks what's wrong (because he just has to know every itty bitty little thing about Spock. He doesn't want any secrets between them.)

Spock says that he needs rest (which is a lie! I don't know whether that thing about Vulcans being unable to lie is true or not, but either way, Spock can lie.) Now, during this scene, Spock is holding something in his hand, but I'm not sure what. It looks like a knife or something. It never gets explained. Anyway, Kirk finally stops prying (for now, at least. Just wait, he hasn't even begun yet!) and tells the bridge to alter course to Vulcan. As he does so, he looks back at Spock and sees the thing that he's holding in his hand, but it still never gets mentioned (Is it because it's a tiny phallus? Is that why no one tells us what it is? Is it a big fat secret symbol of Spock's sexual preferences towards the male end of the gender spectrum? Is that why he only holds it when he's in a scene with Kirk? Because Spock's sexual preference is actually more Kirk-specific? Well, how do we know it isn't? It's not like they tell us any different!) Spock thanks the Captain, who brushes him off with that Kirk-grin of his, saying that even Vulcans aren't indestructible. As he leaves, Spock says to an empty room "No, we're not." Then he notices that his hand is shaking, so he stops it with his other hand.

Kirk notes in his Captain's log that Spock has requested and been granted shore leave, (and he didn't even have to reveal personal details in order to get it, or perform one single sexual favour for the Captain… that we know of), then Uhura picks up an urgent message from Starfleet, and Kirk strikes a very manly pose as he listens to it. Apparently, the ceremony that they were supposed to attend at Altair 6 has been moved ahead a week, and now they don't have time to get to Vulcan! Kirk goes up to Spock and basically says bad luck, but not to worry, he'll make sure that Spock gets leave once the ceremony is over. Spock looks a little dazed as he says that he understands. Kirk looks at him with concern, wondering if Spock maybe got into his pot stash.

In the next scene, Kirk is laying on his bed, thinking about Spock (hmm, I wonder how often he does that). Then he sits up and calls Chekov to talk about Spock. ("Do you think Spock likes me? I mean, I'm pretty sure he likes me, but I could be wrong. What do you think, Pavel?") He asks Chekov how late they'd be if they increased to maximum speed, dropped Spock off at Vulcan and then raced off to Altair 6. Then Chekov says that Spock already ordered the Enterprise on course to Vulcan.

Cut to the bridge, where Kirk, hands on hips, orders Spock to "come with me, please." Looks like someone's gonna get a spanking! Actually, it looks like Spock's just been called to the principal's office. "I'm not mad at you, Spock. I'm just… disappointed." In the turbo lift, Kirk asks Spock why he changed course for Vulcan. Spock has no memory of his actions. Then he asks Kirk to lock him away (oh my goodness, mental deviation) because he doesn't want to be seen. Then he says that he can't explain any further. Kirk orders him to report to sickbay for a physical. So Spock reports to sickbay, and then expects to be able to go back to his quarters without a physical. Heh, not on Dr McCoy's watch. Then McCoy comes running into Kirk's quarters and tells him that if they don't get Spock to Vulcan within a week, he'll die!! Cut to commercial.

When we come back from commercial, Shatner showcases his unique acting skillz "Why… *pause* …must he die, why… *pause* …within eight days, explain!" Then when McCoy says that he doesn't know, Shatner continues to impress. "You… *pause* …keep saying that, are you a Doctor or aren't you?" McCoy says that there's a growing imbalance of body functions, like the effects of huge amounts of adrenaline in a human body (aka puberty). And if it isn't stopped, the physical and emotional pressures will simply kill him. McCoy says that Spock knows what it is, so Kirk goes off to pry some more (see, I told you he wasn't done)

In his quarters, Spock is looking at a picture of a little girl on his computer. Lol, sorry! But he is, that's what he's doing! It's not my fault if it sounds dirty! Anyway, in comes Kirk. He tells Spock what McCoy told him, that Spock's going to die if something isn't done. Then he asks what that something is. When Spock doesn't answer, Kirk grabs his wrist, and sees that he's shaking (and he's holding the tiny phallus again.) Then he says something interesting. "You've been called the best first officer in the fleet. That's an enormous asset to me. If I have to lose that first officer, I want to know why." Now let's just resist the urge to think about Spock's enormous asset for a second. Kirk is rationalising his emotions about Spock by focusing on Spock's position on the ship, and what it would mean to lose him as a first officer. It's interesting because this is exactly what Spock does at the end of the episode. Ok, now you can think about Spock's enormous asset, while he's holding the tiny phallus and trying not to look at Kirk, who's looking very intensely at him. I like this episode!

Spock stands up and paces a few feet away. Then he tells Kirk "It is a thing no outworlder may know, except those very few who've been involved." He says that even Vulcans don't talk about it among themselves, because it's a deeply personal thing. Kirk then orders Spock to tell him (which, when you think about it, kinda borders on sexual harassment. Or hey, at least some kind of harassment. He may be the Captain, but he has no right to order one of his crew to tell him personal stuff like that.) Spock basically refuses the order, saying, "There are some things that transcend even the discipline of the service" (Starfleet service, or some other kind of service, where Kirk could order Spock to reveal personal information? I'm just putting this question out there, because it seems so weird for Kirk to order this of Spock, and there's gotta be some other kind of explanation.)

Then Kirk asks "Would it help if I told you that I'll treat this as totally confidential?" And apparently, it would! (Oh, you're not going to tell anyone else? Well that changes everything! I can tell you, Jim, I just didn't want you spilling your guts to other people. Because, y'know, they haven't been involved with me like you have!) Spock walks away again, embarrassed, as he mumbles that it has to do with biology, so Kirk just has to stand right next to him, shoulder to shoulder, y'know, because Spock is mumbling, and Kirk can't hear, and that's why he has to lean in so close (it's not like Kirk just enjoys standing really close to Spock and invading his personal space all the time, or anything like that. Don't be silly!) Spock continues to get all awkward and embarrassed as he lays it all out for Kirk, but Kirk looks like he's having an absolute ball. He plays along with the whole 'I'm embarrassed' routine at first, but he's clearly enjoying himself way too much to keep it up for long. Spock keeps pacing away as he's talking, and Kirk keeps following.

