Journey to Babel

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"Journey To Babel"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Star Trek TOS - Journey to Babel - Captain Kirk with Vulcan ambassador Sarek and Tellarite ambassador Gav.jpg
A toast to the ambassadors.
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 10
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Written by D. C. Fontana
Featured music Gerald Fried
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 044
Original air date November 17, 1967 (1967-11-17)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Metamorphosis"
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"Friday's Child"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Journey to Babel" is the tenth episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by D. C. Fontana and directed by Joseph Pevney, it was first broadcast on November 17, 1967, and was repeated on July 5, 1968.

In the episode, the Enterprise must transport dignitaries to a diplomatic conference, with an assassin on the loose. The episode features the first appearance of Sarek (Mark Lenard) and Amanda (Jane Wyatt), parents of First Officer Spock, as well as the first appearance in the series of two other alien species, the Andorians and the Tellarites. Wyatt had been widely known for the 1950s sitcom Father Knows Best, where she played Elinor Donahue's mother. On a previous Star Trek episode, Donahue was a guest actor, playing Commissioner Nancy Hedford, who became Zefram Cochrane's "Companion".

In 1996, for the franchise's 30th anniversary, TV Guide ranked "Journey to Babel" No. 5 on its list of the 10 best Star Trek episodes.[1]

Plot

On stardate 3842.3, the starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is transporting Federation ambassadors to the Babel Conference to discuss the admission of the Coridan system into the Federation. The system is a prime source of dilithium crystals but is underpopulated and unprotected, a situation that some would prefer to maintain by keeping Coridan out of the Federation.

Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan boards with his human wife Amanda, ignoring Spock's greetings. Captain Kirk learns that he is in fact Spock's father, estranged from Spock because of his decision to join Starfleet rather than the Vulcan Science Academy.

During a reception for the passengers, the Tellarite ambassador, Gav, demands to know Sarek's position on Coridan. Pushed for a response, Sarek refers to the need to protect Coridan from unauthorized mining operations, with which Tellarite ships have been involved. Gav takes offense at the allegation and the confrontation briefly becomes physical before Kirk intervenes, warning all parties to keep order on his ship.

Meanwhile, Communications Officer Lt. Uhura has detected an encoded transmission beamed from the Enterprise to a fast-moving vessel at the extreme edge of sensor range. Shortly afterward, Ambassador Gav is found murdered, his neck broken by an ancient Vulcan method of execution called Tal-Shaya, casting suspicion on Sarek. During questioning, Sarek suffers a cardiovascular event, and is rushed to sickbay, where Chief Medical Officer McCoy determines that he requires immediate surgery. Because there is a shortage of his rare T-negative-type blood, Spock volunteers to donate some of his own blood for the operation, using an experimental stimulant for increased blood production.

Plans for the procedure come to a halt when Thelev, a member of the Andorian delegation, stabs Captain Kirk. Kirk subdues Thelev but is seriously wounded and taken to sickbay, while Thelev is imprisoned in the brig. In accordance with regulations, and despite Amanda's emotional plea, Spock refuses to turn command of the Enterprise over to anyone else, as the situation is too critical.

Hearing of Spock's refusal to relinquish command, and having recovered sufficiently to be able to walk, Kirk returns to the bridge to relieve Spock and order him to the sickbay, intending to turn command over to Mr. Scott. When Uhura picks up another encoded transmission from the Enterprise and traces the source to the brig, Kirk decides to stay on the bridge. When Thelev is searched, it is discovered that one of his antennae is fake and conceals a small transceiver.

The unidentified vessel closes in to attack, moving too quickly for Enterprise to lock phasers. The ship takes several hits from the attacking vessel. McCoy begins the operation on Sarek, who is receiving blood directly from Spock. Kirk orders Thelev brought to the bridge and questions him about himself and the attacking ship; Thelev is unresponsive. Kirk decides on a ruse, shutting down internal power to make the Enterprise appear crippled. The attacker approaches, and the Enterprise damages it with a surprise phaser attack. The disabled ship self-destructs, and Thelev reveals that both he and the ship were on suicide missions; he then collapses and dies from a delayed-action poison.

Kirk returns to sickbay for further care and finds Spock and Sarek both alert, the surgery an apparent success. Spock speculates that Thelev and the attacking ship were of Orion origin, and the speed and power of the latter were consistent with a suicide mission, with all energy dedicated to attack. Thelev's mission aboard the Enterprise, Kirk and Spock presume, was to sow distrust among the Federation members and weaken the Enterprise prior to the attack. In support of this theory is the fact that Orion has been raiding Coridan, and would profit by selling dilithium to both sides in a war. Amanda asks Sarek to thank Spock for saving his life, but Sarek shrugs and says that it was only logical. Amanda expresses anger at this harping on logic, and Spock, noting her temper, asks Sarek why he married her. Sarek replies, "At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do," and offers Amanda his hand in a ritual gesture of affection. McCoy then firmly orders Kirk and Spock to remain quietly in bed, finally getting the last word.

Alien species

This episode introduced the Andorian and Tellarite species. John Wheeler[2], the actor who played the Tellarite ambassador (Gav), had difficulty seeing through the eye holes in his prosthetic makeup and was forced to raise his head in a seemingly arrogant manner in order to see the other actors.[3] The Andorian antennae (sprouting out of the back of the head in this and other episodes of the original series) were depicted in the later Star Trek: Enterprise series as coming out of the forehead and capable of movement.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ Logan, Michael (August 24, 1996). "10 Truly Stellar Episodes". TV Guide. 
  2. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0923863/?ref_=tt_cl_t10
  3. ^ Block, Paula (2010). Star Trek: The Original Series 365. Abrams Books. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8109-9172-9. 
  4. ^ "Star Trek: Communicator". 136. Official Star Trek Fan Club. December 2001 – January 2002: 69. 

External links

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