6

Something I've never been able to puzzle out an in-universe reason for....

In the course of the episode "The Tholian Web," Capt. Kirk disappears in an 'interphase' event, along with the ill-fated USS Defiant. He is ultimately declared dead, they hold his memorial service, and Spock and McCoy watch the recording he'd left of his last orders and advice to them.

Ultimately of course, Kirk is found and rescued. At the end of the episode, he tells Spock and McCoy he hopes his last taped orders were helpful to them through the crisis. But Spock and McCoy lie and say that they were so busy, they never had the chance to watch the tape.

OK, so out-of-universe, it offers the audience a chuckle. Kirk's confident assurance that his taped last orders were something moving, significant, helpful, etc. is skewered by the offhanded dismissive response, "Oh, yeah, that... naahh, didn't have time, it didn't seem important."

But in-universe, why would Spock and McCoy want to mislead Kirk and make him think they never watched the tape?

3

OK, so out-of-universe, it offers the audience a chuckle. Kirk's confident assurance that his taped last orders were something moving, significant, helpful, etc. is skewered by the offhanded dismissive response, "Oh, yeah, that... naahh, didn't have time, it didn't seem important."

In-universe, the same joke works just fine. Spock and McCoy were joking with Kirk by implying this exact thing. It's just as funny for the characters in-universe as it is for us out-of-universe.

Also, refusing to admit that they watched the final orders tape implies that they never gave up on the idea of rescuing Kirk. They were so sure they'd find him and so busy doing that that they never got around to watching the tape. How insufferably loyal of them. (/sarcasm.)

Of course, Kirk is somewhat taken aback by such a suggestion, because he knows as well as they do that, as good and conscientious Starfleet officers, they would of course have recognized the situation was dire enough to justify watching the tape. He knows they watched it. He knows they're joking with him. Everyone is having a little chuckle at the end, in-universe and out.

  • OK, makes sense on the whole. I need to go back and watch again, but my 'read' of the scene was never that Kirk saw through the lie. If he expressed disbelief at all, it was disbelief that his final orders could POSSIBLY be less important than, well, anything. – JDM-GBG Jun 7 '18 at 21:13
2

In the tape Kirk asks them to work together for the benefit of the ship.

Spock and Mccoy were known to argue and disagree with each other all the time.

Lying to Kirk means that they don't have to admit to him that they'd ever work together, even though it's obvious they did. Their response to Kirk just proves that they followed his orders, he obviously doesn't buy the dismissive tone.

  • Kirk's reaction never struck me as skeptical. More so, he believes them and is very taken aback by the implications -- "We can get along fine without you!" – JDM-GBG Jun 1 '18 at 21:05
  • @JDM-GBG Like Steve-O said in his answer, Kirk knows they're joking – Luciano Jun 7 '18 at 8:36

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