Then Spock asks "How do Vulcans choose their mates, haven't you wondered?" (Sure he has! He does it all the time, while he's lying in bed, thinking about Spock, wondering why Spock hasn't chosen him for a mate yet.) Kirk replies "I guess the rest of us assume that it's done… *glance at Spock* …quite logically." (Translation: "OMG, does he like me? I really like him, but I don't want him to know that I like him if he doesn't like me back. Oh, but what if he does like me? I don't want him to think that I don't like him if he likes me…" Who's the hormonal adolescent here?)

Spock sits down (which, by the way, places him in a perfect position to look at Kirk's ass, just sayin') and says "No, it is not (Now hang on a minute, yes it is. We find out later that the parents select a mate when the child is seven. That seems pretty logical to me. What is he talking about here?) We shield it with ritual and customs shrouded in antiquity. You humans have no conception. It strips our minds from us, brings a madness, which rips away our veneer of civilisation. It is the pon-farr, the time of mating. (At this moment, Kirk turns around, his interest fully piqued, and he takes a seat opposite Spock. He wants to hear more about this time of Vulcan mating.) There are precedents in nature, Captain. The giant eel-birds of Regulas 5 – once each eleven years they must return to the caverns where they hatched. On your Earth, salmon – they must return to that one stream where they were born, to spawn, or die in trying." It should be mentioned that Kirk has been touching his lips for pretty much this entire time, rubbing his bottom lip with his index finger as he focuses on Spock talking dirty. He removes his finger as he starts to say that Spock's not a fish, but Spock interrupts him. "No, nor am I a man. I am a Vulcan." Which raises an interesting point with regards to fanon. Spock is not a human, so why do we assume that he would have human reproductive organs? I hereby request a fic or art in which Spock has something weird and alien going on between his legs, plzthx. Spock continues "I had hoped I would be spared this (presumably because he's half human, or maybe because he's already been sexin' the Captain for years, who knows? Although if they'd already been doin' the deed, you'd think this would've come up by now. Still, it's not as though Spock is the sharing type. He didn't tell Kirk that his father was the Vulcan Ambassador either), but the ancient drives are too strong. Eventually they catch up with us. We are driven, by forces we cannot control, to return home and take a wife, or die."

Now, because Kirk hasn't invaded Spock's personal space enough today, he gets up and walks around the desk so he can stand reeeally close and say that he hasn't heard a word that Spock has said (but he'll certainly be replaying it over and over in his head while he lays in bed, thinking about Spock, wondering how Vulcans choose their mates, which Spock didn't actually answer, by the way. He just dangled the question tantalisingly in front of Kirk, putting it in his head, and then started talking about eel-birds and salmon.) As he leaves the room, he promises that he'll get Spock to Vulcan.

Kirk asks Uhura to get Admiral Someoneorother on the phone for him, and Chekov and Sulu wonder if they're gonna be changing course again. I'm anticipating some interesting discussions about Captain Kirk and Mr Spock by the water cooler this afternoon… Then Uhura calls Spock to tell him that Kirk is talking to the Admiral about getting him to Vulcan, and Spock pounds his fist into the com to silence her. (This just plain isn't a good episode for the Spock/Uhura fans. Also, this is the second time that Spock has displayed violent actions towards women. During a time when he needs sex. But it's not like a guy needs a woman in order to have sex. Not when he's got such a delectable male Captain who has some pretty intense feelings of… uh… 'friendship' for him.) Then we see Kirk asking the Admiral for permission to return to Vulcan, and true to his word, he doesn't explain why. Needless to say, the Admiral refuses, and needless to say, Kirk goes anyway. "I can't let Spock die, can I Bones? And he will if we go to Altair. I owe him my life a dozen times over, isn't that worth a career? He's my friend." Then he tells Chekov to change course to Vulcan, and Chekov says that he's already plotted the course, and doesn't that just perfectly mirror the scene in Search for Spock when Kirk tells Sulu & Chekov that he's going to Genesis for Spock despite orders to the contrary, and they say that they're with him? These are the two poster episodes for how much Kirk loves Spock, and how much he's willing to sacrifice for him.

Overhearing the good news, Christine rushes off to tell Spock, and we get a scene that clearly demonstrates Spock's keen interest in women during this, his time of mating. He's lying on his bed sleeping, and Christine (who apparently has just let herself in without ringing the doorbell first) goes to him and reaches her hand out to touch him, but decides against it at the last minute (because that would be creepy and stalkerish) and turns to leave. Spock calls out "Nurse Chapel" and she stops, caught red handed, and turns around. He gets up and says "I had the most startling dream. You were trying to tell me something, but I couldn't hear you." (Startling, eh? Wow, how romantic!) He gets up, and she goes to move closer to him, but he indicates for her to stay where she is. (Can't you just feel the lurve?) He tells her "It would be illogical for us to protest against our natures, don't you think?" (Their natures being their mutual longing for each other? Is Spock confessing his undying love for Nurse Chapel? Will Spock proceed to fuck Nurse Chapel's brains out, because he loves her and is in his time of mating?) Chapel says that she doesn't understand (He's never indicated any feelings for her before!) Then he wipes a tear from her cheek, because her nature is that she's hopelessly in love with Spock, a guy who up until now has been unattainable. Chapel tells Spock that she came to tell him that they're bound for Vulcan, and that they'll be there in just a few days. Spock nods, and says nothing. Christine waits a while for him to pitch woo, or kiss her, or spill his guts about why he has to go to Vulcan, or SOMETHING. He looks up at her, realizes she's waiting for something, and whispers… "Vulcan…" Bad luck, Christine. (So then what is Spock's nature, if it's not that he's hopelessly enamoured with Christine Chapel? What is it that it would be illogical for him to protest against?) Christine turns to leave, but Spock calls out "Nurse Chapel" again. Chapel says that her name is Christine, and Spock says "Yes, I know Christine." Then he asks her to make him some more plomeek soup. Not whipped cream or chocolate sauce, plomeek soup. Christine lights up, saying that she'd be very glad to do that. She also calls him Mr Spock, like she's figured out that, plomeek soup or no, she ain't getting laid. So, to summarise, what has happened in this scene? 1) Spock is a horny teenager in his time of mating. 2) Christine, an attractive woman, is throwing herself at Spock, a horny teenager. 3) Spock tells Christine to run along and make him some soup. Wow, I might just electrocute myself from the sparks flying between these two!

