Director: Joseph Pevney
Writer: D.C. Fontana
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Miss Jane Wyatt, Mark Lenard, Nichelle Nichols, William O’Connell, Majel Barrett, Walter Koenig, John Wheeler, James X. Mitchell, and Reggie Nalder
Composer: Gerald Fried
Air Date: 11/17/1967
Production #: 60344
While en route to the Babel conference, the Enterprise beams up Ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard) and his wife Amanda (Jane Wyatt). Tensions escalate among the already volatile passengers when Sarek is accused of murdering a Tellarite diplomat, at which point he collapses due to a cardiac defect. With an Andorian plot to assassinate Captain Kirk underway, Spock is forced to choose between commanding the ship and saving his father’s life.
An engaging study on one of Star Trek’s greatest characters, “Journey to Babel” highlights Spock’s inner conflict in heart-wrenching detail. Science fiction fans should relish this episode for its remarkable insight into Vulcan culture, while others will enjoy D.C. Fontana’s compelling mystery narrative.
Through yet another brilliant but subtle performance, Leonard Nimoy conveyed the anguish that Spock feels after “betraying” his estranged father. Likewise, Amanda’s emotional confrontation with her son finally reveals the extent of Spock’s alienation in the Star Trek universe. A child of two antithetical worlds, Spock is faced with a constant struggle in attempting to reconcile both of his contradictory natures, especially now that neither parent can entirely relate to his unique burden.
In his second appearance on the original series, Mark Lenard portrayed Sarek as if he were a personification of Spock’s logical and purely rational qualities, which, in all likelihood, prompted his young son to one day live up to his father’s fine example. The polar opposite of her husband, Amanda represents all the personal sentiments that Spock harbors, but continues to suppress for fear of showing weakness around his human comrades. By contrasting the striking differences that exist between this strangely paired couple, Fontana gave Star Trek enthusiasts a rare opportunity to fully understand the internal battle raging within Spock at any given time.
A character-driven episode, “Journey to Babel” establishes Spock’s backstory through powerful and emotionally stirring dialogue. Those who admire nuanced acting will appreciate Lenard’s debut performance as the stubborn but respectable Vulcan ambassador, while newcomers to the Star Trek franchise should view this entry if they wish to become further acquainted with Nimoy’s iconic role.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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