In the next scene, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are walking into the turbo lift. Spock complements McCoy for surmising his "problem" (Kirk got to hear all about it directly from Spock in all the sexy details, but McCoy, he had to figure it out on his own). Then he tells Kirk that Vulcans suffer an insanity during this time that he would no doubt find distasteful (he says this specifically to Kirk, not to both men). Kirk then says "Will I? You've been most patient with my kinds of madness?" (Oh, has he, now? And what kinds of madness are those, exactly? Do tell, Jim!) Spock then invites Kirk to beam down to Vulcan with him. Kirk asks if it's permitted (since, y'know, didn't Spock just say that it is a thing that no outworlder may know? I seem to remember him saying that…) and Spock says that it is his right, that by tradition the male is accompanied by his closest friends. (Which totally makes sense, because Vulcans are emotional creatures who find nothing shameful in feelings, like friendship. I mean, it's not like Spock ever said that when he feels friendship for Kirk, it makes him ashamed, because as a Vulcan, and he's not supposed to feel friendship. So of course it makes sense that Vulcan tradition allows Spock to bring friends along. Just you wait, his bride will have a whole bunch of bridesmaids, who are her friends, because Vulcans totally have friends.) Kirk seems a bit disappointed that Spock views him as just a friend, looking away a bit, but he says thank you nonetheless. Spock then requests that McCoy accompany him too, and McCoy says he'd be honoured. See, this is how a man who's not crushing on the groom is supposed to act.

On the Bridge, Kirk opens hailing frequency to Vulcan and requests permission to assume standard orbit. They grant permission and welcome the Enterprise. Then they ask if Spock is on the bridge and, when Spock confirms that he is, a Vulcan woman comes onto the viewscreen. We learn that her name is T'Pring, and they exchange what sounds like a traditional Vulcan greeting between spouses… or something "Parted from me and never parted. Never and always touching and touched." Uhura remarks that she's lovely (um, okay. In what way was she lovely? It's not like she seemed all that friendly, from what little we just saw of her, but whatever…) and asks who she is. Spock answers that she is T'Pring, his wife. Everyone is shocked! Cut to commercial.

Next, we see Kirk, Spock and McCoy beaming down to Vulcan. Spock leads the way to the land of his family, with Kirk & McCoy in tow. He tells them that it is his place of Koonut Kali-fee, and then he goes off elsewhere. McCoy goes 'Koonut what?' and Kirk says "He described it to me as meaning marriage or challenge. In the distant past, Vulcans killed to win their mates." Ok, first of all, when did Spock say that? That wasn't in the conversation we saw! Did Kirk go back to Spock later and demand to know how Vulcans choose their mates, after which Spock explained this Koonut Kali-fee marriage/challenge thing (which again wouldn't answer that burning question)? I want this conversation! Second of all, Kali-fee = marriage or challenge. Remember that. I'll be bringing it up later. Third, Vulcans killed to win their mates. Not Vulcan males. Did Vulcan females kill to win their mates too? Will T'Pring have to fight Stonn's betrothed in order to win him? Has she already? Anyway, then Kirk & McCoy talk about the weather, how it's hotter on Vulcan and how the air is thinner. Then Spock hits this gong thing, and McCoy wonders out loud when T'Pring arrives.

Spock returns to Kirk & McCoy and says that the marriage party is coming. Kirk is confused by this, because Spock said earlier that T'Pring was his wife (which sorta begs the question, what did Kirk think they were gonna be doing there? He knew that there was a ceremony that he was being invited to, and that Spock was here for his time of mating. He also knew that Koonut Kali-fee meant marriage or challenge. What did he think he was there for if not a marriage? The challenge part? Did he think he was there to challenge T'Pring for Spock, since Vulcan females can apparently fight for their mates as well? And that McCoy was there in case he sustained any injuries in doing so? Hmm…) Spock replies "By our parent's arrangement. A ceremony while we were but seven years of age. Less than a marriage, but more than a betrothal. One touches the other, in order to feel each other's thoughts (um, eew. Mental image of 7yr olds 'touching' each other = do not want!) In this way, our minds were locked together, so that at the proper time, we would both be drawn to Koonit Kali-fee." Then Spock goes back to strike the gong again.

The marriage party finally approaches. A couple of guys in silver with instruments, and two guys in silver carrying an old woman on a chair (Everyone's wearing silver – it must be the new white… or black). Kirk tells McCoy that the old woman is T'Pau, the only person to ever turn down a seat in the Federation's Council. Apparently for T'Pau to officiate at someone's wedding, their family must be important. For some reason, it never occurs to either of them that it might be T'Pring's family that's important. After all, T'Pau does arrive with T'Pring. But oh well, whatever. Later we learn that Spock's father is the Ambassador of Vulcan, and even later we learn that Sarek was once married to a Vulcan princess, so apparently Spock's family is that important. Anyway, then we see T'Pring and a few other guys in silver, some wearing weird masks. The logic of all these flamboyant costumes escapes me.

T'Pau throws up a Vulcan salute, and Spock reciprocates, going up to her and bowing. Then T'Pau performs a mind meld (I don't care what they said in Devil in the Dark about these things being highly intimate to Vulcans, it seems to be a second greeting to them in every subsequent episode. 'We need to communicate with this alien. Spock, mind meld.') Then T'Pau asks if Vulcan ceremonies are for outworlders, and Spock replies "they are not outworlders, they are my friends. I am permitted this." (Well, but they're still outworlders, aren't they? Say I have a friend from another country, that doesn't automatically make me a part of that country. If I had a spouse from another country, on the other hand… Just sayin') Anyway, T'Pau seems happy with this (as much as any Vulcan is happy), so she gestures to Kirk and McCoy, who approach her. Spock introduces Kirk, then after a pause, T'Pau asks McCoy what his name is, and he introduces himself. Oh my, but how interesting! Spock introduced Kirk, but not McCoy. In heaven's name, WHY?! What does it MEAN?! I have no idea, but it damn well means SOMETHING!

T'Pau asks Spock how he pledges his… friends' behaviour (and she totally pauses before saying "friends", and she narrows her eyes in a scrutinising way too, like 'if you wanna call them friends, I'll go along with it, but I did just mind meld with you, so I know you've got some more-than-friendly feelings for one of them'), and Spock replies "With my life, P'Pau." Cut to T'Pring, who stares at Spock wide eyed, like 'Gotcha!' Before, whenever it cut to her, she was looking down submissively. Now she's like 'Oh, you pledge their behaviour with your life, do you? Well then, they'd better not misbehave, had they?' Oh yes, she's got a plan. So then T'Pau rattles off this speech about the time of the beginning, and the Vulcan way, blah blah blah. Then she points to the gong and says "Kali-farr" (Kali-FARR??? What is this Kali-farr? I know what Kali-fee is, and I know what pon-farr is, but what the hell is Kali-farr?) Spock goes up to the gong and gets ready to strike it, but then T'Pring stops him and yells "Kali-fee!" Kirk asks what just happened, and T'Pau explains "She chooses the challenge." Ok, whoa whoa, slow down a minute. Saying Kali-fee means that she chooses the challenge? So does that mean that Kali-farr means marriage? But Kali-fee means marriage as well. Confusing Vulcan words are confusing…

McCoy points incredulously to the big guy in the mask who's holding an axe, asking if he's the one Spock has to challenge. T'Pau explains that he acts only if cowardice is seen (Cowardice from who? Why would Spock show cowardice? He's gonna die anyway if he doesn't mate, so what's he got to lose? And what's the problem if the challenger shows cowardice? Then the woman would end up with the guy she was supposed to be with anyway. Maybe he's there for if the woman backs out when a winner is declared.) T'Pau then says that T'Pring will choose her champion. T'Pring then looks at a character we will later know as Stonn. Stonn seems to be the only one there who isn't part of the marriage ceremony. He was standing by T'Pring the whole time before she called for a Kali-fee. Is he T'Pring's 'friend'? In the same way that Kirk & McCoy are Spock's 'friends'? It seems to have been her right to bring him along. Vulcans are too logical for real friends, but other suitors are pretty logical.

Kirk tries to speak with Spock (and who knows what he plans on saying), but Spock doesn't answer, and T'Pau explains "He is deep in the plak-tow, the blood fever. He will not speak with thee again until he has passed through what is to come" (apparently "what is to come" is too vague to name at this point. She could just say "the challenge", but maybe "what is to come" won't be a challenge after all. Who knows what she really means, because she doesn't tell us. By the way, it's interesting to note that Spock didn't go straight into plak-tow after T'Pring called for Kali-fee. He turned around and started walking towards… well, from the way it's shot, he could have been walking towards T'Pau or Kirk, we'll never know because he was stopped by the guy with he axe. Then he sulked off to the side and went into plak-tow, putting his hands together and looking introspective, and just a little bit possessed. The implication is that Spock went into plak-tow when he was denied sex, but why would he go to T'Pau/Kirk first? Well, I can't see any reason why he'd go to T'Pau first, but as for Kirk… maybe Spock had another candidate to take care of his pon-farr, and wasn't completely denied sex just because T'Pring didn't want him.)

T'Pau offers Kirk and McCoy the opportunity to leave if they want (whether this is because they are 'outworlders" or part of the Vulcan tradition anyway isn't explained). Kirk says that they'll stay, and T'Pau approves, saying "Spock chose… his friends well." I think it's the actress' accent that makes her pause like that, but either way, it's awesome. It makes it seem like T'Pau is thinking 'I'm still not buying this whole 'friends' thing, but whatever.' McCoy asks if this means that T'Pring rejected Spock. T'Pau responds that it's T'Pring's right to have Spock fight for her (didn't we already cover this? McCoy asked if Spock was gonna have to fight the axe guy, and T'Pau said that he was only there to prevent cowardice?) T'Pau asks T'Pring if she's prepared to become the property of the victor, and T'Pring says that she is. (it seems kinda sexist at first glance, that T'Pring is going to become her husband's property, but remember at the beginning Spock said that it was undignified for a woman to play servant to a man that is not hers. It seems that in Vulcan marriage, both parties become each other's property. And as such, they become each other's responsibility, so things like their soul become the responsibility of their spouse. In the same way that Kirk claimed responsibility for Spock's soul, and was expected by Sarek to be harbouring it, in Search for Spock. Because that's what happens when a Vulcan gets married. Just sayin…) Then T'Pau asks Spock if he accepts the challenge according to Vulcan customs and laws (What!? He has a choice!? What happened to 'the axe guy acts if cowardice is shown'? Also, how can Spock not accept the challenge, if he'll die otherwise? Oh right, because he doesn't necessarily need T'Pring for the sex, and T'Pau knows that Kirk is not just Spock's 'friend'.) Spock nods, because he's in plak-tow and can't speak.

T'Pring looks at Stonn, and Kirk follows her line of sight. There's been plenty of shots of him, and we all know that he's there with her, because he's her 'friend', and it's pretty obvious that he's the one she's gonna choose for the challenge. He's a pretty big guy, and Kirk gets worried, asking McCoy if he thinks Spock can take him (interesting choice of words here too. "Take him' rather than "fight him." Spock's exact words when talking about returning to Vulcan for sex were "take a wife." It's just interesting is all. Does Kirk really mean fight here? The one think we know is that McCoy thinks he does.) McCoy says that he doubts it. T'Pau tells T'Pring to choose her champion, and as T'Pring gives another Vulcan speech, Stonn steps forward. Then T'Pring steps past Stonn and points to Kirk. Everyone is shocked. Stonn objects, outraged, saying that he was to be the one, and that it was agreed. T'Pau tells him to be silent, but he says "hear me. I have made the ancient claim. I claim the right. The woman is-" He's unable to finish because T'Pau interrupts him.

Ok, so a lot of stuff has just happened here very quickly, so let's back up a bit. First of all, why would T'Pring choose Kirk as her champion? She's only just met the guy, she clearly doesn't want to be his wife. Nor does she want Spock. Why would she have two men she didn't want battle over her? If Spock wins, she gets what she would've had anyway. If Kirk wins, she marries a complete stranger. Neither outcome would be particularly favourable. It seems that T'Pring knows of a third outcome that would give her what she wants. Second of all, Stonn says that it was agreed that he was to be T'Pring's champion. T'Pring changed her mind at the last minute. Clearly, something she saw in this scene tipped the odds in favour of the third outcome enough for her to risk having Kirk as her champion. Thirdly, look at what Stonn says. "I have made (past tense) the ancient claim." He's talking about something that he did before now. Is he already with T'Pring? We don't know what exactly this ancient claim is. Maybe there's some other rite in which someone who is not the spouse chosen by a Vulcan's parents can become that Vulcan's mate. Spock said in his conversation with Kirk that the way Vulcans choose their mates is not logical, perhaps this is what he was talking about. Then Stonn says "I claim the right." We know that Spock has the right to be accompanied by his 'friends', and apparently T'Pring has the right to be accompanied by her champion. T'Pring also has the right to call for a Kali-fee (and there's no indication that Spock doesn't also have this right). Stonn's rights in this ceremony are never explained, but apparently he does have some. What right is he claiming? And if he does have a right to T'Pring, why does T'Pau deny him this right?

As T'Pau yells Kroykah (a Vulcan word meaning stop?) the axe guy slices his axe between Stonn and T'Pring (apparently it wasn't just cowardice he was there to prevent. Or was it T'Pring's cowardice he was preventing there?) Well, apparently Stonn doesn't have much of a right, because he asks for forgiveness and scuttles off. Then T'Pau turns to Kirk. "T'Pring is within her rights, but our laws and customs are not binding on thee. Thee are free to decline, with no harm on thyself." She doesn't actually say so, but we assume that Kirk can leave because he's an outworlder, and not bound by Vulcan law. Then again, Spock said that Kirk and McCoy weren't outworlders. Kirk helps T'Pau down and she makes her way over to the gong. Then Spock steps forward and says T'Pau's name. T'Pau is shocked that Spock is able to speak through his plak-tow. He pleads with T'Pau to forbid the Kali-fee, saying that Kirk doesn't know (doesn't know what? We're lead to believe that Kirk doesn't know that a Kali-fee is a fight to the death, but he told McCoy about it when they beamed down, so why would he suddenly not know that? Is there something else that Kirk doesn't know?) Spock says that he will do what he must, but he doesn't want to do it with Kirk (and again we're not told what that is. It could mean that he will kill in order to have sex, but it could also mean that he'll do anything else to have sex). There's a lot of ambiguity in Spock's conversation with T'Pau here. He doesn't even answer her question about whether he's Vulcan or Human properly. Anyway, T'Pau ends the conversation and one of the marriage party puts a purple sash around Spock (the purpose of this sash is not made clear. I can't see it aiding in the fight, in fact it'd probably end up getting in the way. The sash is also kinda similar looking to the one everyone wore in the Mirror Universe.)

Kirk asks what happens to Spock if he declines the challenge, and without batting an eyelid, T'Pau tells him that another champion will be selected (just like that, huh? What, no 'hmm, let me think for a minute, because we've never offered the champion the option to decline before'? She just says it like the Vulcan rules already have a contingency plan in case the champion backs out of the fight. Like the champion has the right to back out anyway. Apparently, it's not just that Kirk is an outworlder, Stonn would've had the same right. In fact, there's nothing to suggest that T'Pau even sees Kirk & McCoy as outworlders after Spock named them his friends. They're Vulcans now. In fact, as far as T'Pau knows, they're here right now because they also made the 'ancient claim' with Spock that Stonn was talking about earlier. But if the champion has the right to decline the challenge, then what's the deal with the axe guy? The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that he's there to make sure that the non-pon-farr-ing spouse goes through with the sex. I mean, it's clear that T'Pring is not experiencing pon-farr. If only one spouse is in pon-farr, what happens if the other spouse bails? It's probably something that's happened at least once or twice before, and the Vulcans are logical enough to have things put in place to prevent it – hence the axe guy.)

Kirk glances back at Stonn, knowing that he'll be the champion selected if he back's out, and T'Pau tells Kirk not to interfere. Now she's talking to him like an outworlder. She may not be about to forbid the ceremony, but she is strongly cautioning against it. Oddly enough, she doesn't warn Kirk that the Kali-fee is a fight to the death (that vital piece of information that would've made Kirk back out). She seems to think that he knows this, even though Spock said earlier that he does not understand. Apparently she also got the impression that he was talking about something else. McCoy leads Kirk away and strongly suggests that Kirk not accept the challenge. McCoy mistakenly thinks that Spock is weaker in his condition, and although McCoy seems to have flunked Vulcan Biology 101 in med-school, Kirk has never had any reason to doubt him before. Although McCoy said earlier of Spock's condition that it was as though he was having huge surges of adrenaline, which you would think would make him stronger, not weaker. Either way, Kirk says that his plan is to knock Spock out without really hurting him. (Huh? Rig it so that Spock loses?! Won't they then have the same problem they had to begin with, ie Spock needing sex? This is a very interesting plan. How does Kirk intend to resolve the whole pon-farr issue? Apparently he's already thought about this, possibly while lying in bed.)

McCoy doesn't seem to find this plan strange either. The only difficulty he foresees is the heat and thin air on Vulcan affecting Kirk's ability to put up a good fight. Then Kirk says "If I get into any trouble, I'll quit. Then Spock wins and honour is satisfied." Ok, now let's just think about this one. Letting Spock win is still Kirk's plan B here. He also seems to think that quitting won't result in his death, even though he knows that Vulcans kill to win their mates. This is the Kali-fee, but that word means both marriage and challenge. Kirk's not thinking challenge here, nor is he thinking that Spock will be ending up with T'Pring. His first course of action is to knock Spock out, in effect having Spock lose. So by process of elimination, what is Kirk thinking here, if not the challenge? Let's just let that one ferment in our minds while we look at something else. Kirk expects to be able to quit after he's accepted the challenge. What about the axe guy, who's there if cowardice is seen? Wouldn't he have something to say about Kirk up and quitting the challenge? And if not, if he's allowed to quit for the same reason that he was allowed to decline the challenge in the first place, then wouldn't another champion be selected, just like T'Pau said would happen if Kirk declined? When Kirk says he'll quit, he doesn't mean 'ok, stop the fight, I give up, you win'. But what does he mean? Well, let's see if we can work it out. First of all, Kirk doesn't see a problem with Spock not ending up with T'Pring (his first choice was for Spock to lose). Second of all, he doesn't seem to see this Kali-fee as a challenge of all, he sees it as a marriage. Why does Spock need to be married? So he can get laid. That's the whole reason they're all there. Spock's in his mating cycle. So, what is Kirk planning to forfeit when he says he'll quit? What indeed? Seems like he doesn't really forfeit anything whether Spock wins or loses, since the outcome would be the same (ie red-hot K/S manlove). So then why bother with the Kali-fee at all? Ah, but Kirk tells us that too. "Honour is satisfied." But who's honour? Spock's, of course! Kirk knows that Spock prides himself on his Vulcan heritage, and this is a Vulcan ritual. No sex before marriage - a conservative idea for 23rd Century Earth man Kirk, but he respects Spock's boundaries. Isn't that sweet?

When McCoy begins to object again, Kirk interrupts "Bones, he's my first officer, and my friend. I disregarded Starfleet orders to bring him here. Another thing, that's T'Pau, a Vulcan. All of Vulcan in one package. How can I back out in front of her?" Now it looks like Kirk is going to agree to the challenge to impress T'Pau, but that's not very in character for him. He doesn't do things that he thinks are unwise just because there are important people watching (doing unwise things for Spock, like disobeying Starfleet orders and ruining his career… well, that's a different matter.) Earlier, Kirk was impressed by T'Pau's status as the only person to turn down a seat on the Federation Council. This is what makes her an important person. He doesn't say that about her here. He's not mentioning her because of her supposed importance. He says that he doesn't want to back out because she's a Vulcan. Again, Kirk wants to honour Vulcan tradition. There is also another thing we need to remember. T'Pau offered Kirk & McCoy the chance to leave once before, and when Kirk said that they would stay, she expressed approval, as though allowing them to leave was some kind of test of their worthiness to be Spock's 'friends'. Kirk would not want a representative of Spock's home planet to find him unworthy of Spock. This is far more than merely 'I wanna impress T'Pau by doing something foolish' on Kirk's part.

T'Pau asks for Kirk's decision, and he steps forward. He looks at Spock and says "I accept" and then he looks back at T'Pau as he finishes "…the challenge." (T'Pau calls it a challenge, but it's clear that her English isn't so great. The Vulcan word translates to both challenge and marriage, but to prevent any confusion for her sake, Kirk just calls it the same thing that she did. But as we discovered earlier, Kirk ain't thinking challenge here. He actually just accepted Spock's marriage proposal. Aww!) Then T'Pau says "Here begins the act of combat for possession of the woman T'Pring." There is a cut to Kirk, but it's too quick to see his reaction. He does seem to be frowning a bit though. But when T'Pau calls for the lirpa, we get a nice long shot of Kirk's wtf reaction. This is not what Kirk was expecting at all. ('This isn't like any sex toy I've ever seen, but ok, let's see where this goes…') T'Pau goes on to announce "If both survive the lirpa, combat will continue with the ahn-woon." (not "combat for the woman T'Pring", just "combat." Could mean anything.) Now, for those of you reading this who haven't seen the episode, and therefore don't know what a lirpa or an ahn-woon is, then this line won't seem as hysterically funny to you as it does to me, so let me explain. A lirpa is like this big stick with a round ball on one end, and a sharp blade on the other. It actually looks deadly. An ahn-woon, on the other hand, is this flat rope with tassels on the ends. So, if both survive the deadly weapon, combat will continue with the flimsy rope. No one picks up on that though, because the ahn-woons aren't brought out until later. At this point Kirk can only imagine what an ahn-woon is, if this deadly looking weapon that he and Spock have just been given is the lirpa. He asks T'Pau what she means by 'if both survive', and T'Pau responds that this combat is to the death. Not what Kirk had in mind. Cut to commercial.

Kirk steps forward to T'Pau, asking who said anything about a fight to the death. (Well Jim, Spock did, for one, when he told you that Vulcans killed to win their mates, during that conversation you guys had that we didn't get to see. And then you did, to McCoy, after you beamed down onto the planet.) McCoy chimes in too, but T'Pau cuts him off, and the axe guy holds his axe to McCoy's neck (now this one I can't explain. What cowardice was McCoy showing?) T'Pau says "Challenge was given and lawfully accepted. It has begun. Let no one interfere." Now you all bear witness. T'Pau said it herself. No one is to interfere. Now, with no outside interference, how could both parties survive combat with these lirpa? Kirk knows that both of them surviving is somehow possible, because T'Pau said that in that event, they would be given the ahn-woon. He looks at Spock, and seems to realize that they might just be able to get through this after all, because he nods at McCoy who stands aside. Still, he doesn't know quite how they're gonna get through this, so he scratches his head as he steps up to engage Spock in combat. There's nothing really interesting to say about this half of the combat, except it's amazing how little damage Spock actually does to Kirk, considering how sharp the lirpa is. Kirk gets a nice cut across his chest, but other than that, Spock seems to be intentionally missing. He breaks the gong, after Kirk ducks. I mean ok, I'll concede that a lot of Star Trek's fight scenes look pretty fake, but if you think about the actual design of the weapons they're using, the only way to not kill someone with it is to not try. There's even a bit where Spock seems to be crawling away from his lirpa. Anyway, after a while of fighting, T'Pau calls out "Kroykah!" (The Vulcan safety word! But what happened to not interfering? You heard her! She said no one was to interfere, and now here she is interfering! What gives? Maybe she saw that Spock had no intention to kill Kirk. Maybe that's what she means by "if both survive." With no outside interference, Spock chose not to kill Kirk, and Kirk chose not to kill Spock, so both survived the combat, and now we move onto the ahn-woon)

McCoy asks T'Pau if he can give Kirk a hypo that will compensate for the heat and thin air (and I find it funny that he brought his hypos along to a wedding. He's here as Spock's friend, not as the medical expert. He has no reason to have his hypos here. Is there anywhere he doesn't bring those things? Seriously, Bones/hypos otp?) T'Pau tells McCoy to proceed, and McCoy kneels down by Kirk. He suggests to Kirk that he's gonna have to kill Spock. Kirk replies "Kill Spock? That's not what we came to Vulcan for, is it?" (What did they come to Vulcan for? No really, we still don't know exactly what Kirk thought they were gonna be doing here. He knew that there was a ceremony, but he didn't think it was going to be a wedding. What is going on in Kirk's mind in this episode?) McCoy shoots Kirk with the hypo and explains that it's a tri-ox compound that will help him breathe.

T'Pau now calls for the ahn-woon, the fun weapon. The guards then hand these sex toys weapons to Kirk & Spock. Kirk's reaction to the ahn-woon is pretty much the same as ours. He looks down at it in his hand and just sorta shrugs, like 'wtf, kind of fruity weapon is this now?' Spock clearly knows what he's doing, because while Kirk is still trying to figure this ahn-woon thing out, Spock uses it to lasso Kirk to the ground. Then he whips him with it, and then he helps Kirk up. Kirk meanwhile, unsure if he's still supposed to be fighting to the death or what, spins Spock around and chucks him into a wall. Then he gets down on his hands and knees (to pick up his ahn-woon, of course), positioning himself so that his ass is facing Spock (Hey, I didn't choreograph this fight!) Spock runs up and pounces on Kirk, but Kirk turns around, so Spock just rubs up against him a little bit. Then Kirk rolls them over and throws a couple punches (either the poor dear hasn't figured out that ahn-woons aren't all that deadly, or Spock likes it rough and he knows it. Or maybe he's putting up a good fight for the sake of Vulcan honour. Y'know, so Spock can say he really had to fight hard to win his mate…) Then Spock wraps the ahn-woon around Kirk's neck and lifts him up, dragging him over to this fiery centrepiece thing. Kirk seems to think that the situation would be improved by lifting his leg right up around Spock in a very inviting way. Kirk manages to push Spock forward so that he's on top now, straddling Spock, and wraps his own hands around Spock's neck (thus demonstrating that the ahn-woon is completely superfluous if death is the intended outcome.) Then Kirk starts to suffocate and collapses to Spock's side (we later discover that this was caused by McCoy's hypo, not necessarily the ahn-woon. Who knows what would have happened had McCoy not been there?) Spock rolls them both over and lifts Kirk's lifeless body by the ahn-woon (as though he's now going to drag his subdued mate off to a cave somewhere for some much needed sex in a very primitive way???) T'Pau then yells Kroykah again (No Spock, don't have sex with him, he's dead. Seriously, what did T'Pau think she was stopping?)

McCoy goes over to Kirk and pronounces him dead. Spock walks off, utterly speechless. T'Pau expresses her condolences to McCoy. McCoy tells Spock that he's in command, and asks for his orders. Spock tells McCoy to beam up ahead of him, and that he'll follow in a few minutes, where he will surrender himself to the authorities. (Starfleet can't do anything to Spock, because he acted in accordance with Vulcan law… didn't he? Wasn't this a fight to the death? Or was it the lirpa part of the combat that was a fight to the death. Was the combat with the ahn-woon something else entirely?) McCoy and Kirk beam up, and Spock asks T'Pring to explain. T'Pring asks Spock to specify (apparently she saw nothing unusual in what she did. Is having the groom combat someone who accompanies him a common option for these rituals?) Spock specifies that he wants to know why the challenge, and why she chose Kirk as her champion. Her answer is "Stonn wanted me, I wanted him." Again, she doesn't see any reason to explain Kirk as her choice of champion. She's just explaining why she called for a Kali-fee. Spock says that he sees no logic in T'Pring preferring Stonn over him (again this calls back to the conversation where Spock told Kirk that the way Vulcans choose their mates is not logical. T'Pring chose Stonn as a mate, which was not logical. A Vulcan's mate is not necessarily the spouse selected for them by their parents, and this is not out of the ordinary.) T'Pring explains "You have become much known among our people, Spock (for what, we don't know). Almost a legend. And as the years went by, I came to know that I did not want to be the consort of a legend. But by the laws of our people, I could only divorce you by the Kali-fee. There was also Stonn, who wanted very much to be my consort, and I wanted him. If your Captain were victor, he would not want me, and so I would have Stonn. (Now she finally starts explaining why she chose Kirk. By the way, how can she be so certain that Kirk wouldn't want her? She doesn't know anything about him. For all she knows, he could be some savage, sex-hungry maniac. There again, she knows at least that Spock thinks highly enough of Kirk to pledge his behaviour with his own life.) If you were victor, you would free me because I had dared to challenge, and again I would have Stonn. (Ok, now here's the interesting bit. Spock needs sex, or he'll die. Why would he free T'Pring if he would have died as a result of such an action, just to what, punish her for daring to challenge? I don't think so. Unless Spock wasn't risking death by such an action. He brought two 'friends' along, remember. In T'Pring's eyes, he still has McCoy.) But if you did not free me, it would be the same, for you would be gone, and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be there." (Now she is flat out saying that if Spock had chosen to marry her, she would have an affair with Stonn. To Spock's face. As if it's not something that should anger him or anything. Apparently Vulcans don't see anything overly wrong with infidelity. And why would they, monogamy isn't exactly all that logical. We only value it because of the emotions involved. Also, how does she know that Spock would be gone? Is it normal for Vulcans to not hang around with their spouses? Sarek and Amanda hung around each other. Ah, but Amanda wouldn't have been the spouse that was chosen for Sarek when he was 7 years old. And T'Pring has already indicated that she'd be spending her time with Stonn. So Vulcans do hang around with their spouses, just not necessarily the spouses chosen by their parents. T'Pring didn't expect to be Spock's true spouse either way, because he brought Kirk & McCoy along to the wedding, indicating to her that he was already spoken for.)

Spock comments that what T'Pring has said is "Logical, flawlessly logical." So everything that she just said also makes sense to him. It is logical for her to assume that Spock wouldn't want her. T'Pring then says that she's honoured, so that was even some kind of Vulcan compliment. He's not mad at her, he doesn't dislike her. She was being logical, and that's something that Spock always admires in people. But no matter how much Spock admires someone, they can kiss their ass goodbye if they ever threaten Jim (the salt sucking creature, the horta…) Spock doesn't blame T'Pring for Kirk's death. He also told McCoy just now that he was going to surrender himself to the authorities. Spock clearly blames himself for Kirk's death, and no one else. Then he addresses Stonn, and says "She is yours. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." (Is this supposed to be our consolation for the fact that K/S will never happen on screen?)

Spock calls the Enterprise to stand by to beam up, and then he goes to T'Pau. They do another Vulcan hand salute, and Spock says live long and prosper. T'Pau says the same to him, and he replies "I shall do neither. I have killed my Captain, and my friend." Oh, come on! Spock will neither live long nor prosper because he killed Kirk?! Now what is that supposed to mean? It's not like he's facing the death penalty or anything, because he didn't break the law. The reason that Spock will not live long and prosper is because he won't be having sex, and the reason he won't be having sex is because Kirk is dead. He doesn't say "I will do neither because I just gave up my right to mate with T'Pring." No, he is very explicitly saying that he will die because Kirk is dead. I mean, come on! That's what he said! It's right there! And, on the other hand, T'Pau expected him to live, even though she saw that he rejected T'Pring. Everyone on Vulcan knows that Spock doesn't need T'Pring in order to get through the pon-farr. Spock calls the Enterprise to beam him up.

On the Enterprise, Spock goes into the sick bay and tells McCoy that he's resigning his commission immediately, and that he would appreciate McCoy making the final arrangements, all while McCoy tries to interrupt him. He continues, saying that there's no excuse for the crime of which he's guilty (what crime?! He was well within Vulcan law. Either there's something about the laws of combat that they're not telling us, or in his grief filled state, Spock has lost all logic) and that he'll order Mr Scott to take command of the Enterprise. Kirk saunters in from the room behind Spock, trying to hide his grin. He asks if Spock should maybe check with him before handing the Enterprise over to someone else, and Spock spins around. "Captain" he whispers. Then, when Kirk walks around him, he grabs Kirk by the arms and spins him around, smiling wider that he ever has or ever will smile in the entire series and movies (although I haven't actually measured, so I dunno, he may smile wider in This Side of Paradise) as he exclaims "Jim!" Then, realising that McCoy and Nurse chapel are watching, he straightens himself out and makes his expression neutral again and says "I'm… pleased to see you, Captain. You seem… uninjured. (Kirk is uninjured. They were fighting with a deadly sharp metal thing, and Kirk is uninjured. More proof that Spock was not trying to injure Kirk) I am at something of a loss to understand it, however." Kirk explains that the injection McCoy gave him was a neural paralyser, which simulated death. (again I'm forced to wonder if Kirk would really have died had McCoy not interfered.)

McCoy asks Nurse Chapel to leave them for a moment, because they're gonna have some boy-talk. When she leaves, McCoy excitedly asks about the girl and the wedding. McCoy doesn't think that it would've been unusual for Spock to have continued on with the ceremony after having killed Kirk. Well, Spock was going to die, so of course McCoy thinks that he went on with the wedding, and the sex, which let's face it, is really what McCoy is interested in hearing about. Spock responds thusly "Ah yes, the girl. Hmm, most interesting. It must have been the combat. When I thought I had killed the Captain, I found I had lost all interest in T'Pring. The madness was gone." So, after that most homoerotic display with Kirk, Spock found that he'd lost all interest in T'Pring. Note that he did not say that he'd lost all interest in sex. Just in T'Pring. Because of that combat with Kirk. I mean come on! Are you kidding me with this? That's exactly what he says. He practically dry humped Kirk and then suddenly 'Oh, look at that, I'm not horny for T'Pring anymore. Most interesting.' He's not even trying to deny it. Because it would be illogical to deny his nature.

Uhura calls Kirk with a message form Starfleet Command. Apparently, T'Pau put in a request for the Enterprise to divert to Vulcan, and Starfleet granted it. So now Kirk won't be in trouble for disobeying orders. Then McCoy, who's been mulling over Spock's statement and apparently decided to give up on making any sense of it, brings to Spock's attention his emotional display when he saw Jim alive. Spock responds that it was merely his quite logical relief that Starfleet had not lost a highly proficient Captain. Kirk says that he understands (and he does! That's what he said earlier, about losing Starfleet's best first officer!) McCoy agrees that Spock's response was quite logical, and Kirk & Spock go off together. Then McCoy adds the ever famous "In a pig's eye!" Kirk & Spock stop, look at McCoy, look at each other, and then go off together to 'mind the store'. McCoy raises his eyebrows and just sorta nods (like, 'Oh, I get it now!') The end!

Pop Quiz!

1) Who did Spock confide in about deeply personal matters that no outworlder may know?

2) Who did Spock walk towards after T'Pring rejected him

3) Who did Spock say that he could not live without?

4) Who did Spock embrace gleefully, with a great big smile, when he returned to the Enterprise?

5) Who did Spock say made him lose all interest in T'Pring

6) Who is Spock going to be mating with the next time he experiences pon-farr?

I'll give you a hint – it's not Christine Chapel!